Local news stories & LTE 2015

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RustyRed
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buffalo buffalo
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City adds another four miles to this year’s paving list: http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2015/10/19/City-adds-16-streets-to-paving-schedule-pittsburgh/stories/201510190125

Via https://pap.accela.com/envista-public-web/index/Pittsburgh, new projects (all apparently marked “2015 Add 2”) include Black Street between Negley and Fairmount, Craft between Fifth and Forbes, Penn between Mathilda and Friendship, and Smithfield between Oliver and Seventh (which is also, separately, getting a sidewalk extension at the Burlington Coat Factory bus stop at Sixth).

Also critical, also apparently coming up at the end of this month: South Aiken Ave bridge over the Busway and its horrid potholed expansion dams are on the list for a repave soon, too.

The current week’s paving schedule is at http://pittsburghpa.gov/dpw/StreetPavingSchedule — Penn Ave in Bloomfield is apparently already in line to be milled tomorrow; Penn between Stanwix and Sixth Downtown is to be paved Friday.


Marko82
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Gil Penalosa was in Pittsburgh to speak at the American Planning Association of Pennsylvania’s annual conference. But he also spoke to a more intimate gathering of city leaders, planners, and activists at the WESA studio.
http://www.newsworks.org/index.php/local/item/87361-to-design-great-cities-gil-penalosa-says-think-ambitiously-

He is the founder and chair of a Toronto-based non-profit called 8-80 Cities, which advocates for urban biking, walking, parks, trails, and public spaces.


Benzo
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New paving additions are great. Especially that horrible pothole ridden section of penn ave between 45th and S Mathilda St. That’s one of the worst crater fests in the city.


J Z
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How does one get 3-6 months after driving on a suspended license, while DUI and then killing a child?

http://www.wtae.com/news/grieving-mom-says-sons-killer-was-not-rightfully-charged/35969230?utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=wtae


chrishent
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alleghenian
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Bikes lanes are being installed along East Street in the northside. This will make East Street one of the best ways to get out of the city going north. The climb is gradual, there are only a few intersections, and there is almost never any traffic.

I can’t tell from the article how much of East Street will get the lane. If it goes the whole way up toward Venture it will probably be the longest bike lane in Pittsburgh.

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2015/10/26/East-Street-project-will-make-room-for-protected-bike-lanes/stories/201510260160


jonawebb
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Here’s a map. They’re between Lareda St and Suffolk St.


buffalo buffalo
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That map is a PDF, btw, for those on mobile.

You’re expected to take Howard, the nearly unused road on the other side of the expressway, to the Gerst Way pedestrian bridge. (Does anyone know, are there steps to that bridge? I haven’t been on it in years…)

The lanes then will only run to Suffolk, which I guess is great if you’re training for the dirty dozen but won’t do much for anyone going the rest of the way out to Observatory or Summer Hills…


jonawebb
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Google Earth makes it look like ramps on both sides. But there’s some tight turns in there.


buffalo buffalo
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> The lanes then will only run to Suffolk, which I guess is great if you’re training for the dirty dozen but won’t do much for anyone going the rest of the way out to Observatory or Summer Hills…

Email to the North Side Bike & Ped Committee notes that “this project will coincide with previously planned street resurfacing which will only reach Suffolk Street this season. The City plans to continue paving East Street up the valley next year, and at that time the bike lane treatments will be extended as well.”


chrishent
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If I recall correctly, the pedestrian bridge does have wheelchair ramps at both ends. The access to the bridge is a bit narrow, but it works.

This is great news!


buffalo buffalo
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Meanwhile, in Downtown, Forbes/Smithfield rebuild postponed because they apparently didn’t know where the underground utilities are.
http://j.mp/1WeqKXK


StuInMcCandless
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I recall Gerst Way as having a couple of steps here and there. They were not a problem because I was walking the bike. I was walking the bike, not because of the steps or 90° bends, but all the glass and other debris.


gg
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Here is an update on the crash that killed two pedestrians in the Hill District.

2 People Killed In Port Authority Bus Accident


ROMO
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Oh man…

“From the preliminary stages of the investigation, it appears as if there was a vehicle that was coming up the hill trying to make this left turn and somehow it encountered two pedestrians, one in a wheelchair, one walking,” said Public Safety spokesperson Sonya Toler.

Gotta watch out for those magically appearing pedestrians. Wouldn’t want to place any blame on the driver.


buffalo buffalo
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Fm today’s “Eat That, Read This”:

“If the driver [had] fled then it would be a clear case: There would be charges,” Toler told WTAE, showing that regardless of the outcome–that is, the senseless death of two people–the law may decide that, ¯\_(?)_/¯, stuff happens, and no one person is really culpable. The aggressive, careless way that people drive on Pittsburgh streets is a constant threat to human lives–and though the grief we feel is sincere and deep, the mass delusion of Car Culture has inured us, paralyzed us, captivated us to understand traffic violence as accidental rather than the result of poor decision-making, careless behavior, and our shamefully misbuilt environment. These are patterns of error that we need to fix. We should feel sad when someone’s life is snuffed out for the simple act of crossing a street. But then, crucially, we should get angry.


chrishent
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ICYMI, the Strip District trail, which according to the Trib has been closed for “months”, has been reopened:

http://triblive.com/mobile/9335513-96/trail-closed-strip


chrishent
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ROMO
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“The earliest a lane could be built if the federal money comes through is 2017,” he said in an email.

So does that mean that no bike lane can be made on fifth/forbes until 2017 (when the BRT planning period is set to end) or do they just not have funding until then? Because if the latter, I don’t see why we can’t try to speed it up by getting the Universities to contribute and looking for other alternative sources of funding. Even if the lanes only run in Oakland and not all the way to downtown, that would be a huge improvement.


jonawebb
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Also, LTE in the Trib calling out victim-blaming: http://triblive.com/opinion/letters/9326782-74/killed-transportation-cyclist

BTW, @romo, I’m assuming they’re saying they can’t build a bike lane because they have to wait on BRT funding. This is absurd. A bike lane simply doesn’t cost that much to build. It is a small fraction of the cost of repaving, which has to be done regularly. It is certainly possible to put a bike lane in on Forbes without Federal funding. It is simply a matter of political will. Motorists would have to give up some space.

I’ve been thinking about the design, BTW. What do you think of putting it on the north side of Forbes (that is, on the left side of the one way traffic). I suggest that because it would avoid interfering with bus traffic, which is problematic. Where there is parking, you could put the lane between the parking and the curb. I suppose the lane could run up to Bellefield, and then switch to the right side of the street at the light, to continue up past CMU. (Possibly make it a cycletrack to connect with a bike lane coming down from CMU, so that you have a two-way path for bikes through the heart of Oakland.)


Marko82
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@chrishent. Thanks for all the news links.

I hope that these recent tragedies will galvanize the public that something needs to change. Of course the cheapest and quickest change would simply be for drivers to just slow down and pay attention. We will never be able to redesign our way out of all the numerous conflict-zones that exist when cars/bikes/pedestrians/PEOPLE need to share the same space. So the only real solution is to change behavior.

Sadly, I am pessimistic that this will ever happen.


buffalo buffalo
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From today’s University Times, the official biweekly staff paper at Pitt:

“Committee discusses Oakland transit woes”: http://www.utimes.pitt.edu/?p=37266

Ever-present frustrations with parking, coupled with Greenfield Bridge detours and new bicycle infrastructure that’s causing confusion for drivers and cyclists alike led to a wide-ranging discussion on Oakland’s many transit issues in a recent meeting of the University Senate community relations committee (CRC).

Today’s paper also carried Dr Hicks’s obituary: http://www.utimes.pitt.edu/?p=37278


chrishent
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Swalfoort
Participant
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Two more pedestrians struck – this time in West Mifflin

The PG reports that two pedestrians were struck along Camp Hollow Road in West Mifflin this morning about 7:20 a.m. They were both taken to the hospital.


buffalo buffalo
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Warhol (Seventh St) Bridge will be closed next week. Sidewalks will remain open.


Bree33
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Oh man… I ride Camp Hollow road every day. Traffic is a bit crazy – people fly up this road and there are a lot of tractor trailers – but I haven’t had major problems. Better infrastructure would be awesome though. I mainly use the shoulder which is very wide in most sections at the top of the hill. I see pedestrians walking it every day… I assume they are going to the bus stop on Lebanon Church.


chrishent
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Clickbait LTE in the PG:

“Ride your bike at the park if you enjoy it that much. It’s meant to be a hobby, not a primary form of transportation”

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/2015/10/31/Ride-bicycles-on-trails-not-on-roadways/stories/201510310062

*sigh*


edmonds59
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Damn, in the moment between when I first hit the link and went to sign in they seem to have removed the comments.


ShooFlyPie
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Their website sucks. I see the comments and a new one was just added. I tried to sign in, but I can’t get past the sign-in page. I just wanted to comment that this fine intelligent upstanding individual should keep his car/truck on the interstate only and not on our city streets clogging them up with gridlock.


StuInMcCandless
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They’ve apparently turned off comments on this letter. So why did they run the letter in the first place?


edmonds59
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When I go to the PG website on a computer that I have never signed in on before, I can see the comments. Stu – I wonder if you and I have been blocked? That would be complete bullshit.
and b. WTF?


chrishent
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I think the comments section is down for all PG articles. I tried a few other articles, and there were no comments allowed, either.


StuInMcCandless
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The main PG site recognizes my login, but I can’t get to the comments section from either that or my Facebook connection. Tried two browsers on the laptop, plus the iPad. No go.


Vannevar
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I can see 5 comments. 7.30 Saturday night.


Ahlir
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P-G: Pittsburgh cycling group pleads for safety measures in Oakland

Really? Plead?

Maybe we’re just “asking” or even “requesting”? Let alone “demanding”. I guess we just don’t have the power to do much else than plead.


chrishent
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The PG’s Brian O’Neill argues for safer streets, and also calls BS on the widely-believed road paying myth, with some hard numbers to back it up:

http://www.post-gazette.com/opinion/brian-oneill/2015/11/01/Brian-O-Neill-We-all-pay-for-city-streets-so-make-them-safe-for-all/stories/201511010112

PS: comments section appears to be working on mobile browsers only


Vannevar
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sidebar: i’m not sure why, but the Comments section appears for me on my laptop. Win8.1, Firefox, nothing special. I am not a subscriber.


ROMO
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Another article in PG today. This one about comments made by the Pitt University Police relations officer.

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2015/11/01/Oaklands-bike-pedestrian-and-car-traffic-perils-not-an-easy-fix/stories/201511010068

“Officer Johnson said the biggest problem he sees is that motorists and pedestrians, in particular, are too distracted to move about safely in a high-traffic area.

‘All you can do is talk to them,’ he said.”

Or, you could, you know, ticket them. The consensus from most of these articles seems to be that nothing will be done until 2017 at the earliest when the BRT studies are completed. I’m highly skeptical of even this timeline, however. They’ve been “planning” this BRT route since 2011.


MaryShaw
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Most of Officer Johnson’s comments seem to address educating pedestrians. What is he doing about educating the people driving the cars?

For example, he talks a lot about pedestrians with their heads in their cell phones. What is he doing about the people who are simultaneously trying to operate automobiles and cell phones — which is actually illegal?

I chant the same old chant — let’s enforce the laws we already have. That doesn’t require long-range planning, capital budgets, or long lead times. It just requires determination.They could start tomorrow.

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