Penn Ave bike lane
I think that’s the same attitude some of those drivers (drunk or sober) have that like to buzz close to bikers…and scream and throw things at them.
I could be wrong.
There was a U-Haul truck parked in the bike lanes today around 1:15 PM. I think it was between Garrison Pl. and Tenth St. No one was inside the truck but I yelled that they should not park there.
Be careful: Manhole wormhole on Penn magnifies Coriolis Vortex; transports to Golden Bermuda Triangle. 311 is ineffective since prime. May need Fubini Wrench.
Yesterday (Tuesday) there was a large truck (with blinkers on) in the bike lane near 7th–they were setting up for some event–appropriate and acceptable imho. Tonight I passed through that section and there were two cars parked there-no one was around…I continued toward the Strip hoping to find one of our Finest….and indeed, in a block-and-a-half two of Pittsburgh’s Pedaling Patrolmen were coming towards me…as I pointed out the infraction, they acknowledged they saw it and on their way…I didn’t stay around to see how they handled it (ticket, tow, etc.)–thirty minutes later the vehicles…were gone.
I wish there was a more solid separation than plastic bollards. They’re in invite for motorists to knock them down if they’re in the way. I see it on Penn Ave and on the north shore trail all the time.
Call 911 to report parking violations, then they have a record, and data they can use to justify more enforcement.
Two trucks were parked squarely in Penn Ave bike lanes between 10th & 11th Street this morning next to Westin. USPS truck + plain white delivery truck. Both trucks reported to 311. Somewhat new to Penn Ave bike lanes. Are there circumstances where this is allowed and/or is this normal?
They should put steel bollards along the edge of the cycle track along with collapsible bollards where deliveries night meed to be made and plastic bollards at intersections.
Two trucks were parked squarely in Penn Ave bike lanes
I’ve had response when I’ve snapped a pic of a truck then sent it to the company, and received a nice reply. I believe the right approach is education, at least initially.
I’m not sure these things are 311 issues, unless there’s an infrastructure problem (e.g. missing bollards). But it might be a 911 issue if the trucks (or cars) create a hazard, for example forcing bikes into dangerous traffic.
^^ In the past I’ve been told by police officers that reporting of cars blocking bike lanes or trails should go to 911 (not 311). Please inform the operator early in the call that the call is not an emergency, but police are needed at such-and-such location. Then they will handle it as priority allows.
I know I always hesitate to use an emergency number for these things, but that’s the system we have.
I can understand a 10-minute stop to off-load a box or two. Sitting there upwards of a half hour, let alone an entire afternoon or evening, is a whole different matter.
A few years ago I was in San Francisco, in a van that was supposed to pick some people up near Union Square. They were late. I suggested to the driver that he pull over along this empty bit of curb just up the street.
I will never forget the look of terror on his face. It was a bus stop, and apparently the penalty for blocking a bus was truly draconian. I didn’t (dare) ask what it might be…
Now, imagine a law in Pittsburgh that makes it next to unthinkable to park in a bike lane.
The city’s parking code, which substantially mirrors the state’s with some additions, is online at https://library.municode.com/pa/pittsburgh/codes/code_of_ordinances?nodeId=COOR_TITFIVETR_ARTVIIPA
The word ‘lane’ does not seem to appear on that page; ‘cycle’ appears three times, once relating to motorcycles and twice in reference to parking bikes themselves…
(There is, btw, an explicit prohibition on parking within 15′ of a bus stop, as well as laws against parking on the sidewalk and in or near a crosswalk, not that any of those are ever enforced, either…)
And again today, two huge trucks with flatbed trailers parked in the cycle track between 8th and 9th. One an 18-wheeler, the other a pickup with a big 5th-wheel trailer. Too big to be waiting or delivering. I imagine they were associated with some nearby construction project. We saw them twice, probably half an hour apart. They must have driven in from the 9th St end, because bollards were still standing.
Therefore they might be operating under some permit.
I reported this to 311 rather than 911 because it needs a systemic solution. A year and a half ago we had the same situation next to Heinz Hall, and it appeared to be related to an event permit. If a permit is involved, a traffic plan is required, and it has to include a detour. I noticed today that my 311 request from that incident is still “open” and also re-raised that one.
Earlier today such trucks were parked on Ft. Duquesne…
What looked like a Mercedes Sprinter, and a pickup, were parked next to Benedum.
Is the Sprinter an eco-conscious tour bus? Or just down-market?
I was too lazy to stop and take pictures (just hopped on the sidewalk and rode past).
A sprinter is a delivery van. My guess is that Mercedes was selling these in Europe for years and found a niche here for a large delivery van for those that don’t need a truck)
Well, you’re right, Sprinter is basically a commercial van.
However they also come in a camper configuration. A friend in CA has one (they seem popular out there).
Ironically, sprinters are popular among bikers who are doing races every weekend. There’s enough room to pack bikes, tools and still sleep inside. Both privateers and sponsored riders use them. Sprinters are also commonly used by bike companies to travel to industry events. World cup pits are full of them. Also, check out behind the booths at dirt fest…
@dfiler: That’s interesting.
But I’m not sure that it licenses parking a Sprinter in a bike lane… :-)
i’d say that a quarter of the time i use the bike lane, which is mainly on weekends and sometimes mid-day on a week day, there’s at least one truck parked in it, either by the post office or the theaters.
the fix has to be systematic — it has to come from the city. I hear that the city may have a peds/bike coordinator, but it is really unclear what this coordinator’s job description is.
Until the city pays attention issues like the penn ave bike lane being used as a parking spot and, say, bridge sidewalks not being cleaned will continue.
The city bike ped coordinator is Kristin Saunders <email@example.com>
Bike Pgh has some influence on her. So does a big pile of similar 311 complaints
The way to make this higher priority with her is to make it clear that people care. A single complaint can easily get lost in the noise. A pile of similar complaints makes an issue. It only takes tens, not hundreds.
That means that we should all complain, every time. Even if you don’t do that, you can still file the general issue like, “People are still parking in the bike lanes, especially at XXX. This is a safety issue. I see this XXX times a week Please make them stop.”
The new 311 service actually does track service requests. It’s on the web at http://pittsburghpa.gov/innovation-performance/311.html or more conveniently on your cellphone as the MyBurgh app. Filing with the app is easy — you can take a photo within the app and send on the spot, and it will be tagged with GPS location. There is centralized tracking, and a pileup of unresolved similar complaints will be noticed (plus you can go back every couple of months and add “why isn’t this resolved” comments). It’s easier to complain through My Burgh than to post here.
You’ll be asked to select a type of issue. There are several bland offerings under “Pedestrian/Bicycle Concerns”, of which the only relevant one is (again) “Pedestrian/Bicycle Concerns”. No other choice seems better.
I also find twitter really helpful for reporting 311. they always respond to tweets. @pgh311 on twitter. This way you can send a a picture and don’t have to worry about categorizing it. If they have a question about it they tweet back and you can clarify.
I’ve found this much easier than the website.
Mary, I was thinking about what you said about 311. I’m not sure many 311 complaints will make any difference at all. It seems that 311 is a pretty scattered system and even though they have a central record of complaints I don’t think anyone actually look through the data to see if there’s any commonalities. Especially with something like parking in a bike lane. 311 will say that it is not their issue because they work on problems with much longer time frames. I think it’ll just log that there’s a complaint and close it immediately. Ditto with repeated 9-1-1 calls. I think we’ll just get lost in all the noise at 911. I think this is better worked on at a politician level or a Peds bike coordinator level or it advocacy group such as bike Pittsburgh. I’ve emailed the Peds bike coordinator quite a few times over the years about different big picture issues such as cleaning Bridge sidewalks and never got a response back. Get that turns into either a learned helplessness situation like I have or motivated citizen situation such as the woman who has decided to take on cleaning of the 40th Street bridge on her own dime.
@edronline My understanding of 311 is that the office that receives the requests routes them to specific departments. Those departments are then expected to address *and close* the reports, which allows for statistics and tracking.
This was certainly the case a couple of bike/ped coordinators ago, when the then-incumbent asked me to file 311 reports so he could create a record. Given the Mayor’s emphasis on information, tracking, and data analysis, I would expect this to be even more true now.
The online system gives you a reference number and the ability to track activity on the request. For example, my recent report on Penn Av, parking in bike lanes, has a note with status “routed” that says it was routed to police zone 6. Others have been closed with comments that contain more information than a 311 operator would have.
I don’t know whether they track twitter reports in the same way as 311 reports — do you get a reply with a service request that allows you to track the response?
If a number of us accumulate a bunch of requests and still aren’t getting response, Bike Pgh can bundle those and take them to the City (e.g., bike/ped coordinator) with the dual complaint of no action and no response. But for them to do that, they’ll need the list of service requests that were not handled satisfactorily.
I guess the issue is the time frame. You 311 a parking in the bike lane and, at best, it gets looked at hours later. At worst days later.
Also, departments in city government aren’t all electronic. For some city depts 311 has to fax over a request. Also city depts don’t regularly feed back to 311 what they did. That’s why so many tickets are open. Or sometimes, say, 311 will send it to the dept and close the ticket without finding what happened.
It’s a super incomplete system. It is also unclear if our current peds bike coordinator actually looks at and of this data. I’m honestly not sure what she does but this may be my bone to pick with her not responding to emails and tweets (all polite) re issues that clearly should be in her wheelhouse.
To get something done about the specific vehicle that is blocking the bike lane right now, call 911.
To do something about the systemic problem requires documentation and getting the attention of someone who can actually do something. We don’t actually know what works. I’m advocating 311 because it creates a paper trail that will serve as evidence when the problem does make someone’s agenda, and it may help get the issue onto someone’s agenda.
There are several problems here, which will require different solutions:
(a) random people parking just because (this requires the usual illegal parking enforcement)
(b) delivery drivers (I think they get more tolerance, though they might disagree)
(c) event permits that allow blocking the bike lanes without providing a detour (this requires process changes in the events office to be sure they treat bike lanes like other travel lanes)
(d) there may be others
My 311 was processed and closed, with the comment “Overtime beat/bicycle/patrol detail assigned to the central business district has been directed to monitor illegal parking in the bike lanes on a daily basis. Contractor accepting deliveries will be contacted.”
In addition, I received email from a Zone 3 Sergeant:
Your 311 complaint regarding trucks in the bike lane was recently shared with me. I wanted to inform you that I’ve been receiving some of the other complaints referenced in the comments, and give you some insight into our response and plans for a permanent resolution.
In regards to the other complaints, they typically reference delivery trucks in the 800 or 900 block of Penn Ave., and the trucks are always gone by the time we get there. If the process hasn’t been explained to you, the 311 complaint system is not monitored 24/7 by Police. Therefore, it might take until the next day or longer until 311 complaints are addressed.
In the past few months, I have directed beat and bicycle officers assigned to the central business district to check the bike lanes regularly during their patrols, and I have personally checked the area while working out of the Cultural District Substation. My recommendation, when violations are observed, is to call 911 as opposed to using 311, as this will prompt a faster Police response.
As far as your complaint is concerned, the photos are unfortunately not going to be enough to issue citations. Before doing so, I would not only have to check for a variance, but I would also have to know if the variance signs were properly displayed several hours prior to the violation. However, the photos do give me a good idea of who I need to talk to about those trucks, and I’ll be paying the jobsite a visit tomorrow. If their response is not sufficient, I’ll reach out to our commercial vehicle enforcement officers as they can issue far more that a $100 parking ticket. Now that I know of your issue in the 800 Block, I’ll also pass the information on to Zone 2 Officers and encourage strict enforcement.
Rode the Penn ave bike lane last week. From the Greyhound station in there are barely any bollards anymore. Even the mounts are gone. It was a bit scary- cars would swerve into the totally unprotected/unseparated bike lane in front of me to pass cars that were stopped or slowing down but not fully pulled over to the right.
In short the bike lane is going to shit.
Can anything be done about this? Any thoughts?
Please file a 311 report.
- Bring up the web page http://pittsburghpa.gov/311/form
On the first page, fill in location information. If you have a 311 account, log in
- On the second page (“Details”) select type of issue “Pedestrian/Bicycle Concerns” and the same thing as the subtopic. This will make sure the request is routed to the right place (in the bike part of DOMI). Then put your comments in the comment box.
- On the third page fill in contact information and click “create request” (if you already have an account and logged in on the first page you won’t see this page
The more people who report the problem (this or any other problem), the more likely it is to get fixed.
Mary, I don’t think it is a problem to be fixed. I think the city just cleared whole blocks of the bollards as the black support pieces are gone too. It’s not the hit or miss knocked down bollards of the past. Seems like a purposeful decision.
Maybe they’re removed for the winter so the lanes can be plowed more quickly? Or maybe the city is replacing them with something else (hopefully something better)?
@steven, this is my hope. Maybe the city has plans to install a more permanent barrier and, in the interest of cost savings and ease of winter maintenance, has decided to not replace the bollards. It would be nice to get some info from DOMI on this.
Filing a 311 service request that asks what the plans are would (a) pose the question to someone who might know the answer and (b) show that someone actually cares
The city removed the bollards so that PWSA could repave. the repaving didn’t happen yet, and left hand-right hand.
We’ve been trying (unsuccessfully) to get them to at least put some cones out.
They are supposed to put more permanent and solid barriers out next spring, but the current thing is due to PWSA and the city’s poor communication
A few days ago, USPS was parked in the 3rd ave contraflow lane. Driver wasn’t delivering, was in the back of the truck sorting mail. Reported problem.
Meanwhile, in the spirit of the season, here’s a holiday jingle from the Streetsblog Carolers called “Here comes UPS (parked in my bike lane)” https://player.vimeo.com/video/306327101?color=9086c0
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