PUBLIC MEETING AUG 31: Forbes Ave redesign and bike lanes

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erok
Keymaster
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All-
After years in the making, CMU and the Oakland Transportation Management Association (OTMA) are ready to unveil their plans to make safety improvements on Forbes Ave, from Craig St to Margaret Morrison St. The $2.175M project will update signals, improve intersections, and add “pedestrian/cyclist safety enhancements,” according to SPC’s Transportation Improvement Program website.

The current dialogue for changing the state of Forbes Ave at CMU, started way back in 2011, when CMU held a well attended public meeting calling for bike lanes, as part of their Master Plan update. Since that time, CMU and OTMA obtained a federal grant to improve the safety of Forbes Ave through the campus.

Safety on Forbes Ave came to the forefront last fall with the death of Susan Hicks, who was riding her bicycle home from the University of Pittsburgh, where she worked.

At the public meeting for this Forbes Avenue Corridor Safety Improvement Project, CMU’s planners will be taking feedback on their proposed design.

Please attend to make sure that bicyclists’ voices are heard.

Forbes Avenue Corridor Safety Improvement Project Public Meeting

Project scope and schedule will be discussed

Date: Wednesday, August 31st
Time: 5:00 pm
Location: 5034 Forbes Avenue, Cohon University Center, Room: Rangos 3 (2nd Floor)

Public Meeting Aug 31: Your voice needed on a Forbes Ave near CMU redesign project


erok
Keymaster
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Here’s a facebook event page to pass around https://www.facebook.com/events/293531704345748/


Eric
Member
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It is from craig onward and Susan Hicks was killed before craig.


erok
Keymaster
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Yes we’re aware.

The whole of Forbes is complex, and PennDOT is planning on repaving the whole thing from the Birmingham Bridge to Craig next year. We want to make sure that this section is in place with bike lanes to add weight to making sure the Pitt section of it does too with the repaving. So it’s all connected

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 12 months ago by  erok.

erok
Keymaster
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Here’s an update, with a bit more info from CMU:

Meeting To Discuss Forbes Safety Improvement Project
Carnegie Mellon and PennDOT are hosting a public meeting to discuss proposed safety improvements to Forbes Avenue at 5 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 31, in Rangos 3 of the Cohon University Center.

PennDOT officials will present the two-part project, which will include pedestrian-crossing enhancements at Forbes Ave intersections, such as countdown timers and audible signals for the visually impaired, and the repaving of Forbes between the Birmingham Bridge and Beeler Street, including new lane configurations between South Craig Street and Beeler Street.

The safety improvement projects, a collaborative effort between PennDOT, the City of Pittsburgh, the Oakland Transportation Management Association and CMU, are scheduled to take place beginning fall of 2017 through the summer of 2018.


paulheckbert
Moderator
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I used to bike Forbes near CMU all the time. The most dangerous part was biking uphill, eastbound on Forbes approaching Beeler. Crossing two lanes of (speeding) traffic in order to turn left on Beeler was the tricky move. If crosswalks and speed tables were installed in several places (in front of Hamburg Hall, Morewood, Devon, Beeler, and Margaret Morrison, say) that would go a long way toward reducing speeds and making this street safer for both cyclists and pedestrians.

Traffic calming through road surface changes works. Look at how slowly cars drive on Forbes Ave in Market Square, downtown, because of the belgian block surface. I don’t think we need to go as far as making all of Forbes Ave cobblestone, but we need to learn the lesson: putting up speed limit signs does not slow cars, but roughening the road surface does.


jonawebb
Participant
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<p style=”text-align: center;”>++</p>


edmonds59
Participant
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I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to attend yet or not. Seeing as PennDot is involved, keep your expectations low. Aside from their inherent motor vehicle bias, their main mission is to not impede motorized traffic. Pedestrians and cyclists are nothing but hazards to protect drivers from. “Speed tables” are going to be a non-starter, and my guess is modified driving surfaces will be also. Unless there has been a tectonic shift in the department in the last couple of years, their guidelines are more Robert Moses than Jane Jacobs, and at least 20 years behind current planning theory. Until the public somehow (forcibly) changes their mission to include pedestrians and cyclists as part of the complete transportation network, they will never take those modes seriously in their planning.
If I don’t make it to this meeting, someone please ask who at the state level has oversight over PennDot’s operations and mission.


jonawebb
Participant
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My friend the traffic engineer says PennDOT is involved pretty minimally.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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PennDOT officials will present the two-part project…

…a collaborative effort between PennDOT, the City of Pittsburgh, the Oakland Transportation Management Association and CMU…

 

Sure sounds like PennDOT is involved a bit more than “minimally” …


erok
Keymaster
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especially considering that they own the road and administer the grant


Benzo
Participant
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BUMP. This is tonight!


erok
Keymaster
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All – We’ll be hosting a ride after this meeting around Fifth/Forbes in Oakland. Meet outside the building.

There is a connection to the tragedy on W Carson last night.

PennDOT refused to put bike lanes on W Carson, due to their reluctance to slow cars down and wanting to add a turning lane.

The same could happen on Forbes Ave. This project only goes to S Craig St, but we need to make sure that PennDOT connects Forbes Ave westward to at least the existing bike lanes on Bigelow Blvd. and have a plan to continue westward. They are also repaving and adding safety improvements to Forbes from the Birmingham Bridge to Beeler in the next 2 years, calling it the “Betterment Project,” which is our best opportunity to figure something out.

Here’s the event on facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/1772520923019162/


erok
Keymaster
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Also, there’s a ride on Tuesday on to W Carson St. Info below.

Tuesday, September 6 at 7 PM – 9 PM
S 27th St & Tunnel Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15203

We watched Dennis Flanagan’s death play out in slow motion. For 5 years the community has voiced its need for a safe W. Carson St. Corridor for all. These needs were thrown by the wayside, and 9 days after the project’s completion, a person biking the corridor was killed.

Traffic deaths are avoidable tragedies. They happen because decision makers create designs that prioritize automobile “speed” and “congestion” over human life. This is the same tragic story that played out on West Carson Street.

We will meet one week from Dennis Flanagan’s death. Tuesday, 9/6, 7pm at 27th St & Tunnel Blvd Healthy Ride Station (Southside Works).

Join us Tuesday night to change the narrative to include the safety of all people – young, old, abled, disabled, on foot, bike, transit, car: everyone.

https://www.facebook.com/events/548544958670662/


Italianblend
Participant
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Does anyone have an update on the meeting?


Ahlir
Participant
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Well, it’s over. And it was followed by a group ride down Fifth to Craft and back.

Some things that I learned:

  • Forbes (continuing on Beeler) is an “urban arterial highway”.
  • You will never see the posted speed limit be under 25mph.
  • Forbes will never qualify as a “school zone”. The school designation is legally restricted to K-12. (and, no, pre-schools don’t count either.)
  • There will never be a speed table on Forbes. It will interfere with traffic flow, on a highway. Besides, driver won’t know how to deal with it.
  • The PennDOT official expressed great sympathy for the plight of the cyclist. But his job is to make highways work; accommodations for non-drivers are always of great interest to the extent that they do not interfere with car traffic. Though, yes, allowing people to get killed or maimed is considered undesirable.
  • The proposed modifications will increase traffic throughput, despite designed traffic calming and lane reduction. The main way to do this will be to eliminate the all-way ped light at Craig to harmonize signalling along the street. For some reason the all-way at Morewood will remain.
  • PennDOT is “not under” the city and does not have to listen to it, say about all that Complete Street stuff. But they will of course continue to confer with the city on decisions.

So on the whole it was not a particularly satisfying encounter. Audience concerns included things like dangers posed by busses, the apparent absence of speed abatement and more particular issues (bollards? no; bad for maintenance). The officials demonstrated great skill in dealing with the public.

Having said all that, I think that at worst we’ll end up with a half-loaf. I like the planned bike lanes, and the addition of stop lights. That’s better than what we have now. They’re supposed to “come back to the community” once negotiations withe city are done and planning is concluded.


Ahlir
Participant
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On a separate note: I didn’t get the sense that the speakers (or questioners in the audience) were all that up on local bike-related infrastructure.

  • For example, no one could quite explain how a bike-lane / turn-lane cross-over worked. But isn’t there on on Bigelow next to the Soldiers&Sailors you could tell people to check out?
  • During the bollard discussion people were referring to those on Penn downtown. But Schenley Dr, literally 2 blocks away, has the same setup.

 

 


jdgPGH
Member
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I didn’t expect much tonight, and we got even less. We were supposed to be impressed that there will be “new” traffic signals. The old men in suits were proud of the chart showing that all intersections will pass cars with the same or less delay as the current design. There will be some segments of bike lane, class II, just a paint buffer, and minimum width. What bike lanes they plan will be criss-crossed with right turn traffic and bus pull-offs. There will be “sharrows” and Share the Road signs — oh boy — on portions of roadway where they couldn’t figure out how to work in a bike lane. Concepts like Green Lane and Bike Box, and actual physical protection never crossed their minds. Continuous bike lanes through the Pitt campus and into town were out of the scope of the project for various questionable reasons.

Peds will get Piano Key markings. No talk of real traffic calming or enhanced pedestrian experience. My sense is that the result will be quite the opposite.

I was offended that the effort presented tonight was void of any imagination or urgency to solve the serious problems faced by vulnerable users of the corridor.


hshoch
Participant
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I must agree with jdgPGH – I was offended as well. . The idea that there was detailed study and design behind the proposals that we saw is somewhat laughable – it looked like something a reasonably clued-in group of CMU or Pitt engineering undergrads could have put together as a class project.

On a perhaps far-fetched note, is there any possibility of bringing that stretch of road under city and not state control? This clearly seems to be one possible way of cutting the knot.

Ironically, as I was biking out on Forbes after the meeting, saw a PGH city police car on Beeler. It looked like they had pulled over a couple of bicyclists. For what, I’m not sure.

 


Ahlir
Participant
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  • Transferring the street to the city implies transferring a significant financial burden; it’s unlikely to happen. It would be better (though probably harder) to change PennDOT doctrine re urban highways.
  • I don’t know what happened on Beeler, but as we were waiting at Morewood & Forbes for the ride to start, a cop car stopped and an officer approached the group. It turned out (as I understood it) that they would be following the ride to make sure there wouldn’t be any trouble, providing protection. You know, doing their job.
  • If you’ve been to enough to enough of these meetings you realize that those people’s job is to act the way they do. If they don’t they’ll get fired. You need to look at the proposals and decide whether, on the whole, there’s a benefit. If there is then try to accept it. Then keep agitating for more. Eventually you end up with something that you’re happy with. Yes, it’s a lot of work. But otherwise you typically get nothing.

 


hshoch
Participant
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well, given that such a transfer would save PennDot money, there might be some way to work out some details that might leave both sides feeling better about things.  Not that it would be easy…


jdgPGH
Member
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“Curb to Curb” rebuilding happens only once every 20-30 years. If you miss the opportunity to make the kind of changes that can only be done during this major operation, you will have to settle for being limited to very small improvements for a generation. In my opinion, if they do keep acting the way they do they should be fired.


Marko82
Participant
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The thing that pisses me off the most is the treatment of crosswalks.  If I may, the consultant stated that they made pedestrian improvements by eliminating “all pedestrian” cycles at the crosswalks and will instead use pedestrian head-start sequences that will allow cars to turn into the crosswalks while pedestrians theoretically have the right of way.  Yep.  That’s so much safer for pedestrians than having a Barns signal.    These guys are surely concerned for our safety.

 

 


jdgPGH
Member
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Marko – Love what Wikipedia has to say about the Barnes crossing:

“It was first used in Canada and the United States in the late 1940s, though it has since fallen out of favor with traffic engineers in the United States, as it is seen as prioritizing flow of pedestrians over flow of car traffic.”


jonawebb
Participant
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PG: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2016/08/31/CMU-PennDot-propose-bike-lanes-as-part-of-safety-improvements-for-Forbes-Avenue/stories/201608310356


paulheckbert
Moderator
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I was encouraged that PennDOT had bike lanes in their proposed design at all (this is progress, and the result of BikePgh and others in the bike community) but disappointed that they are not planning to put in delineators (plastic bollards) to make these protected bike lanes, not just paint-on-the-road. We need to insist that these be protected bike lanes.

Here is one of their slides: proposed intersection of Forbes & Morewood. Note the bike lanes in yellow-green. Note the bus turnout on north side of Forbes for inbound buses, and how buses will be crossing the bike traffic.

Audience members brought up the issues around the bus turnout on the south side of Forbes, off the right edge of this diagram (or maybe they chose not to draw it in because it’s such a problematic detail). I’ve biked uphill from near Hamburg Hall to Beeler many times, and one of the dangerous maneuvers is dealing with buses that are stopped with their rear ends blocking the existing right lane of traffic. Although PennDOT plans to lengthen the bus turnouts, I don’t think their design will eliminate the bikes-dodging left-around-diagonal-buses problem. A better design would have the outbound buses stop at an island, moving the bike lane to the right (south) of the stopped buses.


jonawebb
Participant
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I couldn’t be at the meeting. I’m really glad to hear about bike lanes connecting the Forbes lanes past CMU to Craig. As I understand it, bike lanes to Craig are part of the BRT plans (assuming that happens). So, eventually, you would have a continuous more-or-less safe route past CMU all the way downtown, along a central, highly traveled corridor. That’s a big accomplishment.


RustyRed
Member
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Marko – Love what Wikipedia has to say about the Barnes crossing:

“It was first used in Canada and the United States in the late 1940s, though it has since fallen out of favor with traffic engineers in the United States, as it is seen as prioritizing flow of pedestrians over flow of car traffic.”

If I could edit in Wikipedia, I’d change that to: “as it is seen as prioritizing flow LIVES of pedestrians over flow of car traffic.”

 


Benzo
Participant
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The PG Article…

“Some said they believe that type of planning led to the death of a bicyclist on Tuesday in an accident on West Carson Street. Advocates had pushed for bike lanes to be part of a project there that finished this month, but PennDOT didn’t include the lanes because studies showed changes instead needed to be made to avoid rear-end and turning crashes.”

They must be bad at studies, considering they just recently redesigned and rebuilt west end circle and now it’s the most dangerous intersection in the county. http://www.wtae.com/news/analysis-finds-most-dangerous-intersections-in-allegheny-county/40369560

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by  Benzo.

Benzo
Participant
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They could tell you how many cars go through this area daily, but conveniently didn’t have any numbers handy for bike and pedestrian usage.  It’s a shame, but not unexpected given the track record of considering other road users.

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by  Benzo.

edmonds59
Participant
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Apologies in advance, but I don’t know how that mealy-mouthed piece of shit apologist Dan Cessna sleeps at night.


edmonds59
Participant
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On a less fractious and more productive note (had to get that out, or I was going to rip my hair out), PennDot’s “mission” needs to be changed at the state level to include the complete transportation network, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and accomodations for mass transit, not just “highways”. Letting PennDot get off the hook by saying oh we only do highways, is complete bullshit. They have made it clear that the concept of a complete transportation network is going to have to be shoved down their throat by force. That (repugnant human being) Cessna is right, cities have no oversight over them, that needs to happen at the state level, people need to contact state senators, representatives, and Wolf, to kick PennDots ass. This is the time, a person has just died due directly to PennDot’s irresponsible failure to provide safe transportation facilities for the entire public. And there’s an election in November.


jonawebb
Participant
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@edmonds59++
Yes, remember PennDOT is a state agency. They are responsible to the state legislature and the governor. The priorities are being set by them to favor motorized transport. So we end up with abominations like the West Carson Street and Boulevard of the Allies developments, which excluded all other traffic. But organized political action can change this. Remember we’re electing not just a President, but a significant fraction of the state government, too. Now would be a good time to ask any state politician where they stand on including bike and pedestrian access in PennDOT plans.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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Related, somewhat:

PlanPhilly: East Falls asks PennDOT for ‘radical’ changes to make Henry Avenue safer

…Back in 2012, PennDOT released an initial report for improving safety along the six-mile long corridor that runs from the top of Strawberry Mansion up to the Cathedral Village retirement community in Roxborough.

But as soon as PennDOT’s plans became known, the East Falls Community Council’s Traffic Committee made it clear that their community wouldn’t simply accede to any old strategy laid out by the state.  They rejected the modest plan, saying they wanted cars travelling through their community to move substantially slower (perhaps even at the speed limit of 35 miles an hour). PennDOT’s 2012 recommendations were not likely to generate that effect.

Currently several intersections on Henry Avenue are prone to car crashes—some of them fatal—because they are not designed to induce slower speeds, even in places where pedestrians are likely to cross. The road is four lanes and enjoys few traffic calming features, despite cutting through the heart of Philadelphia University’s campus. (hmmm, sound familiar…?)

… “I don’t want to dump on them, they’re well meaning, and I hope they will take us seriously when we say, yes, we really want this radical change,” says Meg Greenfield, a member of the Traffic Committee. “They asked if we didn’t care that it would be slower. We said no, we want it to be safer. Do this as a model for the future instead of sticking to the status quo. Make this something special that you can hold out to people as an ideal for the future.”

… “Henry Avenue is a major vehicular corridor in that region,” says [PennDOT consultant Bruce] Masi. “Some people on the East Falls Traffic Committee view that as a local road. That really isn’t its function.”


Marko82
Participant
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paulheckbert
Moderator
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KDKA TV’s story on the meeting:

CMU, PennDOT Working On Plan For Safety Improvements On Forbes Ave.

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2016/08/31/cmu-penndot-work-on-plan-for-safety-improvements-on-forbes-ave/


jonawebb
Participant
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StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Just short of 2 p.m., there are now > 100 comments on that article. The usual suspects, the usual blather.


Gordon
Participant
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Here’s how I feel about this week’s events:

A lot have been going on in terms of bike safety this week. A cyclist, Dennis Flanagan, was killed just after PennDOT completed Route 51 project which they claimed “would improve bicycle safety”. In reality, PennDOT failed to do so for not installing bike lanes. Instead, they added a turning lane which is used as a passing lane by motorists and encourages speeding. It is very likely this factor caused the death of Dennis Flanagan.
http://triblive.com/news/allegheny/11062874-74/flanagan-ride-bike

Coincidentally, PennDOT held a public meeting on pedestrian/cyclist safety enhancements for Forbes Ave the day after the crash. In the meeting, PennDOT claimed Forbes Ave is an “urban arterial highway”, which implies their main goal is to allow motor vehicles to travel as fast as possible with pedestrian and cyclist safety as an afterthought. As if foretelling another tragic failure with PennDOT’s Forbes Ave project, a car rolled over on Forbes Ave the day after the meeting!
http://www.bikepgh.org/message-board/topic/public-meeting-aug-31-forbes-ave-redesign-and-bike-lanes/#post-331929

http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/2016/09/01/rollover-crash-blocks-traffic-in-oakland/

 

PENNDOT HAVE BLOOD ON THEIR HANDS!

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 11 months ago by  Gordon.

StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I’m surprised Bike-Pgh has not, itself, posted a link to its own blog post on the topic.

FTFY: http://www.bikepgh.org/2016/09/02/setting-the-record-straight/

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