Rankin Bridge Bike Lanes
The lanes were just installed the previous 2 days. They put the 2-3 feet closest to the concrete barriers as bike lane with a 2-3 foot buffer area (slashed marked). Coming towards Rankin they put an island to prevent the right lane from going straight.
I’m not a fan of the design as the bike lane is in the garbage lane (full of rocks). Before you could ride the right lane down the bridge (either taking the lane or on the edge of the shoulder) with relative comfort.
I guess it’s still progress!
So what happens when you get to River Road? Is it halfway safe riding WNW toward Waterfront Dr and the GAP? I know riding along E. Carson further west is something I only want to do with 200 other DD cyclists – one time about 10 of us took E. Carson to the Glenwood Bridge on a DD scouting ride and that is not something I wish to repeat. If River Rd. is anything like that I’m not too keen to go that way alone…
it’s not.. terrible. watch the drain gratings, though, there’s big gaps and I think they’re aligned with the wheels.
Yes the added bike lanes are ‘islands’. There is no connection to the Waterfront and no real connection to anything on the Rankin side. Riding River Road down to Waterfront drive is fine since the downhill gives you some speed (road is concrete so there are some craters). Riding from the Waterfront to the Rankin Bridge is bonkers b/c people leaving the Waterfront get nutty waiting behind a cyclist. River Road is probably worse but I always take the lane or most of it.
I’m not sure what they are thinking…I assume it’s Penndot trying to plan ahead.
Wow, that does look difficult, both in taking the lane coming off the bridge, and that merge point with fast traffic coming up on the right.
How I would do it (and I never have, but this is how I would): I would absolutely hog the lane, maybe not even trying to go fast, anymore than the hill would get me going. Bottling traffic up behind me is the point. I need one degree of traffic under control.
The problem is the merge point, where cars are probably going 40 or better (posted 30, uh huh, right). They both need to get under my control, and merge, in that narrow bit before it goes down to one lane.
Where it goes to one lane, I might hold that lane alllll the way down, giving zero fucks. Why? Because of the longitudinal drain grate a couple hundred yards down, clearly visible on StreetView.
That looks like Type 2 fun. Maybe after the Labor Day ride, I’ll go out there and do that, just to fuck with traffic. If I can ride up Business 22 from Rodi Road to Penn Center, taking the lane, I can do it here, too.
I live in Rankin, so I use that bridge a lot. The abrupt ending caused me problems today. Lady passed me, then went straight to the brakes, and cut me off right at the apex of the turn. If I hadn’t been ready for standard issue senior citizen driving stunts, I would have ridden right into her B-pillar.
I will be calling or visiting Mike Doyle’s office on Tuesday and asking what borough(s) will be responsible for keeping the lane clean, since all it does now is give an illusion of safety and make cyclists look like jags when we have to re-assert our rights once on River Road.
Wow, PennDOT is worse than I feared. I’ve tried to contact them in the past, with only feeble responses. Most recently I wrote to Roy Gothie, the PennDOT Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, identifying myself as secretary of the Steel Valley Trail Council, saying I wanted to improve connections for cyclists across the Rankin Bridge, to better connect the GAP to Rankin and Braddock. Roy referred me to Allegheny County but did not mention that Rankin Bridge would be getting new bike lanes in a week or two. Oy. I wonder if he knew.
You’d hope that PennDOT would be reaching out to the trail group whose mission is bike/ped infrastructure along and across the river (that is, Steel Valley Trail Council) before planning bike lanes like this.
This, apparently, is what happened with PennDOT adding the bike lane from Millvale up to the 40th Street Bridge, and the bike lane back down. No interaction with the local bike community. Through the fall of 2014, I was meeting regularly with the Millvale Bike-Ped committee, but that group was never told anything was coming.
I have been on the Rankin Bridge quite often and saw that bike lane. I think we need to relax a little on this. It is new. At least find out if there is more to the plan than just a bike lane to no where. Maybe there is more to this story. Don’t know yet.
This was actually part of the proposed bike connections some user posted on this page (https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?mid=ziK2QENwxXkY.kIOXx_KzVokE).
I agree, in part, with @gg on this one, maybe there is more to come.
However, I do understand the gripe about not being told this project was happening.
I ride the Rankin Bridge pretty frequently with my partner when we go to the Waterfront. It’s really not that bad once you hit PA-837, even with the merge point if you’re headed toward Waterfront Dr. The keys to success that we’ve found are:
1) avoid the potholes
2) maintain a decent speed after turning off of the bridge
3) as you approach the merge, look early to assess traffic and pick a window of opportunity
4) once you have your window, look again to confirm
5) move quickly across the roadway to the appropriate riding position in the right lane at the merge point. Keep in mind that you technically have the right of way over traffic that is coming from east of the bridge, but know that most people are assholes.
After merging, you can pretty much just take the lane if you’re going into the shopping center, but if you plan to go elsewhere in Munhall/Homestead, traffic can be pretty nerve-racking through that stretch.
When leaving the Waterfront via the Rankin bridge, I’ve never really had a problem. Even during the busy days, as long as we rode confidently and unobtrusively, we never got harassed. In fact, the only harassment I ever got was when I left Lowe’s and chose not to use the GAP bike lane since it didn’t go where I wanted to.
Will the markings mean that the area of the bridge will actually be swept regularly? I ride that way fairly frequently and have to take a lane because of the debris. There’s more than enough room if they just sweep it.
Now just put a flyover back and down to the GAP… (a man can dream.)
Alt is to finish the Rankin Hot Metal bridge…
“…Down to the GAP”
Before the GAP came through, you could go down the Whitaker Metal ghost road to the train tack and auxilliary road.
The Kennywood Blvd end of that ghost road is right where, if you were town-bound from Kennywood, the through traffic is in the right and bridge traffic to the left. That is, just east of the bridge.
I haven’t figured out if you can follow that to the GAP. Anyone know?
(I also haven’t figured out how to post a Google street view pic to the board.)
It would be a sweet way to get to Kennywood, because there is a wide shoulder on that side of the road up the hill.
If you can get through to the GAP, you would end up on the southern side of the first rail flyover bridge.
Yes, the connector trail from 837 at Whitaker Metals down to the GAP near the Whitaker flyover (bridge over the RR tracks) is passable and in decent shape.
I put it on my map of connections at http://goo.gl/lT0LWO . Click on “Rankin Bridge Connector – existing” in the key and more info about it will pop up.
So that comes out right by the bench on the uphill side just east of the RR overpass? I have never noticed anything there even coming west on the GAP. Well hidden (or I’m going by to quickly…)
I went around and took the sidewalk on the Rankin bridge and took that trail down to the GAP as an alternative to going down to the waterfront entrance. (This was actually just last week.)
Kudos to whoever is cutting back the jungle there.
I found it pretty difficult to get to the entrance though – too many walking sections to get to and from the normal travel lanes.
It would be very useful if coming from the Kennywood direction and continuing towards the waterfront. (Which is probably an extreme minority of bicycle traffic at that intersection.)
I also take this route on regularly, almost daily. Firstly, in Tweeting with BikePGH when it first went in, I believe this is a project of Allegheny County, not PennDOT.
I’ve never really had any problems on River Rd/837. Coming off the bridge, just be cautious of right turning traffic. That’s the same of any bike lane design/location and it was the same when it was just a shoulder.
Going towards Waterfront, I just ride to the left of the grates, which I don’t think would eat a wheel, but is just an annoying dip. The light at the Waterfront overpass usually slows traffic.
Going towards the bridge, again, the same light at the overpass usually moderates traffic and you can get over to the turn lane, take it, and then turn into the Rankin Bridge shoulder/now bike lane. Keep in mind, it’s not really marked, but the right turning traffic in the opposite direction (onto bridge) has to yield to cars turning left from your direction. So you essentially always have a protected green when turning left onto the bridge.
For whatever it’s worth, I think they do seem to run a street sweeper on that bridge more than I’ve seen them run anywhere else.
I’m still wondering if/why a bike lane wasn’t considered in the design phase, considering that this bridge’s deck was completely replaced I think less than five years ago. There potentially could have been a physically separated and wider bike/pedestrian portion to the bridge.
I’m still wondering if/why a bike lane wasn’t considered in the design phase, considering that this bridge’s deck was completely replaced I think less than five years ago
I think the county is just getting started in to the bike-infrastructure game and probably didn’t know enough about the need and didn’t know how to do it. I wonder how much benefit the county has seen from grant for protected bikeways. Since it seem like most of their action on bike infrastructure has come since then.
I’m hoping they are learning a lot and they will be able to continue to improve bike infrastructure outside and inside the city limits. We still have lots of connections that need to be made or improved.
I think there’s more debris in the shoulder since it was painted as a bike lane.
In addition to the regular gravel, there’s chunks of asphalt ranging from tennis ball to softball size.
I feel forced to ride through it though (not that big of a deal – plenty of room to maneuver) because I’m sure I will be harassed if I try to ride in the lane now. I’d rather risk the flat tire than fight traffic that’s going 50 mph.
Who’s responsible for sweeping the bike lanes on this bridge? I took them the other day and they were filled with debris on the Rankin side. Is Rankin responsible for sweeping the lanes? They were much better after I crossed over to Whitaker.
Ah, PA extremely local government.
A more general question: Is there a single map where the average person can go to see what entity is responsible for a given bit of infrastructure? This information is surely known by someone, somewhere, and I very much doubt in 2016 that it only exists in some dusty file drawer.
It would sure be nice to zoom in on a map, see a thing — a bridge, for instance — and drill down in some manner to find out who maintains what.
The Rankin bridge is maintained by the county. I posted in another thread that the county street sweeper is undergoing winter maintenance, so is unavailable, as of a week or two ago. The supervisor, who said he is a cyclist, said he would send guys out to pickup any large items in the lane when I last spoke with him.
@stu — there are a couple (massive) maps on which you can see all the roads which the state owns, but county roads is slightly more difficult to get a decent map of, and I don’t know of a single source that lists both in the same place. I don’t know of any resource that lists roads/bridges/etc owned by Port Authority, or whatever other agencies might be relevant.
This is PennDOT’s Type 10 Map, which shows every state-owned road in the county, in context: http://www.dot7.state.pa.us/BPR_pdf_files/Maps/GHS/Roadnames/Allegheny_GHSN.PDF
Warning: it’s a big file (~11.5MB), and a very busy map.
This is the state’s Type 3 map, which might also be useful: It also shows all the state-roads, but _only_ the state roads, so it’s both a smaller file (~4MB) and a less busy map. http://www.dot7.state.pa.us/BPR_pdf_files/MAPS/TR%26SR_type3/Allegheny_T3.pdf
The “Allegheny County Road and Bridge Ownership Evaluation Report”, http://www.alleghenyplaces.com/docs/SupportingDocuments/Transportation/AC%20Road&Bridge%20Owner.pdf, is a 2008 consultant’s report to the County on the nature of county-owned roads—”Allegheny County [is] in a unique position of maintaining more lane miles of road than all the other counties combined in Pennsylvania”—and “a roadmap for rationalizing road ownership”. It includes a maps of county roads on p. 5 and, beginning on p. 15, a Listing of Allegheny County-owned Roadways. It’s also interesting reading in its own right…
(fun fact: “The Glenwood Bridge is primarily owned by Allegheny County. However PennDOT owns the pavement and the City of Pittsburgh owns the sidewalks. The bridge is jointly maintained by all.”)
Thbanks, @pierce. I kind of remembered your post but couldn’t locate it. Anyway, most of what I saw was probably cinders and gravel; it really needs swept. There’s not a lot of large things that need picked up.
Thanks for all that info. I had not seen this when I went to the Hack Night presentation/discussion at CMU last night and asked a similar question. The lady who answered (Gina?) seemed to know of some additional datasets.
FWIW, it looks like the lanes were kind of sweeped this morning. I think they need another run and there’s actually now a larger like speed hump of soot and stuff in the lane
Kinda sounds like what happened on 40th in Lawrenceville. They swept a couple weeks ago, but there was a mound of gravel that ran basically lengthwise the whole way up the hill. Asked 311 a few days later to redo and they acknowledged the ticket was still open, but I don’t think anyone’s been back…the gravel did eventually migrate to the curbside, though.
BTW, I rode them last Friday and they seemed in pretty good shape.
It wasn’t too bad a couple of weeks ago either. I’m usually on the bridge at sun up and straddle the white lines. I’d rather stay closer to the lane than have to worry about swerving into traffic to avoid large debris. My experience on the bridge, with the exception of a slag truck, has been pretty positive overall. The West End Circle and Carson St. is another story all together, I absolutely dread that leg of my commute.
Has anyone determined who is responsible for maintaining this bridge? Has anyone put in 311 tickets, or have record of contacting PennDOT about debris in the bike lane? Looking for a paper trail of sorts.
My partner and I were riding yesterday and there were a number of large chunks of concrete, along with tons of other garbage, in the bike lane heading towards the Homestead side of things. Unfortunately, she struck one of the pieces of concrete sitting in a shadow in the bike lane and took a super hard fall, breaking her collarbone. Meeting with the surgeon later this week, likely going to need pinned or plated to heal.
A paper trail of previous notices of there being debris in the bike lanes could be helpful. I’d like to at least make someone over at PennDOT sweat even if I’m doubtful on any legal recourse.
Rankin Bridge is owned and (allegedly) maintained by the County, not PennDOT.
Do we need to take a big-ass group of 40 cyclists going 10 mph in the driving lane to make a point here?
I guarantee you, the next time I need to cross that bridge on a bicycle, which is not often, I am taking the goddamned lane, and I am goddamned well going to go TEN along it, in the left tire track.
A bike lane is not a bike lane if it CAUSES people to get hurt.
Sorry to hear that, brad.
Dan B still has a bad ankle from a fall he sustained on ice on the fort Duquesne pedestrian bridge a few months ago. Again, another incident of lack of maintenance and negligence.
That’s awful! That bike lane was pretty clean about a month ago, after they swept it. It makes you wonder where a chunk of concrete on a bridge would come from. Fell off a truck, I’d guess.
BradQ: is the chunk of concrete still there?
I’m bothered by the absence of bike/ped accommodation at the Whitaker (west) end of the Rankin Bridge. Officially, the traffic engineers don’t want pedestrians crossing the bridge lanes at that end of the bridge (hence the hostile “no pedestrians” signs). If I’m trying to get to the Whitaker Metals sign and the Rankin Bridge Connector, to go down to the GAP trail (https://goo.gl/maps/9JtDj2pd9Vy), I like to get on the left sidewalk of 837 south of the bridge, rather than bike among the speeding cars on 837. To make a left onto that sidewalk while obeying the signs I’m forced to leave the bridge bike lane halfway across the bridge and get in the left turn lane, taking my chances in the long line of cars waiting for the traffic light. Scary!
The absence of bike planning at each end of this bridge is very disappointing.
The situation for pedestrians there is pretty grim too. An outbound bus stop lets you off on 837 at Mifflin Street, but signs prohibit crossing the street to reach the inbound bus stop. The inbound bus stop has been outfitted with a nice shelter. Too bad signs and infrastructure prohibit reaching it from either Mifflin Street or the Rankin Bridge.
(There’s a protected sidewalk leading southeast from the Rankin Bridge, but it dead-ends, providing access only to a pole holding up a sign, unless you hop the protective barrier. The pole holding up the sign has excellent protection though.)
So the outbound bus stop is apparently to serve the one building on the east side of Mifflin Street (since signs prohibit crossing Mifflin Street) while the inbound bus stop is apparently only for the connector down to the GAP. If you obey the signs, at least.
FWIW, I think Allegheny County does sweep it pretty regularly. The problem is, it’s a busy road and shit falls off cars/trucks all the time. Maybe it would have been better if when the deck was redone five? years ago, they just included a separated bike lane, but then we’d be stuck with ice and snow on it and it wouldn’t get cleared then. So as usual around here, seems like a pick your poison kind of thing
Maybe it could be done more, but I’d combine that with being fairly vigilant about road debris on the bridge and around 837 between the bridge and the waterfront overpass. I went over it on Sunday evening and didn’t notice any especially egregious debris
I went back and picked up the pieces of concrete yesterday.
This is a redirect of Rankin Bridge discussion that flared up in the Out-of-town-news-thread at http://www.bikepgh.org/message-board/topic/the-out-of-town-news-thread-vol-ii/page/12/#post-340477.
@edronline said “Also, the 3 stacked signs are confusing, ending with a yield. …”
If you think 3 stacked signs are confusing, you should see the full set of seven!
@benzo said “I can’t image people wanting to walk down the hill from whitaker at mifflin st to catch a 61 bus here”. I’ve seen people walking in the median here on multiple occasions – using it as a sidewalk, with two lanes of cars doing 50mph on each side. These three people (man at right is carrying an infant!) are probably trying to get from Mifflin St to the Rankin Bridge.
Hi all, on this side of the Rankin Bridge, I find the biker/ped crosswalk to be pretty dangerous. My perspective is from the gas station, crossing the road to get to the bike lane heading toward Rankin. There are absolutely no signs that tell the incoming traffic (from kennywood) that there is a walk sign here. That intersection is a virtual right turn green light.
The light has green and red arrows. All traffic must turn right. I have almost been hit here in the past and traffic simply doesn’t know to stop. There is usually no reason to stop here because all traffic is going right.
We could really use a sign up next to the light that says yield to peds on the red arrow. Does anyone agree?
there is a walk button which I use and wait for the walk signal. But the traffic is oblivious.
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