Survey: How do you ride up the hill in Lawrenceville?

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WillB
Participant
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The Lawrenceville Bike and Pedestrian Committee is trying to get a sense of the most common routes up the hill in Lawrencville (basically, how do you get from Butler or below up to Penn or above). If you ride through Lawrenceville a lot and climb the hill, please take a few minutes to fill out our short survey. It’s only five questions and shouldn’t take you more than five minutes. The information gathered will help us decide what streets to focus on as we advocate for better bike infrastructure in Lawrenceville. Thanks!

https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LBPC_Hill_Survey


Marko82
Participant
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Done.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Done.


Ahlir
Participant
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ok, so did it. Here’s the gist of my response:

— 39th is best, if you’re coming from town.
— 44th is best if from the neighborhood.
— 40th and Main suck for uphill: car/bike speed differential.
— ditch that lane stuff. The streets are too narrow.
— repave the streets. That’s what really matters.
— Also, sharrows.

Not accommodated, since it didn’t fit the questionnaire (which, par for the course, was not all that well designed):

— From Smallman you can zig up 36th, or zag Charlotte/37th Butler/39th. The latter is easier to deal with since it addresses the getting-onto-Butler annoyance. (Though I wouldn’t be averse to lights at 36th/Butler, with stop lines staggered to facilitate the zig.)


Vannevar
Participant
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Done – but the survey didn’t have my answer.
Q How do you ride up the hill?
A Slowly, man, awful slowly


WillB
Participant
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Ha! We forgot to put bike escalator as an infrastructure option :)


Ahlir
Participant
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A bike escalator is a good idea, and it works:
http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2007/10/29/trampe-norwegian-bic.html


Mick
Participant
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I generally go so slowly that time actually reverses. I stop when I get back to a point in time where I once was at the top.


WillB
Participant
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That is hilarious.
Brings new meaning to “reverse commute.”


TimSchooley
Participant
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As somebody who lives on 46th and rides up that hill all the time, I think Alhir is right on in calling for repaving the streets as what matters most. These streets are all narrow enough and comparatively short enough that it’s really no big deal to share the road with cars. There’s never that many cars on these roads at once, excluding 40th Street. I’m glad this assessment is being done but I see the corridor across Lawrenceville — along Butler, Small, etc. — as more worthy of planning effort that going up the hill. No traffic intervention is going to mean as much between Butler and Penn as the struggle to get up it, unless there really is a bike escalator installed somewhere.


Ahlir
Participant
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Random post-dinner comments:

I agree with @TimSchooley that an east-west passage (ie, Smallman/ Butler) is a key goal. Smallman could use either-side lanes. The road is wide enough as it is, but narrowing the carriageway will really contribute to calming; making bikers less tense about the zooming cars will be a major win. If it starts roundabout the 31st bridge and goes to 36th it will provide an inviting option for east-bound bikers (As opposed to cutting up to Liberty. Why must our choices always be limited?)

Lanes past L’ville, to the zoo’s Wild thingie (and climbing on to the top) would also be a significant improvement. But I would settle for sharrows and speed-limit enforcement. (There’s also that road up to Morningside, shouldn’t it at least have sharrows? I forget if it does; last time it didn’t.)

39th seems like the best street to experiment with an elevator; it’s wide and not so trafficy. It it works we can start lobbying for (say) Sycamore. Or Bates.
An interesting feature of the Trondheim system is that you need a transit card to get a ride. Just like our Connect(?) cards! I would gladly pay the equivalent of an Incline fare to get up Sycamore. Chances are it will shut up the complainers. Actually the heck with Sycamore, how about an elevator along one of the abandoned incline tracks, maybe one that was cargo? Think of the PR value…


WillB
Participant
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The Lawrenceville Bike Ped Committee is also looking at how to improve routes going east-west (ish) across Lawrenceville. But in those cases the streets that get used are fairly obvious because there aren’t very many of them. The reason we’re doing the hill survey is because with so many possible routes we want to find out where the most people actually ride, instead of just guessing or using our own experience. So far we’ve gotten a great response and it’s fun to read all the different ways people approach the hill. Thanks everyone who took the survey, and if you haven’t yet we’d love to get your input.


chrishent
Member
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For going places on the East end of town, I usually ride up Penn Ave, as I approach the hill from the West. I don’t live or work in Lawrenceville, so normally there’s no reason for me to ride up any of the North-South streets.

Is Stanton Ave along the Allegheny Cemetery considered part of Lawrenceville? If so, I ride up it, too, but that’s usually for added exercise. This one definitely needs some repaving work, particularly on the lower half of it.


Benzo
Participant
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One thing I don’t see a lot of people talking about is liberty. It’s great if you’re coming from downtown. However, getting to the bottom of liberty ave bike lanes sucks.

If the bike lanes for climbing extended down on to the flat part of liberty at a traffic signal controlled crossing to make the left turn on to the bike lane easy (currently the closest one on the flats is at 31st st), this would be one of the most ideal ways to climb up the hill IMO as the grade is relatively consistent and there is already bike lanes all the way up and it takes you somewhere you actually want to go (liberty ave in bloomfield)


Mick
Participant
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If we are going to put in escalators anywhere, I would think the best place would be the steepest part of Sycamore St. or some South Side Slope street.


Ahlir
Participant
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I agree with @Benzo. Liberty is a perfectly fine way to get uphill (from the west). It’s maybe a bit steep at Herron but it’s a smooth ride up. It would be a better alternative if the (uphill) 31st St -> Herron stretch was properly outfitted with a lane.
While I hate to say this, the sidewalk would work great as a bike/ped way; I can’t say I’ve ever seen a pedestrian on it (as opposed to on the other side).
Downhill is not an issue, simply turn down 33rd and use Penn.

Oh, and sharrows.


emma
Member
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I am a 39th-all-the-way kinda gal, but that’s mainly because my commute puts me right at it, so it’s the obvious choice. But I really agree with Ahlir — it would be so great to have a lane between 31st and Herron!


Benzo
Participant
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I consider top of the hill to be penn and main or liberty and main.

Where do you go from 39th and penn? Do you continue and zig zag to liberty or share the road with traffic on penn? or some other zig zag through the woolslayer area between penn and liberty?


Ahlir
Participant
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Where do you go from 39th and penn?

Penn traffic is ok. The street is narrower and the speeds lower (compared to Liberty). Also the 40th St light. Around rush hour the cars are mostly just jammed up, so you’ll be riding past them.

You’d be tempted to strike out to Woolslayer and beyond, but the streets are narrow (some one-way). I feel that you shouldn’t speed through there. it’s just too closed in and residential. But check it out.

I usually go up to Main. After that, depending on direction, on to Forward or across to Liberty. Someday the Penn reconstruction will be done…


emma
Member
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I zigzag — straight across Penn on 39th, L on Howley, zig-zag to Main, and then back onto Howley by the Bloomfield Bridge. That lets me hop onto Friendship.


paulheckbert
Keymaster
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I interpreted the question a little more broadly, since I’m usually not going from Butler to Penn, but rather I’m going from the Strip or Millvale to Squirrel Hill. My route preferences, briefly:
1. Smallman-31st-Liberty-Sassafras-Neville-Lorigan-…-Millvale Ave.
2. thru Allegheny Cemetery to Friendship Ave.
3. Stanton.
4. Liberty all the way.
5. Main or 44th St.

The main problem with Allegheny Cemetery as a bike route is that it closes around sunset.

Lawrenceville badly needs a protected bike lane on or parallel to Butler St. There are lots of cyclists in Lawrenceville! We need a first class bike route from downtown to Highland Park.


Benzo
Participant
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“Lawrenceville badly needs a protected bike lane on or parallel to Butler St. There are lots of cyclists in Lawrenceville! We need a first class bike route from downtown to Highland Park.”

This is a big part of the master plan for the Allegheny green boulevard, to have a multi-modal corridor from the strip to highland park along the AVR railroad tracks. Though, I have no idea how this will actually be implemented…


TimSchooley
Participant
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Perhaps I should’ve emphasized it more (I said it in my survey response as well) but I am really thankful for the Lawrenceville Bike Ped Committee for asking about the bike prospects between Butler and Penn, even if I am using the opportunity mostly to just say, “I’m good, but look at Butler.” That’s a useful point to make in and of itself, I think. As I said in my survey response, a perhaps unsung bike amenity in looking at this area are alleys such as Service Way, between 45th and 44th Streets. It can take a cyclist up just about the entire hill will little to no car traffic. I use it all the time. But I love the idea of establishing an escalator on 39th Street, even if it’s not the steepest part of that hill. An escalator there would also be good because you could put it on the side of the street that is all publicly owned, with the school, the park and the County Health Department, without residents complaining as much about prospect of losing parking, if that would be the case. Also, it could almost be an amenity for the park itself. Makes me wonder if somebody should’ve brought it up during the master planning process for Arsenal Park not long ago….

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