What's up with the south end of Hot Metal?
i’ve always been told that it’s an official entrance. they are going to be redoing a bunch of that soon, because trucks keep smashing into the bridge that carries the EFT. they say they will be making the access there much better and more welcoming too
PA law permits cycling on a sidewalk, even in a business district, when “permitted by official traffic-control devices”. I’m guessing the trail signage counts, and makes cycling onto the Jail Trail or HMB legal (not merely tolerated by understanding police officers), wherever there are signs directing cyclists a certain way.
While on my way to REI to look at some camping gear I noticed the barriers on the sidewalk everyone is talking about. Someone moved them off the sidewalk and into AE’s flowerbed.
On the way back from REI I noticed that someone presumably from AE moved them back to block the sidewalk. I stopped to read the sign about a $25 fine for riding bikes on the sidewalk, turned around to take in the view, and next thing I knew someone had moved them to directly in front of AE’s entranceway, where they belong.
Speaking of these mysterious “someones”, some motivated individual should start a Pittsburgh security camera map, like someone has made for NYC.
It would be a terrible shame if someone, following an official trail sign and riding on the sidewalk in good faith, should fall over and suffer a head injury and become disabled while attempting to avoid a willfully-placed, replaced, replaced, replaced *unlawful* barricade. It would be even more expensive than a hot cup of coffee, I think.
@steven – I’m not sure if brown signs are official traffic-control devices. I think that they’re information, just like the sign that says “ZOO 2mis” is not traffic control. But that’s a subtle point, and I’m not a lawyer, and I’d probably use signs as a defense if I were cited for riding on the sidewalk en route to the trail. My point is that we shouldn’t have to live in a world where things we do many times a day are technically illegal but we “probably will get away with it unless some police officer wants to be a jerk, or he thinks we might be carrying weed and wants a pretext to search us, or…”
“Someone” with a pickup truck should simply remove the “debris” from the sidewalk.
Every once in a while, I miss my truck.
sheesh ya’ll… this may get ugly with the signs and the barriers and whatnot. best to let the cozzers handle this one…
Maybe we should chain ourselves to the barriers in protest.
“To the barricades!”
There is nothing wrong or ugly with a private citizen clearing a blocked sidewalk.
I’d even argue it’s everyone’s civic duty.
Why are there not pictures of said obstructions yet? I expect total information awareness from this board, at least when it comes to unlawful blockades and the like.
Just move the barriers into the street to block access to S Water.
Nice work on the 311s everyone.
Bike trail is located in Tunnel Park? What happens when someone takes a right off the bridge onto Water St and creams me crossing on the wrong side of the road (contraflow) from Tunnel Park to Hot Metal Bridge?
Seriously, never shopping at AE again.
See. here is my take on this. AE might technically be right. However, there is no clear marking indicating where the trail coming over HMB ends and the Business district sidewalk begins.
The point of contention for me is the AE is not the city, they are not the cops, they have no right to arbitrarily decide to block the us of a public right of way.
Pittsburgh code also requires a minimum 4ft clearance on sidewalks, and looking at the pictures, that is not 4ft of clearance.
Obviously the whole intersection and trail egress needs to be redesigned there, but if AE thinks bikes shouldnt be allowed on that section of sidewalk, then they need to call the city to rty to have it enforced, not enforce it themselves.
Also, as a note, this likely isnt AE proper doing this, rather the building management.
This might sound extreme, disobidient & definately sort-of illegal; but how about dropping some red paint on the bars & sidewalk?
Just a thought, of course 0_o
I personally always take the road and then get on the sidewalk at the corner of the HMB, but do think that it is rude for the AE folks to just block the sidewalk that way.
That AE sign looks like it is just aching to have these barriers chained up to it by some do-gooder who would like to make sure that no one is blocked from using the sidewalk.
That mulch bed looks rideable, maybe that’s what they’re suggesting…
@Brad: Yeah, I was wishing I had a pair of spare U-locks for that very reason this morning.
So how long before we can expect the city to do something about this? Several of us reported yesterday and were told the situation was in hand.
I’m annoyed by this, but really I can understand what AE is thinking… I’ve gone by at times when there were small clutches of their employees outside and they are probably worried (rightly or wrongly) about their employee’s safety. Or the building management is…either way, I can see (and am even sympathetic to) their point. (*)
Let’s face it, who ever put that sign up isn’t going to remember (or probably even know about) the 99 cyclists who proceed with caution and are polite. What they *are* going to remember/hear about is the 1 cyclist who was a jerk.(**)
That being said, they are going about it wrong. Rather than taking unilateral action, they should be working with the city to get clearer signage up about what to do at the 29th St/Water St intersection.
(*) Although, if they are really worried about their employee’s safety, they should be blocking of 29th St and Water St to motorized traffic too. And maybe telling their employees to come to work wrapped in bubble wrap.
(**) And lest I seem all sanctimonious, I’ve been that jerk on a couple of occasions. Fatigue, being in a hurry, or just not thinking has caused me to do some things that I realized were stupid upon later reflection. (In fact, about two weeks ago, I have to admit I got a facepalm from a cop. No ticket or lecture, just the facepalm.) I’m not proud, but I do try to learn from those mistakes.
I am tempted to add a note to said barriers, directing them to observe Pittsburgh Code, Title 4, Article 1, Chapter 416. Specifically, sections 416.01 and 416.11.
Unless I’m grossly misreading this, the perpetrator is liable for $200-1000 per day.
416.01 MINOR STREET OBSTRUCTIONS; PERMIT REQUIRED.
(a) Except for emergencies, no person shall erect barricades or scaffolds, cover or uncover walkways, erect or relocate utility poles on sidewalks or roadways or temporary bridges, or display merchandise, or set out furniture, on a sidewalk, or make any curb cuts or lay or repair a sidewalk without first obtaining a permit from the Department of Public Works.
§ 416.11 PERMIT REVOCATION AND PENALTIES.
(a) Any person who violates any of the provisions of this article or regulations promulgated hereunder shall be subject to a fine of not less than two hundred dollars ($200.00) and not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000.00) for each offense, and each day such a violation continues shall be deemed a separate and distinct offense. The Department of Public Works, the Bureau of Building Inspection, and the Bureau of Police provide enforcement if the permit holder violates the terms of the permit.
I sent this to the City’s ADA Compliance person this morning. This affects more than just cyclists.
Has anyone contacted someone at AE about this yet? Knocked on doors, given a call, written letters, etc?
It may be the move of a disgruntled employee or group more so than how the CEO feels…
That said, I really wish I could find the spare bit of chain and lock I have around here. Would be a real shame if those fences walked off, I think a civic minded person should secure them.
A friend of mine works at AE. I sent him an email the other night with my perspective as a cyclist about why riding on that sidewalk is so common (dangerous, poorly designed intersection, trail access that used to be where their building sits, etc). I asked him to poke around a little and forward my email as appropriate.
I think showing a little restraint would help our cause. As far as I can tell, those barriers have been illegally placed, so moving them off the sidewalk seems like a reasonable thing to do. Vandalism, etc. – not so much.
Regardless of the legality of what AE or whomever put the barriers up is doing, if that area really is a “business district” (I knew about the law but I’d never seen the official definition before Lyle posted it), then as much as it sucks, we shouldn’t be riding on the sidewalk there. So, I think we’re back to “develop a viable alternative”.
Although it is a business district, there are no clear markings saying where the trail ends and where the sidewalk begins, so my point of view is that is still the trail, until the city puts up signage saying otherwise.
Thanks for everyone who sent in 311 requests. Your comments and concerns are greatly appreciated. I met with the City’s traffic engineer and URA staff today to develop a system that improves the safety of everyone at the terminus of the Hot Metal Street Bridge. The City’s traffic engineer is mocking up signs and locations to clarify where we can ride; this is a priority, and we will get signs up asap.
The system will be a short term fix as there are a few project still in the works that will affect bicycle traffic. Think of it as a trail detour. In conjunction with these additional bicycle related projects, the Hot Metal St/ Water St intersection design is being re-evaluated by the City in order to significantly improve the safety of everyone who uses this intersection.
In the meantime:
Please access Water Street from the Hot Metal Bridge with caution. Do not ride blindly into the street. Stop and make sure ingress to the street is safe.
Please do not use the sidewalk area in front of the AE building. Only access the approach to the Hot Metal Bridge near the Hot Metal St/Water Street intersection.
Please do not move the barricades. I’m all for non-violent protests, but I would hate for the barricades to be put in an area where someone is injured. Please let the City handle the situation. It is anticipated that the barricades have been moved or will be moved asap.
Steve …Patchan? I didn’t realize you were a member of these fine forums! Thank you for looking into this!
If Water St. would be closed off, how would that happen? I imagine 5 or 6 bollards at either end.
I went by the area of discussion tonight around 8. Barriers still in place.
I’m confused though. What looks like the main entrance is right near the corner where the trail from the bridge merges. This entrance is un-barriered. The sidewalk is blocked further down by a side entrance that looks to have good sight lines for both the sidewalk and those exiting the building.
I’d love to see the twinkle in the eye of Edgar Snyder if someone is hurt tripping over these things while walling on the sidewalk. Gotta be some deep pockets at AE and Soffer.
Cheapest thing for the city to do is eliminate motor vehicle access to south water street from hot metal street. AEO would still need access to their private drive, but that can be afforded from 28th street.
Bollards perhaps, or some leftover G20 concrete barrier should do.
I just like using the word Bollard. It’s a fun word to say. Bollard.
The barriers were moved today into the AE property. I have no idea if this was vigilantism or pressure on AE or what, but the sidewalk was cleared today. However, any AE maintenance person could move them back if they so desire.
I cycled past there today on may way to my new job. The barriers are still off to the side, and the signs are still attached and visible… which seems reasonable to me. Until Stephan’s new solution is in place, there should be some signage for the cyclists who don’t frequent the boards.
They were blocking the sidewalk on Saturday evening when I went to a friend’s going away party down there. Someone must have moved them again.
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