What's up with the south end of Hot Metal?

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rsprake
Participant
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It’s really odd. They are protecting what I assume is a driveway for delivery trucks. They don’t give a damn about their employees walking out of the front door.


Impala26
Participant
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As of 4:40PM Tuesday 5/4 they were up. I happened to be riding in the road, but I was so irate by seeing them once again, I moved them. I didn’t move them off the sidewalk, I just turned them like 45 degrees so pedestrians, bikes, wheelchairs, et al. could get through.

This is getting absurd now…


reddan
Keymaster
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It’s really odd. They are protecting what I assume is a driveway for delivery trucks. They don’t give a damn about their employees walking out of the front door.

I think it’s because, by blocking the driveway, they’re only inconveniencing some cyclists. Blocking the sidewalk by the front door would piss off a lot more people, so is more politically fraught with peril.

I suspect they would prevent cyclists from being anywhere outside the area from bridge to curb cut on Hot Metal/Water, if they could.


Impala26
Participant
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@reddan: No offense, but I’m not going to push a new curb cut along that stretch until I see two key ones along the shared sidewalk along Bates St. between 2nd Ave and Blvd. of the Allies. I’ve 311’d for those I think three times now, and why they haven’t been done is beyond me.

Anyone besides 311 I can contact for Bates St. improvements? I fear that not much has been done because of the god-forsaken MFSOB, which would directly alter that area.


J Z
Participant
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5/5 4:00PM, barricades were up.


brian j
Participant
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Okay, I’m late to the party here because I’ve been out of town for a month. I used to ride this stretch all the time, and I agree with Scott et al that the trail connections at the south end of the bridge are pretty terrible. The sidewalk, narrow as it is, with the trees, is a safe passage because you don’t have to turn left from the road to get to the bridge.

Regarding using Fifth from the Birmingham Bridge to Oakland, this has been route of choice since the snow storm. I find that dealing with 200 meters of parked cars on the sidewalk is significantly better than dealing with traffic on Forbes. I wish the city would enforce the parking laws and really turn that into a shared use sidewalk, though. I suspect the sidewalk is problematic because the car dealership and day care would be responsible for the stretches on their properties, and I’m guessing they don’t want to drop the cash.


JZ
Participant
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We (cyclists) want fast, easy access between the streets and the Hot Metal Bridge. On the other hand, that section of sidewalk can be pedestrian-heavy at times. I suspect that the problem that AE is dealing with is that people who work in the building are complaining about being buzzed by cyclists.

While I like to believe that most cyclists are responsible, there are some jerks, just like there are jerks driving cars. It’s not the first 99 cars that pass us safely that we notice; it’s the 100th that buzzes or buttonhooks us that we notice. Similarly, for the people who work in that building, the cyclists who safely traverse the sidewalk are largely unnoticed for just that reason- they don’t create problems. Instead, it’s the one jerk who comes barreling through that creates a stir.

I’m guessing that the AE maint staff are trying to deal with complaints from folks in the building about this, and all other things being equal, they bias in favor of the people paying their salaries.

I think that pedestrian bridge is wonderful, and I wouldn’t trade it away for the world. The way the south end feeds into the sidewalk is very suboptimal, and I wonder if the people who designed it really understand the bicycle usage pattern. That said, this is what’s built now, and I doubt that anyone is in a rush to drop wads of cache into changing it.

So, I pose this question: What can be done with the current set-up that would meet the needs of the cycling community, pedestrians, and the building occupants? From the cyclist point-of-view, getting rid of the barricades entirely is fine, but for the building occupants, that’s a non-starter; they tried to live with that, and it didn’t seem to work for them.


tugrul
Participant
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Close one lane of Water St? The one immediately in front of AE.

Tunnel Blvd can pick up the slack of anyone needing to go to the South Side Works, but the light at Water St can still serve those making left turns on to Hot Metal St.

And flattening the curb all the way around so we can cross Hot Metal St without the awkward turn on that funky studded surface that is slippery when wet.


wojty
Participant
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It was a lot better before the trees were planted there as well too, when everything was first done. Making a high traffic sidewalk even narrower? Great Idea™!

I have been going back and forth with the District 3 Office on this, and they have sent a couple of inspectors by, but each time the barricades have not been there, hence unable to fine. I hate to think responsible citizens should stop moving them just in the name of causing trouble for AE…


netviln
Participant
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Perhaps pictures for the district office?


myddrin
Participant
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I drove in this morning, but I noticed that there was “Trail Detour” sign leaning up against the one of the lampposts at the corner of Hot Metal and Water… looked like it was waiting to be put up. So, I wonder if that is the temporary solution that was mentioned.


ieverhart
Participant
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I biked by this morning (10 a.m.) and the barricades were again in place. I didn’t notice any detour signs.


Marko82
Participant
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I just sent to 311 (thanks for looking up the codes Dan)

I previosly reported a blocked sidewalk at the end of the hot-metal bridge in South Side (Ticket ID number: 5950). For a while the barriers were removed from the sidewalk, but on a ride through the area yesterday afternoon (Mar. 5th) I noticed the sidwalk was once again blocked. I believe the building owner is breaking Pittsburgh Code, Title 4, Article 1, Chapter 416. Specifically, sections 416.01 and 416.11

Re:

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 would appreciate an official looking into the above code enforcement.


Lyle
Participant
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I measured it yesterday. That building is just a hare under 300′, and there’s a vacant lot next to it. I don’t think that qualifies as a “business district”, technically.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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@marko82, you meant May 5?


mark
Participant
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maybe i’m blind but i never see these… they were there today and yesterday?!


ieverhart
Participant
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Good thinking, Lyle!


netviln
Participant
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Lyle, I think the 300ft is collective across both frontages, hot metal and water. So I think it would still qualify.. if I am reading it right anyway.

Also, as for reaching the downtown end of the eliza furnace trail not being legal, the eliza furnace trail is designated a multi use path, not technically a sidewalk.


sloaps
Participant
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@netviln I think Lyle is referring to the Grant Street sidewalk between First Avenue and the Trail. It would only take a sign, really.


ieverhart
Participant
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Some of the loathsome “no bikes” signs weren’t there this afternoon. Maybe American Eagle has changed its mind. Maybe they’re fixin’ to get some bigger, more annoying signs. Or maybe someone went “rogue DPW” on them.

Anyone have any insights?


Steven
Participant
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Perhaps it’s part of the changes related to the CSX project that’s supposed to start there in a few months.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10205/1075105-147.stm


sloaps
Participant
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I still see people ignoring the signs and softly pedaling by indignant A-Eers.

I think everyone would be better served if that end of water street is cut off to vehicle traffic.


Kordite
Participant
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Were those signs tied to the trees? If they were, I suspect that was the reason they were pulled.

Any idea if the ultimate plans call for the trail to go along the river, behind American Eagle and the Haufbrau House? I seem to recall that being the case but haven’t seen any recent details.


Lyle
Participant
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I think everyone would be better served if that end of water street is cut off to vehicle traffic.

Or at least the north lane of Water Street. It is very difficult to come off the bridge, look behind you for right turning traffic, and avoid running into pedestrians on the sidewalk as you try to enter Water St. The right-turning traffic does not have to yield to bicycles on the sidewalk (as they would if there was a proper travel lane instead of a sidewalk). I’m so tired of people who design facilities while ignoring the operational realities (and ignore or badmouth any experts who critique the design), and then when it’s all done, trumpet how wonderful the result is.


erok
Keymaster
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@ kordite

This is the last that i saw. sorry, this is the largest pic that i can find.


rsprake
Participant
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Work has come along on the trail along the river, if you go to hofbrauhaus’s outside area you get a nice view of it. They even have an entrance down there for when the trail opens.


Kordite
Participant
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So, there will be a trail. Huzzah! Is that another ramp feeding off of the end of the Hot Metal Bridge there in the upper right of the illustration? Looks like it will be better than the hairpin turn midway to the sidewalk corner.

Any guess how long it will take to get this done?


Steven
Participant
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The Friends of the Riverfront detour page says “by 2011”. I don’t know if mean prior to 2011, or some time in 2011, but I’d think it’ll happen before the CSX project. So probably some time between now and spring 2011.


ErinK
Participant
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Sorry, I haven’t read the whole thread, but I heard from a SSW tenant that AE was helping out with a trail re-route behind their building.

I’ve seen the signs, but not barricades. I only ride there on weekends, when there’s hardly any pedestrian traffic. Given the cluelessness of some riders I’ve seen on the trail there I can imagine they could be hazardous to AE workers at rush hours … so I don’t really blame them, but it is kind of offensive. I think it would be nice if they took the signs down on weekends (if that’s possible).

It’s still way less hazardous than Station Square. (Or the de facto Hofbrau Haus “park in the middle of the street and disgorge your women” zone a half block down from AE.)


Ahlir
Participant
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Apart from not really understanding what AE’s problem actually might be…

1) AE provides some nice benches in front of their doors at the corner. It’s a great place to stop and rest. People do it all the time. I’ve done it. If they really hated bikers they would have ripped these out (and let their smokers fend for themselves). And they would definitely have kept the Muzak, maybe even increased the volume.

2) Recreational bikers tend to shoal up at the intersection and, for some reason, they tend to block the curb cut that people coming off the bridge use to get onto Water Street. What’s up with that? Would a nice stencil on the ground fix this problem?

3) In (some) European cities (Amsterdam, Munich come to mind just now), non-car parts of the street have brick or cobblestone for the pedestrian bit and smooth surface for the bikes, making the right things happen without the need for epic confrontation (as far as I know; I just visit). Maybe AE should just redo its sidewalk?

@erink: I don’t know which part of Station Square you’re referring to, but the part behind the station building and its extensions is really not suited for bike traffic, even though it’s a “trail”: too make pedestrians and too many children. Use the street up from that (“W Station Drive”, according to the map); it’s in any case a better bike route. I’ve seen too many bikers zoom through this section (while I was still using it) seemingly with no awareness of their effect on the other people using the space. This is not bike “advocacy”, it’s just garden variety douche-ness.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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3) In (some) European cities (Amsterdam, Munich come to mind just now), non-car parts of the street have brick or cobblestone for the pedestrian bit and smooth surface for the bikes, making the right things happen without the need for epic confrontation (as far as I know; I just visit). Maybe AE should just redo its sidewalk?

in said european countries, there’s a place for bikes to be.


edmonds59
Participant
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If it really says “No Bikes”, I say we swarm it with unicycles. It will take me a few weeks to get my skills back up to a swarmable level. The sidewalk could be under ice and snow by then..

If AE has such a freaking issue with this situation, somebody please tell them to cough up the <$5,000 to install a new curb cut just a little further down on Water Street. Then they can install a nice cobbly pavement in front of their building where they don’t want the bikes, I like that idea. But then the ladies in the Manolo spikes might be crashing and burning. Oh, well.


Steven
Participant
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For the folks who haven’t read the this whole thread, a few points.

A. This area is (probably) considered a business district. So riding on the sidewalk in front of AE is illegal. AE can’t make it legal by taking down signs.

B. The trail, for users continuing west, is going to be permanently rerouted away from this intersection in the coming months.

C. The city is working on improving this intersection for those trail users who will still need to cross it.

For now, to cope with this current temporary trail situation, there are various legal alternatives:

1. Cross Water Street and use the official trail along the south side of Water Street.

2. Enter Water Street and ride in the street for a few blocks.

3. If you really, really want to stay on the sidewalk in front of AE, not on the pathway on the opposite side of the road, you could always walk your bike.

(Yes, the curb cuts farther along on the official trail on the south side of Water Street weren’t done properly and are mispositioned, so that option isn’t ideal. But the whole area is due to be torn up next year, so I can understand if the city is reluctant to redo them now.)

Obviously, options 1 & 2 require some caution at the intersection because you’re interacting with cars.

Given that rerouting the trail is already in the works, and that there’s an official (albeit somewhat misdesigned) trail in place on the opposite side of the street, I think it’s unreasonable to expect AE to repave their sidewalk to make it more convenient for cyclists to illegally ride on it.


edmonds59
Participant
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“I think it’s unreasonable to expect AE to repave their sidewalk to make it more convenient for cyclists to illegally ride on it.”

No, that wasn’t the intent at all. The idea is for AE to physically correct the condition that is causing cyclists to ride where AE does not want them to ride, instead of half-assedly throwing up signs and barricades, sort of the equivalent of the note on the office frig.

I ride in the street, so it’s a moot point for me.


dwillen
Participant
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I think it has also been established here that as defined in the city statutes, this area in front of the AE building is not technically a business district, and therefore it is not technically against the law to ride on the sidewalk. Just because AE says it is illegal doesn’t make it so.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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I agree with the conclusion of Steven’s post: let’s be patient while the various construction projects swirling at that particular intersection play out. Clearly some mistakes have been made, but it looks like it’s being sorted out.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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@dwillen: there is a difference between “not illegal” and “right.”


HiddenVariable
Participant
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in addition to what dwillen said, the law states that riding in a business district is illegal except when signs indicate otherwise. when AE put up the barricades, the signs over there pointed directly along the sidewalk, apparently indicating it was part of the bike trail.

but yeah, this whole thing was sorted out (more or less inadequately, but as well as expected) months ago.


ieverhart
Participant
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there is a difference between “not illegal” and “right.”

So is that what people mean when they yell “Get off the road”? Maybe that’s not a fair comparison, but if my preferred route is a legal one, I am going to need a very persuasive argument not to use it.

Does anyone know if cyclists have been stopped by the police (or anyone other than AE management) for riding there? If someone had been issued a citation, it might be illuminating to see what the specific charge was.


salty
Participant
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IIRC there is also a sign there that indicates the sidewalk *is* the trail.

Cars kill thousands of pedestrians a year, if they *really* cared they’d block the whole street so the cars can’t run over their employees. But of course they can’t get away with that.

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