Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and other city officials announced the construction of three protected bike lanes in the city. The lanes will be built from Schenley Plaza to Anderson Playground in Schenley Park, along Saline Street between Greenfield Avenue and Swinburne Street (Panther Hollow Trail) in Greenfield, and on Penn Avenue from 11th Street to Stanwix Avenue Downtown.
“We’re essentially talking about a roadway within a roadway.” said Patrick Hassett, assistant director of Pittsburgh Public Works. “A roadway for cyclists — a two-way bike lane with its own set of signs and rules, separated by vehicular traffic by pavement markings and bollards.”
Penn Avenue traffic Downtown will be changed to inbound-only to accommodate the protected lanes, which will be on the southern (or left) side of the street.
“These facilities are proven and they’re located in many other cities and have been shown to work in terms of providing a safer environment for both the motorists, who no longer have to contend with a mix of cyclists, and for cyclists who now have their own protected area for riding," Hassett said. "They’ve also been shown to encourage additional riding.”
Construction on the Saline Street cycle track will start in the next two weeks, according to Hassett, the Oakland track will be started some time at the end of the month or in early August, and the downtown track in early August with completion slated for Labor Day.
Peduto said the cost for these lanes is $188,000.
“The money is from the previous administration,” Peduto said. “They budgeted for it but never spent it. So we didn’t even have to use any new money, we’re using the money that was already there to do it.”
These segments account for just more than one mile out of five that are being partially underwritten through $250,000 in support from the Green Lane Project. The project chose Pittsburgh as one of six cities that will receive such support, and last week sent Peduto, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Hillman Family Foundations President David Roger and Bike Pittsburgh director Scott Bricker to Denmark to learn about bike infrastructure programs firsthand.
Peduto said Pittsburgh has come a long way since he started working in City Hall in the 1990s.
“Pittsburgh was ranked one of the top five worst cities in the United States for cycling,” Peduto said. “And there’s been a lot of work that’s been done, mainly through the grass roots level from the advocates and the cyclists themselves, to change that image. Now we can look and know that we’re in the top 30 best cities.”
Peduto said more bike lanes will come and the city is working with the Port Authority of Allegheny County on the impacts of these and future lanes on service. No parking spaces will be lost downtown, but about 20 unmetered spaces in Greenfield will be lost, and another 20 in the Schenley Park phase between the Carnegie Library Main Branch and Phipps Conservatory. The city is working with Phipps to add additional spaces nearby.