Cycling on Union Street 3, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from Paul Krueger’s photostream

Downtown, Strip District, Schenley Park and Greenfield to boast new lanes

PITTSBURGH, PA (August 26, 2014) – The City of Pittsburgh today announced the installation of a third protected bike lane as part of the two-year long PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project program that was announced in March.

The next protected bike lane will occupy the former eastbound lane of Penn Avenue from 6th Street Downtown to 16th Street in the Strip. The eastbound — or outbound — lane of Penn Avenue between 6th Street and 16th Street will be closed to motor vehicle traffic.

The first protected bike lane on Saline Street between Greenfield Avenue and Swinburne Street (connecting with the Panther Hollow Trail) in Greenfield is near completion. The city will continue to refine the project based on input from the community. Construction of the second protected bike lane along Schenley Drive in Oakland from Schenley Plaza to Anderson Playground in Schenley Park is underway. Restriping of Schenley Drive parking spaces continues this week.

“Protected Bike Lanes are transformative for city biking,” said Ray Gastil, Director of the Department of Planning for the City of Pittsburgh. “They open up biking to a broader constituency of people who live, work, and visit, demonstrating how biking can be a safe, dependable, everyday way to get around the city. I’ve seen it change the whole attitude to biking in cities across the country, making biking a more diverse and intergenerational activity.”

Why protected bike lanes?

Protected bike lanes are designed to help improve safety, ease traffic congestion and augment economic activity while providing necessary infrastructure for the city’s upcoming bike share system. On street infrastructure is an ingredient to the recipe for success of bike share programs.

“Safety is a primary concern of prospective riders and we support an increase in cycling as an investment in the future of our city,” said Patrick D. Roberts, Principal Transportation Planner at the Department of Planning.

“Pittsburgh is showing how a city can move quickly to design and install protected bike lanes in places where they’ll have significant benefits,” said Martha Roskowski, Vice President of Innovation at PeopleForBikes. “These connections are turning busy streets into comfortable places to ride and they’re connecting important missing links in the bikeway network. We are proud to call Pittsburgh one of our Green Lane Project cities.”

Protected bike lanes are traffic lanes for bikes, alongside motor vehicle lanes. As a traffic lane, the protected bike lanes differ from shared-use paths or other off-street trails. The protected bike lanes are exclusive traffic lanes for bikes — motorists, Segways, scooters and pedestrians are not permitted to merge into or travel within the protected lanes.

Turning vehicles and bikes must both yield when turning across a lane. Bikes must yield to vehicles when merging back with traffic. Both vehicles and bikes must still yield to pedestrians in crosswalks as traffic signals dictate. Bikes can exit the protected lanes during an exclusive pedestrian phase as long as they yield to pedestrians.

“BikePGH launched our Better Bikeways Vision a year ago to introduce Pittsburgh to a brand new tool kit to make the experience of riding a bike more comfortable and attractive to more people,” says Scott Bricker, Executive Director of BikePGH. It’s exhilarating that the city is already using these tools to build out our bike network and connect the city in a bold new way.”

Schenley Drive

The city’s second protected bike lane is nearing completion. Parallel parking separates the bike lanes from traffic adjacent to Phipps Conservatory. Parking in the bike lane is not legal and will be ticketed once the bollards are in place. Please do not park in the bike lane.

The parking along Schenley Drive adjacent to Flagstaff Hill will be reconfigured as back-in angled parking. Parking in the middle of Schenley Drive is reserved for Phipps Conservatory patrons. The metered parking along Flagstaff Hill will be changed to 3-Hour parking.

Back-in angled parking is new to the city of Pittsburgh. It is safe and efficient, and easy to do in 3 steps — Signal, Stop, and Reverse.

Penn Avenue

A third protected bike lane will be installed along Penn Avenue in the Cultural District and Strip District. Renderings of the project can be found here. The eastbound lane of Penn Avenue between 6th Street and 16th Street will be closed to motor vehicle traffic.

Line painting is expected to begin in earnest early next week. Any traffic closures will be announced in advance.

The city will strive to connect the protected bike lane to Point State Park and the Great Allegheny Passage. Completion of utility work along Penn Avenue near Fifth Avenue Extension will delay a connection past Stanwix Street. In the Strip District, an improved riverfront connection along 15th Street will be pursued.

“As president of Alco Parking Corp and owner of the 6th & Penn Garage — with entrances and an exit on Penn Avenue — I see the planned Penn Avenue bike lane as a great amenity for the city,” said Merrill Stabile. “Although Penn Ave will become one way for vehicular traffic, I see potential benefits for motorists. I say this because Penn Ave was one way heading west many years ago and as I recall, it worked quite efficiently.

We, at Alco Parking, are strong supporters of all forms of Downtown transportation, in that we see them complementing one another more so than competing with one another.”

Bus Route Detours

Port Authority of Allegheny County service changes for the No. 8 Perrysville and 01 Ross Flyer can be found here.

Beaver County Transit Authority Route 3 stop changes can be found here.

Lenzner/Coach USA stop changes are being coordinated for placement along Liberty Avenue.

The city recognizes that any change in how we use our streets requires coordination and communication with community stakeholders, and are working to do this on these protected bike lanes and any future initiatives.