PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — After two fatal bicycle accidents, there are calls for major changes along a stretch of Penn Avenue to fix what bike advocates say is an unsafe roadway.
“Two bicycle fatalities, but there’s been hundreds and hundreds of accidents over the past decade along this stretch,” said Scott Bricker, of BikePgh.
But today, the Democratic nominee for mayor, Bill Peduto, threw a little cold water on a proposal to reduce Penn from four to two lanes, saying that it would further backup an already congested roadway.
“Well, I live there and I drive it almost every day; and I can tell you that during rush hours, both directions are completely packed,” Peduto said.
The city planning department and a task force called MovePgh is proposing the lane reductions as part of an overall traffic plan for the city, one that would be more accommodating to all kinds of traffic.
“A mixture of cars, cyclists, pedestrians and transit riders,” said Patrick Roberts of the City Planning Commission.
But Penn Avenue is a state roadway – Route 8 – and PennDOT is also cool to the idea. They envision backed up traffic spilling in the neighborhoods, as does Peduto.
“It’s like a river and when it hits a rock, it doesn’t just go away, it redirects it,” said Peduto, “and what may happen is it will lessen traffic on State Route 8, but increase it on neighborhood streets.”
He says other solutions will be explored.
“The end is to create safe streets for pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles; and to do so, there are many options, but it has to start with the participation of the entire community,” Peduto added.