PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The city’s first two-way bicycle lanes will be built in Schenley Park, Greenfield and downtown on Penn Avenue, with construction scheduled to begin next month.
At a news conference Thursday morning, Mayor Bill Peduto joined officials from Bike Pittsburgh to discuss the plans to build bike lanes in conjunction with People for Bikes and the Green Lane Project.
The first 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.
Later phases of the project will connect the city’s existing trail systems and the Strip District.
Five miles of bike lanes are being partially underwritten through $250,000 in support from the Green Lane Project. Pittsburgh is one of six cities that will receive the project’s support. These first three lanes account for just more than one mile. The budget being paid out of city capital funds for the first phase of the project is $188,000.
“We’re in the top 30 best cities in the country for cycling, but that’s not good enough,” Mayor Peduto said. “We have the ability to be a top 10 in this country and even do better, and that is going to be the commitment our administration is going to make.”
Construction on the Greenfield and Schenley Park lanes will begin later this month. Construction Downtown will follow at an unannounced date. Peduto said he is making a commitment to have the first three lanes completed by Labor Day.
“What the mayor is promising today, and what Public Works and Planning will deliver over the next two months, is a new balance between cyclists and motorists on the roadway, one we’re confident will mean a safer street for both,” said Public Works assistant director Patrick Hassett of the city’s Bureau of Transporation and Engineering.
Peduto also mentioned the benefits that other cities have seen since adding protected bike lanes.
“Protected bike lanes have proven to be economic generators from San Francisco to Chicago,” he said. “And they will be too in Downtown Pittsburgh hand other neighborhoods citywide.”
These bike lanes will require some changes that will affect drivers. To accommodate the bike lanes, Penn Avenue traffic downtown will be changed to inbound-only. The bike lane will be on the southern (left) side of the street. Additionally, about 20 unmetered spaces used by commuters will be lost in Greenfield, and another 20 will be affected by the Schenley Park construction between the Carnegie Library Main Branch and Phipps Conservatory. The city is working with Phipps to add additional spaces nearby.
The city is also in ongoing talks with the Port Authority of Allegheny County to discuss how these bike lanes will affect bus service.