By John Shumway

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — A major route through Pittsburgh is being down-sized.

Four-lane Liberty Avenue is about to be reduced to three lanes.

One of Pittsburgh’s primary routes to Downtown, Liberty Avenue can be a white knuckle challenge at times.

“The lanes are very narrow, the lanes are 10-feet,” says Karina Ricks, the director of mobility and transportation. “You’re immediately adjacent to a retaining wall on one side and oncoming traffic coming very close to you in the other direction.

Ricks says there is no shortage of bus and truck traffic operating on the narrow lanes, which makes it fairly intimidating.

“There’s been a number of crashes, particularly the lefthand turn crashes,” she says.

Add in the Strip District development, and the city says it’s time for a change from four lanes to three. The final configuration is down to two alternatives.

“One would involve two outbound lanes and one inbound lane, so the corridor would be paired with Penn Avenue,” Ricks says. “The other configuration would be a center turn lane and one lane in each direction. Although it is a lane reduction, the throughput on the corridor actually improves.”

Ed Bauer drives the road every day and says the traffic needs two lanes inbound in the morning and two outbound in the afternoon.

“It’s a lot of traffic,” he says. “If somehow they could alternate, it that would be great.”

But Ricks says the changes it would also make it safer for pedestrians.

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