PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Appearing on KDKA Radio’s “Ask the Leaders,” Mayor Bill Peduto took flack over his push for more bike lanes in the city.
“Are you favoring one form of transportation over another? Isn’t that what you’re really doing?” talk show host Mike Pintek asked.
The specific complaint was the Penn Avenue bike lane, which turned the road into a one way street for cars, while converting the outbound street into a bike lane at a cost of $120,000.
Peduto defends the lane, and the expense of $11,700 for 48 city police to work overtime guiding traffic during the first week of the switchover.
“Having the officers there for a few days to help educate people allows it to be done to be more safe,” Peduto told KDKA political editor Jon Delano.
Peduto insists cars and bikes can co-exist.
“It’s not an argument between bike versus car. It really is how do we create streets that are safe for everybody,” he said.
A lot of signs on Penn Avenue try to sort through the new arrangements for both cars and bikes, but drivers on Penn have mixed views.
“I don’t see a lot of people on bikes. It’s causing extra traffic,” noted Nick Travisano of Monroeville.
“No problem. I don’t think it’s any inconvenience to anyone. I’m down here every day,” added Kurt Johnson of Carnegie.
“This is a main corridor downtown so it’s impacting some traffic. The local businesses are probably negatively affected, so I think it’s a give and take,” said Eric Mitchell of Polish Hill.
The real question is safety.
One shopkeeper along Penn said the mayor took away the cops too soon because cars are still driving on the bike lane.
“I’ve seen four or five people a day drive in the opposite lane,” said Mindy Sturchio, store manager at Sinful Sweets.
Despite that risk, bikers who commute to work like the bike lane.
“I think it’s awesome because it’s a lot safer than when we didn’t have it — cars back and forth — it’s a lot safer for us,” said R.J. Menchio of the North Side.
“It’s a positive thing. I don’t know why anyone would complain about it,” said David Walter of the North Side.
While no more cops and overtime on Penn Avenue, the mayor says expect them again when more bike lanes open downtown.
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