PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Cyclists love the dedicated bike lane running through Greenfield’s Russian Run but not everyone’s a fan.
“No one in the neighborhood likes this. This was the biggest mistake that was made here — ever,” said Will Fowler.
They’ve been a polarizing issue — with opponents complaining the lanes are under-used, increase automobile traffic and reduce parking. The city has also come under fire for not involving neighborhoods where the lanes should go.
“Would have been nice to have a survey to see what the community thought about it,” Fowler said.
Now in a series of public meetings scheduled this summer, the city is hoping to get just that kind of input — with the ultimate aim of convincing residents that the streets are for everyone.
“Because it’s not about bikes versus cars. it’s about everybody sharing the road. It’s about bikes, transit as well as pedestrians,” Bike/Pedestrian Coordinator Krsitin Saunders said.
The city is currently seeking public input on a long-term, citywide plan for the use of streets — including an interconnected system of bike lanes and routes.
The goal is to have a bike lane within a quarter mile of every city residence and to allow cyclist to go from one end of the city to another without leaving a dedicated lane or protected route.
“The goal of the bike plan is that you feel safe going anywhere in the city on your bike and you have great facilities to get you there,” Saunders said.
But to achieve that, the city must have an open ear to neighborhood concerns and be able to convince folks that the lanes are worthwhile. The Penn Avenue lane initially drew heated criticisms but the city says it now accommodates 800 to 1,000 cyclists a day.
“Our bike lanes are not empty, we do see cycling growing in the city and the more bike lane we install the more bike lanes we install the more growth we’ll see the cycling community,” Saunders said.
Some projects will be moving ahead. Over the next year — the city will construct a similar two way bike lane down Fort Pitt Boulevard linking the Eliza Furnace Trail with Point State Park.