OAKLAND (KDKA) – New bike lanes are being installed in Pittsburgh’s North Oakland area today.
Anyone who has ever peddled two-wheels past the Cathedral of Learning will confirm the assessment of BikePgh’s Scott Bricker, “That corridor is notoriously dangerous.”
In the heart of the stretch that will get a new bike lane, Susan Hicks was hit and killed two years ago while commuting on her bicycle. Bricker says the need to separate riders from drivers is long overdue, “It’s addressing the need for a safe place to ride.”
Oakland has perhaps a disproportionate number of people who use bicycles to commute. And Kristin Saunders of Pittsburgh Mobility and Transportation says the corridor also, “has a high student population, a high young people population so we see a lot of cyclist in Oakland.”
So just in time for the fall semester you can expect to see some traffic restrictions on that stretch of Forbes from Bigelow to Craig as the work begins.
The separation of riders and drivers will be accomplished with a simple double yellow line along the Cathedral side of Forbes. Saunders says, “It works like any street. There will be a double yellow line so if you’re a driver you keep that double yellow line on your left side. If you’re the cyclist you keep that double yellow line on your left side.” Drivers might find themselves waiting at the traffic light at Bellefield because an additional phase will be added just for the bike riders.
The change also means the loss of some parking but Bricker says anyone who would question that loss, “I would just ask them what’s more important human life or parking.”
For now the number of driving lanes will remain the same although they will be a bit more narrow as the available asphalt of the street is “reproportioned.”
Those lane changes and the new bike lanes should be in place and operating before the end of the month.
The work that begins tomorrow is considered an “interim” project because PennDot has a much bigger project coming for Forbes Avenue next year. That work will dramatically upgrade the area and impact driving lanes. For an in-depth look at what is planned you can check out the artist renderings through BikePgn.org at: http://www.bikepgh.org/2017/08/01/bike-lanes-pedestrian-traffic-improvements-coming-forbes-ave-oakland/
The installation is expected to take about one to two weeks.
Additional bike lanes will be added on Bigelow Boulevard between Fifth and Forbes avenues, where there is currently “a block-long gap in the existing bicycle network.”
The total cost of the projects is estimated to be $45,000.
The roads will remain open during the work, however, drivers should expect new traffic patterns in that area.