The City of Pittsburgh Department of Public Works (DPW) will install a protected bike lane linking Oakland and Schenley Park this fall. The cycle track, along with proposed lanes in Downtown Pittsburgh and Greenfield, will be the first improvement of its kind in the City of Pittsburgh. The Oakland Task Force, Phipps Conservatory and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy are all project partners.
Mayor Peduto announced the project at a press conference at the Schenley Park Visitor Center on July 3rd. Read coverage of the event in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh Tribune Review, Bike Pittsburgh’s blog, WPXI,90.5 WESA, KDKA.
The project also includes improvements to the three-way intersection at Schenley Drive and Panther Hollow Road in front of the Schenley Park Café and Visitor Center. DPW will convert the intersection into a three-way stop this fall.
The proposed cycle track will begin in Schenley Plaza, go up Schenley Drive to Panther Hollow Road, and end at the Anderson Playground (known by many as “Dinosaur Park”) in Schenley Park.
“Painted lines and installed bollards will work together to create a safety buffer between the cyclists and vehicular traffic,” explains OPDC’s David Zwier. “Cycle tracks like these encourage people who may not be comfortable riding on roads among traffic to bike.”
“Currently, the bridge is unsafe for bicyclists, the sidewalk is too narrow to safely accommodate pedestrians and bicycles, and people drive on the Boulevard of the Allies at very high speeds,” says Oakland Square Historic District Community Organization member Jim Daniels. “Putting a bike lane on both sides of the Panther Hollow Bridge seems like a no brainer that will deal with all three of these issues.”
The Oakland Square group, in partnership with the Oakland Green Team, advocated for the project to DPW, touting its consistency with the Oakland 2025 Master Plan’s recommendations for the Boulevard of the Allies corridor. The city is planning for a second phase that would connect the trail to Parkview Avenue via the Anderson Bridge. This would complement the Pittsburgh Bike Share station slated for the Boulevard of the Allies, also to be installed in 2015.
The city’s long-term plan is to extend the track all the way into Greenfield, connecting it to Pocusset Street. The city converted Pocusset into a thoroughfare exclusively for bicycle and pedestrians earlier this year.
“Bike Pittsburgh is thrilled with Mayor Peduto’s commitment to improving bicycle infrastructure in the city,” reports Bike Pittsburgh’s Eric Boerer. “The proposed project aims to make sure cycling is accessible whether you are 8 or 80, and will serve as a building block for further bike and pedestrian improvements to Oakland and the city as a whole.”
According to the most recent US Census, 3,111 people who work in Oakland live east of Schenley Park.
“The census data is compelling—it shows us how many people could potentially bike to work each day instead of having to use their cars,” Zwier noted. “This could really reduce traffic and parking congestion in Oakland, and increase worker health and wellness. This is what bike/pedestrian advocates on the Oakland Green Team have been wanting to see.”
Scroll down to view more visuals of the project.