After years of leaving it to the whims of motorists, the city of Pittsburgh has striped Second Avenue in Pittsburgh to clearly identify where traffic is one or two lanes moving in the same direction.
The road until this month had a double-yellow stripe down the middle and not much else in the way of delineation. It was wide enough in some stretches for vehicles to travel two abreast or pass. Some drivers treated it as a single-lane road, occupying the middle and not allowing trailing vehicles to pass. Others thought it deserved to be a two-lane road and acted accordingly.
It was a recipe for confusion and, in the worst case, road rage and crashes.
Pat Hassett, assistant public works director for transportation and engineering, said the city restriped the road after repaving it. "We took this opportunity to clarify the rules of the road," he said.
The new pattern on the outbound side requires traffic to merge left and form a single lane just after the 10th Street Bridge. A second lane opens about 1,500 feet later, near the overpass carrying the outbound Parkway East.
On the inbound side, a merge point just after Technology Drive puts traffic into a single lane at a left-turn lane but the road later opens to two lanes.
"We found there was more traffic coming in the morning so we made it [for the most part] two lanes inbound and one lane outbound," Mr. Hassett said.
"It seems to be flowing quite nicely. I haven't seen any big backups. We haven't gotten any complaints. We've gotten a couple compliments but no complaints," he said.
The cost of the long-lasting thermoplastic markings was about $22,000, he said.
For the record, Mr. Hassett settled the one-lane-or-two question, which is, of course, now moot. "If there are no lane markings, that's considered a single lane."
Jon Schmitz: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG's transportation blog, The Roundabout, at www.post-gazette.com/Roundabout. Twitter: @pgtraffic.