Pittsburgh City Council members hold up bike share bill because districts left out

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Pittsburgh City Council held a bill today that would have advanced the city's bike-sharing project after council members expressed frustrations that their districts were being left out of the project.

Pittsburgh Bike Share is modeled after bike-sharing programs in other cities and is slated to roll out its first bicycles in the summer of 2014 from stations around the city.

Today's bill, which would have amended an ordinance to allow for the installation of bike stations and established an agreement with the non-profit Pittsburgh Bike Share Partnership, is crucial for the project to move forward.

The stations -- which were cut from a proposed to 100 to 50 after the project lost out on some federal grant money -- are primarily located in the East End, Oakland and Lawrenceville and along corridors between those neighborhoods and Downtown.

But there are none proposed for Mount Washington, the South Hills or Squirrel Hill and the proposed station that sits the furthest east is at Bakery Square.

"We deserve more than we're getting," said Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith, who represents Mount Washington.

Her district, along with those of council members Corey O'Connor and Natalia Rudiak, are not included in first-phase plans for the stations.

Pat Hassett, assistant director in the public works department's Bureau of Transportation and Engineering, said the initial plans only represented the first phase. The project, once it was up and running, could be expanded, but the stations were slated to go where a consultant determined the bikes would get the most use, he said.

Council members plan to meet with Mr. Hassett and other involved with the Bike Share Project in the coming week to hammer out their disagreements.

The bill is slated for a preliminary vote next Wednesday. A final vote will be taken the week after.

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Moriah Balingit: mbalingit@post-gazette.com or 412-263-2533. Twitter: @MoriahBee.


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