Allegheny County to install bike lanes on three bridges
September 4, 2014 12:14 AM
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald speaks about Pittsburgh's new temporary and permanent bike lanes to be installed on the Warhol, Clemente and Philip Murray bridges.
Joan Gundersen of Oakmont rides her bike across the Andy Warhol Bridge this afternoon. Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced temporary bike lanes will be installed on the bridge.
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto speaks to the media about the city's new temporary and permanent bike lanes to be installed on the Warhol, Clemente and Philip Murray bridges.
Crews with Parking Lot Painting Company remove the old bike lane markings from Penn Avenue between 15th and 16th streets in preparation for the new bike lane that will remove eastbound vehicle traffic between Sixth and 16th streets Downtown.
By Kaitlynn Riely / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
The bike system in Allegheny County is growing.
It got another boost Wednesday afternoon, when county Executive Rich Fitzgerald announced that bike lanes are coming to three county-owned bridges in Pittsburgh.
The Andy Warhol Bridge at Seventh Street will soon boast one bike lane from Downtown to the North Side and one in the opposite direction in connection with the start of the Pro Walk/Pro Bike Conference that runs from Monday through next Thursday at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.
Construction of the lanes is set to begin after the morning rush hour today and should be completed by Friday. The lanes will be temporary and will be removed after Sept. 13. But two other bridges will see the addition of permanent lanes, Mr. Fitzgerald said.
The Roberto Clemente Bridge at Sixth Street will have two bike lanes by the end of October. And the Philip Murray Bridge at South 10th Street, crossing the Monongahela River to the South Side, also will be getting bike lanes in the future.
Mr. Fitzgerald, who was joined at the news conference by Mayor Bill Peduto, described the bike lane projects as another step toward Pittsburgh becoming a healthier city. Mr. Peduto said the county bridge bike lanes will contribute to a network that he envisions coming together over the next decade, connecting roadways owned by the city, county and state.
“It won’t happen unless we work together,” Mr. Peduto said.
Thanks to a grant from Colorado-based organization PeopleForBikes, Mr. Peduto said, the city plans to install 5 miles of bike lanes in the next two years. His public works department was busy Wednesday installing bike lanes on Penn Avenue, Downtown.
It was a big day for bike infrastructure in the city. In the Cultural District, five new public art bike racks, designed by Pittsburgh artists, were officially unveiled, said Shaunda Miles, director of public relations for the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.
The bike racks, a project of the Cultural Trust, Bike Pittsburgh and the city, are located throughout the Cultural District. Five more will be installed in late 2015, Ms. Miles said.
To Scott Bricker, executive director of Bike Pittsburgh, the addition of bike lanes on the bridges and Downtown represents the first steps toward creating a system of connected bikeways.
“The days of running with the bulls with car traffic are over,” he said. “We are going to be going forward and creating safe places for people to bike and safe places for people to walk, so more people feel comfortable getting around our town.”
The temporary Andy Warhol Bridge bike lanes will be 5 feet wide, with a 3-foot buffer, Mr. Fitzgerald said. The lanes will be the same size on the Clemente Bridge, and will reduce vehicular traffic from two lanes in each direction to one lane in each direction.
On days when the bridge is open only to pedestrian traffic for Pirates games at PNC Park, bikers will still be allowed through.
No time frame is available yet for the 10th Street Bridge, which will have similar bike lanes, the county said. Rehabilitation work on the bridge is ongoing. But the bike lanes should connect the South Side to the Eliza Furnace Trail.
Biking is likely to be a hot topic in Pittsburgh over the next week. Mr. Fitzgerald reported that more than 1,000 people have registered for the Pro Walk/Pro Bike conference, with some expected to travel from out of the area into Pittsburgh on their bikes.
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