Issue One: Walking and cycling in the city

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Steps forward

Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Councilman Patrick Dowd's Aug. 11 announcement of the city's positive posture in regard to improving the usability of local infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians is a hopeful sign for the region ("Bicycle Czar Will Try to Tame City Streets," Aug. 12).

With the American public's recent awakening to the fact that our resources are finite, initiatives promoting urban revitalization and focusing on improving alternative transport and livability go a long way toward attracting people to our city and making it a great place to live and raise a family.

I think that actively including cycling and pedestrian initiatives in regard to our regional policy planning shows foresight, and I look forward to seeing the actual results from these policy decisions.


Biking scofflaws

Since gas prices have risen, bicyclists have appeared on the local scene en masse. Pittsburgh is finally geared to respond to the new wave of travelers.

Every day when I travel on the roads I see people on bicycles running red lights, going 15 to 20 mph under the speed limits, turning left or right across oncoming cars and riding next to but not on sidewalks, while drivers in cars try to pass them or are forced to follow the bicyclists' pace. They turn left at "no left turn" intersections and generally disregard any and all traffic regulations. At least twice a week I see someone on a bicycle committing a dangerous traffic offense.

I have no problem with responsible bikers, as I have no problem with responsible drivers. That said, I do not know how many more trips I can take down McArdle Roadway or across the Smithfield Street Bridge watching bicyclists treat the roads as though cars have no business on them. I am constantly alert, fearing that one day while I am turning left on a green light or riding in my lane, someone on a bicycle is going to come flying out of nowhere and hit me. Most frightening is the fear that they will be injured.

Before Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and the city government invest time and effort in making the city more bike friendly, they need to ensure that local bicyclists know the rules of the roads they travel and observe traffic laws just as motorists do. It will make the streets much safer, and friendlier, for both motorists and bicyclists.

Green Tree

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