Thank you, Mayor Bill Peduto, for selecting Oakland to receive one of Pittsburgh’s first protected bike lanes. For those of us who live and work and travel through Oakland each day, it is an exciting first step toward making our streets safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and vehicles. It also dovetails brilliantly with the Oakland 2025 Master Plan that recommends the adoption of the “living streets” approach as a basis for designing and evaluating new transportation improvements. As described in the plan, the concept of living streets builds on the vision of accommodating all modes of transportation but actively privileges pedestrians, cyclists and transit users in response to the larger goals of community health and environmental sustainability.
Living streets also incorporate green infrastructure to manage and treat stormwater, street trees and street furniture to support pedestrian activity. Toward that end and with the help of our partners at Tree Pittsburgh and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy, Oakland volunteers have planted 350 trees over the past six years, have helped restore native vegetation on hillsides and have planted community gardens.
Many people are working hard to realize a greener, more environmentally vibrant and beautiful Oakland. The vision of living streets is one we can realize, and Mayor Peduto has taken us one step closer.
The writer is chair, Oakland Green Team of Oakland Planning and Development Corp.