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Pittsburgh Plans Aggressive Expansion of Biking Infrastructure

A newly released 10-year plan will expand biking infrastructure in the city by more than 120 miles. Opponents have said the plan for more bike lanes will take away from city parking and clog streets.

by Megan Guza, The Tribune-Review / June 24, 2020

(TNS) — A 10-year plan aimed at making bicycling safer and accessible across Pittsburgh includes the addition of 120 miles of new trails, bicycle lanes and other street improvements.

The plan, announced Tuesday, is five years in the making, and it is geared toward not only traditional bikes but also motorized scooters, electric pedal-assist bikes and other personalized forms of transportation.

A draft of the plan, which includes working with neighboring communities to make commuting into Pittsburgh safer and easier, was announced and shared in February. Tuesday’s announcement finalizes it.

“Now more than ever we need resiliency and safety in our transportation network,” Mayor Bill Peduto said in a statement. “People on bicycles, people in vehicles, and people on foot all benefit from a complete network that logically accommodates travelers of all modes.”

Peduto frequently draws criticism for his prioritizing of more eco-friendly travel such as bicycling, and critics say bike lanes usurp on-street parking and clog streets for motorists.

New to the plan is the MoveForwardPGH initiative, which aims to create awareness of the plans, push for a more bike-friendly city and remind drivers of what they can do to help reduce traffic fatalities.

“Imagine a Pittsburgh where all of our neighbors are able to easily navigate the city,” the MoveForward page reads, “getting from their homes to school or work, appointments or just to run errands without the need for a vehicle.”

The 10-year plan — more than 40 pages long in its PDF form — would prioritize areas where frequent crashes involving cyclists occur, as well as areas of the city that have a high concentration of residents or jobs but not solid access to bicycle routes.

Funding will come from the city’s capital budget, according to the plan, as well as grants and private funding. The total cost was not detailed in the plan and not immediately available.

Two maps show the city’s existing bike infrastructure versus the ideas laid out in the 10-year plan.

The plan will build on the previous decade of work.

According to the report, the city had about 11 miles in its bicycle network in 1999. That number grew to 93 miles by last year. That includes trails and bike lanes, the latter of which make up 40% of those 93 miles. In that time, the number of people who commute via bike has grown from .05% to 2.1%.

©2020 The Tribune-Review (Greensburg, Pa.) Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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