​Support Safe and Smart Streets for Pittsburgh

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  1. Support Safe and Smart Streets for Pittsburgh


After decades of decline, the population in the City of Pittsburgh is growing, creating economic and social opportunities for thousands of new and existing residents. Dozens of new developments have been constructed in areas like East Liberty, Oakland, Shadyside, and Bloomfield, creating new challenges and opportunities for the City and its neighborhood. Thousands of new residents need safe, comfortable, and efficient ways to get to work, school, church, shopping, and social events. We welcome new residents and the economic growth they bring to Pittsburgh, but with constricted streets, we must ensure that new residents do not add substantial vehicle traffic, which will slow down buses, increase pollution, and cause more crashes.

While taking transit is often a great option, the limited routing of buses between some neighborhoods, crowding, and infrequent or unreliable service often makes transit an inconvenient option. We support improving transit, the safest and smartest option to support the future growth of our City is to improve cycling access in Pittsburgh, which will also enhance transit by making it easy to make multimodal connections.

To address these issues proactively, and to take advantage of the opportunities new development presents before it’s too late, we demand a comprehensive, All Ages and Abilities bike network in PIttsburgh by 2025—in Shadyside, as well as across the East End and the City.


To support Pittsburgh’s growth and vibrancy, we must encourage people to use bikes to get around rather than driving. Here’s why:

  1. EFFICIENT USE OF SPACE: Cycling can move more people in limited space
  2. AIR QUALITY: It reduces pollution in a city with severe air quality challenges
  3. EFFICIENT TRIPS: Cycling is often faster than driving or taking transit. 40% of trips in the US are less than 1 mile, a distance that can easily be covered on bike if safe bikeways are provided. Combining biking and transit can help you get around even faster—for example, biking to the busway rather than waiting for a bus that stops every block or gets stuck in traffic.
  4. POPULATION TRENDS: Younger generations want to be able to get around without a car. Businesses are realizing this, and are locating in places with good biking and public transit. Mayor Peduto was quoted in a PG article last year saying, “We hear it again and again from tech companies: They don’t ask for tax breaks. They don’t ask for free parking. They ask for safe streets and to be able to ride a bike to work. Twenty-first-century cities are being designed so that people don’t have to own a car to be able to live and work in a city.” The National Association of Realtors’ Community Preference Survey strongly supports this trend.
  5. PUBLIC HEALTH: Cycling improves your mental and physical health, and helps make you more attentive and productive at work.
  6. PARKING: More cycling means a reduced need for parking lots, which are a blight on neighborhoods, reduce the amount of land available for productive uses, generate more congestion, and increase stormwater runoff. Making it safe and easy for those who can bike to do so will mean fewer cars on the road, leaving more space for those who truly need to drive. Providing loading zones will help address business concerns.
  7. EFFICIENT INFRASTRUCTURE: Bike infrastructure is substantially less expensive than alternatives, and cycling decreases the amount of damage done to roads. An average sized car does 16,000 times more damage to pavement than even a heavy cyclist and a bike.
  8. AFFORDABILITY: Cycling is significantly more affordable than driving, and even transit, helping our neighbors save money that can be spent elsewhere, and allowing those who don't have a car (about a quarter of Pittsburgh households) to access jobs and economic opportunity. When I don’t spend $100 a month on the bus, or many hundreds on a car, I can afford to spend my money at local businesses instead.
  9. LOCAL ECONOMY: Studies from cities across the US show transit and cycling infrastructure makes businesses more accessible to more people. Cyclists have been shown to spend more money at local businesses per month, stopping by more often since it’s easy to see storefronts and finding parking is not an issue.
  10. TRAFFIC SAFETY: Building safe, high-quality cycling infrastructure has been proven to reduce crashes and injuries for everyone, including drivers
  11. EQUITABLE ACCESS: Currently, without safe bikeways, young men who are less risk-averse make up the majority of cyclists. Better cycling infrastructure to an “All Ages and Abilities” standard has shown to encourage more people to get around by bike, particularly for people who tend to be apprehensive about cycling next to car traffic, like women, children, seniors, and those with disabilities.
  12. IN LINE WITH THE VISION FOR PITTSBURGH’S FUTURE: Creating an All Ages and Abilities bikeway network is in line with City of Pittsburgh policies which specify how we want the future of our city to be, per the City’s Complete Streets policy, and other policies, such as the City’s commitment to Place, Planet, Place, and Performance, summarized by points above.


Because of Shadyside’s location within the City, it is imperative to create a safe, comfortable, and convenient cycling connection in Shadyside. Here’s why:

  1. Shadyside is a critical connection between a vast swath of East End neighborhoods—the only way between neighborhoods like East Liberty, Highland Park, Point Breeze and the the major job, educational, and cultural center of Oakland (and onward to the Junction Hollow and Eliza Furnace Trails to Downtown).
  2. Numerous vehicle routes exist that drivers can use (particularly 5th, Baum, and Centre). These streets are unsafe for cyclists and pedestrians. So far no safe and comfortable bikeways exist in Shadyside.
  3. Since City streets are paid by all city residents through local taxes, and are intended to benefit of all City residents, it is critical to designate safe, high-quality bikeways in Shadyside.
  4. Options exist for safe bikeways that will not cause a long-term burden, and the benefits outlined above outweigh the minute challenges that a few motorists will experience. NACTO outlines a number of design options, ranging from shared lanes and traffic calming which works well on quiet streets, to protected bike lanes for busier streets. More information is available here: http://nacto.org/ubdg.

Safety and efficiency of space must take priority in designing a bike route, particularly in light of Pittsburgh’s growth. While not everyone will be happy at first, and compromise and adjustment will be necessary, creating safe, comfortable, and convenient bikeways is the best option for improving transportation throughout the East End, today and into the future, with a number of other benefits outlined above. The status quo may be fine for some, but with new residents needing to get around Pittsburgh, doing nothing will only make things even worse in years to come.


In light of the challenges and opportunities outlined above, we demand a comprehensive, All Ages and Abilities bike network in Pittsburgh by 2025—in Shadyside, as well as across the East End and the City.

We demand safe bikeways that are inviting enough to encourage more people to ride. We must work with wide range of residents to find the best methods of creating smart and safe streets for cyclists—not just old, rich, white property owners whose privileged windshield perspective makes getting around more difficult and dangerous for the rest of us. We demand parking be better managed and not be prioritized over safe and efficient travel by bike, bus, or foot.

We demand more reliable, more frequent transit, to make it easier for people who can’t bike to get around without a car, particularly for someone who is cut off from opportunities because she can’t drive or afford one.

We’re excited about a future where it’s easy, safe, and fun to get around Pittsburgh—by bike, on foot, and on the bus—making our neighborhoods and City more pleasant, vibrant, and sustainable for us, our children, and Pittsburghers 100 years from now.

Thank you for listening.

Interurban is a new group dedicated to what makes Pittsburgh special, celebrating our historic transit connections across Southwestern PA (and beyond), and promoting the revival of walkable, bikeable, transit-accessible towns and neighborhoods—in southwestern PA and across the USA.

We share news and history, and form policy opinions on these topics, trying to look holistically at the issues affecting our city and region related to sustainable development, land use, and transportation—through a lens of social, environmental, and economic equity; appreciating our region's and history while looking with a critical lens at the present, to envision a better future. We’re new on the web and facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Interurban-129425127913037/

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