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Cycling success: bike racks on all city buses, new bike lanes, and more

It has been a good week for the Pittsburgh bicycling community.  Several upgrades have been made to the city’s bike infrastructure, including the reopening of the Eliza Furnace Trail and new bike lanes in Bloomfield.  And on Friday, the Port Authority announced that 100% of buses are now equipped with bus-mounted bike racks.

Bike Pittsburgh’s Eric Boerer says these racks are a win-win for bikers and the Port Authority .  According to Boerer, this type of multimodal transit helps increase the catchment area for bus stops and can potentially increase ridership.

For cyclists it allows commuters the option of utilizing bus routes for an otherwise lengthy commute, or for avoiding riding in poor weather conditions.  And buses can also address the issue of hills.

“Pittsburgh’s a hilly city and it's easy to bike downhill, and not so easy to bike uphill,” Boerer says.  “[Bike racks] just help increase the options for people to use as many modes as possible.”

Boerer says the effort to fully equip the Port Authority fleet with bike racks began over ten years ago with the work of Sustainable Pittsburgh.  In recent years Bike Pittsburgh had continued to push for this goal as a priority identified by the organization’s membership.

The Port Authority has also announced that for the first time bikes will be allowed on the T light-rail service during peak hours.

In on-street improvements, the city’s newest bike lanes are now in place along Liberty Avenue, through the business district of Bloomfield.  These lanes replaces earlier sharrows (or shared lane markings) and connect with an existing lane leading to the Strip District.  According to Boerer, those original sharrows were quite successful in attracting riders, and are recognized as the first “bike lanes” in Pittsburgh.

“Liberty is a major connection on the city's bike network, and we look forward to more bike lanes going in that area, hopefully by the end of the painting season,” Boerer says.

And finally, after a year of construction and detours, the $5.2 million improvement project which includes the Eliza Furnace Trail Bridge is now complete.  New signage, traffic signals, and landscaping have been added to the intersection, which is a bicycle corridor linking downtown, Oakland, and the South Side.  


Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Eric Boerer, Bike Pittsburgh; Friends of the Riverfront
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