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Dutch experts propose cycle tracks for Oakland, highest level of safety in infrastructure

After two days of ThinkBike workshops, the City of Pittsburgh is ready to bring the highest level of bicycle infrastructure to Oakland. 

Based on the recommendations of Dutch mobility experts, the City is beginning the process of installing separated cycle tracks in the Fifth-Forbes corridor of this heavily trafficked neighborhood. 

According to the City's Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator Stephen Patchan, cycle tracks represent the most progressive piece of bicycle infrastructure currently available, and offer the highest level of safety for both cyclists and motorist.

Cycle tracks are on-street, bicycle-only paths, and often include physical barriers, such as curbs, between automobiles and cyclists.  In Homestead, a cycle track was recently installed along the Great Allegheny Passage.  The proposed track in Oakland would be the first in Pittsburgh.

Patchan says the city has no timeline for installing the cycle tracks, and will conduct extensive public outreach and engineering studies before selecting a design and location.  He says the project will necessarily impact existing conditions for automobiles.

“We're trying to figure out a way to mitigate the impacts, but also provide a piece of infrastructure that's required for getting from hundreds [of cyclists]...to several thousand cyclists biking through that corridor.”

Although the corridor is currently used by many bicycle commuters, Patchan says the street’s current design--three to four lanes of one-way traffic--doesn’t encourage new riders.

“It takes a certain personality to ride on that street,” he says.

ThinkBike is a multi-city initiative of Dutch experts and companies to increase bicycle use in the U.S. and Canada.  Since the first workshop in Toronto, ThinkBike has been held in Washington D.C., San Francisco, Miami and Los Angeles.

Patchan says ThinkBike contacted the City to host a workshop because of its rising reputation as a bicycle-friendly city, and its maturing cycling community.

But Patchan says the city intends to do more, and create cycling infrastructure on-par with the best Dutch cities.

"We're going to be a world-class bicycle city, so we're going to need the infrastructure for it," he says.

Writer:  Andrew Moore
Source:  Stephen Patchan
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