Friday, November 10, 2006

Ride a bike! blog transition

Hi everyone,

Thanks for reading/subscribing to Bike Pittsburgh's blog, but as of this post it is finito. Big changes have been made to our website and we now have a blog integrated that you can still subscribe to via RSS. Please check out the new site at www.bike-pgh.org and have a look around. Sign up for an account and feel free to contribute to our messageboard and comment on our blog. Thanks again for reading. Hope you like the new site.

Best,


Scott
Executive Director
Bike Pittsburgh

Monday, October 02, 2006

Port Authority Continues to Rack 'n Roll

Watch a short video on how to use the racks.

Pittsburgh, PA – Port Authority has added four bus routes to its Rack ‘n Roll Program, continuing efforts to help make Pittsburgh more bike-friendly and public transportation more convenient.

Bicyclists can now load their non-motorized bikes aboard Port Authority’s 26A Ingram-Sheridan, 26D Chartiers City, 56C McKeesport-Lincoln Place and 59U South Side Works-Oakland-Waterfront buses, bringing to 12 the number of selected bus routes in the program.

Port Authority in 1999 permitted bicyclists throughout Allegheny County to take their bikes aboard the T and Monongahela Incline and in 2001 equipped 85 buses with bike racks serving eight routes: 11D Perrysville, 21A Coraopolis, 54C North Side-Strip District-Oakland-South Side, 71A Negley, 77D Highland-Friendship, 77F Morningside-Friendship, 77G Stanton Heights-Friendship and 500 Highland Park-Bellevue.

In partnership with Bike Pittsburgh, Sustainable Pittsburgh and the City of Pittsburgh, Port Authority selected bus routes to be included in Rack ‘n Roll because they operated to or near local colleges and universities and popular biking destinations such as the Allegheny River Bike Trails, Schenley Park and Three Rivers Heritage Trails.

One of the new routes, 56C McKeesport-Lincoln Place, offers a transit connection to the Great Allegheny Passage Trail. This trail provides a direct bike connection from McKeesport to Cumberland, Md., with future plans linking it to Washington, D.C.

“With enthusiasts biking year-round, our bike-friendly vehicles allow us to be responsive to their needs while attracting new riders to the system,” said Port Authority Chief Executive Officer Steve Bland. “Our Rack ‘n Roll program goal is to help enhance the convenience and reliability of our services, strengthen our community partnerships, and make it possible for many in our region to reach several venues throughout Allegheny County using bikes and transit.”

The new bike racks are funded by a federal Transportation Enhancement Program grant provided to Port Authority from the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission and Pennsylvania Department of Transportation. Port Authority will expand Rack ‘n Roll early next year, taking the number of Port Authority buses equipped with bike racks from the current 158 to 350.

Scott Bricker, the executive director of bicycle advocacy and awareness group Bike Pittsburgh, said, “We are very pleased with the devotion Port Authority has shown towards making the Rack 'n Roll program a success. Programs like this do an incredible service to individuals who wish to combine modes of transportation and make Pittsburgh more bike-friendly. We look forward to our continued partnership in expanding Rack ‘n Roll."

Rack ‘n Roll information is available on Port Authority’s newly redesigned Web site, www.portatuhority.org, including a video demonstrating the ease of using a bike rack. Each rack is attached to the front of the bus and accommodates two bicycles. Unless accompanied by an adult, bicyclists must be aged 12 or older to use the bike racks. Information pamphlets are available on the Web site, buses and T and also in Port Authority schedule racks.

Customers wishing additional information should contact Port Authority Customer Service at (412) 442-2000 or the TTY number, (412) 231-7007, for the speech and hearing impaired.


Bus lines outfitted with racks:

EXISTING bus routes that have been re-outfitted with racks:
11D Perrysville
21A Coraopolis
54C North Side-Strip District-Oakland-South Side
71A Negley
77D Highland-Friendship
77F Morningside-Friendship
77G Stanton Heights-Friendship
500 Highland Park-Bellevue.

NEW bus routes that will be in service as of October 2nd:
26A Ingram-Sheridan (West End)
26D Chartiers City (West End)
56C McKeesport-Lincoln Place (Take this bus to get to the Great Allegheny Passage Trailhead)
59U South Side Works-Oakland-Squirrel Hill-Waterfront


IMPORTANT NOTE: If you experience any issues with the bus racks – if one happens to be broken or a bus on a rack-designated route doesn't arrive with a rack just follow these simple steps:
1) Please contact Port Authority Customer Service at 412-442-2000
2) When you call, tell them the bus route, time and location of when you intended to board the bus (e.g. "the rack on the 54C route at 1:12 p.m. on South 18th Street at Carson Street...").
3) If you were able to obtain the four digit vehicle number, found on the back exterior or front interior of the bus, give that number to customer service as well.

Also, if you have a positive experience using a bus rack, call and tell your story

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Town planning blamed for obesity

"Poor town planning which limits opportunities for children to take exercise has been blamed for fuelling an increase in obesity.

Leading US paediatrician Professor Richard Jackson called for a rethink in the way towns and cities are developed."

"How a neighbourhood is designed dictates how people get around, for example walking or bicycling versus automobile use."

Professor Jackson, who is professor in both public health and urban design at the University of California at Berkeley, said technology had brought both "good" and "bad" news.

Labour saving technology

He said: "Technology has eliminated a lot of the really backbreaking labour from our lives.

"But we have also "designed" a lot of incidental exercise out of our lives, such as walking.

"In 1969, 48% of American students (90% of those who lived within a mile) walked or bicycled to school.

"In 1999, only 19% of children walked to or from school and 6% rode bicycles to school."

Dr Ian Campbell, medical director of the charity Weight Concern, said Professor Jackson was "absolutely right".

He said: "The development of obesity in the past 30 years is a direct result of environmental change.

"The fact that environment sustainability and health are inextricably linked needs to be recognised by politicians and public health officials and definitive action taken.

"Then, and only then, will we see decreases in levels of childhood obesity in this country."


Link to full story.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Bloomfield Bike Lane Letters to the Editor

There's been quite a spirited debate going on in the Post-Gazette's letters to the editor section about the bike lanes and shared lane markings that will go through Bloomfield this spring. Here they are for your enjoyment. We'd love to read your thoughts so please post comments:

All From the Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Letter to the editor, 09/01/06
Inconsiderate cyclists
I read with interest the article about a new bike lane on Liberty Avenue in Bloomfield ("Bicycle Lanes Gain Support on Long Stretch of Liberty Ave.," Aug. 28).
I work for a delivery service and cover the city very regularly; therefore the idea of sharing the road is laughable. Bike riders are consistently reckless and uncaring about traffic lights or signs or any driving protocol. They pass when and how they wish.
When they get licenses of some sort, or show some kind of road courtesy, then they will be entitled to road sharing.

JERRY MORRIS

Lawrenceville

**********************

Letter to the editor, 09/07/06
Inconsiderate others
I sympathize with the dilemma that Jerry Morris faces with inconsiderate cyclists (Sept. 1 letter). But I do take umbrage at Mr. Morris seemingly putting all cyclists into this category.
I ride my bicycle from the Strip District to Downtown, and I make sure that I obey all traffic laws to the best of my ability. As a cyclist I have to deal with reckless and uncaring buses, cars and most often pedestrians. It is amazing how many pedestrians walk out in front of traffic either against the light or in the middle of the street.
So long as gas and parking prices remain high and the population Downtown and in surrounding areas increases, I can guarantee that the number of cyclists on the road is only going to increase.
Nothing would suit me better than if I didn't have to share the road with vehicles and pedestrians. The bottom line, Mr. Morris, is that if I have to put up with you on the road, then you have to put up with me.

ROBERT J. BOSCIA

Ross

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Letters to the editor, 09/11/06
Two-wheeled danger
Warmest thanks to Jerry Morris ("Inconsiderate Cyclists," Sept. 1 letter) for raising the serious problem of cyclists running through lights and ignoring the rules that the rest of us -- motorists and pedestrians -- have to obey.
Recently, I nearly killed a cyclist who, in complete darkness and without lights or a helmet, flew through a red light on Penn Avenue as I was edging forward on a green. This cyclist, traveling at 30-40 mph and completely invisible until about 6 feet away, shot through a light that had been solidly red for 10 or 15 seconds. I had to stop my car on the other side of the road to get over the shock of so nearly killing another person.
Many of us tend to sympathize with cyclists because cycling is healthy, ecologically friendly, etc. So we feel for them when they complain about being pushed off the road and abused by car owners. But many cyclists seem to be governed by a rebel spirit that rejects the mundane restrictions imposed on other road users -- when the Pennsylvania Driver's Manual specifically states that bicycles are covered by all its rules and even notes as an example that "All bicyclists, just like motorists, are required to stop at red lights."
What kind of "courage" or "individualism" is it that justifies so blatantly endangering other people and often ends up piling more work on already overworked doctors and nurses in emergency rooms? Why do cyclists feel they are above the law, yet entitled to emergency medical treatment when they flout it? Will some cyclist explain how and when cyclists acquired their immunity from reasonable rules and common courtesy? Doesn't "share the road" work both ways?

MARTIN STANILAND

Point Breeze

**********************

Respect for cyclists
I have to take issue with Jerry Morris' Sept. 1 letter ("Inconsiderate Cyclists") concerning "consistently reckless and uncaring" bike riders and his idea that we need licenses to validate our rights.
There are certainly some bikers who fit this description, but I would say the same about some drivers. And legally, we don't need licenses to ride our bikes, so it isn't up to you or anyone else to decide on your own that we are not entitled to share the road with you. And until the laws are changed, that is the reality in which we live.
Unfortunately, many motorists labor under this delusion and act like we are simply some random obstacle. I have been knocked off my bike several times by drivers who tried to pass within 2 inches of my body. I have been hit by drivers who make sudden turns without signaling.
I do not ride recklessly. I wear a helmet and obey traffic laws. I stop when I am supposed to and signal my turns, which is more than I can say for many drivers who seem to feel that the rolling stop and unsignaled right turn is their birthright.
I deserve the same respect as other vehicles on the road, and I am happy the city is making strides to improve the lives of bikers.

ANGELA M. VESCO

South Side

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

We just keep growing, and growing...

This is not a news flash. America is suffering from an obesity epidemic that's costing us billions of dollars every year. According to a study done by Trust for America's Health, 31 states saw an increase in obesity over the past year. Truly horrifying is the rise in adult-onset diabetes amonst children. In fact, they've had to rename it Type II since it doesn't just appear in adults any longer.

Trust for America's Health makes plenty of recommendations in their report, but one stood out most to us here at Bike Pittsburgh:

At the local level, governments should approve zoning and land use laws that give people more chances to walk or bike to the store or to work. Local governments also should set aside more funding for sidewalks.

Wouldn't that be something! Obviously a major part of the problem is that we're living in communities that were designed solely for personal automobiles. Somewhere along the lines our planners forgot that the need to exercise on a daily basis is a basic human necessity and that people shouldn't have to belong to a private gym to be able to be mobile. They also seemed to have forgotten that millions of people can't afford or do not have the ability to drive (too young, too old, or disabled). Well, I think the time has come for communities to start to pay attention to the fact that we're killing ourselves while costing us billions in obesity related health costs.

Link to article

If you're interested in learning more, please consider attending the Childhood Obesity Summit at the convention center in Downtown Pittsburgh on September 16th.

Monday, August 21, 2006

City of Pittsburgh Announces Bicycling Plans for Liberty Ave.

On Saturday, August 19th Pittsburgh's Department of City Planning announced their plans for striping and marking pavement to better facilitate bicycle transportation through the neighborhood of Bloomfield. Richard Meritzer, the part-time bike/ped planner with the city, facilitated the presentation and follow-up discussion.

Over 50 bicyclists attended the meeting as well as a handful of neighborhood business owners and non-riding residents. An overwhelming majority of the folks present were very supportive of the city taking steps to do a better job accommodating bicyclists through this corridor including the president of the Bloomfield Business Association. A healthy question/answer session addressed concerns ranging from defining Shared Lane Markings and where they will be placed, to questioning the City's decision to only stripe one line for the bike lane despite the fact that there is on-street parking. Many feel, adding a second stripe will ensure that drivers park closer to the curb and not further into the middle of the bike lane - a practice common on the Beechwood Blvd bike lane, which is also striped with only a single line.

The City assured everyone there that they will take as many steps necessary to keep bicyclists as safe as possible through this corridor, and that they will constantly revisit this area to see if there are ways in which to make things safer.

The large turnout also reinforced that there is a huge cycling presence in the area who would like to see more cycling improvements in their neighborhood and throughout the city. Due to the success of the format, the city may hold future, similar "town hall" style meetings for cyclists, so stay tuned.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Aug 23-27: Allegheny Parks Mountain Bike Fest

Check out the event listings for the first-ever Allegheny Parks Mt. Bike Fest, brought to you by Pittsburgh Trail Advocacy Group and Allegheny Parks: Mt. Bike Fest Calendar

An Event to Highlight Allegheny County's wonderful parks and singletrack and to meet other Mountain Bikers. All Events are FREE. For these rides, we are asking that you have a knobby tired mountain bike in good working order, a helmet, water, and can handle 2 hours of hills, roots, and rocks. We should cover 12-15 miles of singletrack per park. We hope that you can join us!!

***************************************

Recent Press Release:

Allegheny County Parks to Host Mountain Bike Fest
Organized biking excursions will showcase trails in six County parks

PITTSBURGH — Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato today announced the County Parks Department, in partnership with the Pittsburgh Trail Advocacy Group (PTAG), will host a Mountain Bike Fest from August 23 through 27.

“Pittsburgh and Allegheny County arguably have some of the best mountain biking opportunities of any major urban area. Within an hour of downtown, there are an abundance of trails suitable for everyone from beginners to the most avid mountain bike enthusiasts, and many of these trails are conveniently located in Allegheny County Parks,” said Mike Connors of PTAG.

During the five-day fest, mountain bikers can participate in a number of free, organized rides in Boyce Park, Deer Lakes Park, Harrison Hills Park, Hartwood Acres, North Park and South Park. Cyclists are strongly encouraged to have proper equipment, including a helmet, water bottle and knobby-tired mountain bike in good working condition.

“The Allegheny County Mountain Bike Fest is an inventive way to reach out to the growing number of cyclists and acquaint them with the trail systems available in our County parks,” added Onorato. “We are pleased to partner with the Pittsburgh Trail Advocacy Group on this exciting endeavor, and we encourage anyone who likes mountain biking to come out and enjoy what our parks have to offer.”

The organized rides will last approximately two hours and will cover 12 to 15 miles per ride. All trips will be led by local cyclists who are eager to share their knowledge and experience with bike fest participants. Following each excursion, bikers are invited to take advantage of the pools, picnic shelters, free concerts and other recreational activities and amenities available in the County parks.

For information on the Allegheny County Mountain Bike Fest, including designated meeting times and locations for the organized rides, contact Mike Connors at 724-934-9293 or mtbmike@bike-pgh.org. A detailed events calendar is available at www.bike-pgh.org. Information on Allegheny County Parks and directions to each facility are available at www.county.allegheny.pa.us/parks.


# # #


Allegheny County operates nine public parks that span 12,000 acres and offer a wide array of sporting, leisure, cultural and entertainment opportunities. The Allegheny County Parks system serves to enhance the quality of life and well-being of the citizens of Allegheny County and Southwestern Pennsylvania. Various seasonal and year-round programs, activities and amenities provide residents with educational and recreational opportunities, while also contributing to the economic vitality of the region.


The purpose of the Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group is to protect and encourage multi-use trail access. PTAG members are especially concerned with single-track trails used by mountain bikers, hikers and equestrians. PTAG works with City, County and State landowners to ensure that all trails are approved, constructed and maintained to International Mountain Bicycling Association standards, with minimal impact on the environment. It also strives to educate all users on responsible trail use with the goal of fostering improved relations among landowners and trail users.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Re-designing Cities



Architect Hillary Brown offers some tips on how to make the most of miles of concrete and pavement rights-of-way in big cities.

"First off, we noticed that cars, surface transit, pedestrians, and bike riders all compete for the right-of-way. But too often, autos win out. So, we proposed carving out more space for bikers, and separating them from cars and walkers with islands and corridors of trees and vegetation."

Link

Wednesday, August 09, 2006