dangerous longitudinal drain grates

← Back to Forums


mustion
Participant
#

yeah. i’ll avoid that. yeesh


joeframbach
Participant
#

Can they just be flipped over? from //// to \\?


Lyle
Participant
#

I’ve learned to make it easier on myself by never riding over drain grates. Then I don’t have to stop and think about which way the slots go. And I don’t wipe out on slippery wet metal, or get my wheel diverted by the crack between the asphalt and the grate, or pinch-flat on the pothole that always lurks there…


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Found this one during the Flock Of Cycles ride.

This doozy is on Ellsworth at the corner of Bellefonte, outbound.

This one is a hazard to pedestrians as well as cyclists. Think baby carriages, grocery buggies, etc.


Impala26
Participant
#

I need to take a photo of the storm drain at the corner of Ward St. and the Boulevard of the Allies. Seriously, that thing could practically eat both the bike AND the rider!

Unrelated because it’s a big gap rather than a poorly-aligned storm grate, but still worth mentioning. And the thing that makes it worse is that it’s essentially right at the curb cut.

Also, Stu, how do you manage to take a photo like that in the middle of a bike ride? Well done.


mustion
Participant
#

I almost fell into that abyss at Ward & Boulevard tonight. Yikes.

I like the photo Stu. It’s like ADA meets Pitfall.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

This one? (go into Street View) <–The on the SE corner?

Or this one? <–The one on the NE corner? (you might have to rotate the compass, look for the grey car, and the girl on the sidewalk)

Yeah, there are a bunch of those out there, too.

I recall during the Flock Of Cycles ride pointing out an example of a good drain grate. I just wish I could remember where that was!

Flipping the Ellsworth/Bellefonte grate, while helping pedestrians with rolling things, would only exacerbate the problem for cyclists. That one simply needs to be replaced.

@impala26, you’ll notice that I ditched the bike (photo background), ran back & took a quick cell phone photo. It always helps to have a bicycle and/or cyclists in the photo, to give perspective to how close we routinely come to disaster.


mustion
Participant
#

Heh. I just thought the bike in the background was from the grate’s latest victim, somehow flung 30 feet across the intersection…


buzz1980
Participant
#

I found this interesting article about bicycles and drain covers. http://www.bikeplan.com/grate.html

Within the last few years, the city repaved my street and inserted something similar to the design in the article during the process


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

This is how they’re supposed to look. This one is on Penn Ave at Stanwix Street, about 200 feet away from that horrible one.

I wonder what it would take to switch out every troublesome grate in the area. Yeah, money, but how much? And what hoops would we have to jump through?

This is the sort of change that would make our road system so much safer for cyclists. A one-time cost to fix something that stays fixed.


reddan
Keymaster
#

I wonder what it would take to switch out every troublesome grate in the area. Yeah, money, but how much? And what hoops would we have to jump through?

Easy…sell it as “These new grates, with their smaller holes, will make it harder to drop your cell phone/car keys/iPad into the sewers when you’ve parked your car next to the grate.”


dwillen
Participant
#

iPhone proofed storm grates?? We’ll take eleventythousand please.


JZ
Participant
#

Around where I live, whenever they’ve replaced or repaired a grate lately, it’s been with the “good” kind that Stu depicts above. Perhaps targeted 311 calls would help with the most egregious examples. I had good luck calling 311 a couple of months ago for the collapsed opening at the intersection of South Highland and Elwood.


mark
Participant
#

that 40th street bridge one drives me crazy… there are literally 40+ grates on that bridge and ONE of them is that way… how does that happen?!


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

@mark, and I reported it through official channels in May 2009. So, like, c’mon guys, get on it already! You cannot see this thing in the dark, so as to avoid it.

It’s on the northbound side, about 3/4 of the way across.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Meanwhile, let’s try once again to get that Bigelow-just-up-from Bayard grate to show up:

(The key on these images is to have a URL that ends in “.jpg” )


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

I hit this one straight on yesterday. I didn’t wreck, but if I hadn’t had 80# in the tires I may well have gotten a pinch flat. Pretty much the same as walloping a pothole at speed.

McIntyre Square exit lane to Peebles Road, Ross Twp.

btw, there’s another just like it right at the corner where you turn right onto Peebles.


sloaps
Participant
#

At Fourteenth and Smallman, they’re digging up this inlet.

I’m worried as to what they’re to replace it with, not that the old one wasn’t a deathtrap.


scott
Keymaster
#

@sloaps, I’ve been working on them to replace this for months. Finally all my letters paid off. They removed the grate all together and just paved over the hole. We have before and after photos. We’ll be publishing a blog post on it soon so that people know that the 311 system can and does work. You need a little patience and perseverance with it sometimes, but it does work.


scott
Keymaster
#

c’mon people, get stoked!


dwillen
Participant
#

Nice work Scott. I specifically warn people to avoid the grates on Smallman when I give directions that way. Now I get to tell them to look for the newly paved over hole in the road. Score.


rsprake
Participant
#

I rode by here today and imagine my surprise when it was gone!


scott
Keymaster
#

erok
Keymaster
#

AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
#

Awesome. Way to go.

(Whats with the firetruck sign? Is there a secret fire station down there?)


joeframbach
Participant
#

That’s not a firetruck. That’s the truck that delivers crosswalks. As the pictogram shows.


rsprake
Participant
#

Ha ha.

The fire station is on the corner of Penn.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Yay!

I’m still waiting for resolution of the 40SB grate that I reported in May 2009 via SPC (see about halfway down on page 1 of this thread). swalfoort, any idea who to tickle about that one?


Benzo
Participant
#

Just reported a dangerous drain grate to 311 near the corner of Ellsworth and Neville ave in front of 552 Neville House.

Here’s a street view

It’s not too bad if you have fat tires, but it would eat up my road bike wheel.


Swalfoort
Participant
#

I’ll try to retackle the 40SB question, Stu. Can’t promise immeddiate results, obviously.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

We have a new one! On a just-repaved street, no less! This one is in West View, heading eastbound on Center (the way the 500 goes when it’s approaching W View but it turns right here, not left). You would hit this making a left turn from the left lane.

What galls me is that there wasn’t a wheel eating drain grate here before they did the work! Or if it was there, it was a lot easier to avoid.

Another point of reference: Scholl’s Bike Shop is just off-camera to the right, across the intersection.


Swalfoort
Participant
#

PennDOT will tell you that the diagonal slats mean that it IS a bicycle friendly sewer cover. I’ll have another chance to talk to them on Wednesday. I’ll see what I can do….


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

Thanks, Sara. Just send them these two links, photos to the Stanwix “good” grate and the West View “bad” grate:

Good: http://bike-pgh.org/bbpress/topic/dangerous-longitudinal-drain-grates/page/2#post-34253

Bad: http://bike-pgh.org/bbpress/topic/dangerous-longitudinal-drain-grates/page/2#post-51497

What they should do is read both pages of this thread.


Swalfoort
Participant
#

At the SPC ped-bike meeting this morning I raised this issue with PennDOT. They confirmed that they DO know that there are problems, and what good design is, but a) they can’t find all the problem locations on their own – so could we help them do so, and b) the new grates cost money, and that doesn’t grow on trees (est is $500 +/- per grate).

But, at their request, I have started to compile a central list. I see I missed one or two from this list (my printer failed to print the most recent posts).

This is what I have so far:

Ward Street at Blvd of Allies- Poorly aligned drain grate; grate and fit problematic

Ellsworth at Bellfonte, Outbound- diagonal sewer grate at intersection

Liberty Avenue between Stanwix and Hilton Hotel, in construction zone – diagonal sewer grate in middle of roadway, on curve

Smallman Street near Heinz History Center (need details)

Crossing Fifth from Chatham to Washington, Uptown-diagonal sewer grate at intersection;

40th Street Bridge – Scuppers (aka storm grates, but called scuppers on bridge, discussed at meeting)

Bigelow between O’Hara/Parkman, Oakland

Westbound Ingomar Road at turning north onto Harmony Road- diagonal sewer grates at intersection

Center Avenue westbound at right hand turn into Plaza – diagonal sewer grates at intersection

Babcock Blvd, .1 miles past Thompson Run- bad grate design, grate in huge depression

Babcock Blvd, in front of 3365 Babcock – bad grate design, grate in huge depression (is this the same one as above?)

Babcock Blvd, in front of 3333 Babcock straight grate, parallel to centerline

Notifying PennDOT (and by cc the City and the County) of these issues is a first step. They may not be responsible for the grates in all cases (Pgh Sewer/Water may be, for example) but it will be one step closer to full documentation.

Let me know of others that I’ve missed. I hope to send the first version of the list (to which I am appending photos) to PennDOT probably Monday of next week.


dwillen
Participant
#

They confirmed that they DO know that there are problems, and what good design is, but a) they can’t find all the problem locations on their own – so could we help them do so, and b) the new grates cost money, and that doesn’t grow on trees (est is $500 +/- per grate).

This seems to conflict with Stu’s report that they repaved a road, and stuck a new wheel sucking grate in the middle.


Pseudacris
Participant
#

Inbound FORBES, between the cemetery entrance and DALLAS. There is a grate with deep gouges all around it. Its right around where the bike lane ends. I can try to get a photo of it on a morning commute if someone else here doesn’t beat me to it.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
#

A couple of updates:

– The 3365 Babcock and 0.1 past TRR are different, and I think the TRR one is more a hole than a grate, & so is a bit off-topic (holes are a different discussion).

– The Liberty/Stanwix one is now fenced off. Just make a note that this had better get changed out or deleted altogether as part of the T project.

– It’s just the one scupper on 40SB that’s sideways (northbound, about 3/4 across, curb lane).

– The two exiting McIntyre Square, the one I photographed and another as you turn right onto Peebles that’s also in a big depression.


scott
Keymaster
#

Thank you Sara! PennDOT is complaining about $500 per grate? This is hilarious on so many levels. We’re talking maybe $10,000 total to make the lives of hundreds of people much much better. Give me a break, PennDOT.


Noah Mustion
Participant
#

I’m amazed that it’s $500/grate. It’s just a hunk of cast iron.

…plus $450 of labor costs for one guy to plop it in and five guys to stand around eating… Five Guys


Erica
Participant
#

I know it’s not a drain grate, but I always forget to 311 it – there’s a hole in the middle of the southbound side of grant st near oxford ctr, presumably for drainage. A car wouldn’t think it was anything but a pothole, as it’s probably less that 6 inches diameter, but for some tires, that could be a catastrophe…

← Back to Forums

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.