Penn Ave bike lane
I believe this was always the plan. The bikeway was originally planned to go all the way to Commonwealth Place, but I think because Penn Avenue was going to be re-paved and PWSA had some work they wanted to get done, they didn’t install the bike lanes.
If I recall correctly, the original plan last year was for the cycle track to go all the way to Stanwix, but those last two blocks were postponed due to utility work on the 500 block of Penn. The current state of this block could be fairly described as “shot”, so the repaving is definitely needed, bike lane or not.
Also, I’ve heard a couple of times now that a bike lane is coming to Stanwix. No idea on timeline or shape, though.
well, yes, but the point was to ask if it would actually happen.
The Penn Ave cycle track counters now have real-time data:
+29,000 trips at 1200 block counter in July
On a related note, the bike lane and neighboring sidewalk were closed off last night due to some sort of construction work high on the Heinz Hall building—looked like grinding or welding or something up on the fire escape. (This on top of the work trucks that have been in but not entirely blocking off the lane the last several times I’ve been downtown.)
There was, of course, no detour or other information posted nor any sort of safe passage provided, just a sawhorse across the sidewalk and bike lane…. the two car lanes were, naturally, unaffected.
This is pretty awesome. Will be coming up to 100K trips very soon! Interesting to that the hover over gives a count for the cars that shouldn’t have been there, too.
I wonder if the “car” counter is actually pedicabs or bikes with trailers. That would make sense ;-)
Here’s the Envision Downtown report for July:
The commuter pattern remains strong, but the peaks remain consistent, even if average weekday ridership has gone up. Weekend average ridership remains higher than that of weekdays, but the latter seems to be catching up
My ongoing gripe with the Penn Ave lane is all the low manhole covers. They were one of the first things noticed, it’s been nearly a year, and not a one has been fixed.
Agreed! I’d use the lanes more if it weren’t for those, as is I have to avoid if I’m trying to get somewhere kinda fast. I still use them when not hurrying just to see some more other cyclists than in the parallel roadways and to enjoy the fact that we’re in a city that’s trying.
Five-minute video of the low manholes.
From my video’s explanatory text:
One of the earliest complaints about the Penn Ave bike lane when it first opened was low manhole covers. A year later, not a one has changed. Experienced riders find them annoying, but in the dark or rain, an inexperienced rider could get enough of a jolt from one of these to lose his balance.
Inbound starting at 16th St, my front camera, normally jiggly anyway from being mounted directly on the handlebars, registers strong jolts when some of these holes are hit. Some of these are outbound, but as I didn’t have time to roll both ways, I swung over to the outbound bike lane to clobber a couple of those instead.
I hit holes at: 0:32, 0:35, 0:52, 0:59, 1:12, 1:15, 1:18, 1:22, 2:02, 2:07, 2:09, 3:00, 3:04, 3:16, 3:20, 4:05, 4:07, 4:11, 4:13, 4:14, 4:20, 4:28, 4:38, 4:41 (actually a drain grate) and 4:49.
The 1200 block bike counter hit 100,000 trips sometime yesterday morning! High five, people! Good job running your bikes back and forth over the counter to fudge them numbers!
All kidding aside, that counter is at an average of 806 trips per day since it was installed in mid April, and rising as the summer goes along. I’d be impressed if this average keeps up through the rest of the year, particularly if that Strip District trail ever opens up again.
We have a Strip Distric trail? Oh yeah, I forgot about that, it’s been closed for so bleeding long.
As a reminder, outbound the Penn lane can (virtually) continue onto Spring Lane (at 16th, jog up R 1/2 a block and L into the alley). Spring has good pavement and you can go up as far as you want, or if you prefer fewer stops cut to Smallman once past the shopping district. Real Bikers, of course, just go up Liberty.
The Strip Trail of yore was nice, but you’re forgetting the mayflies…
@ahlir, for as long as I’ve lived in Pittsburgh, that trail has been closed so I honestly don’t know if I’m missing out on anything special. Seems like it’s a bit of a hassle to get to it, so I don’t think I’d use it much
You could get from the 10th to the cork factory then you had to go up Railroad and into the high 30’s, at which point it resumes along the river, for a while.
For me the “nice” had to do with traveling through its post-industrial landscape, wondering what might have been there and how the world had grown over and around it since.
It is not as yet an up-to-standards trail. It will be one once it’s continuous to the zoo and heads up to the top of Heth’s Run. Catch it now before it gets overrun by condos…
We have a Strip Distric trail? Oh yeah, I forgot about that, it’s been closed for so bleeding long.
Don’t worry, the strip district trail should open by the end of august!
— Kevin Acklin (@kevinacklin) June 27, 2015
I’m not even guessing whether that date is going to be met. Nobody seems to be able to say with certainty.
I just started commuting to and from work (Polish Hill to North Side) via the Strip this month.
After trying a few different routes and getting caught in wicked 5PM Downtown traffic (I’m not much of a filterer) I found that just GETTING TO the Penn Ave bike lane is hell in the evening rush.
I might actually USE the Strip trail on the way home and Penn Ave in the AM rush.
So, I’m anxiously awaiting the re-opening, but not holding my breath.
For now, I’m using the Convention Center connector from the Point and then hopping on Smallman.
@benzo They have four whole days to open it back up, waiting with bated breath for the announcement of the grand reopening! Or not.
Saw today that the City has posted signs at Penn and 16th signaling Smallman St as the designated outbound bike route. The signs make you go right on 16th, then left on Spring Way, then left on 17th until you get to Smallman. I guess they got tired of seeing people riding the wrong way into Penn, either on the road or on the sidewalk
@chrisent: That sounds totally great. Up to now you had to decide whether to turn down 15th, or just continue out on Spring.
Doing Spring meant some maneuvering around cars on 16th. I would hope that eventually there’s bike-relevant signalling [bike-only right from Penn to beat the oncoming west-bound cars that turn], and one of those green carpet thingies marking a clear path for bikes.
[On a personal note, before the Penn lanes I would regularly cut down 15th to Smallman (if not just use 10th). Once the lanes were installed I found myself continuing up and onto Spring: less hassle. I’m not sure if it isn’t just me but Spring seems way more pleasant than it used to be some years ago; the pavement is in good shape (apart from a couple of really deep holes). And I’ve found that I don’t really minding so much having to maybe slow down at each street. In any case, lanes rock.]
Spring got paved I think in 2012 or 2013.
My preference is the far side 16th St sidewalk to Spring to 22nd to Smallman. I do not like the Smallman/21st corner from any direction.
I like Liberty when passing through the strip or heading to the strip from downtown, but I’m not always up for it. For me, that part of Liberty could be an okay place to have some sort of cycle track, considering car speeds. Makes more sense in my opinion than Penn downtown where I don’t feel a need for the cycle track because of slower traffic and higher density of intersections.
Extension to Stanwix coming very soon, apparently. From a BikePGH post:
“Penn Avenue Protected Lane Extension:
As promised, the Penn Avenue protected bike lane will be inching its way closer to Point State Park. Soon the lane – currently running from 16th Street to 6th Street – will be extended two blocks to Stanwix Street. This will be a continuation of the existing two-way protected cycletrack in the exact same style. The lane was first installed right around this time last year”
“Soon the lane – will be extended two blocks to Stanwix Street.”
I have a wager going with myself: I think this’ll be finished before the Strip trail opens back up.
Penn Ave from 6th to Stanwix is still on the City’s paving map, so the cycle track will probably not be put in until the end of this month at the earliest
Is there any breath of a timeline for when things go east? Both Smallman and Liberty are quite ride-able, but Liberty the motorists are clearly ticked at you even if cranking along at over 20mph, and Smallman is incredibly annoying.
Traffic report for Penn Ave cycle track during August:
The 1200 block counter saw over 30k trips, with under 10% of those coming during the Pedal PGH Sunday. Numbers for 900 block counter dropped slightly, and the 600 block counter came back into service in the middle of the month.
The street paving schedule (http://pittsburghpa.gov/dpw/StreetPavingSchedule) has them starting on the 10th at 3 AM for milling, and no scheduled time for paving.
Paving generally happens pretty closely to milling unless something complicates matters. For instance, in a lot of places paving is being done in conjunction with utility work so that DPW doesn’t pave a street only to have PWSA tear it up and replace a 100 yr old pipe weeks later. I don’t know why PennDOT has milled and taken a while to pave on both Butler and now seemingly Penn in East End(though I haven’t been up to Penn recently).
Port Authority evidently has been told to expect paving to happen tonight.
The two blocks have been milled. Paving, I assume, will follow shortly after
Penn Ave does not show up in the City’s paving list for this week, so one assumes it’s going to be rough there for a while. They are probably waiting until the Pirates go out of town again (9/18-9/27) and after the first Steelers home game (9/20), in order to minimize traffic disruptions, and to not piss off Alco, who owns the 6th and Penn parking garage that greatly benefits from these games
It’s noteworthy that there has been virtually zero press about this extension, other than the little blurb on this site. It’d be helpful for the City to get the word out early, so that at least some road users are aware of this in advance. Otherwise, the popular claim that the City put the bike lanes in without telling anyone might actually be true, for once.
My wife called me to complain about the bike lanes on Penn. so,,,yay.
Crews were working on Sunday night tearing out more pavement between 6th St and Fifth Ave/Cecil.
Also, this is happening today:
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