I was born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. I learned how to ride a bike in the lower left area of the map below, and I logged hundreds of miles each summer in the area toward the upper right, after we moved when I was about ten years old. If anyone had told me that Pittsburgh would someday be in the top twenty bike friendly cities, I would have laughed myself silly. I saw Pittsburgh as hill after hill after steeper hill and where the roads were not pockmarked with potholes, they were narrow and they twisted in every imaginable direction. If you took your bike into the city, you only had to know that downtown Pittsburgh is a triangle, to imagine the challenge for cyclist.
When my brother sent me this article, I was amazed and happy. While visiting the city over the past ten years, we have noticed bike lanes, signage, and lots of bike trails. The notion that they are going to almost tripped the size of this network just makes me smile.
“The city would add 123 miles of dedicated on-street bike lanes and 27 miles of dedicated bike trails to the existing network for a total of 243 miles of bike infrastructure, according to the master plan. Pittsburgh currently has 93 miles of bike infrastructure; it had 11 miles when the first 10-year bike plan was launched in 1999.”
I was also impressed that the improvements planned are not limited to bikes.
“The goal of the plan is to make streets safe for all types of users, said Eric Boerer, advocacy director for Bike Pittsburgh
I like to think of our streets as complete streets or networks. A bike-friendly network will include a lot of streets, but all kinds of users are accommodated,” Mr. Boerer said. “Streets safe for cars are safe for bikes, for walking, for wheelchairs and so on. You need to think of all these scenarios for people.”
Lot’s of cities have and / or are planning to improve Master Plans that incorporate a wide variety of non-car transit on city streets and in areas expanding out into their suburbs. As a veteran of the bad old days of bike riding in Pittsburgh, I say, if they can make bikes safe in that city, any city can be safe for bikes.
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