South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

City reviewing data for city-wide safe, comfortable bike trail plan


Last updated 9/25/2019 at 9:17pm

The Sept. 16 meeting of the Zone 3 Public Safety Council began with a presentation on a city-wide bike trail plan.

Kristin Saunders, RA, principal transportation planner, City of Pittsburgh, Dept. of Mobility and Infrastructure, said the city's bike plan has been in the works since 2016. 

Its vision statement is: "The Pittsburgh bike plan will build a safe, comfortable, and convenient bike network for all."  Its goals are: safety, accessible, inclusive, usable, and adaptable.

In 2017, outreach open houses were held to solicit answers to questions like, "Where are you biking?  Where do you want to bike?  What prevents you from biking?"

In 2018, a Wikimap was created to ask respondents how they would connect to proposed destinations; provide policy recommendations; and to present a review of project prioritization.

Today, the city is reviewing the route map; developing text of a bike plan; releasing draft; and getting to work on the plan.

The plan outline will begin with Chapter 1, "Bicycling in Pittsburgh," and feature vision/goals and what biking is like right now.  Chapter 2's "Bicycle Network" will address connected bike network, urban trail network, bikes and transit, emerging mobility, and support facilities.

The Design, as described in Chapter 3, is for all ages and abilities. It consists of neighborway, separated bike lane, shared use trail, and intersection treatments. "Neighborway" refers to looking for local, low-traffic streets, and where people walking and biking feel welcome.

Chapter 4 is about "Programs and Partnerships," while Chapter 5 is on "Parking and Implementation."  Ms. Saunders said issues specific to Pittsburgh include topography, winter, and bridges and narrow streets.

Bicycle user types are "interested but concerned," which is 51 to 56 percent of the total population.  "Somewhat confident" defines 5 to 9 percent of the population, while "highly confident" describes 4 to 7 percent of the population.  The latter group is comfortable riding with traffic, and will use roads without bike lanes.

"We are designing for the 'interested but concerned'," Ms. Saunders said.

To a question about bike laws, she said only two bikers can ride in a pair at most.  An attendee said she was behind five bikers across a road, causing her to be late for an appointment.

In public safety reports, a Knoxville resident said there appeared to be an increase in robberies in her neighborhood.

Zone 3 Commander Karen Dixon said there were 22 robberies throughout the zone from Aug. 1 to Sept. 12.  Of those 22 robberies, five occurred in Knoxville. The trend is multiple actors with guns involved.

"We are very aware of the activity," the commander said.

An attendee commented about youngsters out at all hours on street corners.

Until we get these parents to get control "these kids are going to run amok," she said.

Another resident said she wanted to thank the Zone 3 officers for an "amazing" response time when she reported a man jumping over a gate and onto her property at 5 a.m. The man is a suspect in numerous home invasions.

Public safety outreach coordinator Jay Gilmer reported that Pittsburgh's Fall 2019 Student Police Academy will be begin Oct. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m. The program will be held each Wednesday for 10 weeks at Point Park University, 201 Wood St.   Registration closes Oct. 4.

High school youth will experience the highlights of police training and be taught the basics of criminal law, search and seizure, and more.  The program is free.

For more information, contact John Tokarski at, or call 412-255-2117. 

In the treasurer's report, the public safety council has $364.23 in its bank account. 

Two new block watches are organizing in Knoxville.  Another one may be starting in the South Side.

In upcoming events/meetings:

"Citizens Response to an Active Threat" will be held on Oct. 7, 6:30-8:30 p.m., at 25 Carrick Ave.  The presenter will be Pittsburgh Police Sgt. Eric Kroll.  The free event is sponsored by the Carrick/Overbrook Community Block Watch in partnership with the Zone 3 Public Safety Council.

On Oct. 16, 5:30-8:30 p.m., a City-Wide Public Safety Meeting will be held at St. Pius X Byzantine Catholic Church, 2336 Brownsville Rd.  The event is hosted by the Zone 3 Public Safety Council.  Light dinner buffet 5:30-6:30.   The theme will be "Back to Basics," with various city departments sharing details of what they do.

"Bring your inquiring minds," Mr. Gilmer said.

The next Zone 3 meeting will be its end-of-the-year meeting at 6 p.m. on Nov. 18 at Knoxville Library.

There will be no December meeting. 


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