By Liz Core on 22 Nov 2014 8:15 am
Pittsburgh’s Rust Belt reputation just got a little shinier. The city was already receiving accolades for its revival after a devastating economic collapse in the late ’70s and early ’80s. And now the Steel City is making the lists of the most bike- and pedestrian-friendly cities in America.
It’s gaining ground fast. Four months ago, Pittsburgh announced plans to construct three protected bike lanes over a mile and a half of city roads. Now that those are complete, city leaders are rolling towards three and a half more miles. Five miles don’t sound like a lot, but we’re talking protected bike lanes, where barriers — like parked cars — shield bikers from traffic. “It’s not quite the feeling of walking on the sidewalk or riding your bike on a car-free trail,” says Bike Pittsburgh Executive Director Scott Bricker, “but it’s as close as you can get in an urban environment.”
If any city has a need for safe streets, it’s the ‘Burgh. Pittsburgh boasts the steepest road in the country (yep, higher inclines than any mole hill in San Francisco) and has more bridges than any other American city or region.
Bike Pittsburgh is a bicycle and pedestrian advocacy group that has been paving the way for safer streets for years now. The organization’s work in bike safety education and slowing traffic attracted the attention of The Green Lane Project, which encourages cities to build better bike infrastructure. The Green Lane Project partnered with city leaders in Pittsburgh to implement the lanes.
The three bike lanes connect trails, parks, and business districts, so that bike commuters can access some of the most vital city centers. Considering bicycling can create jobs and strengthen local economies, this was a wise move, yinz. City of Champions indeed.