New Pathways Improve Bike & Pedestrian Experience Along River
Every year in Lawrenceville, at least one person is injured in a bike crash, a fact that is unsurprising for those who bike along Butler Street, a so-called “cautionary bike route” that is both stressful and difficult to avoid.
Yet biking is getting a whole lot easier in one of Pittsburgh’s most dense and highly trafficked neighborhoods. Instead of biking along Butler Street, bikers can now hop just two blocks over to the Willow-Hatfield Neighborway extending from the 40th Street Bridge to 51st Street. Thanks to the newly installed Hatfield connector – a 0.1-mile paved pathway sneaking around Spirit’s property between 50th and 51st Street – bikers can then ride directly to Berlin Way, an unofficial neighborhood bike route that connects to McCandless Avenue via Harrison Street.
If all that sounds confusing, you are certainly not alone. Luckily, the City’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) is partnering with Healthy Ride and BikePGH to organize a series of celebratory bike rides to show Pittsburgh residents the ropes. Bring your own bike or rent one from a nearby Healthy Ride station for a ride through Lawrenceville, Bloomfield, and Friendship on July 16th at 5 PM. You can learn more about this ride and others under the Events section at facebook.com/MoveForwardPGH.
In the meantime, DOMI is continuing to build out more infrastructure to ensure a comfortable ride through Lawrenceville. Next on the docket is a multi-modal path following the Allegheny Valley Railroad dreamed up by community members over a decade ago. DOMI is currently planning out a section from 39th to 43rd Street. The path will eventually connect multiple neighborhoods from Downtown to Highland Park. Dubbed the “Green Boulevard,” the community vision also includes a busway or commuter rail extending upwards to Verona, Oakmont, or even New Kensington, a route that will likely enter its planning phase at the PortAuthority within the next five years.
For those of us lucky enough to live near a stress-free bike route, getting from place to place is fun, it’s exercise, and it’s getting to know our city better. It’s skipping traffic and enjoying the ride at a slower, steadier pace along Pittsburgh’s less traveled neighborhood streets. And, finally, it’s coming to a road near you.