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Development & Transportation

PAT Introduces Bike-Friendly Initiatives

The Port Authority of Allegheny County is making a couple of changes that are sure to please bicyclists: at a small gathering in Market Square Friday morning, the Port Authority announced it has equipped its entire fleet of buses with bike racks, an initiative ten years in the making.

The bike racks attach to the fronts of the buses, and each can hold two standard-sized bikes. PAT spokeswoman Heather Pharo said they were paid for through several grants and matching funds from the Richard King Mellon Foundation.

Pharo said her agency is also rolling back limitations for bicycles on its light rail service. "It used to be that you couldn't bring your bike on the 'T' inbound during the morning commute, or outbound during the afternoon commute," said Pharo. "We have since lifted those restrictions, so there's no direction restriction, there's no time restriction on when you can bring your bikes on the 'T.'" Pharo said she expects both of the changes to increase ridership.

Bike Pittsburgh Executive Director Scott Bricker said he was aware of the bike rack installations, but the announcement of the light rail policy change was a welcome surprise. "The capture zone for bicycling is about two to three miles, whereas if you're a pedestrian it's about a half-mile to a mile to access public transit," said Bricker. "So, people are much more likely to ride two [or] three miles to pick up a train and get into the city, and perhaps they were driving a car before. So, hopefully this alleviates congestion, this improves our air quality and gets people healthier."