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Pittsburgh Wins Pro-Walk, Pro-Bike Conference Bike Wrap_Emily Farah_SOC.mp3

A nationwide conference geared toward highlighting and brainstorming ideas for pedestrian and bicycling enhancements is coming to Pittsburgh in two years.  

Pittsburgh will host the 2014 Pro Walk/ Pro Bike Conference September 8-12, and use the opportunity to showcase bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure initiatives in the city. The biennial event has been held since 1980 and is coordinated by the National Center for Bicycling and Walking.

Joanna Doven, city spokeswoman, said “it’s a huge deal” Pittsburgh beat other finalists New York and Boston for the 2014 conference.

“I think that’s a testament to all the work we’ve done to become bike-friendly and pedestrian-friendly.”

Since 2008, Doven said the city has added equipment and improved existing infrastructure for cyclists and pedestrians.

“We’ve striped more than 30 miles of bike lanes, we’ve but in over 500 bike racks throughout our neighborhood business districts, and we’re actually going to be striping the first green bicycle lane in the coming months so there’s a lot that we’ve done, [and] a lot we’re going to be doing in the next couple of years.”

Doven said the city plans on doubling the number of bike lanes in the next two years, and for pedestrians, she said the city plans on making wider sidewalks and installing safer crossing signals.  The motivation for the projects is to make the city more sustainable and more livable, especially for young people, she said.

“Really we’re making complete streets,” Doven said.  “When a resident moves into the city of Pittsburgh or lives in the city of Pittsburgh, they not only can drive to a business district, they can walk and they can bike, and really live more healthy, and really more happy.”