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Building Innovation is a collection of stories by 90.5 fm WESA reporters about the Pittsburgh region focusing on efficient government operation, infrastructure and transportation, innovative practices, energy and environment and neighborhoods and community.

Summer Cyclists Add Big Gains To Penn Avenue Bike Lane Use

Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

  Ridership along the Penn Avenue bike lanes is up at least 25 percent since June, according to data released last week by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

Spokesperson Leigh White said they counted roughly 1,000 trips per day on average in July. Ridership also spiked on weekends, she said.

“That’s the size of a nice-sized parking garage of people who are not parking (and) are using different means of commuting to town,” White said.

Penn Avenue readers recorded a 25 percent increase in ridership since June at the 1200 block and a nearly 34 percent increase in the 900 block. White said the third, placed on the 600 block, malfunctioned and can’t be used for comparison.

Real time data is available on the partnership’s interactive map.

Counters were placed along the lane in late April, about seven months since the lanes were first installed. City planners weren’t sure what to expect in total ridership, but long-term growth was expected, White said.

“As the weather got better and summer moved along, and also with the introduction of the bike share program in Pittsburgh, Healthy Ride, we did anticipate that ... some increases in the numbers,” she said.

The 1200 block has recorded over 94,000 trips since the counters' installation; the 900 block clocked more than 78,000. Most riders enter Downtown at the 1200 block, White said, and many disperse from there.

“I think once you sort of get into town, there’s more of a need to kind of peel off of the bike lanes to get to where you’re going,” she said.

Bike lane use and installation continues to grow citywide. The city’s planning department held a community meeting July 30 to discuss the possibility of adding bike lanes to O'Hara Street in Oakland.