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After 5 Years Of Work, Pittsburgh Releases Plan To Expand Biking Amenities

Sarah Kovash
90.5 WESA

The city of Pittsburgh has released a roadmap to make the city more friendly to bikes and other light modes of transportation. The proposed Pittsburgh Bike (+) Master Plan has been in the works for five years.

The plan proposes a mobility network that would ultimately include 120 miles of new facilities, such as bike lanes, and 32 miles of new trails. The name Bike (+) refers to other forms of mobility, such as scooters and skateboards, that could utilize the amenities.

Pittsburgh's director of mobility and infrastructure, Karina Ricks, said this plan has the potential to make a large impact. She said currently, one quarter of car rides made in Pittsburgh are less than a mile, and 40 percent are less than two miles.

"That's a lot of trips that are traveling distances easily accommodated through other modes of transportation, if it's not so scary to do," Ricks said.

Ricks said the hope is for this plan to make traveling by bike safer in Pittsburgh. Last October, a cyclist was killed in Brookline after being struck by a car, the fourth bicycle fatality in the city since 2015 according to advocacy group Bike Pittsburgh.

Bike Pittsburgh encouraged the creation of this new plan, according to executive director Scott Bricker, in part because the city's last bicycle plan was created in 1999. Bricker said he feels confident the plan will lead to much-needed changes to the city's bike system.

"I think as a result there's going to be more safety on our streets, more clarity, less confusion and less stress for everyone," Bricker said.

Ricks said the Bike (+) Master Plan will also benefit people who don't bike, and have no plans to pick up alternative ways of mobility.

"We hope that in providing more attractive, more comfortable connections to places that people go, we will free up the capacity in our roads for people who really do need to drive for those longer distances," Ricks said. 

A public comment period on the plan is open until the end of March. Five Bike (+) open houses will take place throughout the city at the end of February.