Shady Avenue Can Be Dangerous, And Deadly – Officials Are Working To Change That

Sep 26, 2019

Shady Avenue in Pittsburgh will undergo nearly a year of scrutiny and planning to improve safety on the busy corridor. City officials partnered with the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, a regional planning body, to analyze crash data, traffic and amenities along the road.

“It’s a very long corridor, there’s a lot of things that are going on,” said Katy Sawyer, a senior project manager with the city’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure.

The road is classified as an “arterial” and stretches from Penn Avenue in Shadyside all the way to Monitor Street at the southern edge of Squirrel Hill. Some 13,000 cars travel along Shady Avenue each day, in addition to buses and the many people who walk and bike along it. From the crash data, Sawyer said they know the roadway has a speeding problem.

In 2019 alone, officials say two pedestrians have been killed.

The road safety audit conducted by the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission will take into account user data, one-on-one interviews, and information gathered while walking the whole stretch of road.

Councilperson Erika Strassburger told attendees at a public meeting that safety relies on three things: enforcement, street design and personal responsibility.

“That we’re all going the speed limit, and that we are driving in other people’s neighborhoods as if we’re in our own neighborhood,” she said. 

Residents say there seems to be far more traffic than there used to be. Elaine Beck said the swell of drivers also seem to travel faster and ignore the rules.

“I think people don’t care,” she said. “It’s all about themselves … ‘I’ve got to get here, there. I’m busy. I’ve got a lot going on. I’m late.’”

Officials expect to hold another public meeting in the spring to propose solutions. Until then, Strassburger invited people to take Pittsburgh’s Safe Driving Pledge. The oath requires adherents to follow the law by actually going the speed limit and stopping for pedestrians.