Encouraging safe, efficient travel for pedestrians
and cyclists is an important part of SPC's role as a regional transportation
agency. Bicycling and walking offer excellent commuter options that
support our overall mission to reduce traffic
congestion and improve air
quality. Communities that are pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly
are also livable, providing residents with opportunities
for recreation and community-enhancing economic development.
SPCs Pedestrian and Bicycle Committee addresses
issues of concern and pursues priority improvements of regional
significance. This committee is composed of representatives from
SPC-member counties, the City
of Pittsburgh, transit agencies, PENNDOT,
trail organizations, and advocates for pedestrians, bicyclists,
and persons with disabilities.
To maintain ongoing discussions with the pedestrian and bicycle community, SPC holds quarterly meetings of the its Pedestrian-Bicycle Advisory Committee to bring together regional planning partners, funding agencies, advocates and local representatives to discuss issues and opportunities in the non-motorized transportation sector. Topics of recent interest included PennDOT’s assessment of the rail corridor preservation process known as “railbanking” and the recent announcement of the rescission of several railbanked corridors, which will result in the elimination of existing hiking and biking trails in Armstrong and Centre Counties; information on the funding opportunity presented by the federal Congestion Mitigation Air Quality Improvement (CMAQ) program; and, the standardization and growth of the SPC bicycle counting program.
SPC’s transportation planners have undertaken a project to evaluate the cycling conditions of the regional state highway network. Based on the evaluation of a combination of traffic volumes, roadway geometry, and field observations, maps will periodically be created that can be used as a reference tool by cyclists and cycling commuters. The maps indicate the roadways as being above average, average or below average for cycling, as well as other features relevant to cyclists such as significant hills, trails, park-n-ride lots, and bicycle parking. These maps are intended to connect with and build out from the existing Bike-Pittsburgh Bike Map.
Did You Know?
People around the world recognize southwestern Pennsylvania as a model of trail development. In a few years, with the
completion of the Great Allegheny Passage and related trail
development, Pittsburgh will be the northern terminus of
a continuous, off-road trail extending from Pittsburgh to
Note: The suitability ratings of the roadways apply to cyclists experienced in operating on the roadway network with other motorized vehicles. Inexperienced cyclists looking for facilities free of motorized vehicles should view the SPC bike trail maps.
The preliminary bicycle suitability maps are available for Allegheny County and Greene County. These maps were recently presented to the SPC Pedestrian and Bicycle Committee and are available here for review and comment by cycling stakeholders. Through this process the maps are available to everyone, however, please understand the maps are in their preliminary form and they will be evolving as we strive to improve them based on cyclist input. Periodically, as the project moves forward, new maps will be posted for review for the other counties within the region.
In 2012, SPC continued to work with member governments and regional partners such as Bike Pittsburgh, PennDOT, and SPC’s CommuteInfo program in the promotion of safe bicycle commuting techniques and practices, through participation in several Car Free Friday events and the development of a Bicycle Commuting Webinar that was presented by CommuteInfo, the regional rideshare program.
Several communities in the region requested assistance from SPC staff in the development of community plans for pedestrian, bicycle or active transportation in 2012. In accommodating these requests, SPC served on the Technical Advisory Committee for the Bike Route Signage Plan in the City of Pittsburgh; was represented on the steering committee for the City’s MOVEPGH Plan; and, provided technical assistance to communities in Butler, Westmoreland, Indiana and Allegheny counties in the development and advancement of local pedestrian and bicycle planning initiatives.
In 2012, SPC completed Bicycle Suitability Maps (click here for the maps) for Westmoreland County, and initiated Bicycle Suitability maps for Fayette County. These maps identify low-volume, low-speed roads that are conducive to safe bicycle use. The maps also identify local roadways that are less suitable for bicycle use due to roadway design, traffic volume or vehicle speed. These maps are developed using an array of inputs, including PennDOT Roadway Video Logs Roadway Maintenance System (RMS) data, and considerable input from cyclists and pedestrians familiar with the local roadway network in each county.
To promote bicycle and pedestrian safety in the region, SPC maintains the Report a Road Hazard and Report a Missing Trail Link features on its website. These reporting features have been used to report a numerous issues, including basic roadway maintenance needs; the need for the removal of storm debris; and, the location and nature of misaligned, missing or otherwise dangerous drain grates. Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh and PennDOT have used information gathered through these links to remedy potential safety hazards along local roadways.
To address problems of bicycle commuter access through the winter months, SPC worked with the Friends of the Riverfront and the Pittsburgh Foundation on the design and implementation of a “shovel brigade,” which would provide the equipment needed to clear two major commuter trails of snow and ice in the winter months. Through this program, registered volunteers have access to the tools needed to provide day-to-day trail clearing activities, thereby promoting safer year-round commuting options.
To maintain ongoing discussions with the pedestrian and bicycle community, SPC holds quarterly meetings of its Pedestrian-Bicycle Advisory Committee to bring together regional planning partners, funding agencies, advocates and local representatives to discuss issues and opportunities in the non-motorized transportation sector. Topics of interest in 2012 included PennDOT’s assessment of the rail corridor preservation process known as railbanking and the recent announcement of the rescission of several railbanked corridors, which will result in the elimination of existing hiking and biking trails in Armstrong County; and, the standardization and growth of the SPC bicycle counting program.
In 2012, SPC conducted peak hour bicycle activity counts at more than 50 locations throughout the City of Pittsburgh. Data obtained from these counts is used at the local level to prioritize pedestrian and bicycle improvements. SPC’s program of automated bicycle activity counts was substantially enhanced in 2012, with the design of an automated tube counting program for implementation on local trails. Using a combination of bicycle-specific tube counters (Eco Counters) and light weight HPMS tubes, SPC is now able to gather daily, weekly and monthly activity counts along the major trails in the region.
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