Pedestrian- Bicycle Improvements and the Environment in Squirrel Hill
Marshall Hershberg, Coordinator, SHUC Pedestrian-Bicycle Committee
As many of you know, last year the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition (SHUC) created a pedestrian-bicycle committee to enhance our neighborhood and to be a key part of the exciting effort under way to improve safety and opportunities throughout Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. This effort is but one strong example of the heightened environmental consciousness our region is experiencing.
In our case, Squirrel Hill is a pedestrian-oriented neighborhood, and SHUC has noted the greater usage of bicycles as a major form of alternative transportation. We are acting upon it. We also look at how bicycling-pedestrian opportunities can connect with other forms of alternative transportation, such as public transit.
The Committee supports the City of Pittsburgh’s “Complete Streets Initiative,” which seeks to improve the safety and aesthetic quality of street and sidewalk usage for citizens of all backgrounds, interests and abilities.
Specifically, recognizing the increased amount of bicycling, and the interest in walking and hiking in Greater Squirrel Hill, the SHUC Bike-Ped Committee, in cooperation with the Greenfield Community Association (GCA), has been examining ideas for improving and adding to the bicycle routes now being used from eastern parts of Pittsburgh through Squirrel Hill, and connecting to Oakland, the Eliza Furnace Trail, Downtown and points beyond. Current pathways include trails, specific bike lanes, and shared streets. We have examined them all and have identified places where gaps can be filled, new construction can improve the pathways and extend interconnections, and where new markings or other safety features can be incorporated into them (stay tuned for a blog about the trail projecy next week!)
We have requested that the City of Pittsburgh’s Planning Department conduct the engineering studies required to determine feasibility and cost-effectiveness among a number of potential route alternatives. We are also exploring all appropriate funding sources for these projects. The Committee will keep you posted and seek your ideas as we move forward.
Further, we want to emphasize that some general environmental concerns will guide us in any actions we finally decide to undertake:
- Increasing and enhancing opportunities and amenities for individuals and families to recreate safely – walking, biking, and pausing along the way – on existing and new trails and pathways. Many of these carry us through lovely woods and greenspace.
- Striving to achieve good design and to protect existing greenspace on our trails and bike paths, and adding greenspace wherever possible and feasible.
In the broadest sense, the SHUC Ped-Bike Committee is confident that the improvements in bicycling and pedestrian activity we hope to accomplish will contribute much to sustaining a safe and healthful environment and a vibrant quality of life in Greater Squirrel Hill.
For more information about the SHUC Ped-Bike Committee, and to be notified about our meetings and activities, e-mail Marshall Hershberg, Coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone him at (412) 709-8052.