Bikeable Cities: Lessons from Pittsburgh

While many of the cities leading the resurgence in the popularity of biking are growing, Pittsburgh has found its own reasons for making the city a better place to bike.
March 13, 2014, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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“In the past few years, Pittsburgh has built 30 miles of on-street bike infrastructure and 500 bike racks, and it has started to install bike corrals,” reports Tanya Snyder. But those types of improvements haven’t occurred in the same conditions as growing cities like New York or Washington D.C.

“Remember, we’re a city that went through 40 years of population decline. So we’re not one of those cities that is booming and this is a necessity. We’re doing it in order to encourage bike-sharing as a program, in order to encourage less need of the use of a car, in order to encourage developers to not have to put in surface parking lots or dig down several feet and then ask for a TIF because they can’t afford the parking infrastructure they’re putting in,” explained Mayor Bill Peduto in a recent speech to the National Bike Summit.

According to Snyder’s article, Pittsburgh has made a lot of progress in improving bike infrastructure in the city, despite its less gilded economic and demographic history in recent decades: “At about the same time that Pittsburgh’s economy hit bottom, it was ranked one of the worst five cities in the country for bicycling…Now Bicycling Magazine rates Pittsburgh the 35th most bicycle-friendly city in America, and Peduto wants to see it shoot into the top ten. Thirty percent of Pittsburghers walk, bike, or take transit to work — only seven other American cities have a higher share.”

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Published on Friday, March 7, 2014 in Streetsblog USA
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