Gear up with Pittsburgh Cyclists who are changing the lanes, one project at a time

By Ian Mikrut
Edited by Andrea Bosco
Photograph by Ben Petchel

Founded in 1956 by the League of American Bicyclists, May is National Bike Month. Created to encourage commuting to work without a car while promoting a healthy lifestyle, National Bike Month in Pittsburgh has helped to foster a cycling culture. On a national scale, Pennsylvania ranks 15th for bicycle friendliness, according to the League of American Bicyclists, and local organization, BikePGH, is hosting Bike to Work Day. On May 16, BikePGH will coordinate bikepools and meet-ups. And, throughout the month, there will be several “pop-up bike cafés” in Market Square, SouthSide Works, PNC Park, Friendship Park, and Schenley Plaza.

In the early ‘90s, Pittsburgh was named by Bicycling magazine as one of the three worst U.S. cities for riding a bike — currently, the city ranks in the top 50 for biking, according to Forbes Magazine. Says BikePGH Executive Director Scott Bricker, “We have come an incredible distance. As far as infrastructure, fun events, and a power base of people involved, and now we have leadership that believes.” 

Pittsburgh has been chosen as one of six new U.S. cities to join the PeopleForBikes Green Lane Project, along with Atlanta, Boston, Denver, Indianapolis, and Seattle. The financially supported two-year project will involve the installation of protected bike lanes. The makeover will create on-street lanes for bike riders, separating them from traffic. And, last month, Mayor Bill Peduto said he hopes to have Downtown’s first truly dedicated lane for bicyclists in place by the time the Pro Bike/Pro Walk/Pro Place conference comes to town September 8-11.

Says PeopleForBikes Vice President of Local Innovation Martha Roskowski, “Pittsburgh has ambitious goals and a strong vision supported by the elected officials and the community. They are poised to get projects on the ground quickly and will serve as an excellent example for other interested cities.” 

The fall conference will welcome more than 1,000 participants from planners, architects, public health professionals, realtors, educators, advocates, and cyclists. Over the course of three days, the bike symposium will host several mobile workshops, lectures, and networking opportunities. “It’s an exciting time to show off our city,” says Bricker.

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