The City of Pittsburgh is beginning work this week on two projects to calm traffic on the South Side and in Oakland and provide better, safer connections for bicyclists and walkers who use a trail system.
Work will begin Tuesday on a project to create a pedestrian and bike corridor on Muriel Street on the South Side as an alternative to using busy East Carson Street. The corridor will run from South 10th Street to the Hot Metal Bridge and include the installation of speed bumps between South 13th and South 16th streets and construction of a ramp under the Birmingham Bridge.
“It provides another alternative to keep people off of East Carson Street, which already has plenty of traffic,” said Karina Ricks, director of the city’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure. “[The ramp under the bridge] will just be a huge increase in safety.,”
Eric Boerer, advocacy director for Bike Pittsburgh, agreed with the importance of the ramp under the bridge. Right now, bikers and walkers on Wharton Street have to go a couple of blocks up to East Carson, cross the busy Birmingham Bridge intersection, and then go back to the less busy side streets.
“This will allow people to stay straight under that bridge,” he said.
Ms.Ricks said the city is looking at a similar ramp under the 40th Street Bridge in Lawrenceville to keep bikers and pedestrians off of Butler Street.
The South Side project also will provide a direct connection with the Philip Murray Bridge at South 10th Street, Mr. Boerer said. The rehabilitation of that bridge includes a wider shoulder that bikers can use to reach the Eliza Furnace Trail on the other side of the Monongahela River.
Crews will close Muriel between South 13th and South 16th streets from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to install the speed bumps, with flagging operations to continue until 5 p.m. There will be no parking on Muriel during the work and access to driveways will be limited or unavailable.
In Oakland, the goal is to help motorists share the road in a safer manner with bikers and pedestrians on Boundary Street between Junction Hollow and Forbes Avenue.
The city says a traffic study it performed last year found that 87% of the motorists on Boundary exceed the 25 mph speed limit. The street is a major access point to the trail system for bikers and many pedestrians park in Junction Hollow and walk up the hill into Oakland, but there are limited sidewalks and no bike lanes.
To slow motorists, the city will install speed bumps at five locations from the railroad tracks under Forbes Avenue to Joncaire Street. The project also will include installing shared lane marking and directional signs from the Junction Hollow Trail to Ellsworth Avenue on Boundary and North Neville Street.
“Vehicles travel at greater rates of speed than necessary in that area,” Ms. Ricks said. “This will make it safer for everybody.”
Mr. Boerer said said Boundary is one of the busier areas in the region for bikers and walkers.
“We’re pretty active pushing for controlling the speed of traffic there,” Mr. Boerer said.
Installing the bumps will require closing Boundary from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.
Ed Blazina: email@example.com, 412-263-1470 or on Twitter @EdBlazina.