Answers to Questions and Comments From Aug. 4 Bartlett St Public Meeting

MoveForwardPGH 2021: East-West Squirrel Hill Connection Bartlett St: Aug. 4 Third Meeting 

Below is are the questions that attendees asked in the chat from the August 4, 2021 East-West Squirrel Hill Connection Bartlett St Third Public Meeting.

These questions were not able to be addressed during the allotted time of the public meeting, so DOMI staff have answered them here.

Questions:

Technical and Design Questions:

Bartlett

What changes to Bartlett between Murdoch and Serpentine? What changes for 5400 block of Bartlett? still two way? | Or for Serpentine to Murdoch to be one way?

  • The Department of Mobility and Infrastructure was initially seeking advisory comments on preliminary designs for the Serpentine Dr intersection leading into Bartlett St & Murdoch. However, after further analysis on the diversion alternatives presented, it was agreed it was best to focus on speed reduction and eliminating cut through behavior for this segment.  With this in mind, the traffic team is now looking into speed humps and other traffic options for Bartlett St between Murdoch and Serpentine. Updates will be posted to the MoveForwardPGH website and social media pages. Additionally, all residents who attended the public meetings will receive emails with any and all changes proposed.

I may have missed it, but can you talk about the Murdoch/Bartlett intersection plans?

  • Updated crosswalks are all that is proposed for this intersection. Intersection improvements at Serpentine will aim to reduce speeding and cut through behavior on the corridor. Please see the above answer for further details.

Have you reached out to all the homeowners of the 5400 block of Bartlett regarding all these changes ? 

  • DOMI staff have been answering emails and calls regarding the proposed changes to Serpentine to Murdoch (including the 5400 block) since the public meeting. The department agrees with the public feedback received and the proposed designs will be modified for this segment. We are in the process of updating our MFPGH project page and will be sending out an email to all attendees at the public meeting about these changes. Additionally there will be social media updates on the MoveForwardPGH pages and the Office of Community Affairs regarding the project. Finally, residents along the corridor were sent postcards letting them know of the public meetings, as well as posters installed along the corridor. Interested residents can see updates to the project here https://moveforwardpgh.org/beacon/

Bartlett is an emergency access route for the police. Will the police re-route and where?

  • Emergency vehicles will be re-directed to Beacon St, and will not be limited on Bartlett.

Does the bike climbing lane on Beacon St go past Bartlett St? If so, why?

  • Yes, the bike climbing lane continues because the hill continues past Bartlett St. This makes merging a climbing lane with a travel lane mid-hill dangerous. Drivers might attempt unsafe merging or overtaking maneuvers and not see a bicyclist in the climbing lane. This could lead to dangerous traveling conditions for all roadway users and potentially lead to a severe crash. People biking with destinations on Beacon St may travel past Bartlett. 

Can you put a crosswalk for Beacon and Murdoch?

  • MoveForwardPGH is a bike infrastructure improvement campaign so this request unfortunately is outside the scope of this project. However, please submit this request via 311 so it can be considered for other pedestrian focused city programs.

Can the beacon & beechwood intersection be upgraded to all way stop? | Were there any changes to the beechwood & beacons stop sign intersection? That whole Dallas traffic doesn’t stop situation is terrible for pedestrians and cyclists.

  • After hearing from the community, DOMI will be committing to evaluate the Beacon/Beechwood/Dallas/Forbes intersection as a standalone project based on anticipated size and need. This does not warrant an all-way stop at this time, and the final solution will likely require significant construction outside the scope of the MoveForwardPGH program.

Are the improvements at Wightman and Bartlett all paint, or will there be concrete or bollards? | Can you reiterate what you think will be unique about the Wightman intersection design?

  • A majority of the improvements will be pavement markings (paint) and flexible delineators.

Will the Wightman changes be paint or concrete?

  • For now, the changes will be paint with flex posts.

Serpentine

On Serpentine, how will you prevent downhill motorists from cutting the corner at the switchback short and encroaching on the contraflow bike lane?  I’m asking about halfway up the hill at the switchback, not down at the bottom.

  • Considering feedback the department has received from the community and the Councilperson regarding safety concerns and speeding, Serpentine Dr may be kept closed until further notice. Please see the above answers for further updates on the Serpentine to Murdoch proposed designs.

Will the wall be fixed on serpentine? | Is the damaged wall on Serpentine ever going to be repaired? | When will the wall be fixed on Serpentine? It’s only been three years.

  • Currently, there is no update on the final repair of the Serpentine wall. Wall projects tend to be extremely costly and budget allocations require projects to be chosen where the need of the traveling public is greatest.

So, why is Serpentine being opened to auto traffic? For several years, pedestrians and bicyclists have enjoyed the park and nature sans traffic? Why open?

  • Considering feedback the department has received from the community and the Councilperson regarding safety concerns and speeding, Serpentine Dr may be kept closed until further notice

Darlington

There would need to be a contra bike like on Darlington, right?

  • We have no plans to put a contra-flow bike lane on Darlington. Our hope is that westbound bicyclists will use Bartlett St in the existing travel lane, shared with drivers.

General Questions:

How will you ensure that people who cannot bike or walk do not lose their mobility independence? The loss of lanes and addition of speed humps have already limited my family’s neighborhood mobility.

  • Providing improved safety for families and residents of all ages and abilities is the cornerstone of the MoveForwardPGH campaign and its projects. Although this project is technically focused on bike infrastructure improvements, all residents will benefit from the improved accessibility and safety at major intersections on the corridor. By installing high visibility crosswalks, improving turn conditions to eliminate dangerous or reckless driving behavior and increasing sight lines, all roadway users will be able to reach their homes and destinations more safely and more effectively. The Department of Mobility and Infrastructure also works hand in hand with the ADA Coordinator and the Department of City Planning to ensure ADA compliant infrastructure is considered early on in the planning process and continues to monitor and evaluate all projects after installation if they are not meeting the needs of the community.

Have speed humps been considered to create safer zones for crossings? They work so well on Beechwood. And they the refuge islands almost unnecessary. | Are there still plans for speed humps?

  • Speed humps are now being considered for the Serpentine to Murdoch segment of this project.

What is the life span of PAINT?

  • For this project we will be using thermoplastic which generally lasts 5-8 years. Considering traffic volumes, snow removal maintenance, installation, and roadway use it could be less.

Will the flex posts be removable for the vintage car races?

  • Flexible delineators are connected to a movable hinge and can be removed for the car races then be re-installed.

Flex post is there an alternative to them?

  • Flex posts will be used as sparingly on this project as possible, and more permanent concrete work may eventually follow in the future. Part of the reason the City utilizes flexible delineators is they are able to withstand vehicle impacts better and can detach readily versus causing significant damage to vehicles or the road like static delineators. 

What happened to the recommendations of the Shady ave study that recommended removing parking on shady? The Darlington and Bartlett intersections need bump out to prevent parking that blocks visibility.

  • Work on Shady Ave is proceeding this additional installation and is planned for late summer in a separate project. Shady Ave and Bartlett will receive pedestrian refuge islands as well.The Darlington intersection will receive pedestrian refuge islands that daylight sight distance previously blocked by parked cars. 

Comments:

  • Unlikely anyone will use the 5800 block of Bartlett as it’s uphill and contra-direction.  I bike everyday and would never use that block.
  • Wightman and Bartlett is the intersection of greatest concern to me as a pedestrian.
  • I agree that this is a difficult intersection. As a regular crosser there, I would appreciate a more guarded refuge island than this seems to suggest
  • I would like to see regular PSA’s on, say, the evening news to educate the public (motorists) about how to act around cyclists as well as good cycling behavior for cyclists.
  • I’d like to hear more detail about Bartlett/Wightman too. Paint alone doesn’t seem enough.
  • This is a good plan.  I drive and live on this route, but I also bike and think these infrastructure improvements would be an asset to the community.  Riders will use it.
  • I concur, these look like good improvements.
  • The Wightman intersection needs a traffic light.
  • Hopefully this design will reduce the frequent car traffic against the one way from Wightman to Murray
  • Beacon and Beechwood is one of my least favorite intersections in the City. I would personally shut down the stretch of Dallas between Forbes and Beechwood as well as the slip ramp; Beechwood and the light at Forbes seems a fine alternative
  • Hi all, thanks for this! As a resident of the Beacon climbing lane, I think my approval of such bike access is probably what was referred to earlier. However, that approval was for both a need for a bike lane but also the need for traffic calming on Beacon and it was my understanding that this plan would include traffic calming for Beacon, specifically the intersection at Beacon and Beechwood. Is that no longer part of the plan? If so, I’m not sure adding a climbing lane is safe as traffic currently moves with disregard for pedestrians and I cannot imagine paint will change their approach to cyclists.
  • We need more information about the Beechwood & Beacon intersection.
  • Tthat beechwood to Forbes escape hatch is terrible; the bike path and proper pedestrian access to the frick environmental center should take precedence
  • Your map is way too small … hard to see the details
  • I’m concerned about the safety of routing cyclists along Shaw Ave. It’s a very tight street already (parking both sides, and just enough space for one car to pass), with relatively poor visibility, especially close to Beechwood with a tight bend. It seems like Darlington might be a better route for cyclists, but would need some infrastructure changes since it’s one-way.
  • Directing people from Wightman to Oakland via Forbes puts them in shared-lane heavy traffic.   It would be better to make Darlington a neighborway so they could get to Schenley Drive without tangling with Forbes Av traffic
  • The Beacon/Beechwood/Dallas intersection is very dangerous at night for people walking to the bus stop on Forbes.
  • Darlington is a better route than Forbes.
  • The short block of Darlington between Beechwood and Beacon would be much, much better. It’s wide, short, and one-way already. There’s good visibility in both directions when you get to Beechwood.
  • Pittsburgh is a hilly, old city and we cannot afford to lose our narrow thoroughfares.
  • Darlington is also one way and short.
  • I believe Shaw was my suggestion, based on my experience walking and biking it, but that’s just my opinion.
  • Use of Darlington to connect to beechwood is a much better path than Beacon/Shaw
  • In my opinion, using Darlington between Beacon and Beechwood would need a contra-flow lane, but it’s short and the street is wide already.
  • Please no more ugly white cones
  • Wightman needs a wide refuge island all the way from Forbes to Beacon! Put in big planters in the middle of the street! Wightman is way too wide there; invites speeding by cars!
  • An all-way stop at Beacon & Beechwood doesn’t cost much.
  • The street stretches between all those intersections at Beacon/Beechwood are so very short, it would probably back up traffic a lot
  • I’m at 5475 Bartlett, at Murdoch, and agree that we call the rush hour traffic at this intersection the clown parade.
  • Lifespan of paint seems to be longer than the pavement, in my experience.
  • I am worried about the Bartlett & Shady intersections. Cars coming from Forbes going uphill start picking up speed and likely will not look to the left for pedestrians/ bikes attempting to cross w/out a stop sign or light.
  • When you live on a public street, people will drive past your house. That’s life in the city. If you don’t want cars driving past your house, move to a cul-de-sac or a private street.
  • Biking on Bartlett St., I have often had issues crossing Murray Ave (with the light) due to pedestrians crossing against the light and not looking for cyclists—really, not looking or stopping before they step out against the light.
  • FWIW, pedestrians cross that intersection without looking for cars as well.
  • Re: Risk of getting doored by cars parked on the contraflow side of a one-way street — the risk is somewhat mitigated because the doors are opening in a direction that they would tend to deflect the cyclist away from the car instead of swinging out to totally stop the cyclist and throw the cyclist into the car.
  • The lower part of Serpentine and Bartlett has turned into a mini parking lot … because of the closure of Serpentine… so please let us know when the wall will be repaired
  • 01:04:19 Paul Heckbert: To reinforce the value of this Bartlett east-west route, we need a crosswalk across Beechwood opposite the Frick Nature Center. This would help both pedestrians coming and going to this part of Frick Park and cyclists headed west out of Frick toward Shaw & Bartlett. (attached map shows cyclist routes eastbound (blue) and westbound (red) between FNC and the Squirrel Hill business district. The bike routes between FNC and 3700 daily vehicles not a low number for such a narrow street
  • I don’t think eliminating left turns from Beth Shalom  onto Shady will be received well. If traffic is slowed approaching the intersection, it should be able to be kept safely. Bikes in the contra flow lane will need a stop sign to stop at Shady. They will also need a safe crossing to make it across Shady
  • Changing Beth Shalom’s traffic impacts it’s members and 2 early learning centers that use that driveway for parking and drop/off pick-up. 
  • There should be a design solution to preserve traffic flow at the shul.
  • Don’t they have an alternate entrance on Beacon that is not just 20’ from the intersection (I think current regulations say that driveways need to be 70’ from intersections?)
  • I need to head out, but I’d like to thank all of you for addressing these mobility concerns and for involving the community.
  • Thanks for organizing this!
  • I am concerned about the climbing lane on Beacon St. extending up the hill past Bartlett St. Not only is this where I usually park, but this lane will not connect to the Bartlett St corridor, and will end at a narrow, sharp turn onto traffic.
  • Thanks everyone!