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Bike Lane Advisory Board Proposed By City Coucilwoman

PITTSBURGH (NewsRadio 1020 KDKA) -- From the first days of their installation, Pittsburgh's bike lanes have been controversial.

After numerous complaints, there is a proposal in front of City Council that could streamline the way residents can voice their concerns, and how they can learn more about additional safe-zones for city bicyclists.

Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith has proposed that an advisory board be created to review and draft policies for new bike lanes. She says the board would be responsible for notifying the public 90 days prior to the installation of a new lane so people could weigh in.

She adds that the advisory board could also propose improved designs for the bike lanes.

"I think that they look ugly," Councilwoman Kail-Smith tells KDKA Radio's James Garrity. "Plus, we want them to be safe, and I don't know how safe some of the lanes are."

The proposal for the advisory board has the support of Mayor Bill Peduto. From his office, Communication's Coordinator Katie O'Malley says the system would provide a channel to make plans and proposals more accessible to the public.

Bike Pittsburgh advocacy director Eric Boerer says the nonprofit organization is in favor of a bike committee on the city level, but he hopes it would follow nationally based best practices for bicycle safety and would avoid redundancy.

"All of the things that are in the proposal, the city is pretty much already doing," Boerer says, nodding to work being done by the Complete Streets Advisory Committee.

"Right now, the city is working on a brand new bike plan due to be launched in the next couple months... it's unclear if this committee is going to be redundant or not," he said.

Councilwoman Kail-Smith says she has learned that the state is preparing an updated version of it's bike lane codes, and ones formulated between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh could be incorporated into the state's planning.

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