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City Seeing Resistance To New Bike Lanes, Calling It "Bikelash"

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- The mayor calls it "bikelash" -- a resistance to change for a healthier, more vibrant city.

"What we're trying to do is get people out of the cars and into the bicycles," said Pittsburgh Chief Operations Manager Guy Costa.

But the bikes have hit many bumps in the road, including at the historic St. Stanislaus Church in the Strip District, which recently received renderings of a proposed bike lane to run right across its front entrance.

"Which presents many difficulties as far as access to the church normally, but other things like weddings and funerals," said Fr. Harry Nichols, of St. Stanislaus Church.

Fr. Nichols was taken aback by the proposal, which would make it difficult for processions to pull up in front and eliminate parking. What's worse, Fr. Nichols says the church was never consulted.

KDKA's Andy Sheehan: "Shouldn't the churches have been involved from the beginning?"

Fr. Nichols: "Obviously, we think so."

The city says the proposal is just that, a proposal; and this week, Costa told KDKA that they have planned to meet with the church to discuss their concerns and alternatives.

"So we're trying to work things out. Nothing's been finalized," said Costa.

But the criticism of a lack of community involvement isn't new.

On Saline Street in the neighborhood called The Run, folks complained that a bike lane just appeared last year without any advanced warning.

"One day just came into work and the bike lane was here. No notice. No meeting," said Pete Provenzano, of Zano's Bar. "They said they were going to have a meeting or a get-together and talk about it, and they didn't."

But the city says the bike lanes are a work in progress, always subject to change. And that they've been working closely with neighborhood and communities groups to resolve any problems before laying them down throughout the city and in Oakland.

"We've been working with the University of Pittsburgh, various organizations, community groups here in Oakland area to expand the bike lanes throughout Oakland, and then next year work our way into the Shadyside area," said Costa.

After KDKA's inquiries this week, the city said it would scrap its plans for a bike lane in front of St. Stanislaus and seek alternatives.

It's part of what it calls an on-going effort to resolve conflicts with the community.

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