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Pittsburg motor commute hell on CNN - knock knock

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Pittsburg motor commute hell on CNN - knock knock

Old 05-30-08, 11:47 AM
  #1  
mike
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Pittsburg motor commute hell on CNN - knock knock

Check this out. CNN runs a report on a guy who spends an hour and a half in a car to drive 15 miles!

http://www.ireport.com/docs/DOC-28024

What kind of idiot hasn't figured out that he can bicycle that commute in less time. He is sitting there complaining that there isn't any bus and he is watching his gas guage slide down while he inches along stop-and-go. Knock knock, Hellooo!

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Old 05-30-08, 12:25 PM
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In the poor guy's defense, it looks like that PARTICULAR road is not very bike-friendly. There might be parallel side streets, but sometimes near those limited-access highways there are not.

My favorite example is where I work, in Bloomington Minnesota. If I lived just a few miles south in the next suburb of Burnsville, I would have to cross the Minnesota River to get home and the only reasonable way would be along interstate highway 35W. It is the only river crossing for miles in either direction. It appears, from my few trips that way, that there is no pedestrian path on the highway as it crosses the river. Since it is against the law to ride a bike on the interstate, it is, for all practical purposes, AGAINST THE LAW to go just a few miles from Bloomington to Burnsville under one's own power. The only legal way to make that trip of a few miles is to be transported in a piece of motorized heavy equipment operated by a licensed equipment operator (that is, me driving a car since the bus service that way is pathetic also).

We have become insane.
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Old 05-30-08, 12:30 PM
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Originally Posted by swwhite View Post
In the poor guy's defense, it looks like that PARTICULAR road is not very bike-friendly. There might be parallel side streets, but sometimes near those limited-access highways there are not.
Yeah, having been to Pittsburgh (too many times), a 15 mile commute on a bike can feel like 100!
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Old 05-30-08, 12:51 PM
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I grew up in Pittsburgh and lived there until 1994. It is, in my opion, by far the most hostile city for cyclists that I have ever seen. I used to bike commute between downtown and Lawrenceville/Shadyshide/Highland Park and on at least three occasions had objects thrown at me by motorists (some hits, some misses), was invovled in two physical altercations with motorists (nearly broke my arm tearing one guy's side view mirror off) and was deliberately run off the road by a pickup truck (never caught up to him). Each of these incidents occurred in broad daylight during commuting hours and in full view of other motorists. Heck, I don't blame this guy for commuting in his car. If I was still cycling in Pittsburgh I'd probably be dead.

Northern NJ/NYC and greater Boston, other places I've lived, are much bigger but also much more cycle-friendly (again, my opinion). I currently live in CT and bike commute year-round. Drivers here are especially courteous. Hopefully Pittsburgh has changed since I left in 1994 but if it hasn't then I think you need big cojones and a suit of armour to cycle commute there.

By the way, I still like the city and root heavily for the Steelers and Penguins. Go Pens!
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Old 05-30-08, 12:52 PM
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I-376 is an interstate highway, so i doubt bikes would be allowed on it in the first place. The slowdown is primarily due to the Squirrel Hill Tunnels (Pittsburghers slow down to a crawl before entering a tunnel) and perpetual road construction.
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Old 05-30-08, 01:18 PM
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I did 15 miles in one hour when I lived in Miami. I never even thought about biking. I'm a convert, though.
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Old 05-30-08, 01:31 PM
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I grew up riding there...riding about 300 miles per week for many years in the late 80s and early 90s. I almost never had a problem and disagree that Pgh is any more hostile to riders than other average cities.
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Old 05-30-08, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by cbass View Post
I grew up in Pittsburgh and lived there until 1994. It is, in my opion, by far the most hostile city for cyclists that I have ever seen. I used to bike commute between downtown and Lawrenceville/Shadyshide/Highland Park and on at least three occasions had objects thrown at me by motorists (some hits, some misses), was invovled in two physical altercations with motorists (nearly broke my arm tearing one guy's side view mirror off) and was deliberately run off the road by a pickup truck (never caught up to him). Each of these incidents occurred in broad daylight during commuting hours and in full view of other motorists. Heck, I don't blame this guy for commuting in his car. If I was still cycling in Pittsburgh I'd probably be dead.

Northern NJ/NYC and greater Boston, other places I've lived, are much bigger but also much more cycle-friendly (again, my opinion). I currently live in CT and bike commute year-round. Drivers here are especially courteous. Hopefully Pittsburgh has changed since I left in 1994 but if it hasn't then I think you need big cojones and a suit of armour to cycle commute there.

By the way, I still like the city and root heavily for the Steelers and Penguins. Go Pens!

Hey been here in the 'Burgh since 2000, sounds like it has changed a bit since you were here.

Bike Pittsburgh just came out with a new commuting map (paper & online) and there have been some regional initiatives to promote cycling culture here. I commute from Oakland to Downtown and it's been great, granted, I use the Eliza Furnace/Jail Trail, so it's practically a leisurely spin in the morning.

http://bike-pgh.org/
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Old 05-30-08, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by mike View Post
What kind of idiot hasn't figured out that he can bicycle that commute in less time.
He probably can't. What they're not telling you is that I-376 has at least two tunnels because otherwise the route would need multiple emergency stop ramps. Off the highway, the route probably has multiple climbs in excess of 15% grade (and in Pittsburgh, in excess of 20% grade is possible). He's probably looking at a 6mph average speed for the route if he's a good climber and he can find a route with minimal detours. Since I-376 takes the flattest route, there are no suitable alternate routes for light rail without dynamite. Lots and lots and LOTS of dynamite. (and let's not talk about the bridge building problem...)

There are probably also exciting and fun jurisdiction issues with the city bus system. PA local politics tend to really excel at shortsighted.

What he *can* do is move. But those jurisdictional issues also mean that if he's got kids, even a 10 mile move is putting them in a new school and a new school district.

Oh, and did we mention that Pittsburgh is snow country?
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Old 05-30-08, 02:11 PM
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I don't know about other states, but you can get permission to ride on interstates here in PA if you can demonstrate it's the only route you can take without going significantly out of your way. You have to get permission from the police, but it's spelled out very clearly that you may do so if you can show it's your only route.

Joe
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Old 05-30-08, 09:00 PM
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I live in Pittsburgh, bike commute 12 miles each way every day, and have had quite a different experience from many of the comments here. The hostility level is pretty low for me, the ride is generally quiet, and I would never go back to driving or riding the bus. I live in the northern suburbs.

As for that part of I-376, that video is definitely an accurate picture of what it's like at rush hour every day. On the few occasions I've had to drive that stretch of road, it's driven me nuts, then to a state of utter resignation.

In any case, as you can see from the link above, there are quite a few alternate routes that are quite workable for a bike commute in that direction. My experience with people who ask me about my riding is that they only think in terms of major highways and don't consider that other routes might exist. My route makes use of streets that I never heard of until I went looking for a way to ride to downtown and fired up Google maps.
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Old 05-30-08, 09:48 PM
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My response would probably be to move MUCH closer to work. I have a simple rule: live within 5 miles (1 hour walk) of work. YMMV
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Old 05-30-08, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by swwhite View Post
In the poor guy's defense, it looks like that PARTICULAR road is not very bike-friendly.
Actually it looks very bike-friendly. All those cars are stopped, so lane-split away!
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Old 05-30-08, 10:13 PM
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Bike commuting made the Today show this morning.

Maybe it means will get more bike racks at least.
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Old 05-30-08, 10:35 PM
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Lived in Pittsburgh from 1993 until 2003 and can say with certainty I hated every nano second I lived there. Hated the accent, the traffic patterns, the sports teams, my son's Little League coach, the hills, the crappy weather, The North Hills, The South Hills, The Flats, The Slopes, Primanti's(the most overrated local eats in the country), the Strip district. I HATED THAT TOWN. There were two things that were worth a tinker's damn: A large order of fries from 'The Original' and 'Phat Mandee's wedding down on Carson street in front of the Beehive in 2002. Think of Jack Nicholson's OCD diatribe on how he hated pills in 'As Good As It Gets' and you'll get a fraction of my deep abiding hate for the city. Completely provincial mindset. The ONLY thing that kept me goimg was the narrow, but deep cycling community in which I was introduced to the Dirty Dozen Bike Race and Urban Assault by a bike messenger named Suzie.

The article on CNN only scratches the surface of how bad the situation actually is there. I had more road rage incidents in month than most people have in a lifetime. Pittsburgh really, really, really, really sucks. I'm SO happy to be living in rural Tn I can't imagine living anywhere else, ever. I can't vomit deeply enough to get the retch of that town out of my system.

At some point I may come to terms w/my time spent there, but it's going to be a while. No offence intended to any of the 'Bughers who grew up there and have much affection. My son lives in Donora, graduated from North Hills, Cal Univ. and is a die-hard Pens fan. He's begun to agree w/me that Pitttburgh is a collection of major traffic jams w/some movement once in a while.

Last edited by nashcommguy; 05-31-08 at 10:22 AM.
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Old 05-30-08, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by cbass View Post
Northern NJ/NYC and greater Boston, other places I've lived, are much bigger but also much more cycle-friendly (again, my opinion).
I have to agree. I really have no complaints about the drivers around here, contrary to their reputation. Some youngsters and old people give me problems, but few and far between.

Same goes for NYC, except cabbies are deadly, but riding in the city has always been pleasurable.
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Old 05-31-08, 01:10 PM
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Well, it sounds like the bike scene in Pittsburgh has improved. My experiences were probably not typical. That's good to hear. Someone told me recently that the State of Pennsylvania had completed a network of rail trails that makes it possible to cycle from Pittsburgh to Washington, DC. Can anyone verify that? If true, the state is to be commended for its commitment to cycling!

nashcommguy - too bad you didn't like your stay, but that was an EXCELLENT callback on the Beehive. Loved that place!
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