November 19th, 2014

Video: How Pittsburgh became a national model for rapid bikeway progress

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Young kid on first bike smiling at camera

https://vimeo.com/112197681

Four months — that’s how long it took Pittsburgh to announce, plan and build its first three protected bike lanes.

One of the country’s most beautiful (and probably still underrated) cities has proven this year that it’s possible for governments to move fast without neglecting public outreach. Instead of asking people to judge the unknown, the city’s leaders built something new and have proceded to let the public vet the idea once it’s already on the ground.

That’s part of the charm of the simplest protected bike lanes: unlike most road projects, they’re easily flexible. The construction phase can come at the middle or the beginning of the public process rather than the end of it.

For a city full of hills, narrow streets and short blocks, building a great bike network isn’t easy. Which is all the more reason to make the public a bigger part of the process by putting a project on the ground as soon as it’s in the rough-draft stage.

“We have all of the detriments to building a bike system that people could argue,” Mayor Bill Peduto says in the video above. “But we’re still doing it. And we’re going to beat every other city.”

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