As fun as it is to ride my bike to work, it’s always feels like a test of wills during the evening commute home along 1st Street. Two lanes in each direction, the stretch of road from Pittsburgh south to KK has a posted speed limit of 30 mph, but it’s not uncommon to have drivers flying by me at speeds approaching 40-45 mph. In fact, just last week, as I was preparing to maneuver into the left lane in order to proceed south on KK near the MCTS depot, I heard the squeeling wheels of a car as it tried to zoom around the bend south of Lapham.
It’s difficult to understand why it’s necessary to drive 45 mph on a street with stop lights every 3-4 blocks, but I’m pretty certain these renegade drivers aren’t doing the math in their heads when they’re speeding by. Nevertheless, it’s frustrating that while I’m trying to navigate the potholes along the street I’m also forced to deal with idiots carelessly putting my life in danger. It goes both ways when it comes to inconsiderate motorists and/or bikers, but there’s no comparing the potential destructiveness of a lightweight bike to a several thousand pound vehicle.
One of the best ways to limit unsafe driving and encourage the eventual revitalization of the 1st Street corridor will be to implement a marked bike lane and potentially reduce the number of traffic lanes down to one in each direction. Considering most of the traffic comes from motorists avoiding the under-utilized Hoan Bridge or I-43, perhaps bringing the travel speed down to a safer level will encourage people to make better use of the interstate highways only a few blocks in either direction, along with creating a walkable street that will encourage businesses to populate the many empty storefronts along the street. At the least, it’d make it a little safer for people who want to get out of their cars.