Pittsburgh Beats Cleveland at Biking as Well as Football

The city of Pittsburgh has about 70 miles of bike lanes. Right now, two of these miles are protected lanes where bikes are separated from traffic with a barrier like a concrete curb, but that’s likely to grow. 

“The mayor (Bill Peduto) has said he wants to have 5 miles of protected bike lanes,” says Eric Boerer, advocacy director with Bike Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh’s bike commuting rate of two percent is significantly higher than Cleveland’s rates of .7 percent. Boerer says protected bike lanes are one factor that’s boosting ridership in his city.

“It’s been phenomenal and very useable,” he says of the protected bike lane on Penn Avenue in the Strip District. “On Bike to Work Day, 26 percent of the commuters were on bikes. We see families with children biking. We got a picture sent to us of a dad biking with his daughter with training wheels in the bike lane. We see a lot of new riders; the protected bike lane kind of encourages them to give it a shot.”

Pittsburgh’s new bike share system has only added to its reputation as a bike-friendly city, and that’s one reason why people are moving there.

“We’re getting a huge tech boom here,” says Boerer. “Google is here with 400 employees, Uber is opening up a huge campus. They’re very clear to city decision-makers that they want bike-friendly ways for their employees to get to work.”
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