Pittsburgh is taking steps to be even more livable – starting with a comprehensive transportation plan aimed at getting more people walking and biking and less people driving. Go ahead, do your little happy dance.
I just got back from the kickoff meeting for MOVEPGH, which is the transportation portion of PLANPGH. If you haven’t heard about either of these, go to the sites for the full details, or read Bike Pittsburgh’s post about it.
Briefly, the purpose of MOVEPGH is to “provide a transportation network that is safe and efficient while meeting the city’s commercial, residential and recreational needs. At its essence, MOVEPGH is a vision of the City’s transportation network for 2035.”
A big effort is being put on increasing the transportation options in a way that leads to a healthier, more vibrant and economically thriving community. And although Pittsburgh has already been named the most livable city in America (on several occasions), there is still a huge opportunity to improve. One area in particular that I’d love to see increase is the percentage of the city’s population that bikes to work, which is at 1.4%. That puts Pittsburgh at 53rd out of the 244 biggest US cities (by population). In comparison, Boulder Colorado is tops with 12.3%, followed by Eugene, Oregon at 10.8%. Portland, Oregon, a city that is more comparable to Pittsburgh, is at 5.8%. (2009 American Community Survey Commuter Statistics)
When it comes to pedestrians, Pittsburgh is already #2 in the country, with 14% of the people hoofing it to work.
From the PLANPGH site, “As more people move to Pittsburgh’s urban core, enhanced transit, walking and biking options will be required in order for improvements in safety, capacity and efficiency to be achieved.” There are tremendous opportunities for us to not only improve the cycling conditions and options in the city, but also for walking, transit, and yes – even driving.
It is essential for the success of this plan that you participate. Make your voice heard. Share your ideas, complaints, and opinions with the planning team – this is an opportunity that won’t come again for a very long time, and it will affect the city’s transportation decisions for the next 25 years. There will be additional opportunities for your input during a goal setting workshop (early March) and a series of 4 week-long workshops to be held between April and August. See the PLANPGH outreach events calendar for details, and follow their Facebook Page to stay on top of what’s happening.