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Bike lanes coming to stretch of Forbes Avenue where Pitt prof was killed

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Susan Hicks

Pittsburgh will begin installing bike lanes Tuesday along a section of Forbes Avenue where a University of Pittsburgh professor was killed while bicycling home from work.

Bicycling enthusiasts have long advocated for lanes in the heavily traveled area in Pittsburgh’s Oakland neighborhood. They intensified efforts after the death of Susan Hicks on Oct. 23, 2015. Hicks, 34, of Morningside was stopped on Forbes Avenue near Bellefield Avenue when a car struck her from behind.

“It’s the Susan Hicks bike lane,” said Courtney Ehrlichman, 37, of Friendship, a close friend of Hicks. “I’m really excited that they’re creating a space for cyclists on that four-lane street. It’s critical to preventing crashes. I hope in a way that it can be in memory of Susan.”

New bike lanes in both directions will be installed between Bigelow Boulevard and South Craig Street and on a one-block section of Bigelow between Fifth and Forbes avenues. The lanes will be designated by paint on the street. They won’t be protected bike lanes such as ones on the Roberto Clemente Bridge or Downtown’s Penn Avenue, where bicycles are separated from vehicular traffic by bollards.

“These are temporary installations in lieu of more comprehensive improvements of the street,” said Pittsburgh City Councilman Dan Gilman, who represents that section of Oakland. “Oakland has an incredibly high level of bike usage, especially these two streets. We believe this creates a safer circumstance.”

Gilman said the lanes would be installed permanently next year when PennDOT paves Forbes Avenue from the Birmingham Bridge to Margaret Morrison Street. Plans call for PennDOT to install protected lanes as part of the paving project, according to Eric Boerer, advocacy director for Bike Pittsburgh.

Katie O’Malley, spokeswoman for Mayor Bill Peduto, said installing the bike lanes would cost about $45,000. The city will eliminate 14 parking spaces on Bigelow and 18 spaces on Forbes to accommodate the lanes, she said.

Drivers should expect changing traffic patterns during the project, which is expected to be finished by month’s end.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.

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