Committee seeks to make Shaler safer for pedestrians, cyclists
The new Shaler Pedestrian and Bicyclist Committee wants to make Shaler a safer place for walkers, runners and bicyclists.
“There's some serious challenges to do anything in Shaler if you're not in a car,” said organizer and Shaler resident Dave Lampe.
Eleven people attended the organizational meeting of the grass roots group on April 26 at the Shaler North Hills Library. Lampe said Shaler has poor pedestrian and bike infrastructure, and there are concerns about safety on the roads.
Lampe has been commuting by bike from his home in Shaler to his job at Duquesne University for four or five years. He said the contrast between what Pittsburgh is doing to improve bike infrastructure and education and what suburbs are doing is “pretty dramatic.
“Bike infrastructure is exploding down there… and by the time you get out of the city limits, there's nothing,” Lampe said. “There's no reason why this kind of thing can't happen in Shaler.”
Shaler Manager Tim Rogers said many of Shaler's neighborhoods are easy to bike and walk in, but most of its main roads are difficult to traverse due to the hilly landscape and narrow shoulders.
The township also has little to no control over signage or markings on county and state roads, which run throughout the community.
“Almost all of the main cross roads in the township are state highways or county roads,” Rogers said.
Although the Shaler Pedestrian and Bicyclist Committee has larger, long-term goals such as getting sidewalks on Mt. Royal Boulevard, Lampe said the group also discussed better road safety education for children, installing more bike racks and collecting data on road usage by pedestrians and bicyclists.
Neighboring Ross and Millvale have committees looking at cyclist and pedestrian safety. Lampe said the Shaler group would like to seek their advice, and would like better signage and road markings to indicate that motorists need to share the road.
Rogers said the township has applied to PennDOT to have share-the-road arrows placed on Little Pine Creek Road, but hasn't received a response.
Ultimately township officials, who are working with Etna, would like to connect Kiwanis Park with Etna's newly proposed Riverfront Park via Little Pine Creek Road. This would allow bicyclists to then ride along the river into Millvale Riverfront Park and into the city, Rogers said.
Norfolk Southern owns property along the Allegheny River in Shaler between Etna's park and Millvale, and the riverfront route would need to use a narrow service road between railroad tracks and river, Rogers said. A bridge also would be needed to get over the Pine Creek as it enters the Allegheny River in that area.
“With the help of Allegheny County, we're negotiating with the railroad to get approval for a biking right-of-way through there,” Rogers said.
Lampe said the committee hopes to meet monthly. The next meeting date has not been set, but those seeking information can contact Lampe at [email protected].
Rachel Farkas is a contributing writer for the Tribune-Review.