PITTSBURG — With “active transportation” becoming a trend across the United States — along with the addition of Block 22 there will more than likely be an increase of pedestrians and bicyclists — along with increased car traffic down Broadway.
The Active Transportation Advisory Board has been working with the City of Pittsburg to, “encourage more active transportation, cycling, walking, jogging, dog walking and to get infrastructure in place so that its possible and is safer doing so,” Active Transportation Advisory Board Chair Deborah McGeorge said.
“Riding a bike is good for parking and health — riding back and forth to work or to school feels awesome.
“I feel like I have energy and I’m ready to start the day and I also save money on gas and help the environment, lots of things.”
Although there will be additional living space in the Downtown district, McGeorge said she doesn't believe there are any major concerns with the probable increase of active transporters in the area.
“Safety is always a concern,” McGeorge said. “But I don’t think that Block 22 going to create a dangerous situation … it's just a matter of people understanding the safe places to ride, drivers sharing the road, not being impatient and understanding all road users need to work together.”
The board has recommended creating “preferred routes,” which are streets with less traffic which may be more preferable for walking and cycling.
For example, the students who live at Block 22 can decide to go down Locust Street instead of going down Broadway to get to campus, where McGeorge said there is less traffic.
Public Works Director Cameron Alden is working with the ATAB to create signage and specific lanes for cyclists. The funding is in place and the maps are made, the board is working on staffing and scheduling to make everything come to fruition by this fall, McGeorge said.
Alden said the ATAB — most of whom are active bicyclists themselves — scouted out areas which they often utilize and find safe. In these areas people will see various signage which will “further call attention to those cyclists among those routes,” he said.
A map of the current “preferred routes” are in a pamphlet called “Recreational Trails in Pittsburg,” created by the ATAB. The pamphlet can currently be found at Pittsburg City Hall and it will be distributed in other locations. The material also includes safety tips for cycling and pedestrians.
McGeorge said taking any of the routes are completely optional and give people another route when confronted by heavier traffic when bicycling or walking.
Alden said active transportation is a growing trend and the community will, “probably see more traffic in more modes and more active traffic to grow especially in the downtown area,” and he encourages “everyone out there traveling, bike, car or foot to be courteous and patient, be safe and aware sharing a road with them.”
A few ways to do this are to pay attention to the signage and expect bicyclists and pedestrians to be in those areas. Some streets have “Hawk” flashing light systems, such as 4th Street near Pittsburg High School and two places on Broadway.
Alden said it is important to remember solid red means for vehicles to stop and wait and when flashing red to proceed with caution like a four way stop.
Another way to keep safe is to know the rules and tips of cycling and being a pedestrian, McGeorge said.
Tips for cycling in Pittsburg
(This information was provided by the Active Transportation Advisory Board)
Go with the flow and always ride on the right side of the street, with traffic, never on the left side against traffic.
Be prepared to stop, always stop at all red lights and stop signs. Obey all traffic laws.
Look, signal and look again. Use hand signals to let drivers, other cyclist and pedestrians know where you’re going. Look and make eye contact. Don’t assume drivers will stop.
Act like a car, drivers are used to the patterns of other drivers. Don’t weave in and out of traffic, don’t turn left from the right lane and don’t go straight in a lane marked “right-turn only.” The more predictably the safer.
Stay alert and check for traffic. Be aware of traffic around you. Also keep a lookout for obstacle and road hazards on the path.
Don’t get distracted. Never wear headphones or phone while cycling.
Protect pedestrians. In Pittsburg, it is against the law to ride on the sidewalk on Broadway in the downtown area, which is between Kansas and 14th Street. When riding on the multi-use paths in town, always yield to pedestrians. Only pass pedestrians and slower cyclists on the left and alert them that you are passing with a bell or by calling out “on your left.”
Stay visible. If drivers can see you, they are less likely to his you. Use both a headlight and a taillight when biking at night or in low-light conditions.
Choose safe routes: Avoid riding on Joplin Street north of Jefferson Street. Locust and Elm Streets are much safer. North of 9th Street, Grand and Michigan are good choices. Whenever possible, choose streets with less traffic.
Wear a helmet.
Tips for pedestrians
Pavements, including any path along the side of a road, should be used if provided.
If there is no trail or sidewalk, keep to the left hand side of the road so you can see oncoming traffic.
Walk single file, especially on narrow roads or in poor lighting conditions.
Help others see you by wearing something light colored, bright or fluorescent.
Young children should not be out alone on the pavement or road.
Organized walked groups should be in single file and have a look-out positioned at the front and back of the group.
At crossings, always check traffic has stopped before crossing.
Take care when crossing cycle lanes, traffic may be moving faster than other lanes.
— Stephanie Potter is a staff writer at the Morning Sun. She can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @PittStephP and Instagram @stephanie_morningsun.