This is the soundtrack for my exploration stroll the other day around my neighborhood, East Allegheny in Pittsburgh. Unless you loathe R.E.M., it is a good accompaniment to reading this post.
Several times in the past I have celebrated my neighborhood and home on the North Side of Pittsburgh. But I have to tell you that I exaggerated a little and omitted a lot.
There are many beautiful areas of the North Side and much of it is quaint, wonderful, and convenient. But I have to confess: I live on the OTHER North Side, the part that was cut in half by a neighborhood dividing highway.
The parts that contain all the amenities like the National Aviary, the Andy Warhol Museum, coffee shops, grocery stores, and parks are all on the other side of this highway:
That is the scene I have to ride or walk across when heading to other, more lovelier parts of the North Side.
And if I want to go downtown or shopping in the Strip District, I find myself faced with these (rude) anti-pedestrian signs:
Riding bikes is not as challenging since you’re on the road, but if you are trying to get around by foot, as are children and many elderly who do not own cars, it is a death-trap.
Getting to the bus stop is quite perilous and I waited through three lights at one intersection waiting for a pedestrian signal.
I assume most drivers don’t carry a microscope when they drive, but if they did, they might be able to see the faded lines of the former crosswalk. Otherwise, the former crosswalk is pretty easy to miss.
Then your friendly pedestrian must run across another faded crosswalk, but this time there is a light for the walker! But nope.
Over 50 cars drove by in three light cycles and not one stopped to let me cross, so I finally had to just make a run for it to cross this eyesore of an intersection:
It’d be nearly impossible to get around this neighborhood.
Seems like that should be hazardous enough, right? How much more must danger one person face just to walk one mile?
I’m fairly young and in shape, I ride a bike and move around all the time and this area is really difficult for me to navigate.
Imagine how dangerous these streets are for people who are older, maybe less fit and less able to make a run for it across the street.
But if I want to get my groceries from the Strip District, I still have to get to the 16th Street Bridge and walk past the highway exit where this sizable vehicle powered up to the sidewalk where I was standing:
And though I wasn’t trying to walk onto the highway, seeing this sign shouting “Pedestrians Prohibited” just reinforced how unwelcome I felt in the city as a person walking.
By this point I’d walked less than half a mile but it took me nearly 20 minutes with all the waiting and trying not to die.
This area is incredibly unfriendly to pedestrians and many people do not have the luxury of investing a substantial amount of their income on a vehicle.
We need, very soon:
Can you think of any other easy-to-implement solutions that could make this area safer for everyone?