PITTSBURGH, PA (May 18, 2020) A City of Pittsburgh Department of Mobility and Infrastructure advisory committee has presented a report focusing on how streets and mobility services could be used to support business and community health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Committee, chaired by former Pennsylvania Department of Transportation Secretary Allen Biehler, was formed April 29 and convened four times between May 1 and May 11, and finished its report last week. The ad hoc committee was comprised of business owners, business association and development organization leaders, mobility providers, urban designers, technologists, and transportation professionals.
The rapidly assembled report includes a number of recommendations including:
- Engage and empower more commercial areas across the city – particularly those that may lack organized business associations.
- Develop and deploy consistent advisory signage for business districts to direct patrons to queue, pick-up, and park safely and at an appropriate distance.
- Expand sidewalk space at high use bus stops, promote use of bicycles and bike share, and permit use of other small, sustainable micromobility devices.
- Better manage curbsides to enable space for local pick-up and delivery and sidewalk expansion space for queuing and seating.
- Address regulatory barriers that restrict non-traditional uses of the public right of way to support businesses.
- Develop approved standards and processes to enable “quick build” adaptation of streets to support businesses and neighborhood recreation.
Following the committee’s recommendations, the Department has initiated the following actions:
- Launch a survey of businesses across the city to better understand how streets and mobility could be used to support their reopening.
- Convert a number of actuated (push button controlled) pedestrian signals to recall (automatically triggering the pedestrian phase without pushing the button).
- Collaborated on a 72-hour “hackathon” this past weekend with local programmers and engineers to develop “PittsCurb” - a tool to help manage efficient curbside use.
- Develop guidelines for the use of small powered mobility devices in the city.
- Develop a program to permit neighborhood slow streets to promote outdoor social distancing in residential areas.