Construction project to improve safety on Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside to begin in weeks

·2 min read

It’s a conversation years in the making.

“In recent years it’s been a series of really terrible crashes involving cyclists, and that has lit a fire under us to do everything we can to make it safe,” said Erika Strassburger with the Pittsburgh City Council.

In fact, the city proposed safety upgrades to Ellsworth Avenue in 2018, but the community shot it down because of the elimination of parking. Since then, crash after crash has occurred, with the most recent last Friday.

“It’s chaotic, there’s sporadic parking on either side of the street and it has a high number of people using these alternative modes to get through the neighborhood,” said Eric Boerer with BikePGH.

Boerer told Channel 11 there is a lot of conflict between cyclists and drivers at that location.

After years of pushing and looking for the best solution, the city believes it has found one with what they call “traffic-calming interventions.”

“These will be traffic circles, speed tables, things to slow down drivers so one, they are slower for safety for those biking and walking; and two, hopefully deter people from cutting through Ellsworth to use it as a speedway,” Strassburger said.

Strassburger believes this project will push the road traffic out of the neighborhood and onto the main corridors like Baum Boulevard and Fifth Avenue.

But is it enough? She said engineering is just the start.

“Another solution has to be enforcement, whether that is red-light cameras or speed cameras, which the city currently doesn’t have the power to put it into place; but that does have to be part of the solution. But the tools we have now is traffic calming,” Strassburger said.

Construction for this project should start in a just a few weeks. The final designs will be posted online for the public before that project gets underway.

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