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November 23, 2016

Changes at 5th & Bellefield sought



The Staff Association Council (SAC) is pushing for increased pedestrian/ bicyclist safety measures at the corner of Fifth and Bellefield avenues.

Andy Stephany, SAC vice president of public relations, announced the effort at SAC’s Nov. 16 meeting.

Spurred by staff concerns and by a bus injuring a pedestrian in July, SAC wrote to Chancellor Patrick Gallagher; Paul Supowitz, vice chancellor for Community and Governmental Relations; and other Pitt administrators urging action on the issue.

SAC’s letter suggested Pitt and the City of Pittsburgh collaborate on several steps, including:

• Installation of a 20-25 second pedestrian-only crossing signal on the western side of Fifth Avenue, and at both North Bellefield crosswalks, allowing for pedestrians to cross prior to vehicles.

• Installation of a no-turn-on-red traffic sign facing vehicular traffic traveling south on North Bellefield Avenue to further prohibit right turns onto Fifth Avenue while pedestrians are crossing.

• Additional open forums between stakeholders involved in the Bus Rapid Transit planning process and the Complete Streets initiative (which City Council passed Nov. 21) to communicate to the University community updated strategies and timelines surrounding each initiative. The latter two projects are city plans for better accommodating walkers, bikers and vehicular traffic on city streets.

Stephany said that the chancellor had responded by urging the group to work with Supowitz on these efforts.

“We’re going to have to form an alliance” on campus to make these safety views known to the entities that own this intersection, including the City of Pittsburgh, Stephany said. “It’s going to be an uphill battle.”

In other SAC news:

• SAC has received 21 applications for its book fund, which awards money to staff members’ children enrolled at Pitt to cover school expenses. Five winners will be announced at the Dec. 5 chancellor’s long-term staff recognition event.

• The next SAC meeting will be Jan. 19.

—Marty Levine 

Filed under: Feature,Volume 49 Issue 7

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