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September 28, 2017


Re: New Bike Lanes on Forbes, Bigelow Help Make Cycling Through Campus Safer


I understand that it is useless to challenge the very idea to encourage (almost enforce) bicycles traffic in a very crowded environment of Oakland and Shadyside. The idea is too fashionable and appears “green.”

But here are a few points we possibly could agree:

  1. By Pennsylvania laws, a bicycle on the road is a vehicle and as such should obey all traffic regulations. But as you noticed for sure cyclists routinely ignore read lights, stop signs, ride on bus lines at both directions, etc. Should I argue that this practice endangers everyone participating in traffic?
  2. Cyclists are prohibited, exactly as other vehicles, to ride on pedestrian walks, but they do it. Last week, I was twice almost hit by a cyclist riding on a pedestrian walk. There is no safe place for a pedestrian anymore!
  3. never saw a police officer (Pitt or City of Pittsburgh) stopping a cyclist who blatantly ignores traffic laws.
  4. It is a high time to bring order to all of these matters. Maybe the City could introduce registration and license plates for bicycles? A moderate fee could be collected to cover the City’s expenses.

I would appreciate if you bring those problems to the attention of readers of University Times and, if possible, to city authorities.


Boris A. Kushner
Professor Emeritus of Mathematics
University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown



I just wanted to make you aware of some problems with the newly installed bike lane pilot that the City has implemented between Forbes and Fifth on Bigelow Boulevard. Although I am a supporter of projects that improve safety, I believe there should be some more data collection and research related to the impact of bike lanes on other populations such as people with disabilities.

There were previously nine accessible parking spaces on Forbes and Bigelow that provided access to many of the building in that area for people with disabilities. Those spaces were removed when the bike lane was installed. When there was a lot of pushback by a grassroots group called Accessible Oakland, then a few of the spaces were put back but not in spaces where they worked for people with disabilities.

We had many meetings over the last few years with bike lane staffers and have explained our concerns about the reduction of access to the curb and elimination of accessible parking due to the installation of these protected bike lanes. The same thing happened when the bike lane was installed in front of Phipps. Only after out complaints, two accessible parking spaces were reinstalled, but the way they are positioned requires the wheelchair lift to come down into the bike lane. This isn’t safe for the parker or the bike rider.

Despite our ongoing objections, bike lanes continue to pop up in different neighborhoods before the impact on the disability community can be explored. The next neighborhood scheduled for an bike lane install is North Side. No one has looked at this neighborhood and assessed the impact to the protected class of people with disabilities. The rights of people with disabilities are protected under civil rights legislation called the ADA. Biker’s rights are not. That doesn’t mean their safety and accommodations can’t be met, but they cannot supersede the rights of people with disabilities.

The Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) and the University of Pittsburgh have an obligation under the ADA to provide accommodations to people with disabilities who are students, staff and faculty.  This story represents a very narrow perspective on this issue. I hope you explore it a bit more thoroughly.

D.J. Stemmler
Research Specialist
Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology


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