Pocusset Street in Greenfield is 'shifted' to bike zone

| Monday, March 10, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Pocusset Street has grown into more than only a route to Greenfield or Squirrel Hill, says Eric Boerer, advocacy director of BikePGH.

It also now is evidence of the change in thinking on cycling and pedestrian travel, he says.

A quarter-mile section of the street has been shut off to automotive traffic and turned into a bike-pedestrian thoroughfare. The section runs from the Greenfield Bridge, through the woods to where the houses begin at the 5300 block of the street.

It has been newly paved, given new painted markings, LED street lighting and cones marking its new uses.

Stephen Patchan, the city's bicycle-pedestrian coordinator, says the street was changed to make it safe for pedestrians and bicyclists; it wasn't safe for them or automobile drivers before.

The road twists and turns as is climbs from Greenfield Road, making visibility poor for any traveler. It also was not good for trucks and other heavy traffic because of the unsure ground below it, says Patrick Hassett, assistant director of public works for the city.

He says repairing the voids in the ground below and bringing the street back to good quality for motor vehicles would have cost $600,000. Changing it into the bike-pedestrian route cost about $60,000, he says.

Patchan and Boerer say the problems were discussed at monthly meetings beginning in the spring of 2013, with neighborhood-group members saying they hated to lose the route to Greenfield or the park.

“So the idea came up to make it a bike-pedestrian route,” Boerer says.

City publications are touting its safety as a great place to take that first bike ride and are promoting the “My Bike” program of Variety the Children's Charity, which gives adaptive bikes to challenged kids. (Details: 412-747-2680 or www.varietypittsburgh.org).

Patchan says the city also is examining with city groups uses for the Pocusset Drive Trail, a nearby route that climbs into the park above the street. Hassett says the trail is overgrown and has some missing manhole covers.

Boerer says the bike-advocacy group and the city have been calling the Pocusset Street project a “road shift” in an effort to give the job a recognizable name.

Bob Karlovits is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at bkarlovits@tribweb.com or 412-320-7852.

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