Pittsburgh ranked eighth among large cities for commuting without cars
Waiting for his bus home from Downtown on Tuesday, Jack King was surprised to hear Pittsburgh ranks eighth among large cities where people commute to work by means other than cars.
“It's cheaper. The gas, the oil and parking is immensely expensive. The bus, in the end, saves me money,” King, 52, of Brighton Heights, said.
The Institute for Quality Communities at the University of Oklahoma dug through Census Bureau data — from the 2012 American Community Survey — on how Americans travel to work in the 60 largest cities and released its finding this week. Some walk, some bike, some use public transit.
Among Pittsburgh residents, 29.2 percent matched that category.
Among Northeast cities, Pittsburgh trailed New York, Washington, Boston and Philadelphia. But compared to Midwest cities, Pittsburgh trailed only Chicago, besting Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, St. Louis and others. Pittsburgh was well ahead of southern cities including Miami, Dallas and San Diego.
“I'd say that's pretty good overall — eighth,” said Shane Hampton, a fellow at the Institute for Quality Communities who researched the data. “The Northeast is the leader. The region is older and developed before the car was invented. A lot of areas there were developed to be gotten around on foot or by streetcar. The Sunbelt cities had most of their development in the 20th century during sprawl. Transit is really the key to all of it.”
Bike Pittsburgh Executive Director Scott Bricker said his organization analyzed the data but didn't find the biking numbers as encouraging. He said the city should invest in dedicated bike lanes with barriers separating vehicular traffic.
“It doesn't look like we've moved at all in biking. It's impressive Pittsburgh is ranking in the top 10 in these lists, but we're seeing other cities making investments in biking infrastructure. We've plateaued.”
Pittsburgh's numbers show that 1.4 percent bike to work, 10.6 percent walk and 17.2 take mass transit. The rest use cars.
Marissa Doyle, Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's spokeswoman, agreed work needs to be done.
“We've focused on expanding and improving the city's multi-modal transportation opportunities so that residents can travel throughout the city easier and safer,” Doyle said. “We've also focused on expanding residential opportunities near major work hubs, such as Downtown and East Liberty.”
Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie noted a 2010 study by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership found more than 50 percent of Downtown workers take a bus or ride the T.
“We're constantly looking to make the system more efficient,” Ritchie said.
Matt Wholey, 49, of Shadyside bikes or takes the bus to his job in the Allegheny County Courthouse.
“I never drive. I enjoy the bicycle. It gives me fresh air and it's always 27 minutes. Driving can be quicker or it can take an hour if there's an accident,” Wholey said. “When I'm riding my bike home (on the Eliza Furnace Trail) I see all those people sitting in parkway traffic. They look so miserable.”
Bobby Kerlik is a Trib Total Media staff writer. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Duquesne Club seeks permission from city to keep 4 rooftop bee hives
- Man taken to hospital after being hit by car in Carrick
- Allegheny County RAD increases budget by $2.5M for cultural, recreational programs
- Threat at Sheraden school a ‘student hoax’
- Bethel Park police chief to retire in mid-October
- Pirates rally planned for Market Square
- Newsmaker: Maurice Cole
- $21 million unfrozen for Pennsylvania school construction
- $5M Penn Avenue reconstruction project is ‘killing everything’
- Allegheny authority bends limits on free tickets for pro sporting events
- Western Pa. towns eye fees to control stormwater runoff