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Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office in Strip District earns bike-friendly status

| Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013, 12:55 a.m.
Stephanie Strasburg | Tribune-Review
A bicyclist rides past the bike rack at the Medical Examiner's Office in the Strip District on Tuesday. Bike Pittsburgh recently named the Medical Examiner’s Office a bike friendly employer. They have a bike kiosk in their lobby complete with a bike repair kit, as well as showers and locker rooms and other information that cyclists can use.

Its employees handle Allegheny County's gruesome homicides and horrific car crashes.

They also work in one of the county's most bike-friendly offices.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office was recently named a “Bike Friendly Employer” by Bike Pittsburgh.

“With this program, you never know who is going to be a champion out there,” said Lou Fineberg, program director of the Lawrenceville-based bicycle advocacy group.

The medical examiner's office, on Penn Avenue in the Strip District, has covered bike parking, showers and changing rooms for employees. A bike rack is in front of the building, and a repair kit is inside the lobby. A cyclist riding through the Strip District can stop and change a tube or fix a flat tire, Fineberg said.

The county is the only government entity to receive Bike Pittsburgh's bike-friendly status. The Kane Regional Center in Ross earned the designation last year, the first government agency to do so. The county has 37 bike-friendly employers, Fineberg said.

“Pittsburgh and Allegheny County are changing with younger people who want to use other modes of transportation to get to work,” said county Executive Rich Fitzgerald. “We have a lot of people that bike to work, and right now, depending on which way they come, it can be dangerous.”

He suggested establishing bike lanes along Port Authority busways. One way to pay for them could be to charge cyclists a small fee — similar to a bus fare — for using the lanes, Fitzgerald said.

The county set no funding aside and spent little money on the bike-friendly additions at the medical examiner's office, Fitzgerald said. The office used existing showers, changing rooms and bike racks. The repair kit was cobbled together from supplies found at bike shops.

Fitzgerald hopes to make the county's Downtown properties bike-friendly as well.

Aaron Aupperlee is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7986 or aaupperlee@tribweb.com.

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