By Justin Criado

Protected bike lanes will be installed on East Street between Spring Hill’s Lareda and Suffolk Streets during the street resurfacing work, which is part of the ongoing East Ohio Stree/East Street Improvement Project.

Bike lane installation started Oct. 26 and should take three weeks to complete, according to a PennDOT press release, weather permitting.

Other than the new protected bike lanes, the new configuration of East Street also includes shorter pedestrian crossings, the removal of one of the northbound travel lanes and an overall narrowing of the lanes that will provide a traffic calming effect. The bike lanes are separated from traffic using plastic bollards designed to provide more safety and security from vehicular traffic.

The East Street project is one of the first examples of a united and coordinated street maintenance effort. The Department of Public Works (DPW) and City Planning worked together to design the lanes and incorporate the installation into the planned street resurfacing work, resulting in a more efficient and cost effective project.

“This project shows what can happen when community volunteer leadership, local stakeholders and government work together,” Nick Ross, Chairperson, Northside Leadership Conference Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee, said.  “This project creates new connections for Northside neighborhoods while serving the interests of local property owners and the public at large.”

Over the past nine months City Planning and DPW worked on external coordination with community groups and immediate stakeholders, developing design improvements to East Street intended to make the street safer for all users.

“I am grateful to representatives of the city, who worked diligently with the parish to craft an arrangement that allows bike lanes on East Street and full access to Holy Wisdom Parish,” Father Lawrence DiNardo, pastor of Holy Wisdom Parish on the North Side, which includes St. Boniface Church on East Street, said.

Father DiNardo is also the vicar general-general secretary of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh.

“Thanks to this compromise, our elderly parishioners will continue to be able to park in front of the church for Mass, and there will be no barriers to entering our parking lot. Access to the church and parking lot will be unimpeded for weddings and funerals, and we have the ability to expand on-street parking for special events.

“In working with us, the city has created a model of collaboration that should continue with all houses of worship and secular institutions. In that way, all Pittsburghers can contribute to our common good.”

The estimated cost of the East Street bike lane project is $66,100.

A detailed map of recommended Northside Bike Loops, courtesy of the Northside Leadership Conference Bicycle & Pedestrian Committee, can be found on the official website.