CMU School of Drama

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Upcoming Changes to Forbes Avenue Revealed-Faculty & Staff News

Carnegie Mellon University: Carnegie Mellon and PennDOT have rolled out an improvement plan for Forbes Avenue that will benefit pedestrians, bicyclists, motorists and public transit riders traveling through the CMU campus.

The project, announced at a public meeting in late August, will transform the major Pittsburgh artery through the heart of the university into a calmer, more efficient and aesthetically appealing roadway, enhancing travel for everyone. The work also will help connect CMU’s main campus to the David. A. Tepper Quadrangle and other destinations to the north and west, as it will provide for a safer and easier commute across Forbes.

16 comments:

Benjamin King said...

The article gives a quick summary of the meeting and what came out of it but I was interested in doing a little more research. The article addresses the fact that it will be adding “piano key” crosswalks which I really didn’t think that much of at first. How was a bigger marking going to help traffic? After looking some of the photos in the pedestrian study file, it became clear how cars do not stop where indicated. Even better, when cars end up in the middle of intersection because they thought they would be able to go before the light changed, but didn’t make it. I specifically looked at the intersection of Forbes and Morewood since it is the one I interact with the most. When I looked at the current photo, I realized just how poorly designed this intersection is. The mass volume that moves (both pedestrian and car) is so large, however it makes sense to have one lane to move traffic moving up and down Forbes. More often then I probably should, I see a car in the far right line lane heading outbound on Forbes try to turn left onto Morewood. It seems like this plan has been researched and carefully considered. I’ll be interested to see how much can be implemented during the rest of my time at CMU.

Rebecca Meckler said...

I completely understand the fear of having the busses cross over into the bike lane to let people on and off. In New York City, where I’m from, we have a similar bike program, called Citi Bikes. I have ridden the bikes before and though the bikes are usually on the opposite side of the street as the busses, it can be scary if a car is turning. It is usually safe as long as the cyclist and the cars are going straight, but as soon as someone wants to turn, the situation can get dangerous, especially for an inexperienced cyclist. That being said, I would use a bike sharing program to get around. I think it would be a fun way to see the city as well as extremely practical for errands. I would prefer that Pittsburgh figure out how to safely implement Health Bike before continuing the program. I hope that in the next year, the city comes up with a good way to incorporate the bikes, while keeping the city safe.

Chris Norville said...

I like biking around Pittsburgh. I like bilking from home to campus. I think biking a time efficient method or transit, I like that the daily exercise clears my head, and keeps me in if not good shape better than not. If asked my opinions about what to do with the transit system around campus, I would say all or nothing. I wont force anyone else into a situation where they have to bike, if they like to ride a bus or drive their car. The new campus plan for transit and parking is a load of bullshit though. The plan of fixing our diminishing parking with “a culture shift towards a biking friendly campus” will be ineffective. Culture shift is not an answer to infrastructure problems. I just want CMU to do something well if they are going to do it at all. I doubt that the culture shift towards biking will be effective, even with good infrastructure support, let alone it seems like whenever they build a new building, 6 bike racks disappear because they aren’t aesthetic. Cant we just outsource all of our transportation issues to Uber?

Annie Scheuermann said...

When I moved to Pittsburgh I was told that the roads were like a plate of pasta that was thrown into a blender and then stirred up and dumped out. The road systems here suck, they don't make any sense both the highways and the smaller local roads. This article gives hope that work is going into fixing the roads around campus which is great. But in true road fixer Pittsburgh people fashion it did not make sense. I wish their was a diagram of what they are going to do, and give a time line for the project. I think the upmost important thing to include is an easy passage for the Beep Boop. I would love for their to be a tunnel under the road or an overpass so then people don't have to wait, or worse run out into traffic. I agree with the bike friendly ideas and making it safer with the crazy buses, I just did not get a comprehensive idea of what their plan is.

Drew Himmelrich said...

I thought we might be getting a bridge over Forbes…I guess not. But it looks like we are getting some bike lanes. When I clicked on this article I thought it would be a more detailed explanation about what is happening at the intersection and the area around it. I thought maybe I would get an explanation as to why jackhammers woke me up really early the other morning. But this article really only is talking about the bike lanes. I have to say, I do not see a lot of people biking down Forbes. If any road needs a bike lane id think it was Morewood. That is not to say people don’t bike from the squirrel hill area, and I am sure the people doing the planning know something I don’t, But I think a morewood bike lane would be a nice touch. I also think a bridge, which is a rumor I heard about, going over forbes would be really awesome. It would be hard to get a high enough bridge in such a tight footprint, but I think it would be really cool and I’m still holding out hope.

Angel Zhou said...

I as a person am someone who would much rather bike on a sidewalk than in the street. However, with Pittsburgh's law forcing sidewalk bikers to walk their bikes if in a business district, bikers like me are forced to instead bring our bikes onto streets completely shared with cars and buses. Every time I bike on the streets, I feel as though I am restricting cars from getting to their destination because I force cars to pass me. As a driver, I absolutely despise bikers because there is no space in Pittsburgh lanes for both cars and bikes.

So, I bike on the sidewalks and walk my bike in business districts. However, even doing this has earned me a lot of hatred from pedestrians. No matter what I do, I cannot win.

Because of all of these reasons, I am pleased to read about how CMU and PennDOT are trying to at least alleviate the biking situation around CMU's campus. But, I still wonder how/when this construction will take place. Will the roads be closed again for ages, drawing huge traffic around the CMU area? A curb protecting bikers, as mentioned in the article, would be fantastic, but where is the room for it? Also, do our roads even have space for the bus pull-offs mentioned?

These ideas are all fantastic and I appreciate the considerate thinking, but there are so many issues with this due to limited resources, space, and time that the article fails to bring up. I hope the project continues to provide as much transparency as possible and considers these issues in their future decisions.

Ben Vigman said...

Wow omg bikes are so cool. Everybody should just bike everywhere all the time. That would be so great if we all could just bike everywhere. Except for the part where it's freezing half of the year. Alleviating CMU's parking fiasco by promoting bike culture is absolutely not the way to go. I'm so glad we are going to get more bike lanes, but how about more car lanes. And frankly, what is the point of additional concessions for Pittsburgh buses that never arrive on time in the 1st place. I really don't see how the "Forbes Corridor Improvement" Project really alleviates any of the major transportation issues that plague CMU. Actually, no, there is just one issue. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH PARKING. THERE IS NOT ENOUGH PARKING. STILL NOT ENOUGH PARKING. As a seemingly worthless undergraduate who is completely undeserving of parking, at least I only will have to stomach one full year in the Post-Morewood lot apocalypse. My heart goes out to future students who have to deal with the frustrations of CMU Parking Services. If I ever have enough money to donate a building, it totally would be a CMU parking garage...

Sam Molitoriss said...

Eh, I guess. They're going to do road construction on Forbes for a whole year to finish this? Also, I second Ben's point about parking. The people who need to travel here only increase year after year. CMU needs to find some solutions for parking, especially after they ripped out half of the Morewood lot for the new Tepper building. I'm not sure where they would put the parking, but CMU will have to add some sooner or later. Luckily, I don't live far enough away to need to drive to campus, but I am sympathetic towards those who do and can't get parking. My two cents say that the only real way to alleviate congestion on Forbes is to make the road wider. And by the way, Forbes doesn't even get that backed up during rush hour periods. Yes, it gets a bit crowded, but not nearly as bad as Fifth, which can get pretty rough in the early evening. I, like Drew, was hoping for a Forbes bridge. Too bad we're not getting one.

noah hull said...

I think the idea that a year long project on a relatively small part of Pittsburgh would do much any thing to alleviate traffic problems is laughable. A year and one intersection is nowhere near enough to make an impact on the traffic problems of Pittsburgh or any city for that matter. Using my home of Boston and Cambridge as an example, over the course of my life we’ve had a seemingly endless series of road work projects that were intended to fix our hellish traffic. Of all of them the only ones that had a noticeable impact were the ones that effected far more than a single intersection or single road, they were the projects that redid whole sections of the city. On top of that, of those projects the one that had the biggest impact started in 1982 and ended in 2007 with most of the work taking place between 1991 and 2007. It involved creating a new tunnel and bridge and ripping out and old highway and totally overhauling the heart of the city. For this Forbes avenue project to have the kind of impact the article is talking about it would need to far bigger in scale. As it stands now all its going to do is last long enough to annoy everyone who has to work around it and then end and not provide enough change to make up for the inconvenience. That being said I do like that part that makes it sound like it would make it easier to cross Forbes where it meets Morewood.

Claire Farrokh said...

Well I'm glad they are starting on a new project. There really was not enough construction before. Finally Pittsburgh is getting its act together. Honestly, I think this a pretty good idea, especially considering how frequent biking accidents have become around a Pittsburgh, especially on Forbes. It will not affect me a whole lot, since I do not bike to campus, but it will probably both help current bikers and possibly encourage people to bike more. The construction is going to be really annoying. I hate not being able to easily walk from Morewood to Starbucks - I have to cross the street and then go back over again - but I can deal with the inconvenience if it will make travel safer for a whole bunch of people. Honestly there is always going to be construction going on at least one section of my walk to school, so I really do not care if they want to add one more construction site.

David Kelley said...

I find it interesting that the there is a movement to try and improve Forbes around the area of Carnegie Mellon University, it realistically does not look like Forbes needs that much improvement. Having lived near construction of roads most of my life, and the area around Carnegie Mellon University will end up turning into a circus and will slow down drastically. Also while I respect people choice to ride their bikes but I have found that the bike riders in the area tend to infuriate me, because they do not follow basic traffic law. If this fact does not change any moves to increase the flow of bikes will end up causing many incidents to arise. In all its going to be an unnecessary construction project that will achieve relatively little.

Ruth Pace said...

While I am in full support of any measurement taken to protect the health and safety of bicyclists and pedestrians, I cannot in good consciousness endorse this plan for the reasons that others above me have stated, namely the all-caps sections of Ben Vigman's comment above. As someone who has had a car on campus, I can attest to the difficulty of finding cheap and easily accessible places to store a vehicle without a difficult-to-obtain year-round parking permit. While I think that CMU's plans for Forbes are well-intentioned, but poorly executed. We should all aspire to live in a less car-reliant world, but for now, CMU's lack of regard for its car-owning or commuter students, as well as car-owning employees shows a lack of foresight I find a little worrisome. In addition, I feel the idea of moving the Hamburg Hall light to Cyert Drive a little unnecessary in the light of our obvious parking issues. Perhaps I'm overly concerned with the parking situation, but I think CMU has larger issues than streetlight placement. This all being said, I'm not a traffic engineer, so perhaps this intersection remodel will be the best thing since sliced bread.

Tahirah Agbamuche said...

Something that I love about Carnegie Mellon and its surrounding community is how it’s so conscious of all human beings. I get such an open and friendly vibe from Pittsburgh. I was in class one day, and as we were working on our installations, the staff’s first concern were how accessible the building would be to handicaps. It’s something which was always and ever important to them and I feel reflects who they are. The Pittsburgh community is also looking to improve, but never leave anyone behind, which I see in this new construction. Within my mere 4 weeks here, I’ve often wished for a bus lane. I guess I’m getting what I asked for!

John Walker Moosbrugger said...

Honestly it sounds like this meeting was a mess. I appreciate the ideas put forth but the article makes it seem as though the crowd practically stood up and threw rotten banana’s at the presenters for daring to suggest a bike lane. To be honest though I don’t think anything suggested here will change much. There isn’t usually that much traffic stuck at that intersection, there are however usually a lot of students so if CMU wouldn’t mind building a pedestrian bridge or tunnel for Forbes ave. that would be nice.

But the really important issues here is the question of if the beep boop will continue. There is nothing more essential to the CMU DP experience than sitting in the studio late at night, only to hear in the silence of everyone else sleeping, drifting slowly across campus and up through the windows of 33 a quiet “beep” “boop”.

Cassidy Pearsall said...

The only good thing about this, to me, as a pedestrian, is that it will take place next year. Maybe there will be a week long period where there is no construction and I I'll be able to use the full sidewalk at any point.

While I understand the desire for bike lanes to prevent the people that I hate that ride their bikes like they are CARS, which they will never BE, and I understand the need for better traffic signals for the multitudes of people who have never driven around here and have NO IDEA what is going on, this makes sense. But I really wish this money could be used to improve the other streets in Pittsburgh. For example, my street is one of a FIVE WAY intersection. Who thought this was a good idea? Why doesn't Forbes have a crosswalk next to my bus stop? Why are there never enough traffic lights for this hell hole of a city? Please, Pittsburgh. Help me. Help me help you. Fix the places that need fixing, please stop messing with Forbes near CMU.

William Lowe said...

I want to begin by saying that this project sounds incredible. I question how necessary it is, but I understand the timing in conjunction with the new Tepper quadrangle. I do question the arguments about the bike lanes for this portion of Forbes Ave. I think that providing a barrier for the bicycles is going to bring more harm than good to the experience along Forbes Ave. It would restrict the ability for buses to have their own bump outs unless the bike lanes were in the middle of the street — which would make it hard for bicyclists to enter and exit the street — or there were breaks in the barriers for each bus stop — which would cause major issues if there were multiple buses attempting to stop at a stop at once. I also question whether or not the barriers would be useful on Forbes ave because of the grade of the road. As a bicyclist, I feel like having a barrier would be restrictive when trying to go up or down a hill of such grade. I know that I would have less finite control of the bike under such conditions and a barrier would make that slightly concerning since the potential of running into the barrier is somewhat large. I do greatly understand the desire for the barriers for the bike lanes as one of my teachers last year was greatly injured and had to miss months of work due to a collision with a motor vehicle, but I do not think they would help in this scenario.

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