Penn Avenue Bike Lane: August Traffic Report

August numbers for the Penn Avenue bike lane are now available on the PDP public website. Trip totals have flattened out as we reach the end of the summer. The monthly total for the 1200 block of Penn rose 3.65% from July to 30,269 while the 900 block total fell just over 1% to 24,343

Mostly dry and warm weather have led to a consistent month of bike commuting activity.

Mostly dry and warm weather have led to a consistent month of bike commuting activity.

There was a marked increase in bike commuting this month as the weather stayed warm and dry. 1200 block numbers peaked on weekdays at 8am and 5pm with an average of 87 and 80 trips respectively for a 10% increase over July. The average number of trips for the block is moving closer and closer to a thousand a day (976) and the block averaged 57 trips per hour from 6:00 am to 10:00 PM.  

10% increase in average hourly trips on weekdays at 8am

10% increase in average hourly trips on weekdays at 8am

The last week of August saw Pittsburgh Bike Fest culminating in the annual Pedal PGH ride on August 30th. This led to an unprecedented and record setting count at the 1200 block counter of 2, 915.

Pedal PGH sets counter record of 2,915

Pedal PGH sets counter record of 2,915

The counters are thin, rubber tubes stretched across the width of the bike lane, located on the 600, 900, and 1200 blocks of Penn Avenue they were installed by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. They work by recording each time a bicyclist rides over and depresses the tubes.

If you would like to discover more about the bike lane data you can now visit the PDP's interactive website to view up to date trip counts.

The 600 block counter was repaired about one week into August so we do not have a complete data set to show for this month. Next month we will be sure to update you on what trends are occurring in that area of town.

Downtown Parking Supply

Source: aggregated from various contributors

Source: aggregated from various contributors

What is this?

A 3D representation of off-street parking supply in Downtown Pittsburgh.  For purposes of this map, parking facilities have been classified as “public parking” (available on a regular basis to downtown commuters and visitors), “dedicated parking” (parking restricted to a specific user; ex. UPMC Mercy visitor parking or resident parking at City View Apartments), “lease only” (public parking available only by monthly lease) and “event day only” (parking made available only during special events).

The height of the representative columns indicates size of the parking facility by number of spaces.  Lots and garages with fewer than 100 spaces have no height.

What can we learn?

Understanding existing parking ecosystem in Greater Downtown is critical to promoting the continued success of Downtown Pittsburgh as a major jobs center.  Downtown’s unique concentration of jobs (1 in 3 jobs in Western Pennsylvania is located in Downtown) combined with limited land area results in high demand for parking. Approximately 39% of the downtown workforce drives to their job each day (32.1% drive alone, 6.9% carpool)¹. To effectively serve this large volume in a such small geographic area this parking predominantly takes the form of structured garages that primarily serve daytime parkers.  

The five largest parking garages/lots in Greater Downtown Pittsburgh are:

  1. Allegheny Center Garage – 2,500 spaces
  2. Civic Arena Lots – 2,200 spaces
  3. Chatham Center Garage – 2,100 spaces
  4. Duquesne University Locust Garage – 1,645 spaces
  5. Station Square West Lots – 1,390 space

Capturing the current picture of parking supply provides a launching point to examine changes to the supply and demand equation over the next few years.  Changes to supply (eliminated spaces due to development in the Lower Hill District, Station Square, the Strip District, and the North shore and new spaces planned at various garages throughout Greater Downtown) are relatively easy to identify and project forward.  

 

The number of parking spaces dipped slightly in 2015 but will rebound next year as new facilities (including new public garages at the Gardens & 350 Oliver and dedicated parking at the Union Trust Building & Homewood Suites in the Strip) come on line to maintain the status quo. 

Changes to demand such as reduced demand due to technology and demographic shifts or growing demand from increased full-time residents and new hotel rooms are harder to quantify, but are critical to planning for the future of the parking system. A more comprehensive investigation into future demand changes will be undertaken this fall.

¹Employee Transportation Need Assessment, July 2010 - Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

Penn Avenue Bike Lane: July Traffic Report

July numbers for the Penn Avenue bike lane are now available. Trip totals have continued to climb as the summer weather improves with monthly totals of 29,202 in the 1200 block up 24.14% from June and 24,696 in the 900 block up an impressive 33.75% from last month. 

Better weather sees overall increase in bike traffic.             

Better weather sees overall increase in bike traffic.             

The 1200 block continues to pull the largest number of commuters with an average of 79 trips on weekdays at 8am and 74 during the 5pm bike home rush. The average number of trips for the block reached almost a thousand a day (942) and averaged 53 trips per hour from 6:00 am to 10:00 PM.  

The 1200 block sees large volumes of bike traffic during am and pm rush.

The 1200 block sees large volumes of bike traffic during am and pm rush.


For the third month running the data shows strong recreational use of the bike lanes with a weekend average that remained slightly higher than weekdays at 1162 trips per day for the 1200 block and 1198 for the 900 block.

The counters are thin, rubber tubes stretched across the width of the bike lane, located on the 600, 900, and 1200 blocks of Penn Avenue they were installed by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. They work by recording each time a bicyclist rides over and depresses the tubes.

If you would like to discover more about the bike lane data you can now visit the PDP's new interactive website to view up to date trip counts.

Unfortunately the 600 block counter is currently undergoing repairs and was not able to collect complete data for the month of July, but we're told it will be up and counting again soon.

Residential Density in Downtown

Residential Density (housing units per building) in Downtown Pittsburgh as of Summer 2015 Source: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

Residential Density (housing units per building) in Downtown Pittsburgh as of Summer 2015
Source: Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership

What is this?

Graphical demonstration of residential density (as demonstrated by number of residential units in a particular building) in Downtown Pittsburgh.  3D renderings of individual buildings allow for a more dynamic representation of density with City View (formerly Washington Plaza) the largest at 380 units.

What can we learn?

The growth of Downtown Pittsburgh as a residential neighborhood is a major driver of the continued expansion of vibrancy in the central core.  Understanding the distribution of residents, and their proximity to various downtown amenities (green space, grocery store, etc.) helps to predict where pedestrian patterns will grow.

Identifying where large groups of Downtown residents are located (ex. 600-900 blocks of Penn/Liberty Avenues in the Cultural District) is also helpful to understanding changes to demand patterns in the off-street parking network.

Note: student housing buildings are not included.

Penn Avenue Bike Lane: June Traffic Report

June trip totals for the Penn Avenue bike lane are now available; overall trips for the month are down slightly (likely due to wet weather) but peak commuting periods remained robust.  The monthly total trips in June were 24,007 in the 1200 block (-0.90% from May), 18,464 in the 900 block (-8.85% from May) and 11,728 in the 600 block (-24.77% from May).

AVERAGE WEEKDAY TRIPS PER HOUR DEMONSTRATES A STRONG COMMUTING PATTERN

AVERAGE WEEKDAY TRIPS PER HOUR DEMONSTRATES A STRONG COMMUTING PATTERN

The average number of weekday trips in June was 791 with an average of 32 trips per hour from 6:00 am to 10:00 PM.  Trip patterns continue to demonstrate a strong weekday commuter pattern, peaking at 73 trips during morning rush and 69 during afternoon rush.

The weekend average remained slightly higher than weekdays at 827 trips per day.

Bike lane trips in June vs. recorded weather events

Bike lane trips in June vs. recorded weather events

Bike lane usage remains strong, particularly considering it was the wettest June on record since 1996. According to U.S Climate Data over 7 inches of rain fell last month which is more than double the 2.18 inches Pittsburgh saw in May yet the June numbers are still comparable to those recorded in the previous month.

June data provides the first opportunity to compare month-over-month usage in the Penn Avenue Bike Lanes.

June data provides the first opportunity to compare month-over-month usage in the Penn Avenue Bike Lanes.

The 3 counters are thin, rubber tubes stretched across the width of the bike lane and are located on the 600, 900, and 1200 blocks of Penn Avenue and were installed by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership. They work by recording each time a bicyclist rides over and depresses the tubes. Overall, the counter on the 1200 block counted the highest number of trips, while the counter on the 600 block counted the fewest.

Beginning next month, the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership will launch a real-time data portal for each bike lane counter.  Follow @DowntownPitt and @EnvisionDwntwn for more information.

Weekday Bus Ridership by Stop

Average weekday ridership (boarding + alighting); 2014, Port Authority service only. Source: Port Authority of Allegheny County 

Average weekday ridership (boarding + alighting); 2014, Port Authority service only.
Source: Port Authority of Allegheny County 

What is this?

Downtown bus stops visualized by average weekday ridership.  Ridership volume can either be visualized as a combination of boarding (getting on) and alighting (getting off) passengers as show above, or separated between the two as shown below.

Information is collected by automatic passenger counters (APC's) installed on the doors of Port Authority buses.  Passenger information for other regional transit providers is not included.

What can we learn?

Previous studies by the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership and others indicate that 54% of commuters in Downtown Pittsburgh ride the bus or T.  Understanding where those commuters begin and end their trips in Downtown is a critical component to better understanding, and then improving the experience of transit riders.

Passenger boarding information is particularly important to guide efforts in provide additional amenities for passengers waiting for buses.  Passenger volume can be combined with a qualitative assessment of bus stops (currently in development) to create a prioritization matrix for investing in bus stop improvement.

Based on information provided by the Port Authority, the five largest bus stops by volume (weekday boarding and alighting) are:

  1. Smithfield Street at 6th Avenue (6,474 daily riders)
  2. 5th Avenue at Wood Street (4,477 riders)
  3. 6th Avenue at Wood Street (3,817 riders)
  4. Liberty Avenue at Wood Street (3,600 riders)
  5. Liberty Avenue at Market Street (3,585 riders)
Average weekday boardings; 2014, Port Authority service only.  Source: Port Authority of Allegheny County 

Average weekday boardings; 2014, Port Authority service only. 
Source: Port Authority of Allegheny County 

Average weekday alightings; 2014, Port Authority service only.  Source: Port Authority of Allegheny County 

Average weekday alightings; 2014, Port Authority service only. 
Source: Port Authority of Allegheny County 

Downtown Pedestrian Crashes: 2007-2014

Aggregated pedestrian crashes 2007-2014. Source:PennDOT

Aggregated pedestrian crashes 2007-2014. Source:PennDOT

What is this?

A visualization of aggregated pedestrian crashes, by intersection, in Downtown Pittsburgh from 2007-2014. The data is developed from publicly available PennDOT information which is in turn aggregated from local police reports.

What can we learn? 

Reported pedestrian crashes are a major indicator (among others) of pedestrian safety at a particular intersection. This indicator can be further strengthened by overlaying pedestrian volume and traffic signal/cross walk quality - data sets that are currently in development. Establishing this data is the first step in the creation of a qualitative analysis of pedestrian safety in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Identifying intersections with high numbers of pedestrian crashes also creates the case for prioritization of these intersections for traffic safety improvements.  Based on the PennDOT data, the intersections in Downtown with the highest numbers of pedestrian crashes are:

  1. Ross St./Blvd of the Allies (15 crashes)
  2. Ross St./Sixth Ave. (13 crashes)
  3. Ross St./Forbes Ave. (9 crashes)
  4. Grant St./Seventh Ave. (7 crashes)
  5. Ross St./Fifth Ave. (7 crashes)

 

Penn Ave. Protected Bike Lane: May Traffic Report

On June 4, 2015 the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership released the first monthly report from three automatic bike counters installed on the Penn Avenue protected bike lane.

Location of bike counters + reported monthly total trip counts

Location of bike counters + reported monthly total trip counts

With business, residential and retail life booming in Downtown Pittsburgh, we are seeing increases in every type of commuter, including those on bikes. The lanes on Penn Avenue are successful because they provide safety and convenience for all
— Mayor William Peduto

A typical weekday saw approximately 740 bike trips in the lane with a distinct commuter pattern. While the data showed an average of 41 trips per hour from 6:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m., there were significant trip increases during peak hours. The weekday morning rush saw an average of 73 trips per hour. The weekday evening rush saw an average of 81 trips per hour.

At 875 trips per day, the weekend average is slightly higher than the weekday, though the difference is partially attributable to big events like Marathon Sunday and Open Streets. In contrast to the distinct commuting patterns seen during the work week, however, the weekends show a positive recreational trend with ridership peaking in the late morning at roughly 100 per hour. 

While the numbers dip due to the cold and rain, hearty Pittsburgh cyclists are still using the bike lane in the worst of weather. The coldest /rainiest day in May – a rainy, upper-40s degree day on May 21 – still showed 467 bike trips on Penn Avenue.  

Daily Ridership & Weather Penn Avenue Bike Lane @ 12th Street, May 2015

Daily Ridership & Weather
Penn Avenue Bike Lane @ 12th Street, May 2015

The 3 counters are thin, rubber tubes stretched across the width of the bike lane and are located on the 600, 900, and 1200 blocks of Penn Avenue and were installed by the PDP. They work by recording each time a bicyclist rides over and depresses the tubes. Overall, the counter on the 1200 block counted the highest number of trips, while the counter on the 600 block counted the fewest.