“Bike advocates from places like Portland, New York, and Boulder got a little Rust Belt envy this week when Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto spoke to the National Bike Summit Tuesday morning.

Peduto took office in January with big plans for bike lanes, express bus service, and eventually an expanded light rail network. (He got sworn in during the “polar vortex,” which was symbolic, he said, because “a lot of people said it would be a cold day in hell before I was ever elected.”)

Before launching into his perspective on cycling, Peduto regaled the audience with a history of Pittsburgh’s rise as an industrial giant and its 30-year decline, during which unemployment hit 18 percent and the city lost more population than New Orleans after Katrina. At about the same time that Pittsburgh’s economy hit bottom, it was ranked one of the worst five cities in the country for bicycling.

That was the nineties. Now Bicycling Magazine rates Pittsburgh the 35th most bicycle-friendly city in America, and Peduto wants to see it shoot into the top ten. Thirty percent of Pittsburghers walk, bike, or take transit to work — only seven other American cities have a higher share. But “we can do better,” Peduto said.

In the past few years, Pittsburgh has built 30 miles of on-street bike infrastructure and 500 bike racks, and it has started to install bike corrals…”

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Tracy Certo

Tracy is the founder and Editor at Large of NEXTpittsburgh which she started in March 2014 and sold in December 2020. She is passionate about making Pittsburgh a better place for all and connecting people...