Hilly cities eye bike escalators
— By Mark Halper on April 4, 2014, 6:26 AM PST
I think this is awesome. No one wants to ride their bike up hill. A better way to encourage people to ride bicycles rather than drive, I'm sure there's a good handful of people who are reluctant to ride their bikes because of hills. Adding this much be really quite cheap. It saves on wear and tear on the roads, less cars in the city, increased health so less money spent on health care. Its cheaper and better than public transport. I wish these where everywhere, and more designated cycle paths but that's a whole other thing. I have also read an article about this here http://www.exploretalent.com/articles/ride-norways-first-bike-escalator/ . Try to check it out.
This would be really great on the steep hill at 5th Ave and Negley Ave in Pittsburgh. It's one of the only safe and/or direct ways to get from Shadyside or Oakland into Squirrel Hill; the other being Forbes Ave, which is uphill with blind corners and missing sections of sidewalk, though still easier than Negley Hill.
Personally, I wouldn't use it; as a Pittsburgh native, it's a right of passage and a mark of cycling cred to tackle the Negley Hill, but it would get a lot more people cycling in an area which, other than that hill, is exceptionally well-built for cyclists. To live in Pittsburgh as a pure cyclist, you need lots of gears. Lots of gears mean lots of shifters and shifting, which means lots of added weight over a fixie.
(Side note; avid Pittsburgh cyclists who haven't joined the fixie movement have some of the most interesting combinations of gears anywhere. You can see cranks with a range from 36T to 52T and drives with a range from 9T or 12T all the way up to 24T or 32T. Some people have FOUR crank gears just to deal with this. Ride a ten speed? Be prepared for your gears to have gaps of eight to ten teeth.)
If I were on the Port Authority board, I would probably suggest that this be installed with a $0.25 fee; plenty of people would be much more willing to bike to Squirrel Hill from University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University campuses and pay a quarter than to take the bus there and pay $2.50.