Hilly cities eye bike escalators
— By Mark Halper on April 4, 2014, 6:26 AM PST
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.