BikePGH goes round and round with "Loop the Loop" Allegheny Circle ride | Pittsburgh City Paper

BikePGH goes round and round with "Loop the Loop" Allegheny Circle ride

click to enlarge People bike on a street in Pittsburgh.
CP Photo: Jared Murphy
BikePGH's OpenStreetsPGH event
BikePGH will celebrate its 20th anniversary with an event meant to showcase its mission of creating safer streets for bicyclists and pedestrians. It will also highlight an improved section of Pittsburgh's infrastructure.

The local nonprofit will host a Ride and Walk Fundraiser called the "Loop the Loop Ride" at Allegheny Circle on the North Side. Happening Sat., Aug. 13, the event will challenge riders and walkers to complete as many rounds as they can around the traffic circle.

The ride, which is open to all ages and all abilities, will take place for two hours and conclude with an after-party at Allegheny City Brewing.

"The route is flat and should accommodate any level of rider who wishes to come out!," says Julie Walsh, communications and marketing manager for BikePGH, in an email to Pittsburgh City Paper. "If you prefer to walk/roll your loops, you can certainly do that instead of biking. The best part is, the number of loops you do is completely up to you."

Walsh adds that there will also be electric-assist bikes provided by POGOH. "So even if you don't have a bike, or need that extra jump of power to help you pedal, all abilities will be accommodated!"

Allegheny Circle consists of four streets (North, East, South, and West Commons) in the Allegheny Center neighborhood. The Pittsburgh Department of Mobility and Infrastructure recently completed a $3.2M project to convert the four-lane, one-way ring road into two-way operations for vehicles, with one lane of traffic in each direction. According to a press release, the project also upgraded the cycle track, and bicycle facilities were extended to connect with existing bicycle facilities along Federal Street.

The project also provided upgrades to traffic signals, intersection modifications to improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists, upgraded curb ramps, new pavement markings and signage, and other miscellaneous construction.

Walsh says the protected intersections feature a corner island which helps to tighten the corner's turn radius and "create a bike queue area after the crosswalk," which makes bikers far in advance of the motor vehicle stop bar and in clear sight of the drivers. This construction feature also makes the area safer for pedestrians and people using personal mobility devices.

BikePGH does a lot of fundraising throughout the year, but this event, in particular, was the brainchild of Bruce Chan, who has been on the board of the organization since 2019.

"As an urban designer, I really want to showcase the transformational work that the City and Bike Pittsburgh are doing to undo some of the urban planning and car-centric mistakes of Pittsburgh's past," says Chan in an email. "And the Allegheny Circle, as a four-lane car moat, was always something that perplexed me. So the recent conversion of the street back into a two-way street with room for a protected bicycle track got me really excited.

Chan adds that, as a "lover of spectacles," he thought "What is the best way to celebrate this infrastructure rejuvenation, than with an absurd event where we flash mob the new infrastructure?"

"Thus, the 'Loops the Loops' event was born," says Chan. "I really wanted to celebrate both the new vision for our city's heritage streets and the North Side neighborhood which deserves and will benefit from this visionary dismantling and building back better of our public realm."

BikePGH "Loop the Loop Ride." 12-2 p.m. Check-in 11:30 a.m. Sat., Aug. 13. Nova Place, 100 South Commons, North Side. $20 suggested donation.