Bill Peduto, Rising Urbanist Star, Wins Pittsburgh Mayoral Primary

He’s a “top urban influencer.” He promoted parking reform in his campaign to become Pittsburgh’s next mayor. And on Tuesday, City Councilman Bill Peduto won the Democratic mayoral primary, making him something of a shoo-in for the city’s highest office. (Pittsburgh hasn’t elected a Republican mayor since the 1930s.)

With the election of Bill Peduto, Pittsburgh streets could soon become much more walkable and bikeable. Image: Post-Gazette

Just to give you a taste of how tuned in Peduto is to what makes a city work for walking, biking, and transit, we pulled some excerpts from a candidate interview he did with Bike Pittsburgh. Sit back and prepare to be envious.

Here’s Bill Peduto on increasing bike and transit mode share: “The best way to achieve this is to make sure that the bulk of new housing development that occurs in the city is transit oriented and is located within reasonable walking distance to a transit hub.” PennDOT has set a goal of 5 to 10 percent of trips by bicycle downtown and 5 percent of all trips under three miles, but Peduto says he thinks “we can do even better,” indicating that he’d like to see bicycle mode share as high as 10 percent. Currently, it’s at 1.4 percent citywide.

Here he is on pedestrian safety and traffic enforcement: “We’re going to get more police officers on bicycles and on foot patrols so they will have a stake in bike/ped safety.” “We also have to revisit our police policies and make sure that all of our officers are trained in bike/ped safety laws and the proper enforcement of them.”

On protected bike lanes: “We need to start to incorporate physically separated bike lanes where appropriate. We need to institute traffic calming measures.”

On bike boxes, green paint and other street treatments: “We all know that we’re not going to break the 10 percent [bike mode share] barrier unless we implement these improvements.” “I’ve taken some strong steps in my Council district to try to get us there, including funding a design competition to design bike corrals for our three business districts.”

On open streets events: “Not only should we close down streets temporarily but there are probably some streets that we could close permanently, particularly in downtown.”

On learning from other urbanists: “I’m genuinely interested in these issues and I plan to attend conferences, meet with leaders in other cities, and learn from what is working elsewhere. I think it is incredibly important that the Mayor and top staff are engaging with experts from around the world on these kinds of issues.”