Turzai and Vulakovich letter, first draft
I am sure you are aware of the 30 August death of a cyclist on West Carson Street, only nine days after PennDOT opened the road after a complete reconstruction. In the 33 months the road was restricted to single-lane, 25 mph operation, there were few wrecks and no fatalities.
My beef with PennDOT requires your attention because it is supposed to be responsive to its superiors, namely state government leaders, the citizenry's elected representatives -- you. To do your jobs effectively, you need to be informed what the citizenry needs.
In that part of town -- McKees Rocks, the Bottoms, Esplen, Presston, Sheraden, Elliott, Stowe -- car ownership is far less than in other parts of the city and inner suburban areas. Able-bodied people are dependent on the bus system, and I need not elaborate upon the many service cutbacks in recent years. Using a bike to commute from the area served by West Carson, though, which would be a great way to get back and forth, essentially cannot be done using this road design. Even experienced cyclists like myself do not consider it safe to ride -- and I regularly ride on McKnight Road.
I need you to understand that people regularly commute by bike, some by choice, others by necessity. They need PennDOT to design roads to allow them to use the road system safely -- even if it means less capacity and lower speed limits, which they are adamantly opposed to.
That last point is critical: Roads like West Carson need to be posted 25, not 35, so that non-drivers can use it safely. We do not care if that is not popular, and we don't want you to care, and we don't want PennDOT to care. Safety is more important than capacity. We want to use the roads without fear of losing our lives.
Never mind bicycles. Simply put, would you change a left flat tire on West Carson?
PennDOT needs to think differently. YOU need to think differently, if you are not already fully on board with getting PennDOT to change.
I thank you in advance for your concern.