“I learned to ride my bike in Squirrel Hill,” Hughes said. “I remember when there was only one bike lane, on Beechwood Boulevard.”
Hughes was among dozens of cyclists who wheeled by Schenley Plaza to celebrate Bike to Work Day, an event that featured Pitt’s Parking, Transportation and Services and police departments, Staff Council and representatives from the Bike Cave. Additionally, BikePGH, Healthy Ride, UPMC and PennDOT were on hand with resources and information for riders.
At the Pitt Police table, Detective Mike Matta walked Pitt employees through the process of registering for Bike Index, a nationwide service that aims to curb bike theft and help owners recover their stolen bikes. Matta showed riders how to register their bike manufacturer and primary frame color using their Pitt email address. A confirmation email then requests their unique serial numbers, which can identify their bikes no matter where they are stolen or recovered. “Bike thefts are a big problem, not just in the community but nationwide,” said Matta.
At a nearby table, Yasmeen Manyisha, safety press officer at PennDOT, distributed safety stickers and information about riding, all of which is available on the PennDOT bicycle safety page.
Aurora Sharrard, director of the University Office of Sustainability, couldn’t ride in to work on Friday, but she did attend the Schenley Plaza event to make the rounds and talk to the other organizations fostering sustainability. The collective efforts are producing results: Pittsburgh’s commuter biking population has doubled since 2009.
“As we work towards achieving our 50% transportation emissions goals, shifting people to more person-powered mobility options is an imperative — and the University is committed to helping that happen with infrastructure, programming and more,” Sharrard said.
Part of that commitment includes efforts to engage the campus population, including first-year students, to be thoughtful about their everyday decisions regarding reuse and mobility. “It’s a great way to establish early on just how important sustainability is at Pitt,” she said.
“It’s really a way to show this is how Pitt rolls — safely and on foot, via two wheels or via transit whenever we can.”