Lytle Street: Rethinking the right-of-way.
When Hazelwood Green is fully built out, approximately 4.5 miles of new rights-of-way will be built and dedicated to the City as public streets. The opportunity to design new urban rights-of-way from scratch is a rarity and posed a challenge - how can Hazelwood Green flip the script, prioritizing active transportation and transit riders before private vehicles? Lytle Street rethinks the allocation of right-of-way space for modes of mobility.
Streets are nearing completion, with another 2-3 months expected for construction. As of May 2019, almost all utilities, curbs, intersections, concrete base, sidewalks, asphalt wearing course in place. Construction crews are moving onto bicycle lanes, street lights, additional sidewalk, and landscaping.
After over a year of design and coordination with the City, Lytle Street will be a first for Pittsburgh – a truly people-first street – in several ways.
CHICANES & ALTERNATING PARKING. A chicane is a curb extension that creates a lane shift intended to slow vehicular traffic. In the case of Lytle Street, chicanes are also used as a tool to alternate street parking from either side of the street every block.
RAISED CYCLE LANES. Frequently seen in Europe, with only a handful of examples in North America, Lytle Street incorporates cycle lanes that are protected through grade separation. With a 3-foot buffer from the curb and a 5-foot planting and furnishing area that serves as a transition zone for pedestrians, the 5’ cycle lanes provide a comfortable and safe space for cyclists of all abilities. As of Fall (2018), the draft edition of American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials’ Bike Guide includes (for the first time) protected bicycle lanes (including sidewalk level lanes) and protected intersections.
RAISED INTERSECTIONS. Most pedestrian and cyclist collisions occur at intersections, where conflicts between all modes are most frequent. To address this challenge, Lytle Street employs raised intersections (aka a table-top intersection) that serves to (1) reduce vehicular speed through establishing an extended speed hump and (2) enable an uninterrupted pedestrian and cyclist travel path.
GREEN INFRASTRUCTURE. Street trees on Lytle Street are on average every 30 feet to ensure a good canopy, which in turn will create a more comfortable streetscape, slow traffic, filter air and rainwater, and provide shade for pedestrians. In addition to providing ample space for the street trees to grow and absorb rainwater, three blocks of Lytle Street are also acting as a pilot to test and demonstrate the effectiveness of green infrastructure in managing and filtering rainwater. The three blocks of Lytle Street along the front of the Mill 19 building employ 100% green infrastructure (i.e. swales and planting instead of pipes) to manage and convey rainwater to the retention area north of the street (on Block 15).
The terms “pedestrians” and “cyclists” are not intended to be exclusive of other modes, but rather to easily define two different speeds of travel in each lane; the sidewalk and cycle lane, respectively. One should consider that sidewalks, while designed to pedestrians should accommodate modes that travel at speeds between 0 and 4 miles per hour. Similarly, the cycle lane - primarily designed for cyclists - is suitable for other modes (i.e. rollerbladers, skateboarders, scooters, joggers, etc.) that travel 5 and 15 miles per hour. Finally, there are those whether on a bicycle, electric-assist bicycle, and/or scooter that are comfortable and able to travel at similar speeds to vehicles (15mph+), this group may choose to mix with vehicular traffic in the travel lanes on-street.
CHARACTER OF LYTLE STREET.
Lytle Street is Hazelwood Green’s only north-south Secondary Street and serves as the site’s main pedestrian-oriented street, where active ground floor uses and pedestrian activity shall be focused and concentrated. The street will be monitored for performance to advance future duplication. It is anticipated that Lytle Street will incorporate public amenities, public art installations and interventions, and facilities to accommodate festivals, block parties, and other special events in coordination with activity on the Plaza.
The Lytle Street project also includes Street “C” (street name to be determined), which is designed in the same vein as Lytle with the main exception of 11-foot travel lanes (instead of 10-foot) to better accommodate larger vehicles, i.e. trucks and buses. Both of these streets, along with a temporary parking lot and the completion of Blair Street (and the CSX canopy) are underway this fall. It is expected that Lytle Street and Street “C” will be completed and opened in Summer 2019.