Skip to content

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Woods Run Branch to host Street Mural Opening Ceremony

Submitted by BikePGH

PITTSBURGH - Bike Pittsburgh (BikePGH) is proud to announce the completion of a 2,000 sq ft on-street asphalt street mural in front of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Woods Run Branch. Titled “Bikes and Books,” Bike Pittsburgh managed the project with assistance from artists Ashley Kyber and Tom Higgs, and financial support from AARP’s Community Challenge Grant.

Asphalt mural art has emerged as an effective way to help calm traffic and to create vibrant places atop large areas of street surface. The benefits of such projects extend beyond aesthetics. A March 2022 Asphalt Art Safety Study, conducted by Sam Schwartz Consulting in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, found that city streets with asphalt art became considerably safer for pedestrians, and can contribute to increased pedestrian traffic, improved road safety, reduced urban heat island effect, and a greater sense of civic pride.

Comparing the average of crash rates for before-after the analysis periods, results from the crash analysis of the study include:

  • 50% decrease in the rate of crashes involving pedestrians or other vulnerable road users
  • 37% decrease in the rate of crashes leading to injuries
  • 17% decrease in the total crash rate

The City’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure (DOMI) completed the engineering and installation of the area to be painted in 2023 as part of their “Trail to Mairdale” Neighborway and traffic calming project on Woods Run Ave, connecting the Chateau Trail and Riverview Park. DOMI’s project added many pedestrian and bike friendly features along this corridor to calm traffic and promote safety, leaving a large, triangle-shaped area of blank asphalt directly in front of the Carnegie Library, Woods Run Branch. The area is a perfect canvas to add public art to create a sense of place and showcase the neighborhood.

“Asphalt art is win-win for neighborhoods,” says Eric Boerer, Bike Pittsburgh Advocacy Director, “as we reclaim public spaces for artistic expression, we are also creating safer, more welcoming streets for neighbors to enjoy.” Due to the success of previous asphalt art projects and their demonstrated benefits, DOMI agrees, and is looking to increase the use of asphalt art in other locations to help achieve their safety goals and enhance the positive traffic calming effects of their projects.

Artists Ashley Kyber and Tom Higgs were selected based on their experience and previous work creating community-driven asphalt art projects in Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Higgs, a CAPA art teacher, grew up in the neighborhood and offered further support by bringing the project into his classroom and recruiting students to vision the project and participate in the painting.

Through three public engagement charrettes on-site at the Library, a hands-on process was developed to allow for residents, library patrons, students and community groups, under the direction of lead designer Ashley Kyber, a way to help develop elements of the design.

The mural theme “bikes and books” incorporates both sponsors of the project and allows place-based design elements that:

Historic Buildings such as the original Carnegie Library Woods Run Building, the Observatory, and the now gone St. Leo’s Church - once an important community gathering place much like the library is today

  • A “grandmother” tree to denote large old growth trees in the area
  • An open book allows people to perceive the imagery of the mural arising from the open pages
  • Bike parts, a gaggle of bikers
  • Day to night theme with sun, clouds and stars

“We at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh are thrilled to work with BikePGH and Ashley Kyber on this project,” says Ian Eberhardt, CLP Woods Run Library Services Manager. “The Books and Bikes street mural incorporates Woods Run landmarks past and present, all while beautifying the space, and assisting with the traffic calming measures put in place on this corridor. It serves as a welcome mat to the library, and will be appreciated by library patrons in the years to come.”

The mural’s official unveiling will be during the library’s 60th anniversary celebration on Saturday, July 13, 2024 from 12pm - 3pm (mural dedication at 1:30pm).

About BikePGH:

Bike Pittsburgh is a bicycle and pedestrian advocacy organization. Since 2002 BikePGH has been transforming Pittsburgh's streets and communities into vibrant, healthy places by making them safe and accessible for everyone to bike and walk. For more info visit