Traffic? What traffic? You’ll be laughing all the way to the Point
Now in its 51st year, the 10-day Three Rivers Arts Festival (TRAF) has taken some new directions over the past few years. Notably for this year, their goal of creating a free and green festival received a bit of a boost as they serve as the anchor for site for Pittsburgh’s celebration of the 37th Annual United Nations World Environment Day.
The Three Rivers Arts Festival has taken on the initiative to create an environmentally-friendly event. Not only are they trying to make the event itself green with their Zero Waste Initiative of composting and recycling, they are also doing what they can to make sure that people can get to the event in an environmentally sustainable way.
What is more environmentally friendly than getting there by bicycle? Well, maybe walking, but for those of us who don’t live within walking distance of downtown, the Three Rivers Arts Festival asked us to create a guide to help you get there on two wheels. Fortunately for us, every major trail in the City goes right to Point State Park, the location of the event. In addition, the Arts Fest will have bike racks available at the entrance to make sure that there will be plenty of places to securely lock your bike when you arrive.
Between the combination of riding to the TRAF and their initiative to reduce waste, you can enjoy the Festival, and know that you didn’t add any trash to our overflowing landfills, add any CO2 to our atmosphere, or any oil to our waterways.
There will be a bike corral of racks near the main entrance to Point State Park as well as few additional racks that will be located near the entrance as you come off of the Fort Duquesne Bridge from the Northside. You will still need to lock your bike up properly. And please, PLEASE do not lock to trees. They really don’t like that.
There is also a brand new bike parking facility a short walk from the Point at the Century Building at 130 7th St, near the Andy Warhol Bridge, Downtown. You will find a number of free, secure bike racks. Just look for the huge, green bike mural.
Bikes and transit together at last
The Port Authority has been making strides to make it easier to combine bicycles with their transit service.
- Buses: Although not yet complete, about 70% of all buses have a bike rack on the front. This can help you get closer into cycling distance, or simply get to the top of that hill you’ve been dreading.
- The T: Bikes can be brought on board the T any time but peak hours. Check schedules for times.
- The Inclines: Both inclines allow bikes on board. The Monongahela Incline has peak hour restrictions. There are no restrictions on the Duquesne Incline.
Our Bikes on Transit page will tell you all you need to know about using your bike with the Port Authority, including route information and a video about how to use the bike racks on the buses
Beat the traffic, park for free…Getting to The Point by bike
The Three Rivers Arts Festival is located in Point State Park, an easy bike ride from most places in the city, either on the trails or on-street. That means you won’t have to pay for parking or wait in any long lines at parking garages. It also provides a great, family-friendly and healthy way to get to the Festival.
If you still don’t feel comfortable riding on the roads and are able to transport your bike with a car, you can park for free at several trail heads around town and ride a completely flat, traffic-free route to the point. More on that later.
Never ridden in town before? Plan your route ahead of time
It’s important to plan ahead, especially if you’ve never ridden your bike in town or you are riding with children. Be sure to check out our Pittsburgh Bike Map, the most comprehensive bike map of the City. You can find all of the riverfront trails, bike-friendly streets, and trail access points, as well as links to transit and bike shops. It can be viewed online, or you can pick up a paper copy at the BikePGH office, every bike shop in town, and other supporting businesses.
Here are some other great resources to help you plan your route:
- BikePGH Messageboard – Learn the best routes from other local cyclists
- Google Maps – Google recently added bicycling directions to their popular mapping software
A rundown of the Trails and the free trail-head parking
Click on the images to view a detail of the map
Free Parking: off of Second Ave.
Arguably the most popular trail head in the city, the entrance to the Eliza Furnace Trail is located off of Second Ave in Greenfield. There is a large parking lot, port-a-pot, information, and plenty of cyclists to talk to. It’s also conveniently located near the Bates St (Oakland) exit of 376.
The EFT takes you along Second Ave and the usual bumper to bumper traffic on the Parkway. The trail ends near the Allegheny County Jail, so you’ll probably hear many veteran cyclists call this “The Jail Trail.” Since the section around the Mon Wharf is not complete (yet), you must enter into traffic at Grant St or Smithfield St downtown. From here you can take the Blvd of the Allies all the way to the Point. The Blvd is wide through here and drivers treat you respectfully, but if you still don’t want to ride with traffic or you have kids, you can continue on the sidewalk for a few blocks. The sidewalk along Fort Pitt Blvd is usually pretty free of pedestrians. Make sure to give them the right of way and full respect.
South Side – South Side Trail – 2 miles from the Point
Free Parking: Under the Birmingham Bridge, South Side Riverfront Park (bottom of S 18th Street)
This park is popular with cyclists and boaters alike. It provides quick access to the Southside Works and the E Carson St business district.
You can take this trail to Station Square, then cross the Smithfield Street Bridge into town. Once in Downtown, follow the instructions on using the Blvd of the Allies on the Eliza Furnace description.
Another option is to ride to the opposite direction, east, to the Southside Works, and cross the Hot Metal Bridge to join the Eliza Furnace Trail. Using these two trails makes for a nice traffic-free loop around the city.
Northside – North Shore Trail – 2.5 miles from the Point
Free Parking: Under the 31st Street Bridge, Washington’s Landing (Herr’s Island)
This is a popular parking spot for cyclists that want to beat the traffic and parking costs at the stadiums. You can ride this easy and pleasant path past the Heinz lofts, under the Three Sisters bridges, past PNC Park, and over the Ft Duquesne Bridge’s ped/bike path directly into Point State Park.
If you want an even shorter ride (1.5 miles), you can park for free near the Heinz lofts.
For an even longer ride (3.5 miles), you can park in Millvale Riverfront Park, just off of rt 28 in Millvale, near the 40th Street Bridge.
Going green means more than a one day event, but a lifestyle change. Once you discover how easy it is to bike downtown, you’ll want to incorporate it into your daily life. You can also use these parking lots, for free, throughout the week. Many downtown workers utilize the free parking to get some exercise for the last leg of their commute.
If you are new to cycling, be sure to check out our Bike Commuting 101 Guide. It is a comprehensive, illustrated guide to learn the basics of utilizing your bike as a clean, green, healthy, and most importantly, fun mode of transportation.
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