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Cooling down, downtown

This topic contains 18 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  jeg 1 yr, 2 mos.

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byogman

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Jul 19 2013 at 12:10pm #

This peak of summer heat and how difficult it can be to keep a clear head and “Do the Right Thing” (sorry, had to) had me wanting to cool off even more than usual today.

So, after an errand at PPG I head down to the point. And the fountain is not shooting some impressive height into the air… it’s a joke and there’s no workable spray at all. Worse, there are signs no swimming (ok) or wading (wtf?) in the fountain. Not that I was dressed for it anyway but isn’t that part of what makes the fountain awesome? Furthermore, without that or impressively high shooting water and cooling effect downwind, what’s even the point of the thing? Seems to me we spent a lot of money as a city to have this thing be lame. End rant I guess. Insult to injury, ride back up through the convention center, and of course, the water falling from the sides that makes that route up from the riverfront awesome is not flowing there either.

OK, lemons, lemonade, repeat, lemons, lemonade. Saw the kayaks in the river, river is cool, no? So I’ve been wondering this for a while, now it’s time to ask the boards. Where is it A: legal, B: reasonable to swim in these rivers. For part A, I ask just because I don’t see anyone doing it. Are people that icked out by the rivers or is there more going on? For part B, looking for some combination of a good bank, a place to tie up the bike nearby, and proximity to the golden triangle (this last bit is the absolute key, looking for something I can do on a lunch break). Bonus points if it’s decently quiet.


RustyRed

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Jul 19 2013 at 12:30pm #

Someone who was recently swimming the fountain contracted legionnaire’s disease. I’m not sure if the tests they did on the fountain came back positive, but better safe than sorry.


helen s

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Jul 19 2013 at 12:39pm #

It is my understanding that they height of the new and improved fountain is controlled dependent on windspeed- they don’t want to waste water by having it spray all over the point and not back into the fountain base. Go back on a calm day, but then again, you still will not get sprayed much.


Pierce

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Jul 19 2013 at 12:41pm #

People swim weekly over by the Three Rivers Rowing club on that island

If you look up the Pittsburgh Tri Club you can probably find more information or message Sarah Q

I think normal advice is to not swim alone in case something happens


byogman

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Jul 19 2013 at 12:48pm #

RustyRed wrote:Someone who was recently swimming the fountain contracted legionnaire’s disease. I’m not sure if the tests they did on the fountain came back positive, but better safe than sorry.

Looks like the water in the fountain tested clear: http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/no-legionnaires-bug-point-state-park-fountain/nYjpL/

Also, even if it was river water that was the source, rivers flow. A guy I used to work with (who incidentally cleaned up chemical and biological contaminants for a living) liked to quip “The solution to pollution is dilution”. If I truly believed better safe than sorry, I probably wouldn’t be biking in the streets.

helen s, I guess that makes sense if they feel they need to use treated water rather than straight river water. But what a letdown! And it was definitely not windy today, and have gotten a much better spray when the fountain was up (even though it wasn’t windy then either).

Pierce, will try the sources you’ve identified, thanks.


sarah_q

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Jul 19 2013 at 1:07pm #

The trick to swimming in the river is that you can’t do it *whenever* because the water can be polluted (combined sewer system) and/or the current can be dangerous. So I don’t recommend river swimming for just anyone unless you are willing to do some research first.

It appears that you can get to a little beach-y area from Millvale near the 40th st bridge. I have been meaning to scout this for a bikefest ride but the river hasn’t been swimmable for most of this month and so far I haven’t been able to time a ride over there.

If you want to just cool off the fountain-deal on the N-side is chlorinated/safe and I see people in there all the time.

I saw that sign at the point the other day and thought wtf?


byogman

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Jul 19 2013 at 1:14pm #

Where do you find out when the water is in good shape for swimming?

Cooling down is part, but not all of what I’m looking for. Also looking to stretch out tight shoulders and/or if I can motivate myself for it (big if) maybe prep for a triathlon.


sarah_q

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Jul 19 2013 at 1:18pm #

http://www.alcosan.org/WetWeatherIssues/SewerOverflowAdvisoryKeySOAK/tabid/114/Default.aspx

http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/hydrograph_to_xml.php?gage=shrp1&output=tabular

I also look at rainfall data, water temp, pirates schedules… if you want you can just email or text me and ask — I watch the river daily during the season since I am a distance-swimmer and swim outside as often as possible. It’s a huge pain in the ass. I cannot wait for ALCOSAN to fix the sewers. Of course by then the frackers will have probably left the water FUBAR. grrrr

Ooooh….. another potential triathlete. :)


sarah_q

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Jul 19 2013 at 1:19pm #

p.s. If you are not a strong swimmer I don’t recommend getting in the river near the triangle.


byogman

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Jul 19 2013 at 1:29pm #

sarah_q wrote:p.s. If you are not a strong swimmer I don’t recommend getting in the river near the triangle.

Blast.

But the location on the Millvale side near the 40th street bridge you sent over PM is ok though, right?

sarah_q wrote:
I also look at rainfall data, water temp, pirates schedules… if you want you can just email or text me and ask — I watch the river daily during the season since I am a distance-swimmer and swim outside as often as possible.

Thanks for that, may do so. May also contact you to have a swim buddy so I don’t drown :)

Ooooh….. another potential triathlete. :)

Big if, see prior comment about drowning ;-)


sarah_q

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Jul 19 2013 at 1:36pm #

yeah, there’s a little beach-y spot on the millvale side before you get to 40th st coming from downtown. I have swam past it but never started there. I see people there so it must be possible to get to — just not sure how. I have been meaning to scout it.

If you do get in there swim towards 40th st bridge but not beyond the bridge (there is a marina past the bridge, and that is bad news). Always swim upstream first.

Also the bottom of the river can be bad news. I sliced my foot getting out the other day — there’s all kinds of garbage, fish hooks, broken bottles, and other random shit that is sharp.


Mick

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Jul 19 2013 at 2:21pm #

If you go in the fountain beware – it’s too shallow to swim and the bottom tends to ahve broken glass nestled cobblestone.

Well you CAN swim in it but it’s hard to keep your belly from hitting bottom. Scary when the’rs glass on the bottom.


Marko82

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Jul 19 2013 at 2:36pm #

A park ranger blew his whistle at a group of us last night for being in the fountain. They never did this before, I wonder why they decided to change/enforce the rules?


ieverhart

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Jul 19 2013 at 2:54pm #

In addition to the fountain at the Point, there’s also the PPG Place fountain, by 4th Avenue at Market Street. It’s not so much a place to “swim” but little kids often run around in the spray to cool down. This might be an option, though the official rules require “street clothing” and prohibit “beachwear” (I assume this means bathing suits?).

http://www.ppgplace.com/directory/plaza/

Another possibility if you want to swim qua swim is the Oliver Bath House, right over the 10th Street Bridge from downtown.

http://pittsburghpa.gov/citiparks/oliver-bath-house


Mikhail

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Jul 19 2013 at 3:18pm #

Golden Triangle Bicycle Rental has a nice sprinkler system.


Mr. Destructicity

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Jul 19 2013 at 4:09pm #

The Oliver Bathhouse is actually closed for the season.


Pierce

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Jul 19 2013 at 9:49pm #

Are there any pools downtown? I know there’s a private residential rooftop pool (on top of where the CCAC downtown center used to be) at 625 Stanwix Street

Anything else?


Steven

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Jul 20 2013 at 12:43am #

As I recall, the PG reported during the fountain overhaul that wading would be prohibited once the fountain reopened. The article didn’t explain why.

This YMCA page says they have a pool downtown.


jeg

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Jul 20 2013 at 3:05pm #

Mr. Destructicity wrote: The Oliver Bathhouse is actually closed for the season.

… but the outdoor pools are open! http://pittsburghpa.gov/citiparks/swimming-pools-outdoor The hours are kind of dumb for people with day jobs (but then again the Oliver Bath House hours are dumb, too) but there are lap swim times at (I think) every pool.

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