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Gap in the GAP First Ride!

This topic contains 101 replies, has 32 voices, and was last updated by  Pierce 10 mos, 4 weeks.

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sarapgh2

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May 16 2013 at 1:20pm #

I honestly don’t know if it’s just for Bike to Work day or will be considered “open” from now on. There is still work to be done, but carpe diem:
Updated Facebook event post https://www.facebook.com/events/468719879865833/

Let’s do this tomorrow (5/17/13), what the hell:) It’s Bike to Work Day and should be gorgeous. Ride it anytime you’d like, but we’ll be there 6 p.m. at the trail in the Southside (across from the SpringHill Suites)/at the end of the Hot Metal Bridge. Ride all the way to the Waterfront. Meet some of the Steel Valley Trail Council – we maintain and promote the trail and would love to have some more volunteers aid our work:)


Mikhail

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May 16 2013 at 1:32pm #

Hm-m-m, If I am not mistaken tomorrow at 18:00 Flock should start. Should Flock move down to EFT and then over HMB to newly open part of the trail?


sarapgh2

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May 16 2013 at 1:38pm #

Would love to Flock. There are theaters at both ends (southside and waterfront) of the trail for the Trekkies:)


shadow

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May 16 2013 at 1:43pm #

The work left to be done this morning appeared to be
1) maybe 30 feet of fence by Keystone Metals on the side where the asphalt dump is, which was being actively installed at 11:40am.
2) maybe 30 feet of the low brown fence outside the Sandcastle gate, by Costco.
3) however much of the fence is getting the wacky modesty shutters so you can’t see the CSX trains, through Sandcastle. (I’d rather see the trains)


P-Rob

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May 16 2013 at 2:07pm #

Who could coordinate a “Park n’Bike” area there? There is certainly enough parking, especially around the movie theatre.


paulheckbert

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May 16 2013 at 2:13pm #

Kordite asked about park-n-bike near the Homestead Waterfront / Pump house. In the past Lowe’s home improvement has expressed some willingness to allow long-term (i.e. overnight) parking in their lot. It wasn’t an unconditional OK that they wanted broadcast publicly by the Steel Valley Trail Council (of which I’m a member), but rather an openness to the possibility on a case-by-case basis, I think. I suggest you go to Lowe’s and ask nicely, for yourself, and see what they say.


shadow

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May 16 2013 at 2:27pm #

Well, County says it opens at 4pm today, so, hey good enough!


Kordite

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May 16 2013 at 2:50pm #

There was a time when I was driving my daughter to her job at the pet store and then (ahem) proceeding from there on my bike. I didn’t have any problems but I was parking near the store amongst other cars so my presence didn’t stick out. If this is going to me a regular occurrence, I would like to park much closer to the trail itself and not be riding through the parking lot proper as much as possible. Costoco. Under the High Level Bridge. Eat-n-Park. The Pump House. Those are my thoughts.


paulheckbert

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May 16 2013 at 3:18pm #

GAP Trail at Sandcastle is open today. Yale Cohen sent this picture:


StuInMcCandless

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May 16 2013 at 3:21pm #

I’ll take @sarapgh2′s word over Allegheny County’s. She’s been the point person on answering questions about this ever since, well, ever since.


sarapgh2

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May 16 2013 at 3:23pm #

Stu-appreciate the support:) Yale has the photographic evidence, so there ya go and great to see!

I’ll be doing my unofficial first ride tomorrow at 6 p.m. (I’m sorry it conflicts with Flock)


shadow

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May 16 2013 at 3:42pm #

I got a shot of the sign as well, but since it’s here I won’t share again!


myddrin

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May 16 2013 at 3:46pm #

Under the High Level Bridge. Eat-n-Park. The Pump House. Those are my thoughts.

I used to live at “The Residence At The Waterfront.” At least in 2009-2010, they really didn’t enforce parking. Now mind you, they do have all the resident’s license plates on file. OTOH, there never seemed to be a shortage of places to park… at least from 7:30-6:00. And it does border right up against the trail…


Vannevar

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May 16 2013 at 6:24pm #

Hello Kordite,

The Pump House and the Rivers of Steel organization have a parking registration process. I don’t know the whole routine, but a call to them might be productive. 412.464.4020
The Bost Building, 623 E. Eighth Avenue, Homestead, PA 15120

from http://www.riversofsteel.com/things-to-do/trails/

Overnight and daytime parking is available in return for a small daily donation or an annual membership as a Trail Head Friend. Click here to become a friend of the Trail Head. Regardless of whether you become a friend or donate on a per usage basis, overnight parking requires you to complete a registration form.

And then when you click “there”, you go to

http://www.riversofsteel.com/shop/product/pump-house-trail-head-friend/

You will receive the following as our thank you for your help: TRAIL HEAD PARKING window sticker to show your support of the Trail Head Facilities and identify your vehicle(s) as supporters of the Trail Head

Seems like you might send these folks $25 and get a vehicle sticker and some kosher parking. Might be worth calling them?
Cheers, V.


Lou M.

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May 16 2013 at 8:19pm #

Took it this afternoon/evening roundtrip from Smoke. Smooth as silk!


Benzo

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May 17 2013 at 7:02am #

This is awesome. Did the ride yesterday evening, the trail surface is great. There were lots of people out there too.

I’m still going to complain about one thing. Those stupid go arounds between keystone metals and sandcastle just suck. They are worse than bollards (at least they are yellow so you can’t miss them). I’m sure this will be a huge pain in the ass for anyone pulling a trailer or riding a tandem. It’s really not welcoming. I am not happy with whoever thought those were a good idea and put them in the plan.


shadow

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May 17 2013 at 7:18am #

Oh, the pumphouse parking? There are paper forms and a dropbox for the form plus the donation on the water tower building which is now a bathroom. Honor system but basically, fill out paper with how long the car will be there and drop in the slot.


sarah_q

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May 17 2013 at 11:43am #

rode this today and savored every moment of it!

I almost can’t believe it’s really true!


Mikhail

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May 17 2013 at 2:45pm #

sarapgh2 wrote:Stu-appreciate the support:) Yale has the photographic evidence, so there ya go and great to see!

I’ll be doing my unofficial first ride tomorrow at 6 p.m. (I’m sorry it conflicts with Flock)

Where exactly at South Side?

PS OK, got it — end of HMB.


Drewbacca

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May 18 2013 at 12:34am #

Yay! It may not have happened until after 10pm last night, but I finally got to check it out. :) So glad to have this path available.


salty

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May 19 2013 at 4:26pm #

My wife and I rode from my house to Blue Dust, enjoyed a Bell’s 9000 (highly recommended), and rode back. Very awesome! It was like a bike superhighway out there; I think there may have been some pent up demand or something.

Thanks again to everyone who made this possible – I can’t believe it’s finally possible to legally ride down there without having to deal with Browns Hill. I’d been dreaming about that since I moved to Sq. Hill!


myddrin

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May 19 2013 at 5:24pm #

Rode it yesterday, it was awesome. I do have 3 comments that hopefully will be addressed in future:

1) The ramp by the seafood restaurant is a tight fit for 2 cyclists if one of them is of a certain size. I managed to catch my hip on a corner as myself and another cyclist worked around each other.

2) I don’t see how to actually get my ticket for sandcastle. Do I have to go through the parking gates?

3) Why oh why isn’t there a bridge over to the ice cream place on E Carson?

Other than that it was awesome. And it was great to see so may cyclists (and roller bladers and pedestrians) using it yesterday!


mr marvelous

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May 19 2013 at 5:26pm #

It was nice to see so many cyclist at the Waterfront today. I couldn’t count how many bikes I passed.


Ahlir

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May 19 2013 at 8:38pm #

I rode up the trail today, from HMB, through the new bits and along the proper track (along the river) to the Pump House. It was great!

Some (inevitable) comments:

1. The sharp turn at the corner of the Keystone property worked better that I thought. The mirror does the right thing and it’s easy to get around the corner. On the other hand I didn’t have to deal with a mob of riders coming the other way.

2. The Sandcastle segment is great, except that it was really crowded, making it difficult to pass people. It would have been nicer if the width could accommodate three riders. On the other hand it’s a pleasure to have the luxury of making complaints like this. Also, I still want a brasserie/cafe/ice-cream stand along that stretch (or all of them).

3. The sidewalk (from Costco onward) has been widened to accommodate two lanes of bikes. But for some inexplicable reason the last stretch is still the old narrow sidewalk. (There’s a parking lot alongside that people were riding, but it’s private property).

4. At the pedestrian bridge coming from the “village” shops there is no signage to tell you that that the trail veers off to the left. The people in front of me just kept going, into the restaurant parking lots. This really needs to be fixed.

5. Eat’n Park has bike racks on its trail side! How cool is that?

6. In addition to strollers (including elderly folks) and small children, I rode past someone with a dog. Forgot about the dogs. Nevertheless both a spandex dude and a sweatsuit dude on-your-lefted me along the way. We really need the by-pass.

7. Further on along the trail, the Major Taylor folks had a rest stop at Grant St. in Duquesne. It was part of an organized ride going on the trail to benefit an excursion for city kids out along the trail to Ohiopyle (including a sleep-over!)


Steven

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May 19 2013 at 10:57pm #

Re: 3 and 4, I read someplace that they don’t plan to complete that particular small piece of trail until they get the adjoining property (the former Pittsburgh Burger joint) leased to a new tenant. I imagine there will eventually be trail markings that bypass the narrow pedestrian bridge and go around the edge of the parking lot there.


shadow

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May 20 2013 at 6:19am #

Something else I noticed Thursday and again yesterday: looks like McKeesport intends to move trail riders from the narrow sidewalk along Lysle Blvd past the shuttered parking garage, Daily News and Municipal Building to trackside: they are paving the alley. The area behind the garage was done, but the Daily News area and behind the Municipal Building was still waiting to be paved and the paving machine was there.

And yeah, I can echo the earlier posters in that now that there is the luxury of using a trail there are areas I’d like wider, especially when everyone and their mom is out trying the new trail, but damn, it’s good to use now that it’s done!


sarapgh2

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May 20 2013 at 8:42am #

Glad everyone was out riding the new trail this weekend; it was fantastic!!

Some responses in no particular order.
1. Correct, the Pgh Burger Co lot (where the sidewalk trail ends and the crushed gravel goes behind Mitchell’s) is under sale and we cannot make any trail or signage improvements until that property is sold.
2. The Sandcastle section of trail was originally going to be even narrower and the RTC managed to wrangle out the wider option, so it could be worse;)
3. Yes, you have to go through the regular gates to get a ticket and enter Sandcastle.
4. McKeesport is indeed finally rerouting their section of trail into the alley instead of along the main street; a much better alignment. Should be done very soon.
5. go through the gap in the fence on the Baldwin Borough trail and cross the railroad to get to the ice cream place. You’ll notice a very worn track leading there:)


shadow

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May 20 2013 at 9:12am #

sarapgh2 wrote:
5. go through the gap in the fence on the Baldwin Borough trail and cross the railroad to get to the ice cream place. You’ll notice a very worn track leading there:)

I assume that’s unsanctioned?


Drewbacca

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May 20 2013 at 10:19am #

re: Ahlir #5 DOH! It was dark and I had no idea…I chained to a post (at least now I know, thanks for pointing that out).


sarapgh2

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May 20 2013 at 11:04am #

RE #5. that’s Friends of the Riverfront; not my trail. I can give trail advice as a general citizen:)


StuInMcCandless

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May 20 2013 at 11:36am #

How would I find that GAP gap fence gap from the ice cream shop?


burgoofj

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May 20 2013 at 11:50am #

Rode through on Saturday. There were a lot of people riding. The section through the metal place is rather unattractive. I also went up that ramp and scraped my arm. Parking lot through the burger place looks like the way to go.

Anyone know for sure the legal bits on those stop signs along the sidewalk part. Seems to me that people on bikes should be yielding to cars turning into those lots.

Anyway, it’s a great route for a workout, Birmingham bridge to Kennywood and back, little over 18 miles.


byogman

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May 20 2013 at 12:59pm #

Rode out there over lunch to check it out. Very, very nice to have this connection. The go arounds are awful though. I want to take my family through there, which means trailer and… I don’t even want to think about it at the moment. I will probably at some point venture it, but it’s no longer high on the list.

Still, a very, very big win not just recreation-ally but practically. For instance, it’s now substantially easier for me to go pick up a couple small items from the Costco, Target, Lowes or Michaels after work than for my wife to drive from home. And I can meet her there for a matinee potentially.

Now we just need to fix Browns Hill Road so it’s not so yucky making a left at the top of the rise at rush.


Mikhail

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May 20 2013 at 1:08pm #

burgoofj wrote:Anyone know for sure the legal bits on those stop signs along the sidewalk part. Seems to me that people on bikes should be yielding to cars turning into those lots.

That is correct. Cars have a priority.

byogman wrote:The go arounds are awful though.

I agree. But pedal-cyclists should dismount before go through “go arounds”, walk bike through the road, go through another “go arounds” and mount again. From what I understood Keystone Metal wants people to stop completely due to heavy trucks using the road during workdays.


Marko82

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May 20 2013 at 1:11pm #

@byogman, An alternative to making that left is to go right behind the Wendys and go up Saline street (more like an alley) which connects to Beechwood a few hundred feet from the big cluster-F intersection. It’s a fairly steep hill so it doesn’t make the climb any easier, but it makes dealing with that intersection a lot easier regardless of which direction you are headed.


byogman

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May 20 2013 at 1:31pm #

Thanks for the tip about Saline street. Was wondering about that since I did see it on the map, but trying to follow on street view it jumped so I wasn’t positive it was a real connection.

As for the idea that you’re supposed to dismount… bah humbug. Nobody that I saw did that in spite of the ridiculous low speed maneuver required. If they want to not have trucks running into cyclists, they could… you know, just not run their trucks into cyclists.

Sure, a yield sign from both directions to make cyclists aware that there’s a crossing, that’s a good idea. I’m cool yielding to a big truck carrying scrap metal; I imagine the vast majority of cyclists are. I don’t think there’s actually a practical problem these solve, just one they create.


Mikhail

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May 20 2013 at 1:47pm #

Marko82 wrote:@byogman, An alternative to making that left is to go right behind the Wendys and go up Saline street (more like an alley) which connects to Beechwood a few hundred feet from the big cluster-F intersection. It’s a fairly steep hill so it doesn’t make the climb any easier, but it makes dealing with that intersection a lot easier regardless of which direction you are headed.

thanks for the tip. I usually go either right at intersection with immediate left to Saline to Hazelwood or continue straight and turn left at Loretta and then right either on Murray or Greenfield (depending on destination).

byogman wrote:Nobody that I saw did that in spite of the ridiculous low speed maneuver required. If they want to not have trucks running into cyclists, they could… you know, just not run their trucks into cyclists.

Well, you can ask Sarah but I understood that this was Keystone Metal condition — either something to make cyclists to stop or no passage at all. And sharp left turn is also because of this (KM does not want cyclists flying across the road).

And that you saw that nobody stopped there (including me :) ) just shows that cyclist would do a lot of things they are not supposed to do. BTW “go arounds” during this past weekend were open so it was “go through”. I suspect they are going to be open for weekends. Should we ask to open them for evenings too?


byogman

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May 20 2013 at 1:54pm #

They should open the gate whenever possible. If it is open weekends then I’ll take the kids this way sooner rather than later.


paulheckbert

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May 20 2013 at 3:02pm #

Some of us in the Steel Valley Trail Council are beginning to feel that the bike traffic across the two entrances to the Costco parking lot (in West Homestead) is a bigger safety issue than the Keystone Metals entrance (Haysglen St). There are many more cars going in and out of Costco than trucks going in and out of Keystone.

The law seems to say that drivers emerging from a driveway, such as at Costco, must stop before a sidewalk (see quote below) but in practice, most car drivers wouldn’t stop there, so if you get distracted/hasty car driver and distracted/hasty cyclist, and neither one stops, as they should, there’s potential for a collision. Normally the pedestrians/cyclists on the sidewalk would have the right of way, but it’s less obvious who has the right of way, since those STOP signs were put up on the sidewalk.

PA Vehicle Code: “3344. … the driver of a vehicle emerging from an alley, building, private road or driveway within an urban district shall stop the vehicle immediately prior to driving onto a sidewalk …”


StuInMcCandless

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May 20 2013 at 3:12pm #

For those of us who don’t get out there that often, can someone please shoot some video of what the issues are and how best to handle it when we get there? I’ve been through there maybe twice in daylight in five years, and cannot picture what it looks like, let alone how to deal with it.

A series of stills would be OK, too.

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