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Thinking of a multi-modal bikeride to work?

This topic contains 48 replies, has 16 voices, and was last updated by  rebeccawest 8 mos.

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rebeccawest

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Aug 8 2013 at 10:12am #

Hi,
I live in North Huntingindon and take the Westmoreland bus into work on Stanwix St every day. Is there a way for me to park and bike into Pgh from that area. I don’t mind driving a bit towards Pgh to get to a place where I could use mostly rail-trail into work. I would love to do this, but don’t know how/where to start. I love the Bike Commuting 101 guide! I have a good bike and we have showers at work, so…can someone help me figure out a safe route? The only reason I want a trail is that I do not like hills! I think I can easily do 5-6 miles each way (or more) if it’s not hilly. The Westmoreland bus doesn’t have bike racks…btw.
thanks in advance for any help!
Rebecca


jonawebb

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Aug 8 2013 at 10:27am #

The safest and easiest thing, if you’re willing to drive, would be to go to some place along the GAP, say the Waterfront, and ride from there. You could extend the ride up towards where you live when you have time for a longer ride.


rebeccawest

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Aug 8 2013 at 10:42am #

Great…I’ll check that out! Thank you.


rebeccawest

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Aug 8 2013 at 10:46am #

Is there an appropriate place to park near the trail at the waterfront? Or, can I just park in any parking lot? Also, it’s 9 miles from the Waterfront to Pitt on the GAP…I’m thinking it would take about 45 mins? hmmmmm. Perhaps I should consider a street route from, say, Regent Square? or somewhere thereabouts? Not sure.


rsprake

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Aug 8 2013 at 10:59am #

There is no trail from that direction into the city. The best you could do is park at The Waterfront and ride the Steel Valley Trail into the city trail network.


rsprake

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Aug 8 2013 at 11:03am #

You would park at the pump house.

You could ride from Regent Square into Frick Park, up Old Browns Hill Rd, take the sidewalk across the high level bridge into the waterfront.


helen s

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Aug 8 2013 at 11:48am #

Don’t people park in the lot at the end of the Eliza Furnace trail and ride into town? There are also some free street parking areas just off of the trail extension downstream from the casino. Or park a the base of the incline, but that would require climbing the bridge to get to Point State park. Seems to me there are a lot of options. from different directions.
Is there any free parking just east of Hot Metal Bridge?


Swalfoort

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Aug 8 2013 at 11:55am #

The Waterfront is your best bet. The trail is easy, and I think the trip will take less than 45 minutes, it’s probably safe to assume that as you factor in the unloading of your bike, the ride, parking at the downtown end, etc. As you get more comfortable (and stronger) you will almost certainly see that number drop.

There are a few other possible “park and pedal” options, but the time that it would take you to get to them on the City end is probably not worth the trouble.

If you want to try a simplet option, just to see if it would work for you, you could take the Turnpike to Route 28 at Harmarvill, then come in Route 28 to Millvale. There is parking at the Millvale Riverfront Park, and the trail along the north shore of the Allegheny starts there. That would be about a 3 mile ride, perhaps a little longer depending on what part of Stanwix.

On that routing, I’d stay on the trail to the far side of PNC Park, then head up to the ped/bike bridge near Twisted Kilt/DelMonte. That will take you right into Point State Park.

Watch carefully for the signs for Millvale Riverfront Park tho. It can be easy to miss. Follow signs for Route 28 South/40th Street bridge. The MOMENT the road starts to rise, look for a big yellow ped crossing sign. That’s the left turn under the RR tracks to the park.


rebeccawest

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Aug 8 2013 at 12:25pm #

Thanks to all of you for the suggestions! I will investigate the options you all presented.
Rebecca


StuInMcCandless

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Aug 8 2013 at 12:40pm #

@Shawn who posts here from time to time also lives out that way, also works downtown, has asked the same questions, and has quite a bit of road experience. I’m hoping he will chime in here with more specific information.

I will add the possibility of parking in Trafford, somehow getting across the closed bridge, using a 69 Trafford bus as far as Forbes and Craig by CMU, then Craig/Filmore/Neville/Boundary to Jail Trail.


byogman

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Aug 8 2013 at 1:19pm #

Just one more vote in favor the waterfront as the starting point. I’ll join Sarah in predicting it won’t take nearly 45 minutes at the outset. I get 7.4 miles starting at the Costco at the waterfront and going to stanwix street (am a little confused by the Pitt reference in conjunction with Stanwix, however).

One thing to consider, however long the trip takes now, if you’d just be getting into regular biking and be planning to do this regularly, you will definitely see your average speed climb and travel times drop. Probably pretty steeply at the outset.

How far that drop extends depends on your current fitness level and how you treat your commute… just transportation or transportation + fitness training. Sounds with shower availability at work like dual purpose is an option both ways, which is excellent.

Up to you on how to approach, but I’ll recommend confident, bordering on maniacal. Just tell yourself to do it rain or shine for two months no excuses and not only will you be doing it but I am quite confident, several minutes faster than when you started.

Also, and I’m not selling anything, certainly no guarantees, but another thing that worked for me after I’d thought I had stopped getting faster was a little more mental focus and alternating every two weeks pushing a big gear and eating more, then pushing a smaller gear at higher cadence and eating less as a way to build leg strength and lean out. I’ve lost about 30 pounds total, 15 quickly (within the first 2 months) 15 since my imagined plateau and saved about 10 minutes total, 5 again, since that plateau.

Good luck and happy biking.


Drewbacca

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Aug 8 2013 at 1:20pm #

I’d stick with the Waterfront option, even if it’s a pain to drive there (at least you avoid the tunnels, but the roads all seem to be narrow and winding). Driving up the turnpike to catch a north-south route is a longer trip than it appears on a map.

I frequently come in from the east and have parked at the Waterfront, Regent Sq., Forrest Hills, and Sq.hill. I’ve also come down 28 and parked at HighlandPark. The Waterfront is by far the best ride in.


durishange

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Aug 8 2013 at 1:20pm #

Rebecca, I live in Irwin and bike in most days to the Steel Building. I park my car along the trail in different places depending on whether I sleep in, what I have going on after work or the pending weather forecast. Good places to park are the Duquesne Park & Ride, The Waterfront Pump House or the place near BRGR and also 2nd Ave near Big Jims. Each place is a bit closer to the city. Feel free to private message me if you have questions.


rebeccawest

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Aug 8 2013 at 1:30pm #

I’m close enough to Trafford to bike there! Hadn’t thought of that. That’s def an option. Also, I’ll private message you, durishange. Thanks everyone.


ieverhart

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Aug 8 2013 at 1:52pm #

Is there any free parking just east of Hot Metal Bridge?

This got me looking at a map, and there is a parking lot at the end of the Duck Hollow Trail, opposite Homestead/the Waterfront, but until that trail connects through Hazelwood, it’s not officially very useful for a downtown commute.

Another option, for a much shorter ride into town, is the lot underneath the Birmingham Bridge.


Benzo

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Aug 8 2013 at 1:53pm #

durishange wrote:2nd Ave near Big Jims in the Run

This isn’t a bad spot to park (though it’s technically saline st) and can quickly access the jail trail. Though, it’s more driving to get there, and more subject to the rush hour traffic jams I would assume.

I’d prefer to hit homestead and ride in from there as it’s a bit longer of a ride and less subject to traffic conditions.


rebeccawest

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Aug 8 2013 at 2:20pm #

bygoman…I like what you’re saying. I can run a 5k, so I’m in decent shape. We also ride the rail trails at least every other weekend and can easily do up to 8-10 miles one way. I only worry about the hills. If I do this, I will consider your suggestions. Running is ok, but I’d like to bike b/c I can work it into my day better.

A few clarifications
*Pitt is Pittsburgh…sorry
*I could get a PAT bus on Route 30 or in Trafford (after the bridge opens)

Stuinmccandless – I like the option to get to oakland by bus as far as Forbes and Craig by CMU, then Craig/Filmore/Neville/Boundary to Jail Trail. How long would it take for me to bike from there to Pgh? Any big hills?

I like the waterfront trail, but that’s about a 35 min drive from my house…still, it’s an option if i want to do all trail route.


jonawebb

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Aug 8 2013 at 2:44pm #

If you don’t want to involve your car at all you could ride to Trafford, then continue down Forbes and then Broadway as far as you like then take the 69 bus the rest of the way. Broadway between Pitcairn and Turtle Creek is not bad, only two not very difficult hills, and a shoulder.


durishange

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Aug 8 2013 at 2:53pm #

I really enjoy my morning commute. There are a lot of regulars on the way. My preference order is Duquesne (13 miles), Homestead (8.5 miles) then Saline Street (3.5 miles). I can zip out of Duquesne towards McKeesport pretty easily. Surprisingly, I get stuck in the Waterfront traffic quite often during rush hour. If I’m running late, Saline Street works well because I can get to the Parkway 3 or 4 different ways. It depends how well you know Pittsburgh or pay attention to traffic alerts. Riding from Trafford is a PITA. I’ve done it and don’t recommend it.


Mikhail

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Aug 8 2013 at 3:29pm #

durishange wrote:My preference order is Duquesne (13 miles),

May be McKeesport at the end of Steel Valey Trail or McKees Point Trail — it would be 18 miles of paved trail…

https://www.google.com/maps?q=Pitcairn+,+PA&hl=en&ll=40.352905,-79.868567&spn=0.006614,0.013357&sll=40.441591,-79.895518&sspn=0.013212,0.026715&hnear=Pitcairn,+Allegheny,+Pennsylvania&t=m&z=17


rebeccawest

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Aug 8 2013 at 3:33pm #

Did you say where you park when you start in Duquesne. Also, 13 miles may be a bit much for me , but I could work up to it.


Mikhail

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Aug 8 2013 at 3:44pm #

rebeccawest wrote: Did you say where you park when you start in Duquesne. Also, 13 miles may be a bit much for me , but I could work up to it.

SVT and EFT are all asphalt (well 99%) and flat and fast. If you can run 5k then 13 miles is about the same effort if you go not that fast (in term of spending energy. And 18 mile not that far :) One weekend you can try all the way from McKeesport to downtown, have lunch, rest a little and go back.


Shawn

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Aug 8 2013 at 3:45pm #

Rebecca!!! I live in NHT and do EXACTLY what you are talking about. I’ve parked in Wilkinsburg, McKeesport, Duquesne, etc…. found the most convenient to be the Waterfront.

Depending on your schedule, we could perhaps try a car/bike pool. Feel free to PM!!

Shawn


rebeccawest

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Aug 8 2013 at 4:04pm #

Hi shawn…Can’t PM from my iPhone, but will do so from my computer! Thanks for posting!
Looks like I might have to put my $$ where my mouth is!


Steven

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Aug 8 2013 at 6:05pm #

If you start in Duquesne, you can park at the Port Authority Park’n'Ride lot a block from the trail entrance on Grant Street. There’s a section signed for trail users.

Off-topic: Is PM working for anyone? When I click Private Message, starting a few days ago, I get a screen with just a heading and no way to send one. On a PC, not a phone.


rebeccawest

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Aug 8 2013 at 7:28pm #

PM isn’t working on my computer either.
Shawn…I start work at 8 am, which means I’d need to be at my office on Stanwix and First at 7:45 latest. I finish work around 4:30. I don’t think I would bike to work every day, tho. This weekend, my husband and I are going to try the trail from Duquesne to Pgh to see how it goes. I’ll get back in touch with you after we try the commute….thanks so much!


rebeccawest

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Aug 8 2013 at 7:29pm #

Steven…thanks for the park n’ ride info!


Shawn

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Aug 8 2013 at 8:40pm #

Ya, it seems as if PM is down in general.

Rebecca- My start time and end time are flexible and all over the board, so some days I bike, some days I bus, and a lot of days I drive. I could easily accommodate your start time, but I generally try not to leave until 5.

For some perspective, it takes me 35 min to drive to the waterfront from the Irwin Target area, and then about 25 min to bike to the BNY Mellon building. 30 min if I’m more casual. This is the route that doesn’t cost me any time vs driving all of the way in. Parking further out may be more fun and will give me a better workout, but it takes the total commute well over an hour. With wife being a teacher and home early, and kids at home, I’m sensitive to the time aspect of not making my commute 2 hours by parking further out. I also find when getting up in the morning, that a 7-8 mile bike commute is more plausible than 15 miles since it’s hard to get out of bed in the first place.

BTW, anything on the pittsburgh side of the sq hill tunnel will save you parking money, but saves you no time at all. You will still sit in all of the traffic.

It would be nice to connect with another North Huntingdon cyclist, so if you have it, hit me up on facebook – Shawn Martina (I’m on a mountain bike in my profile pic).


durishange

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Aug 8 2013 at 10:42pm #

Shawn and Rebecca. I live near Rodneys. I usually leave my house between 6:45 and 7:00 to get to the Waterfront ~ usually by 7:30. I’d like to get there by 7:00, but I seem to move too slowly in the morning. Look for a dark Subaru Outback and a 6′ guy riding a tan Long Haul Trucker. I’d enjoy the company.


rebeccawest

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Aug 9 2013 at 6:09am #

You all are awesome…thank you!
I could work til 5…not a problem. Then I wouldn’t have to be nuts about my 8 am start time. I’m def not a morning person. So… You’re assuming I could keep up with both of you on the trail! Will try the route on Saturday and time myself. Shawn… I could meet up anywhere along route 30 ( I usu park at the sheetz at carpenter lane to get the bus). I’ll be in touch!


rebeccawest

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Aug 9 2013 at 6:11am #

Also…I’d need a good backpack to carry a work laptop. Suggestions welcome.


Shawn

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Aug 9 2013 at 6:28am #

Personally, I have tried backpacks, and I just don’t like them. I prefer to get something I can mount on my bike rack.


StuInMcCandless

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Aug 9 2013 at 7:27am #

I have a homemade pannier that works excellently for hauling around a laptop, lunch & various stuff. All you need is a rear rack. I keep a couple of bungee cords attached to ensure that it stays in place, but it does so pretty well without them.


edmonds59

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Aug 9 2013 at 9:17am #

I have one of these, a Timbuk2 Shift pannier, clips to a rack or converts to a shoulder bag, excellent for multimodal and office. Expensive but it seems like it will last years. Recommended. http://www.rei.com/product/847594/timbuk2-shift-pannier-single
Other companies make similar things.
Po Campo stuff looks really cool if you would like to go a little more stylie. http://shop.pocampo.com/collections/all/products/logan
Backpacks are for hiking.


rebeccawest

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Aug 9 2013 at 9:57am #

That looks good edmonds59. Do I need to balance it with something on the other side of the bike? Will take a better look at it on my computer.


edmonds59

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Aug 9 2013 at 10:06am #

I use it regularly on one side only, I dont notice any effect.


Steven

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Aug 9 2013 at 10:12am #

You might also consider a waterproof pannier like an Ortlieb. But until then, pack a big plastic trash bag, so you can stick your laptop inside in case of an unexpected storm while traveling. I’m not sure I’d trust a laptop to a “water-resistant” product, unless I really wanted a reason to get a new laptop. :-)

Also, FYI, Nathan just fixed the PM system. And there was much rejoicing.


rebeccawest

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Aug 9 2013 at 10:59am #

Yes.. Is need waterproof since mine is a company laptop!
Why does my husband think I’m nuts for considering this… Ha ha!


edmonds59

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Aug 9 2013 at 11:07am #

I find the roll top dry bag type designs (i.e. Ortlieb) too cumbersome for constant frequent use, like as my everyday briefcase. But they are darn waterproof.
Ziplock bags are great. I put a change of clothes in a 2 gallon one. If I am expecting rain, I put my wallet and phone in sandwich sized ones.
edit; I bet a 2 gallon ziplock storage bag would easily fit a 15″ or so laptop, even as a second line of defense if you get something like an Ortlieb.
The Ortlieb in white is pretty tasty; http://www.rei.com/product/815181/ortlieb-downtown-pannier


Drewbacca

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Aug 9 2013 at 11:41am #

rebeccawest wrote:Yes.. Is need waterproof since mine is a company laptop!
Why does my husband think I’m nuts for considering this… Ha ha!

What, he hasn’t been enlightened… yet? On a scale from one-to-nuts, you aren’t even half way there! Fresh air, less traffic, feeling of accomplishment before the day even begins… who wouldn’t, now that’s nuts! The only negative for me is that the morning commute is when I prefer to get the day’s news.

As far as panniers, I modified a $5 bag I found at good-will… reasonably waterproof (I still use a second plastic bag inside, to be safe).

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