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Commuting home via South Hills

I live in Beechview and am taking a new job downtown. Riding in to town isn't an issue for me (I live near Crane, so I take Crane down to 51, up Southern and down Sycamore). I don't have the lung capacity to do Sycamore on the way home. And I'm a little afraid of McArdle with the traffic in the afternoon rush. My three thoughts are: 1) Say Eff it and ride through Wabash tunnels and risk a $10 fine, 2) 18th street (which I haven't done but I think it is easier than Sycamore), or 3) take the incline up every night and have a fun stroll home. Or I'll try whatever you guys might suggest. Maybe I need a 12x45 and just HTFU over Sycamore.
2015-05-30 09:02:47
McArdle sidewalk, maybe? I don't know the area that well, so don't know how well that would work. Port Authority needs to change their rule on the tunnel. For discussion on that topic, please refer to the existing thread.
2015-05-30 09:34:53
The sidewalk on McArdle is indeed very bike-able although it's a bit narrow. Just be respectful of pedestrians and runners (which are few). If you dont mind some stairs, the sidewalk on the Liberty bridge is a great low stress route into/out-of town from Mt. Wash. The stairs are at the Ross/Blvd-of-Allies end of the sidewalk. (we need to get these changed into ramps or at least a runnel) You might also want to give William street a try instead of Sycamore on the way down since it has less traffic - although it has a rougher road surface.
2015-05-30 10:06:28
Mt. Lebo commuter here. South 18th isn't so bad, it's just long. And the incline is always a nice fallback on the days when you're just not feeling it.
2015-05-30 10:47:08
I would agree with all of the recommendations that have been made in this thread. Getting to the top of Mt. Washington is definitely a challenge. Yes, the experienced cyclists can make the climb, but if the goal is to bring more people onboard, a better solution is needed. Getting back down, when going home, is nice but then Route 51 must be crossed, and that is quite dangerous anytime. Crane Avenue is a very steep hill, with zero shoulder, and heavy automobile traffic. At the rush times, there is very little room for cars to safely pass a slowly climbing cyclist. The solution is to get access to the Wabash Tunnel and to complete the Seldom Seen Greenway. This two-pronged project should be high on the priorities list of any city bike/ped plan. Until we achieve a safe and viable way to get from the South Hills to the South Side, many potential bicycle commuters are left with either the Port Authority or the internal combustion engine as commuting choices. If we ever begin to see large numbers of commuters trying to take their bikes on the "T" or the bus, there will not be enough room to do so. Another South Hills commuter route that needs to be part of any good plan is Green Tree Road. The climb cannot be eliminated but the real danger is at the summit. At rush times (and most times, for that matter), the road is very dangerous for bicycling. There is plenty of room to provide a bike lane but doing so does not seem to be on any radar screens. Until improvements are made to approaches from the South Hills, commuting by bicycle remains very dangerous and those of us who do so are just trying to stay alive and healthy out there under adverse conditions.
2015-05-30 14:26:54
I do recommend reading the entirety of the Wabash Tunnel thread if you live south of Mt Washington and work downtown. I put a lot of thought and research into those first few posts on the first page, over five years ago. Please discuss the tunnel itself there. This thread here should be more for discussing commuting strategies, other than the political fight over the tunnel.
2015-05-30 18:59:07
18th Street is not all that bad, it just last a loooooooooong time.
2015-05-30 19:36:35
Is it really just a $10 fine fo biking the Wabash? Or is that a guess? I could easily see acivil disobediance movement to open the Wabash - they can't be making money on $10 fines.
2015-05-31 22:47:47
Mt Lebanon commuter here. I find Arlington Ave to be a decent alternative to McArdle. Wider shoulder for most of the way up. About the same ascent as McArdle, but less consistent grade. When I get to the top, I turn right onto Warrington Ave, then cross 51 at the light.
2015-06-03 07:30:07
$10 fine probably works out to over $100 after court fees, EMS fees, etc that are tacked on.
2015-06-08 13:20:32
As noted above, Arlington Ave. isn't all that bad, although the intersections at Carson Street, Sycamore and McArdle Roadway warrant some extra caution.
2015-06-10 12:30:49
Arlington was my route when I had to pick up my car from the pound. That climb was manageable, even single speed with one pedal not clipping in or allowing me to engage much at all. Crossing 51 and following the ramp, and the subsequent merge on 19 after the liberty tunnel was a little more interesting.
2015-06-10 12:49:45
I hate Arlington. I rarely get over that way, so don't have the specific knowledge of how to deal with the probably routine things you southernfolk do. In essence, I am a complete newbie. Dirty Dozen 2013, marshaling a corner over thataway, I got my 700x32 tire stuck in a trolley track going uphill. I hate trolley tracks. I understand PAT needs this kept active for when there are transit tunnel breakdowns, but those tracks are scary as hell for me. Similarly, some other ride in 2012, on the old blue bike with 26x1.75 tires, I darn near wiped out coming down Arlington on a day when it had rained earlier. I'd managed to avoid the rails up to the point where they swing right at McArdle to go down the trolley bridge, and I hit them at an oblique angle. So, really tight angle, wet, at some speed, trying to maintain speed (i.e., braking a bit). That's a recipe for disaster. I hate Arlington, either direction. I suspect I am not alone.
2015-06-10 12:59:43
Back in the day I used to do things like ride up route 28 to Aspinwall, ride through the Liberty Tunnels, and things like that and never got "caught" — the most that ever happened to me is that a cop would stop me just to tell me I'm a jackass and send me on my way. However, this day and age the general public are a bunch of tattle-tale snitches — "if you see something, say something" and will call the cops on you for ANYTHING they see you doing "wrong." I'd bet the fine for riding through the Wabash tunnel would be over $100 with fees and B.S. on top of your $10 fine. However it is probably safer than just about any other way into town from the South Hills for a cyclist. I live in Castle Shannon, near the Route 88 / 51 disaster and regardless of what route I take, it is going to suck. I wish the city would consider making the south hills part of their bike-friendly plans. My options to get into town are: A. 51 to West End, cut across carson at some point to take the Ft. Pitt Sidewalk — enough said there LOL. If you like cars travelling 50mph brushing against you as they whip by, barely giving you 4" let alone 4' then by all means. B. Go through Brookline and then Mt. Washington. 2 big climbs and lots of traffic on West Liberty or Pioneer either way you go. Plus Arlington is called the "Death Star Descent" on Strava for a good reason. It is f-ing INSANITY at any speed, especially when wet. C. Nobles to Brownsville to South 18th street. Nobles has so many blind turns that I always feel like I'm risking my life going up the hill. One time an angry driver swerved around me going 30mph up the hill on a blind turn and almost smashed head-on into a giant dump truck. D. Maytide / Biscayne / Beck's Run Road — this is actually the "safest" route I take. The area around the 51 / 88 disaster and getting onto and starting up Maytide is full of crazy traffic and idiots, but once past that part you're pretty golden in terms of traffic.
2015-06-12 11:38:45
@adam, I usually go through St. Norberts Church parking lot to connect to Esther/Sunnyland/Stewart to get to Brownsville Road from route 88/51. Same elevation, a quarter mile longer, but way less traffic.
2015-06-12 13:03:31
@adam, Getting into town isn't an issue for me. I live at the very top of Crane Avenue (off of Tropical). I take Crane down to 51, a made-up sidewalk over to Warrington, then over Boggs. Getting home is what I don't understand. I think I'm going to try Arlington from Station Square, and separately try McArdle sidwalk. I've actually been part of a cohort of a few of the folks on here to get something moving on a woodland trail through Seldom Seen to force the hand on PAT to let people ride through the tunnel, but the city under Peduto has somehow regressed in their ability to let volunteers do work.
2015-06-12 16:46:34
For a visualization of how rare biking is in the South Hills, see this Strava map of cyclist frequency: In Pittsburgh's east end (Oakland, Squirrel Hill, ...) you see lots of streets colored red because they get many cyclists, but in the Route 51 / Route 88 / Maytide area there is no red - very few cyclists. We need to fix that via the Wabash Tunnel and other major improvements. Note regarding this data: Strava's maps show only people who use the Strava app, and those tend to be road jocks or mountain bikers more than commuters.
2015-06-12 17:27:57
Adam nailed it, "...regardless of what route I take, it is going to suck." With no disrespect meant to any of the others who have offered their route suggestions, the South Hills Commuting Strategy is, Avoid Being Maimed or Killed! Of course, these unfortunate life-altering events could happen any day, to any of us, under the currently existing conditions. The stark reality is, there are virtually ZERO bicycling amenities or facilities on any roads that lead from the Southern Highlands to the Pittsburgh Riverfront Area. All of the routes mentioned in this thread are very dangerous and will not be attempted by anyone except the most experienced riders. And even for them, there are days... I've seen a very experienced rider's road rash after having been caught-up in the aforementioned "streetcar" tracks in the Arlington/Warrington Avenues area. If that was the worst thing that could happen, we could perhaps accept things as they are. One of the safest crossings of Route 51 used to be at 88, Ivyglen and St. Norberts, but with the jug handle project it has been obliterated. However, even in its heyday, you still had heavy high speed vehicular traffic and a non-existent shoulder on 88 from McNeilly to 51. As I mentioned earlier, there is a fantastic potential commuter route, that would get riders from Beechview to the base of Mount Washington, at Woodruff Street, while avoiding that unpleasant, narrow, and traffic-clogged hill known as Crane Avenue. Bicyclists from many parts of the South Hills could access this facility from their city and suburban neighborhoods Since I'm not supposed to mention the Wabash Tunnel, for fear of Stu flogging me next time I run into him, I'll try to control myself. However, one end of this commuter route does happen to sit right across 51 from the South Portal of the "WT." The potential jewel I speak of would be the Seldom Seen Greenway. This is a very worthwhile project that would get one from 51 and Woodruff to near the top of Crane Avenue (at Tropical Park), from where the Beechview Business District could be more safely reached. From there, the options increase significantly, i.e., (1) the T; (2) Broadway to Dormont and striking distance to Mt. Lebanon; (3) Broadway to Wenzell and Brookline, from where Baldwin Township, Castle Shannon and Bethel Park become destinations. No more will we need risk life and limb on West Liberty Avenue or Banksville Road! The Suburbs are another story but like some of the trail systems, if we get as far as their borders, the demand for connections develops and the likelihood of making them increases. There are some other routes to mention for consideration as part of a master plan that would include the South Hills. They are, (1) The Greentree Road approach from the Parkway to the top of the descent into the West End; (2) a viable route from the intersection of 51 & 88, in Overbrook, to St. Norberts, where the route Marko described is accessible and a very safe climb; (3) Becks Run, to and including East Carson Street, to around 33rd Street; (4) Brownsville Road, from Brentwood/Whitehall to the top of 18th Street; (5) Glass Run Road from Carrick/Baldwin down to Hays, where there is access to the GAP trail; (6) the Streets Run Road Corridor leading from the Baldwin/Whitehall area to Hays. It is clear that something needs to be done for the South Hills. Virtually nothing has been done and we've been waiting for a very long time. I would highly recommend the Seldom Seen Greenway for starters. Once completed, this would be a tremendous regional asset and a catalyst for other bike/ped projects in the South Hills.
2015-06-12 17:50:10
@sierramister, definitely try the McCardle sidewalk. I use it regularly and seldom encounter any pedestrians or other cyclists. Even if I do, I'd much rather deal with that than the tracks on Arlington/Warrington. It's a shame that McCardle is nuts for going uphill on the road. If there's a road that's apt for bike commuting in terms of grade in Mt. Washington, it's that one. I used to go up on the road on Saturdays to meet the Mt. Lebanon group ride, but that lead to way too many dangerous passes, even at 7 am on the weekend. Not worth it. And @fultonco, fully supportive of the Woodruff/Seldom Seen combo. That would be a great commuting route.
2015-06-12 18:08:37
Marko and fultonco, we should just go cut that trail and ask for forgiveness later. -Adam
2015-06-12 18:16:42
@fultonco: great idea for a bike trail in Seldom Seen. I suggest you make the slope gradual enough that even non-athletes would use it. I wonder if Pittsburgh Trails Advocacy Group (PTAG), the mountain bike trail-building people, or Mount Washington Community Development Corporation (MWCDC), who recently built trails in Emerald View Park, could be of help.
2015-06-12 22:57:35
Sometime, I'd like to get a group of 20 of us and ride 51 from the West End Circle to Brownsville Road, at 5:00 p.m., each of us taking the lane, and not as a pack, but spaced out about one every 100 yards, and each going 12 mph. Just how much would we totally fuck up traffic, really, by forcing a rolling mile of 51 into a one-lane road?
2015-06-13 02:16:56
Two thoughts... @paulheckbert, I'm the president of Trail Pittsburgh (formerly PTAG) and I live 20 feet from Seldom Seen. We've been trying to work with the city for over a year to try to develop this, but the city is literally a gaping hole where good ideas go to get murdered by mindless bureaucrat drones. And Stu, I would be fully in support of this. The east end is a successful because it's easy. Nobody wants to touch the South Hills because it is hard.
2015-06-13 08:43:21
Honest question, is there a pedestrian sidewalk in any part of the Liberty Tunnel structure? How cool would it be to discover a long-lost sidewalk above and between the two tubes, intended for the purpose and never used? I can believe none exists. I cannot believe it was never considered as part of design or construction.
2015-06-13 11:07:44
Originally there were sidewalks. "Design The tunnels were designed by Amos D. Neeld, who would also supervise the construction of the adjoining Liberty Bridge, which gives travelers a way to cross the Monongahela River after passing through the tunnels. The design was two vertical wall horseshoe profile tunnels, each consisting of two lanes of traffic and a 4 ft (1.2 m) sidewalk. The sidewalks, though minimally used and in disrepair, were removed during a renovation in the 1970s in order to widen and increase the height of the transit lanes."
2015-06-13 11:14:36
@stu, I remember there being beat-up sidewalks when I was a kid. They were slightly elevated with (broken up) hand rails separating you from traffic. They removed it to widen the lanes back in the early 80's(?). While my brothers and I were known to go on explorations all over the city when we were young (thanks PAT 'buck pass'), we somehow missed walking through the tunnels, (delete) Red beat me to it.
2015-06-13 11:24:18
I don't think any one particular "win" will help make the commute or travel from south hills better. But I think if you look at any of the individual "wins" that they've gotten for the bikers in the last several years, none of them would seem very impressive until you put the whole picture together. I'm not saying "remove the hills" — it's called the south HILLS for a reason. If I could convince them to put one of those chairs on my street like the old lady in "Gremlins" had to go up her stairs — I'd be all for it. But when they do these giant cluster-f projects like the route 88 / 51 interchange, it really doesn't seem like cyclists got included in that idea — but for christ sake, they had to make this giant elaborate concession / mess to keep RITE AID in the middle of the intersection???? The worst part will be when people stop shopping there and there's a boarded up empty store in the middle of this brand new intersection. But yeah, I agree. MOST people think I am totally insane for even THINKING about commuting to work via a bicycle from where I live. A fair number of those people WOULD be interested if they had a relatively "risk of death free" way to do it. I don't necessarily MIND riding in all of the traffic etc etc — but you definitely have to be on your toes and anyone who isn't a seasoned, confident city-cyclist is going to have a hell of a time no matter how you go. They even have that south hills BUSWAY that would be a lot safer for a cyclist than route 51. Heaven forbid that they build these things to be multi-purpose out of the box.
2015-06-17 12:33:55
My vision is for a bikeway from McKees Rocks to 88/51, partly parallel to the SBusway. Recall that the SBusway was the first such facility of its kind anywhere -- 1977 -- so it was pretty forward thinking at the time. I'm just trying to define the next forward thinking idea. And the South Hills, hell, the entire South half of the city, never mind the 'burbs, is one tough nut to crack. The North Hills is no lapdog of a place to commute from or within, either, but it's a helluvalot easier than from south.
2015-06-18 06:24:36
Completing the series of links among the Wabash Tunnel thread, the South Hills commuting thread (this), and the new rail right-of-way thread.
2015-06-18 11:51:31
I bit in and biked to work today. I went southern avenue and it was awesome. I'm honestly not sure how I'm going to get home. I'm just going to ride until I can't pedal anymore and walk what I can't.
2015-06-19 06:16:20
What route did you take on the way home, and how did it work?
2015-06-22 13:38:20
I took mcardle. It was good surprisingly. It's a climb, so being on the sidewalk didn't suck as bad as I thought. My bigger problem was getting to the top of Crane Ave where I live. I have tried Crane and have never been able to climb it fully, and wimped out with the traffic. I took west liberty to cape may, but somehow the sidewalk on west liberty ended and I was left on the road. I also don't like going down sycamore. I'm going to replace pads weekly if I keep doing that.
2015-06-22 13:42:40
And BTW, F the Port Authority. I got out of work today and didn't feel like riding home. I did lots of research on how to get home on the T with my bike, and I even bought 4 connect tix to keep in my wallet. I also wanted to be able to take the T when I wanted. I went to Gateway to be sure I would get one of the wheelchair loading areas. Check. I waited for the Red line to take me to Fallowfield (a high level stop). Check. Everything was going well, and by First Ave the T was packed. As we were pulling into the South Hills Junction at 3:50 PM, my plan fell apart. "Anybody getting off at a low level stop or Fallowfield must be in the front car." Which means my bike and I had to be at the very front of the car if I want to get off at Fallowfield (this information is nowhere, I just double checked). I was in the far back. I got off and tried sprinting to the front car. Of course, douchebag operator sees me running for the empty part of the platform towards him, so he hurriedly shuts the doors. It wouldn't have mattered because the T is packed by South Hills Junction. I also don't have any cash on me. At 4:00PM, the fare goes up to $3.25, and my ConnectTix is only worth $2.50. I don't have any water. My only option outside of calling my wife is to pay at SHJ and bike home. And it sucked. So thank you Port Authority for your ambiguous information your hiring process that ensures that operators are more depressed than Kennywood ride operators.
2015-06-22 16:08:23
So noted. One of many reasons why you rarely see a bike south of Mt Washington. Hopefully, with my newly being elected president of the Transit Council, I can bend ears a little harder on behalf of the riding community.
2015-06-22 16:20:11
@sierramister, that sucks. I know of a few people that have learned that "2nd car on the T" lesson the hard way and not been able to get off where they wanted to. It seems Fallowfield is the only high platform station where this happens, because of the lack of an attendant. Also, if you're going to use the T from time to time, get a ConnectCard. Unlike ConnecTix, stored value on the cards does not expire, plus now you can reload the card online.
2015-06-22 16:21:40
I honestly thought I was buying a connect card. I was at a kiosk that had connect card written all over it, put my $10 bill in, bought 4 rides, and was given 4 connect tix. Seems a little complicated.
2015-06-22 16:23:32
Not to dwell much on the subject but yeah, the same thing happened to me when I moved here. It baffles me that I was able to buy an RFID transit card for Atlanta's MARTA many years ago, yet here I'm constrained to getting it at Giant Eagle or at the customer service center downtown, with its totally useless business hours for non-downtown workers
2015-06-22 16:47:05
Supposedly they just entered the 20th century and allow you to refill your "plastic" connectCards online!!!! I have yet to try this, but it is always a confusing mess whenever I try and use my FSA transit card to pay for the stupid transit card, since all of the government rules and BS governing those things make it so that I have all kinds of money permanently locked in the limbo of "can't get all of it out of the FSA, and can't get all of it onto my transit card" LOL. I guess it's a step in the right direction though. I can't justify taking transit with my bike. It would just make me feel like a total pussy / cop-out. Even when I'm feeling my absolute worst I'll find the hill with the least grade and suck it up! I've been taking Beck's Run Rd to get to the Route 88 / 51 disaster, the traffic is so jacked up and slow around the intersection in the early evening and morning that you can weave through it without many problems. Hardly enough cars pass me going uphill on Beck's Run to cause any concern, and the friendly to jerk ratio is much better than other roads. I've taken just about every combination of ways to get from my house to downtown and have more or less settled on that as my main route. Variety is the spice of life, so I have to mix it up — but on any normal day that's my route now.
2015-06-22 17:02:04
I've refilled my card online. It works, but the website sucks. As you'd expect.
2015-06-22 18:20:13
Glad you "sierramister" are bringing all of this out, with regard to using the T and/or using the road system in the South Hills. I'll sometimes ride back to the Allegheny Stop to make sure I can stake out my spot before the peak rush gets on underground. I stand up near where the driver would be because taking the handicapped area means my bike and I take up 5 potential seats at a crowded time of the day. I get an occasional dirty look and shake of the head from a passenger who does not approve. As you stated, most times, I just don't want to deal with all of that so I ride home but there truly is no way to go that does not have seriously dangerous areas to get through. It is perhaps time for as many of us South Hills folks as is possible to get organized, set some goals, bring some energy and expertise toward changing this deplorable situation. If see don't do that, we might as well all just give up and get Denalis like everyone else in the South Hills.
2015-06-22 20:05:00
Regarding the Fallowfield Stop and the fact that they do not open the doors, has always baffled me too. The stop is certainly busy enough to warrant a platform toll taker, at least during the AM and PM rushes. Rather than getting off at South Hills Junction, you could go a little further to Potomac and get off there. PAT does have a platform toll booth at that stop. From Potomac, it is a short ride down Broadway back to Beechview. BTW, it was interesting to learn about Amos Neeld... "The tunnels were designed by Amos D. Neeld, who would also supervise the construction of the adjoining Liberty Bridge, which gives travelers a way to cross the Monongahela River after passing through the tunnels." There is a T stop in Beechview called "Neeld" and a Neeld Avenue. Local boy done good.
2015-06-24 05:36:11
Just reviewed this thread again and will attempt reply, in chronological order, to some of the comments made - Crossing Route 51 at Warrington Avenue - It sounded so easy when reading this one that someone might think it wasn't much of a problem. Actually, one crosses 51 and goes onto an exit ramp for West Liberty Avenue (the only other options are to go Northbound or Southbound on 51 itself). Assuming we're commuting to work at rush times, all 3 of these are unpleasant endeavors. West Liberty Avenue, as someone mentioned, has dis-continuous sidewalks, and no shoulder. Traffic is heavy and there is close to a mile to travel, uphill, before reaching a right turn where one could bail. I used to see a fellow doing this every day but haven't seen him for a long time. He probably moved, bought a Denali, or both. Adam's message, of 6/12/15 at 11:38 AM should be required reading for anyone involved in bicycle planning. Re-read it, several times. Only 2 people submitted ideas regarding the Seldom Seen Greenway (SSG) on the City's Mind Mixer web site. We're going to need a lot more support than that to get something done. Regarding comments on the SSG, "cutting trail" and making the grade realistic for broader use, we want to get permission from the City to do so. I have it on good authority that if we could get such permission, we'd have a small army of volunteers in there pretty quickly who could rough-out a decent trail with an appropriate grade. The SSG would then be suitable for hybrid bikes and pedestrians. The demand for better facilities, created by an explosion of use, would pave the way (no pun intended - well, maybe it was intended) for a better trail surface and an expanded trail network. While I like Stu's general idea of a Critical Mass Ride on 51, I would change the formation to keeping the group together in one large mass and keeping the speed at 10-12 mph. If any space is left between riders, some knucklehead driver will try to get in there. A big group riding from the West End Circle down to 51/88 or better yet, to Brownsville Road (Brewntwood/Whitehall), would attract a lot of attention w/o causing any appreciable problems. Loved the comments about the 51/88 jug handle project and the Rite-Aid island. May-be if it does become abandoned, the building can be used in some way to begin the process of making the area a multi-modal hub. It would make a nice place to catch a bus, get over to the "land-locked" South Bank T stop, park bikes, service bikes, sell walking shoes, coffee, newspapers, snacks, etc. just like in other cities. A bikeway from McKees Rocks to 51/88 reminds me of the Citizens Plan, developed by Penn Futures in 2002. The artist's rendering of the 51 corridor had adjacent public transportation and trails. It's a fantastic idea. Southern Avenue is a great way to come down toward or to ascend Mt. Washington from Route 51. It has the gentlest grade of nearly any other road on the Mount. If you make it across 51, take Southern to a left on Virginia to right on Maple Terrace to left on Grandview. From there, you can go down Sycamore, McArdle, the Incline, or go all the way West down Grandview to Republic and then Greenleaf, where you will end up just South of the West End Bridge. Connect Cards - I've had good success with mine. You can re-load them at the Giant Eagle Service Desk and at lager PAT Station Kiosks. Just tap your card on the raised orange rectangle (exactly like the ones found on a bus or train) and it walks you through the re-loading process. Finally, Marko82, some others, and I are going to get the South Hills Bike/Ped Committee moving again. We would love to have your support and involvement. Getting anything meaningful done is going to take some time and energy. Real action is needed. We can post all we want in this forum and not much will ever happen. It takes getting out there, pressing the flesh, talking to people, and getting knocked around sometimes. Nothin' we ain't already used to.
2015-07-06 18:04:06
I used to ride West Liberty up and down daily but now only do it occasionally. I'm not sure if it would do more harm than good due to potential confusion, but if you were able to get get sharrows or a bike lane painted in the no parking during rush hour lane it would at least start to raise some awareness of bike traffic in the area. On the other hand, having bike infrastructure that it is OK to park on 20 hours a day but needs to be respected for the remaining 4 hours may not help the cause. It would be great to get some kind of bike infrastructure traction in the south hills though.
2015-07-15 12:32:46
What hornet nest are we poking by banning WLib on-street parking 24/7?
2015-07-15 13:01:43
I think I have a picture of "bd" during the afternoon rush, a couple of winters ago. If I have the right person, you deserve some sort of award for putting up with that traffic for so long. I saw the same person on Banskville Road during the afternoon rush, when the weather was better. Nerves of steel, to be sure. Steve Patchan said they ran into difficulty trying to place sharrows due to the parking. Not sure when that occurred or what transpired. On a good note, Marko82 and I attended the Route 51 Forum last evening. There were quite a few people (40-50) in attendance and I didn't detect any opposition to the idea of establishing a greenway, running parallel to the road, in the Saw Mill Run Basin. Of course, there are many facets to this project and many things that must happen to get it started. I would say that in summary, it was a very well-run meeting and there were some credible professionals from organizations that design and implement projects like this. When I have a bit more time, I'll provide more details, unless Marko82 has an opportunity to do so first.
2015-07-15 16:10:31
Just wanted to chime in as a new member of the South Hills community that would love a safer way to commute into town. I'll keep an eye out here if I can be of any assistance volunteering / pestering officials.
2015-07-15 20:22:47
@fultonco - you've got me confused with someone else. Nerves don't go above tin foil here.
2015-07-16 08:36:53
Welcome @sbattis! We always can use more allies. Please be sure to find time to read the Wabash Tunnel thread and a couple others referenced in it. It contains a running history and a ton of background info.
2015-07-16 09:43:54
Also, see opportunity for feedback I posted on the schenly park thread. More relevant here. See McKinley Park vision plan. We need to give similiar feedback here to ensure that Bausman st from Rt 51 to Brownsville Rd is not made unfriendly to cyclists during redesign. Plans appear to narrow bausman st to accomodate swales, removing some of the ample shoulder space currently existing which makes climbing up this way easier in traffic. Strava heat map shows this as a very well used route from west liberty ave to hilltop / brownsville rd / 18th street.
2015-07-16 10:59:14
So hey!, semi OT, but I was at the Hollywood Theater in Dormont last night and surprise, saw on the sign board a poster for Filmed by Bike series, apparently co-sponsored by Bike Pgh!, August 28 and 29. I thought that might be a good opportunity to assemble a group and maybe ride out from town and put some of these wacky theoreticals on the ground, or at least get more people thinking about the issues these SHills folks are dealing with. Just a thought. Also I love the Hollywood theater.
2015-07-16 11:11:09
Ah, the Hollywood. I lost my (Rocky Horror) virginity there...
2015-07-16 14:05:27
The Hollywood Theatre event sounds like a good time.
2015-07-16 15:49:04
bd, from what I've seen, you don't blink first
2015-07-16 20:56:10
Open Streets Event in Brentwood, Saturday, 10/17/15, from 0900-1300 hours: There will be an Open Streets Event held along Brownsville Road, in Brentwood. The date and time of there event is Saturday, October 17, 2015, from 9 AM until 1 PM. Marko82 and I will be helping to lead a bike ride, that will begin at the South Side Riverfront Park, going up 18th Street, and then following Brownsville Road until we reach the event in Brentwood. The bike ride starts at 8 AM. If you are on Facebook, If you know of any volunteers, vendors or musicians who might be interested in having a presence there, these links to online registrations can be passed along: Interested businesses should fill out the following form: Interested active lifestyle vendor should fill out the following form: Interested musicians, street performers, buskers, etc should fill out the following form: Interested volunteers should sign up here: I will pass on additional information as it comes my way.
2015-10-03 06:22:39
In the time leading up to the event, I will try to highlight some of the activities / participants for the Open Streets in Brentwood (Saturday 10/17/15, from 9am – 1pm) : A musical band recently offered its services : “John Egger & Paul Hayhurst are from the band Tumblin’ Dice, Picture from left to right Paul, John, Mark on drums and Jason, Paul & John are from Baldwin Borough, Jason and Mark (is from) Brentwood, we play sounds of the 60’s & 70’s.” Photo available later on today at the Facebook Page, “Safe Streets South Hills Pittsburgh, PA.”
2015-10-04 08:31:30
Went for a walk on the Seldom Seen Greenway yesterday. Accessed it through the lower entrance on 51 and went up all the way to Beechview. I followed the trail until it stopped on Saw Mill Run. Decided not to get wet and instead went up and crossed over the creek on the railroad bridge, then came back down to the trail. I followed it until it splits (on Google Maps, this where it splits into Watkins Rd Trail and Brashear trail). I went up the Watkins Rd section until I reached an open field. Thinking this was private property, I turned right on another trail instead of following the trail shown on GMaps that goes to Lowenhill Ave. That side trail takes you to Tropical Park. Some thoughts (and pictures: - Putting a packed limestone trail through the lower part of the Greenway seems relatively easy to do. Not sure how prone this area is to flooding, though. Who do we talk to to make this happen? - Need a bike/ped bridge over the creek. Forget about dealing with the railroad. A simple wood bridge ought to do it - The climb up the Watkins Rd trail is very steep for the first half or so, which provides a challenge for both climbing and descending. You probably have to be in decent shape and have good climbing skills and a sufficiently low gear to go up. Otherwise, hike-a-bike it is - The second half isn't so bad and it will drop you off on quiet residential streets (among the best I've seen in this regard in Pittsburgh). You'd have to deal with Crane Ave for short distance, but then you're back on low traffic roads until you get to Broadway. I don't know how you'd go about reducing the difficulty of the climb other than adding a ton of switchbacks (Alpe de Beechview!). I mean, we are in Beechview after all. There really isn't an easy way up that hill. Putting in some steps and a runnel might help in this area, if you don't feel like riding all the way up. It would also mean that you would not carve into the hill to build the switchbacks. Next time, I'll have to check the Brashear trail branch to see how it compares, climbing-wise. Going into town would be, ideally, in the Wabash Tunnel. However, since that seems like a long shot, going up Woodruff and Merrimac St to McArdle is a decent alternative. From there, just take the sidewalk on the McArdle speedway roadway, then the sidewalk on the Liberty Bridge. The Seldom Seen option seems so doable, yinz
2016-01-03 12:47:18
@chrishent You make some good observations about the SSG and related trail system. We felt that some switchbacks would most certainly be needed to make the hill more friendly to the general public. It is "so doable" as you describe. The lack of any response from anyone who could give permissions get the project moving is baffling.
2016-01-04 17:26:19
South hills commuter here: McCardle sidewalk is the way to go or just walk up Sycamore it's faster
2016-01-05 01:24:45
@fultonco, I'm not opposed to the idea of switchbacks. I just think that there will a lot of them if the desire is to keep the grade relatively low (no more than the 8% allowed by ADA) and given the available trail width, it might be tricky to do so, at least without possibly having to cut down some trees on the side of the trail (there would have to be a really good reason to do this, IMO). Fortunately, I think this would only be for the first half of the climb. Regarding the Seldom Seen Greenway in general, what's the future of this land? Is it being earmarked for a particular purpose? The sign at the entrance of the Greenway near 51 says it was"given as a living memorial by the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy in tribute to Mr. [Edward] Smuts". Does anyone know someone at the WPC that can chime in on this land's purpose?
2016-01-05 10:19:41
@chrishent, I don't know the answers to the all of questions you ask. From exploring the area and asking some questions myself, I learned that there used to be a little town down in there. You can find remnants of a former human era. Marko82 might remember exactly where we stumbled upon that spot. I believe Edward Smuts may have had some connection with both the city and CMU. As far as I know, the land is still a preserve of sorts. The recent construction activity you saw was from the PA American Water Company having done some work earlier in 2015. I'm not sure if that means more development is on the way or if it was part of the ongoing improvement of waterlines that has been in progress for the past several years. Finally, there is a committee, associated with Economic Development South, that is working toward the development of the entire Saw Mill Run watershed and Route 51 Corridor. I received an email for them recently, which appears below. You, and anyone else who might be interested, can respond to the survey. Lisa Werder Brown Jan 8 (1 day ago) to onebagshotrow Good Afternoon, Over the last year Economic Development South and the Saw Mill Run Watershed Association have been working with our partners at the US Army Corps of Engineers, Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority, the Allegheny Land Trust, and ALCOSAN to create a new future for Route 51 and Saw Mill Run. We see great potential for turning Route 51 into a Green Boulevard. With your help we will develop a strategic plan for creating an established greenway, ultimately protecting and improving land along Route 51 and Saw Mill Run. You are an important part of that process. Please take a few minutes to complete this survey by January 29th. We will use your input to understand stakeholder priorities and inform our process for identifying the most suitable parcels for inclusion in the greenway. Thank you for your participation. Best Regards, Lisa See you around the watershed! Lisa Werder Brown Saw Mill Run Watershed Coordinator Economic Development South 4127 Brownsville Road, Suite 209 Pittsburgh, PA 15227 Phone: (412) 884 -1400 X 104 Email: Cell: (412) 491- 2081 Web:
2016-01-09 17:08:25
South Side Slopes Neighborhood Assn has announced their March general meeting will include a presentation by Kristin Saunders regarding a Proposed 18th Street Bike Lane: Tuesday, March 8, 7 PM, St Paul of the Cross, 148 Monastery Ave.
2016-02-26 12:56:04
@ buffalo buffalo Thanks
2016-03-02 18:13:53