Might be the first time I posted a question on the Reddit bicycling412 board before posting here (link
), but I will repeat it here for the couple of us who are left.
How to surmount the Great Divide: the missing Fern Hollow Bridge in Frick Park?
I cannot be the first cyclist in Pittsburgh to wonder how we might get from, say, Braddock at Biddle, through Frick Park, and come out either at the Blue Slide or Frick Environmental Center. Then onwards towards Schenley Park and the Jail Trail, or Oakland.
There's gotta be a couple ways to do it. I've biked in Frick Park a couple times, but don't know it well enough to do an East-West traversal without consulting a map. Seems like this could be a really useful way to get around the city on two wheels, and to promote bike transpo as a Plan A.
I'll take a stab at it myself, eyeballing maps and trying to recall what streets are like over thataway.
- Assume I am on Biddle at the stop sign at Braddock. Cross Braddock, aim for Biddle Trail.
- Biddle Trail to bottom, left onto Tranquil Trail.
- Right at Falls Ravine Shelter onto Falls Ravine Trail.
- Left onto Riverview Extension. (Looks like a climb, but I don't know how steep or how wide or how well marked.)
- Right onto Riverview Trail, continue to park entrance near Blue Slide Playground.
- Straight onto Nicholson St.
- Right onto Tilbury, continuing onto Shady. This looks like the only really busy street.
- Left onto Hobart, continue into Schenley Park.
- Left onto Prospect Drive.
- Left onto Pocusset Drive Trail.
- Right onto Pocusset Street/Trail.
- [Here is where I wish there was a direct connection to the dead end of Saline Street.]
- Right onto Greenfield Road.
- Illegal but mostly safe method: Left onto Overlook Drive, continuing straight to salmon down the one-way-uphill part, turning left onto the trail by the pool, right into the tunnel, right bend out of the tunnel, continuing to Panther Hollow Road bike lane at entrance to Anderson Playground.
- Legal but daunting method: Left onto Panther Hollow Drive, peel right onto Panther Hollow Road, and cross into bike lane when safe to.
- Proceed to Frick Fine Arts Building, or an Oakland destination of your choice.
- Left onto sidewalk before FFA Bldg.
- Port bike down 140+ steps of Joncaire Steps.
- Jiggle left-right to get on Boundary.
- Left onto Junction Hollow Trail.
- Proceed through rigamarole of Saline-chute-Second-Swinburne, and up onto Jail Trail.
- Continue downtown.
I will gladly entertain alternatives.
I find the street by street descriptions very difficult follow without actually looking at a map while reading the directions .
Living in the general area and running and biking around Fern Hollow the past 27 years gives me a few choices to go from the Biddle/ Braddock corner up into Squirrel Hill. My preferred route (quieter roads, trails, less major climbs) would be to take roads or trails north of Forbes and Braddock past the lawn bowling to the Homewood Ave entrance to the cemetery. Then through the cemetery to the Dallas or Forbes entrance and you are on your way.
I suppose one could cut down to the bottom of Frick park by road and trail over to the Forward Ave. entrance to Frick, then grind you way up Forward, but it’s a tough windy sometimes busy road to ride up. Maybe a better choice going east, but if going that direction, I’d just cut through the bottom of Frick from the nature center.
Alternative to Stu’s steps 14 and 15- either cut across the oval and take the trail past the Veteran's Shelter to Anderson Playground or cross Hobart instead of heading into Schenley the go left up Serpentine and down E. Circuit Drive down next to the golf course to the Westinghouse Fountain then either through CMU or down to Phipps into Oakland.
Don’t want to encourage going the wrong way down Overlook Drive in Schenley, especially now as the snow accumulations makes it narrower.
I live in Edgewood and bike to the Hot Metal Bridge or Oakland frequently, so I've probably explored all the possible east-west routes in the vicinity of Frick and Schenley Parks. I prefer routes that have as few cars as possible, not too steep, and fairly quick. Here are some of my favorites, broken down into how to get through or around Frick and Schenley Parks.
Near Frick Park
, now that Fern Hollow Bridge (Forbes Ave) is out, the best options are, from N to S:
- Hawthorne Trail to Reynolds St - quick
- Hawthorne Trail thru Homewood Cemetery to Aylesboro (which is an excellent and not-too-hilly E-W route across Squirrel Hill) - quick & pleasant
- Biddle Ave to Braddock Trail (gradual downhill into Fern Hollow) to Falls Ravine Trail (climb to Frick Nature Center) to Beechwood Blvd to Shaw to Darlington - most scenic (but Darlington is steep E of Shady)
- Nine Mile Run Trail to Firelane Trail to Forward Ave (steep climb with cars - not pleasant) to Beechwood Blvd or Summerset Dr - useful if your destination is Hazelwood or Homestead Bridge
Here's a Frick Park mountain biking map with trail names:
Near Schenley Park
, some good routes are:
- Wilkins to Beeler to Forbes - fast
- Aylesboro to Schenley Drive - fast
- Panther Hollow Trail (carry bike across RR tracks near Panther Hollow Lake) to Junction Hollow Trail to Eliza Furnace Trail - most scenic
- there are a number of ways to get to Panther Hollow Trail: from Aylesboro via Murdoch (take sidewalk where it's belgian block), via Serpentine (slower but no cars, currently), from Darlington or Bartlett
- Pocusset to Greenfield Bridge to Greenfield Ave to Eliza Furnace Trail - fast, but unpleasant in reverse direction because of climb and cars
Another option to avoid climbing Commercial (or actually Forward) would to take the Frick 9 mile run trail to Old Browns Hill Road, then turn left to cross the bridge- preferably on the sidewalk.
I always saw Mt Washington as the great Pittsburgh divide. None of the streets between the rivers match McArdle, Sycamore, Vinecliff, Arlington, Brosville or South 18th Street (Brownsville Road) in steepness or length.
We need to advocate to rebuild the Vehicle inclines that use to go from the Strip District to the Hill District and up Mount Washington. Yes, you can take a bus up those hills or the Mongahelia incline, but those are bad fits for bikes. A true Vehicular Incline, like the one in Johnstown, would make it much easier to bike around Pittsburgh.
A Vehicular incline was designed to haul horse drawn wagons up those hills and thus big enough to easily to many bikes up those hills at once.
I suggest instead that we work on getting the Wabash Tunnel open to bikes. On that topic, please reply in that thread, which dates to 2010.