This is the second time in the past month that I have seen a cop do about 25 on that trail. He cuts through from the Oakland side going toward the run. No lights. It happens around 424pm. I commute home at variable times, so I don't see it consistently, but I just happened to look at my watch and I noted that it was the same guy at the same time.
How do we get this abuse of power to stop? Again, trails are deteriorating because of unnecessary vehicular traffic like this, and it just isn't safe.
Video submitted to a news channel is probably the only chance. Bad publicity is about all we have I think. Peduto isn't going to go against the Police. Look what happened to Luke. You can't mess the the police, unless you can get the press going. The media is looking to make money on shock value. Did they come close to running you over? That would be a good story for them. It is what it is. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I will keep a lookout.
No he moved over but didn't slow. It didn't look like he was patrolling either. I would love to take a day and just sit there to see who drives through regularly and find out why.
And shocker, the EFT utility work still isn't done like it was to be at the end of December.
In January I saw a Pittsburgh Public Works truck coming toward me on the Junction Hollow trail as I was biking, so I waved him down and talked with him. I commented that cars and trucks on the trail are damaging the asphalt and he was defensive, saying a couple times that the trucks use the trail in order to empty the garbage cans. I didn't see any garbage bags in the back of his truck, so I suspect that excuse didn't apply to whatever he was doing that day.
Junction hollow trail is pretty much a road now. Lots of personal vehicles are driven over it. The city has acknowledged this in a reply to one of my many 311requests.
It would seam that the city has stopped trying to keep the gates locked, citing the ongoing removal of the locks.
What does Corey O'Connor say about this? It's in his district.
It would seam that the city has stopped trying to keep the gates locked, citing the ongoing removal of the locks.
Ongoing removal, eh? It might be an interesting experiment if private citizens were to padlock the gates shut themselves, at least during known times of frequent misbehavior. Said hypothetical citizens would need to remain in the vicinity, in case a legitimate emergency vehicle needed access, and to hold the video camera to record any vandalism for immediate report to the police and news channels.
For a less aggressive, data-acquisition approach: station one person at each end of the trail, and log entry/exit times for each motor vehicle. Use that information to demonstrate the problem, including license plates...
Can't help but think that this is being allowed due to the closure of the Greenfield bridge...
Mucking about with city property, including replacing padlocks, is heading down the path of vandalism. Once you start, what's to stop somebody from putting boulders on the path? Plus, do you really think some emergency vehicle is going to roll up to the gate, wait politely until you run out from the bushes to remove the padlock, then roll on?
Really, this is an issue Corey O'Connor's office can and should address. Maybe they've been unresponsive; but I've not heard yet of anybody who tried to raise it to their attention and not gotten a response.
Really, this is an issue Corey O’Connor’s office can and should address.
Agreed. I mention the data-acquisition scheme because, frankly, it has more impact to complain "13 unmarked vehicles used the trail in a 90-minute period on Tuesday morning" than "I saw a truck twice last week."
I'd be willing to take a shift with a camera during rush hour. I just can't stay there for hours, so someone would have to take over at some point.
The only garbage cans that the city maintains that have bags in them are in downtown; the rest just get dumped into a truck so there would not be bags. Even if the crews don't empty any cans while on the trail, they still have to go check them.
DPW has repeatedly attempted to seal off Junction Hollow for official use only and (presumably) residents in the area have cut locks, moved boulders, and even destroyed the gate on the Greenfield side entirely. Additionally, while a police vehicle shouldn't be driving very quickly on the trail, as someone who used to commute there frequently and never saw police, I would feel safer knowing that they have a visible presence in an otherwise secluded spot.
Official motor vehicle use that is.
Police have claimed in the past that they can't patrol the trails, including Junction Hollow, in part because they aren't lit.
Has that policy changed?
(Coincidentally, when Greenfield Bridge was closed, JHT was supposedly going to get lights. Has that been cancelled?)
Bike pgh, can you please help us with this?
Also wondering who is in charge of the trails?
DPW Parks Foreman? I don't know who holds that position, but somebody on the boards may chime in with that info. I get the feeling that the DPW shares our unhappiness about the situation.
Corey O'Connor's office phone: 412-255-8965
His feedback form: http://pittsburghpa.gov/district5/feedback
He's also on Facebook.
Lynette Lederman (email@example.com
) is his executive assistant.
Please, someone who's seen this, tell them about it and see what they say.
DPW(who I work for) would be responsible for the maintenance of pretty much everything in Schenley Park including this trail. The Park Foreman for Schenley Park has tried everything within reason to close the trail to be used for official vehicle use only including constructing new gates as well as installing locks and providing keys to the appropriate personnel including emergency personnel(police and fire/EMS). Again, there is good reason for DPW trucks to be on the trail given that they must check each garbage can along the trail as well as perform a variety of other tasks in that area(the same applies to the EFT). Unfortunately, people have taken it upon themselves to destroy public property in order to access that trail by vehicle which is unbelievably frustrating. I can't speak to the police policy for patrolling trails though I don't know how the lighting issue would affect their policy during the day which seems to be when @stefb witnessed them. I would gladly attempt to reach out to the police but that's also a concern, along with regular vehicles using the trail, that should be voiced directly to Zone 4: 412-422-6520. Additionally, I'm not personally familiar with plans regarding lighting on the JHT but I'll ask around.
Lets face it, that so-called bike trail is now a road and we can't get from that road to the park anymore because of the RR. We lost it all. Just put in a highway already and put in a razor wire fence so no one can get to the pond area. This is the new trend and it only gets worse from here.
We've discussed this with our contacts at DPW and Friends of the Riverfront several times.
It would really help to have more evidence.
Also, while i'm sure there's residents destroying the gates, in the past (i can't speak for now) there were also DPW employees breaking the gates because locking and unlocking them was annoying or something.
One of those inexpensive motion detector game cameras could be really handy. Though I bet there would be quite a lot of pictures of cyclists just going by.
It would really help to have more evidence.
If we can identify when this seems to happen, I'll follow @mattjackets' lead and volunteer to take an hour-long shift to document miscreants.
Ideally, if we could document the same patterns of behavior over a week-long period, that would go a long way to identifying both the scope of the problem, and the identity of repeat offenders.
Is it fair to say that a good number of vehicle passages happen around rush hour(s)?
I have a video cam and tripod; I'd be willing to set up near the north side of the soccer field, say maybe starting at 4pm and see if it's possible to record some some activity.
I'd actually like it if also someone else could hang around, in case a driver decides to stop.
One of those inexpensive motion detector game cameras could be really handy. Though I bet there would be quite a lot of pictures of cyclists just going by.
...that might not be a bad thing, for a number of reasons...
Didn't someone on here have a motion detecting trail camera set up for some incidents that occurred at the Greenfield parking lot? If so, might be a good time to give that a try again without mentioning it here.
@erok here are a couple of videos from my bike camera that provide some evidence:
This snowfall is only a few hours old, note the number of tire tracks:
This tan minivan was unmarked, and accelerated very quickly when I turned around to get his plate:
I spoke to one of the offenders who was driving a black Acura. He claimed to be lost, and that his GPS unit directed him to take the trail. Other offenders know exactly what they're doing (eg. minivan man).
I experience the trail usually during late rush hour, and I see personal vehicles on it often.
Late one snowy Friday night, I was started up Saline from Greenfield Ave and I was passed by a white truck with a snowplow on it. I did not see the truck come back out
There were fresh truck tracks on the trail, but no plowing had been done on the trail.
After I finished playing harmonica on frozen Panther Hollow Lake, I resumed travel up the trail, just in time to see a white truck, looking suspiciously like the one that passed me, was pulling out of the Panther Hollow parking lots and heading up Neville.
I was unable to get the license number (and it was 2 am), so did not report it.
When the police are abusing the trail, I'd guess - I could be wrong - that they would not have McLay's support. Different, of course, if some emergency were involved.
I live near the trail and would be willing to volunteer monitoring time there.
I would say start around 2pm. I saw cars heading that way. I hope it was to park or turn around. I did close the gate just before that, so someone would be inconvenienced by having to get out and open it at least. I would like to sit there, but I would rather wait until it is a little warmer when my schedule allows.
The north gate (that's still there) appears to be just inside Pittsburgh City Council District 5 (O'Connor) and the south gate (that got knocked down around 12/28) I think spans the border between Districts 5 and 3 (Kraus). I emailed O'Connor and one of his staff people responded already, asking about a timeline.
If anyone has photographs of the gates in a locked state, or of the south gate down, or of cars on the trail, that you haven't shared before, now would be a good time to share them.
Anyone care to gauge the level of disconnect between Chief McLay and the rank-and-file? Like Port Authority drivers and mechanics, do they take orders from the management chain or the union boss?
So I pulled the gate shut around 230 yesterday afternoon. At 515am it was open again.
Stu that's the jillion-dollar question, and the backdrop to the current Fired Sergeant drama. I think McLay-Peduto intend to change the status quo, and it's the Force vs Mountain game. There's a bit of seeing who can outlast-outwait whom.
I wouldn't assume that everything comes down to a conflict between the FOP and McLay. The police officers may be perfectly willing to enforce the law on Panther Hollow trail, once it becomes a priority. The DPW seems to want to have it enforced.
I spoke with Zone 4 and the officer there was pretty surprised this was happening. She said that PPD does check on trails periodically but not "patrolling" or foot patrolling as they mostly can only respond to 911 calls. Again, this emphasizes the importance of calling 911 or Zone 4 if you witness it because it at least gives more attention to the problem and at best they have a car in the area that can respond quickly. In addition, I spoke to the Park Ranger for Schenley and he said that they would monitor the area, as well. There are signs posted that say for official vehicle use only subject to, I think, a $300 fine. Trust me, this is frustrating to the DPW divisions, as well, because they get all the blame for it and any damage to the trail or playing fields when they have tried a lot to prevent it.
Rode through Junction Hollow today just before 6 pm. The gate in the run was open, so I closed it. Did not encounter any motor vehicles.
Thank you, Jake.
So a guy was walking his disabled dog on that trail yesterday. The dog appears to not have functioning hind legs, and was using something that I like to say transforms the dog into a chariot dog. The dog can use its font legs, and hind legs are suspended and on wheels. The dog looked so stoked, but wasn't moving too fast. Yet another reason that there should be no vehicles using that trail at all. I can't imagine if any vehicle came flying through there.
1:30 pm 3/5: the gate at the Greenfield end is gone entirely. Only the pole it would lock to is there.
buffalo-buffalo: That gate got knocked down around 12/28 last year and disappeared a few days after that, I recall. See post by RustyRed: http://localhost/mb/topic/green-truck-using-jail-trail-as-shortcut/#post-321575
Yes, that's what I was referring to by people destroying public property as well as other acts. The gate was pulled out of the ground not long after being installed/replaced by DPW from what I'm told.
That gate got knocked down around 12/28 last year and disappeared a few days after that
Ah, my mistake. I read @chrishent's "The gate in the run was open" as referring to the one at the Greenfield end. The gate at the Oakland end was there, but open, when I passed this afternoon.
Maybe someone should lock it up with their own lock. Fight fire with fire? F them!
It will get cut off by a resident or the city considering the city needs access to that gate... so don't do that.
I agree don't do that. A guy in a black sedan chose it idle right in front of the north gate today at about 5 as I was coming to the trail head but it wasn't hard to get by him. Just strange and a bit annoying.
Heading north through the hollow tonight around 5:30, I did see a police SUV heading the other way. But it had lights on (no siren), was driving in the gravel, and was going at a fairly reasonable speed - I would say around 10-15 mph. Maybe the word has gotten around to Zone 4.
A couple days ago I saw a wire tie "lock" on the Boundary St / Junction Hollow Trail gate. Cute!
That must have been cut. It was open this morning.
One of our more affluent community members could help with this by setting a wildlife camera on both ends of the trail, with the camera placed in a way to pick up plates. If this isn't nipped in the bud, entitled drivers and city/police employees are going to make this a regular thoroughfare
This issue has already been going on for a few years as the boulders were regularly screwed around with as well
Regarding police vehicles on the JHT:
(Conrad is O'Connor's chief of staff.)
Well, I guess that is that. Just be careful as police will no doubt be barreling through there often. Probably best to ride on the side area and let them have the paved roadway. I suspect the potholes and such will start forming with all the heavy vehicles using the road.
Trucks damaged a side road by my house while they did bridge/turnpike work. After all the work was done, they repaved the the roads that were damaged by the construction vehicles. Maybe we'll get lucky when the various projects in the area are complete.
@gg says "well I guess that is that". I'm not so sure. If the police are abusing bike trails on a routine basis, do the citizens have to tolerate that?
> If the police are abusing bike trails on a routine basis, do the citizens have to tolerate that?
As a reminder, Oakland's Green Team bike/ped/etc committee meets this week, Thursday at 6pm at the Oakland Career Center, Semple at Louisa. I hope to be there (and will try to remember to bring this up); I hope to see others concerned about this issue there as well.
(Not sure when Squirrel Hill's BPC meets, it's not in the BikePGH calendar...)
Next meeting of SH Bike/Ped group is Thu, April 14, 6:30pm – 8:30pm.
I don't understand. If the bridge were still up, taking that route wouldn't put you at Boundary and Jonclair any faster than taking Swinburne St now. Google maps:
"Hey, if we can't give you good, sound reasons, we'll give you reasons that sound good."
Putting myself in their shoes...
Well, especially after the bridge closure, Swinburne might have a lot of traffic on it, which might delay an officer, whereas the bike path would be free and clear of any obstructions! Nobody uses bike paths anyways; at least nobody who matters.
As for damage to the path... Well, that's reparable. And while it's being fixed, it could easily be widened to accommodate two lanes of motor vehicle traffic, and this whole annoying "biking" thing could be resolved once and for all.
That's just smart urban planning, no?
I think the primary issue with police usage of the trail is that some officers are careful, and some are not. Some drive slowly and carefully pass trail users, and some don't. If they're responding to a call and the lights and sirens are on, then by all means drive quickly and people should clear the way...but I've never actually seen lights and sirens on the trail.
"Cmdr Herrmann says police are authorized to use this trail/path/road since the Greenfield Bridge closed"
I've seen cops using the trail and at a good clip around a bend there (almost met his bumper!) on an occasion at least a YEAR or more before the bridge closed.
I did remind him that there were more concerns raised than just this one incident:
so, keep calling/tweeting/etc 311, i guess...
Use 911 for this sort of thing (violations of the law). 311 is for infrastructure problems like potholes and broken street lights.
Though with 911 you will have to give a street intersection, and the trail isn't on their map. I guess you'll have to say 100 or 626 Boundary St, whichever is closer.
I just asked to have this issue added to the Green Team meeting tomorrow evening, citing this thread.
The announcement and agenda just came out:
Please join us this Thursday, March 17 at 6:00pm in the Oakland Career Center, 294 Semple Street.
We will talk about specific designs/ideas for how to make Neville Street safer for cyclists and pedestrians, increased traffic enforcement in Oakland, provide updates on the City's process for selecting a Bus Rapid Transit alignment, and discuss the proposed final section of the Bigelow Blvd bike lane.
The full meeting agenda is available on our website,
- PDF version: http://www.opdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Green-Team-Agenda-03.17.2016.pdf
- Word version: http://www.opdc.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/Green-Team-Agenda-03.17.2016.docx
I just wanted to share a little positive cop-on-trail encounter I had this morning. There was a motorcycle cop on the Eliza Furnace trail this morning. He was cruising at a very appropriate speed (probably within the 15mph limit) with his hazard lights on, and was giving plenty of room to trail users. Even gave me a friendly nod.
Have a good day everyone!
I've seen the police and Public Works vehicles go through the Hollow...giving them the benefit of the doubt..snow removal...on patrol...Today I witnessed a PW vehicle attempt to use the trail from the Boundary Street side. Someone had "locked" the gate with a plastic tie. When the passenger went to open the gate and saw it fastened, he returned to the vehicle saying it was fastened...and they turned around and left. I may be mistaken, but if they were approved to use the road, they could hsve easily broken the tie. I spoke to some people at the gate, and the confirmed that a cyclist had tied it...anyone care to come clean????? Some pics including the license of the vehicle.
Regarding the City Code quoted, see
b) Vehicles confined to roads. No person in a park or in a greenway shall drive any vehicle on any area except the paved park roads or paved greenway roads or parking areas, or such other areas as may on occasion be specifically designated as temporary parking areas by the Director. For purposes of this section, the definition of vehicle shall include but not be limited to an automobile, truck, all-terrain vehicle ("ATV"), quad, motorcycle, motorbike, or motorized dirt bike.
Not on the sign, but interesting anyway is:
e) Bicycles confined to roads. No person in a park shall ride a bicycle on other than a paved vehicular road, or path designated for that purpose. A bicyclist is permitted to wheel or push a bicycle by hand over any grassy area or wooded trail or on any paved area reserved for pedestrian use.
Section (e) was repealed recently, so we can ride our bikes on trails in the parks now. (Thanks to Corey O'Connor; he's come a long way since his staffer was yelling at Paul and me when we opened Pocussett Drive Trail.)
If it were just the PDW and cops using the trail, it would suck, but not be the worst
As far as PDW is concerned, are there any trashcans between the two entrance points? Otherwise, they're just taking a shortcut, and for what? Whats to prevent them from driving on all the trails when it's convenient?
Problem is, even more general idiots using it, driving more dangerously at darker times of night
Someone cut that tie. It was open today. It wasn't me, as much as I want to do it. Whoever is doing it should keep doing it.
Went by there today by chance... The whole gate still seems to be intact and there's no reason it couldn't be locked.
I think there are trash cans on the trail. I recall a DPW truck emptying a trash can into the pickup truck a year or two ago (I presume the trash cans are still there).
Aside from the trash cans(which, yes, are there as previously stated), debris on the trail doesn't magically disappear on its own.
From memory and checking yesterday, the only trashcans are on the run side, by the parking lot. There aren't any trash cans actually along the field, like by the soccer field or anything, unless I overlooked them Sunday.
Not to mention, there isn't anything preventing DPW from coming in on The Run side, getting all the garbage (really doubt they're picking up trash around the park on foot) and then going back out on The Run. I.E. They don't NEED to go through both ends to do their duties.
Google street view shows a can about mid way down the trail but the image is from 2008. Even if there were no cans there, again, debris doesn't clear itself from the trail and crews do sometimes litter pick loose garbage as well as cut the grass on the soccer fields and the brush along the trail that would be all over the trail of they didn't. I just find it a bit odd that people would take issue with crews using vehicles on trails(which have signs authorizing those vehicles) in order to maintain those trails so that you can use them especially if they are driving in a safe and cautious fashion; if they are not, that should be reported.
Obviously, I can't say that a crew is always on the trail specifically to perform work in that exact area, but people shouldn't jump to conclusions, either, since there is plenty of work to be done that they may not realize (as demonstrated by the assumption that crews couldn't possibly be collecting litter since there were no bags in the truck even though most city litter cans don't have bags in them). In addition, there is a small park on the Oakland side of the JHT which is their responsibility, as well.
Crews can do whatever they want without the trail being open for through-traffic. One end can be closed with the infrastructure already in place. It's not so much a problem of DPW and police going through, it's people going through who have no legitimate use for doing so. There were also vehicle tracks when snow was on the ground. Again, dubious DPW is trimming brush in January.
As for emptying garbage cans... The city has special pickup trucks with garbage-specific beds, if memory serves me right. They don't just randomly throw barrels full of garbage in the back of a dump bed, if I'm not mistaken. Otherwise, the garbage would just blow all over the place as they drove around
I'm not sure if you read every post in this thread but DPW has placed countless locks only to have them repeatedly cut off. Clearly it is ineffective and also a waste of money to some extent. In addition, gates have been ripped out and boulders moved also resulting in loss of money with no real benefit. As a result, it seems the only solution to this problem is enforcement and catching the offenders.
Also, DPW does have some vehicles equipped specifically for garbage such as rat packers that look like little garbage trucks and specially equipped pickup but a lot of collection is done with dump trucks. Again, I work for DPW and used to commute via this trail. The park foreman shares the same frustration with personal vehicles using the trail and I contacted both the police/park rangers to try to get some more attention to this after I saw the video posted by mattjackets both of them said they would try to increase their presence around rush hour to catch the offenders though the Park Rangers seemed to have more of the availability to do so.
If the lock keeps getting cut, then stop relying on a locking gate. Why not just get a substantial bollard?
Put it on one end of the trail. Let DPW just access the trail from one end
AFAIK, the point of having a passable gate at both ends is for emergency vehicle access. In a small park like this one, I'm not sure if that's really necessary.
The usual tradeoff...security versus convenience. Personally, I'd be fine with a real barricade on one end or the other.
It'd be easier to do it at the Oakland end, but, from an emergency services perspective, I'm not sure which end should be left open to minimize response time.
When the parking lot gate existed and was consistently locked, some people began moving the large boulders at the perimeter of the parking lot to get through. Many more boulders were put in place, and the gates were reinforced and relocked, and months of peace were found on the trail.
The emergency vehicle use is understandable, however does each police car and ambulance really have a key for every restricted entry point in the city? I doubt it...and even if they did, searching through that keyring would take much longer than running to respond to the emergency.
So, with padlocks on the gates, they're pretty much permanent barriers anyway. Why not cement in some bollards on one side, and have a lockable fixture on the other. I suggest the permanent fixture be on the oakland side, since it's been demonstrated that a few tons of rock are willing to be moved to circumvent the fixture on the parking lot side.
Additionally, if the locks are being cut. Buy a better lock. Look into boron shackles. There are many locks that can't be easily cut without a torch or power tools. The last lock I saw on the gate was a Master lock, which is the bottom of the barrel when it comes to locks.
Perhaps collapsible bollards would be useful here (the ones which fold down (search "collapsible bollard"), not the ones where the bollard is removable). Emergency services and DPW can collapse the bollard when necessary; the very fact that other drivers see a bollard, and have to stop and leave their car to continue on, hopefully can deter most unauthorized vehicles from cutting through. And of course, the bollard can be uncollapsed by any non-motoring people when passing by.
Another option is retractable bollards. Some models even have internal locking mechanisms
Went through there (the Panther Hollow end) at about ~3pm today. The gate was closed, but no zip tie. I didn't notice if that (battered) traffic cone was still around (I would stick it in the middle whenever I closed the gate).
Some (unorganized) thoughts:
– It's perfectly reasonable for workers on a truck to turn around and take a legal way to the other side. Their compensation does not depend (fortunately) on randomly destroying public property.
– the destruction at the 4-mile end seemed pretty deliberate, like it took a vehicle that the owner felt could be used to ram into a strong metal gate and mangle it. This seems to narrow the possibilities.
– But I would assume that the ongoing problem is private car owners.
– I was at the Home Depot maybe a week or two ago. The 18" ties (?) are not that cheap but they do seem to be a good way to secure a gate. But I also noticed that they carried metal ties. I wonder if these might be more difficult to undo, by a casual motorist.
On a positive note, I chanced by a fellow (not a cop) rolling his motor scooter onto the JH trail from the Oakland side and asked if anything was wrong. He replied that all was fine, he just wasn't going to ride the scooter on the trail...
Just had a city...municipal..truck with flashing lights flying up tiwards me along the Junction Hollow Trail from Greenfield. They (1 passenger) swerved onto the dirt to avoid me...too quick to get a pic...I turned around to see if thet had any business, but no...they were gone...maybe coming from lunch...going to lunch...or for drinks at a local bar...
Maybe with complaints they are using the lights to imply mportant business???
Has anyone seen any private vehicles on the trail lately? I haven't seen any for quite a while now.
I got to observe a natural experiment.
On Sun (~1pm), Mon (~6pm) and Tue (~4:30pm) I noticed that the north gate got ziplocked (not sure how those things happen, but hey). The Sun zip was gone Mon, and the Mon zip was gone by ~2pm Tue. If anyone happens to go by today and sees the gate open (or not), do post your transit time. Just to contribute another datapoint.
Didn't see any cars. Though I saw that there is a growing pile of snipped zips littered about.
I want to personally thank the person that zips the lock. F them.
Zip tie was in place at roughly 5:30p yesterday 4/5/16.
I like Ahlir's idea about collecting data on this. So much so, I made a google form to collect it after I saw that the gate was closed, but had broken zipties on it this morning.
I'll openly share the data with anyone who's interested.
At ~6:30 pm yesterday (4/5), the gate was closed. Didn't notice whether it had a zip tie or not
If nothing else, if it is discovered who is removing the zip ties they can be cited for littering.
Gate was open at 1pm April 5th.
Seems it wouldn't be difficult to pause for 15 seconds to pick up the cut ties and other small litter right there, and toss it in the next trash can you pass. I almost always have a small bag tucked away somewhere for that reason.
Gate closed at ~3:30pm, April 6th. Didn't check for a zip.
6:45 pm, 4/6: Gate fully open
I'm starting to appreciate this (empirical) approach.
Perhaps we should all make a habit of reporting gate state whenever we ride through. And then if we find the gate open, also closing it.
Soon this will pinpoint the time periods that have highest likelihood of a vehicle being on the trail. At that point it would make sense to show up with a camera and collect the evidence that the police and city apparently feel they need to actually do something about this problem. (And at $500 + costs, how can they lose?)
I've previously offered to show up with a camera. And I'm still happy to do it. But it would make the most sense to do so when the odds of catching a perpetrator are the highest.
I would suspect that the city police & DPW vehicles would correlate to change of shift times which are not necessarily peak rush hour. I know I experience more driving-too-fast city cop cars just before 2pm & 7pm in the south hills & they are almost always headed in the direction of the zone police station.
Anyone know the normal shift times for the city garage at the end of the EFT?
4/6 8am, gate closed, not zip-tied.
4/6 9:30am, gate closed, zip tied.
Interesting vehicle observations:
There was a rail truck (pickup truck with special wheels on the rails) at the Panther Hollow Lake level crossing, stopped, with driver asleep at the wheel; did nothing when someone crossed the tracks.
There was a pickup truck (public works?) driving north on the trail, toward the closed gate. The pickup truck turned around and drove south - did they see that the gate was "locked" closed and give up, or did they turn around for other reasons?
Should we continue to report this way, or should we agree to all use the mattjackets google form?
This thread provides running updates.
The google form is archival, with all the info in one place where it can be perused for patterns (hopefully).
Yep, I'm hoping the structured data from the form will let us figure out some patterns when the gates are opened & see who's doing it like Ahlir said. The form results are presented in a less-than-useful way right now, but the raw data will be made available to anyone who asks.
I'm down to show up with a camera as well :) I'm wondering though, if the increased use of the park (eg. little kids soccer) and the extended daylight won't keep at least some of the private vehicles off the trail who were "brave" enough to use it under the cover of winter darkness.
5:10pm 4/7. Gate open. Didn't bother to close it. It was raining and didn't want to stop
4/8 1:45pm ziptied
4/8 4:15pm ziptied closed & some pink wire thingy where the lock should be.
7 pm'ish still closed
6:24PM gate closed: zip-tied and wire-thingy-ed
Lets face it, most cyclists rock! Thanks for the pink wire thingy.
4/9 3:25PM Gate closed, but UNlatched.
6:30PM Gate open. I closed gate and used "pink thingy" to latch gate
Viva le Thingy Rose'
4/10 1:30pm gate closed, pink thingy and ziptie.
4/10 3:55pm gate closed, pink thingy and ziptie.
4/10 11:45 am gate open. Closed gate and moved pink thingy into position.
4/10 6:45pm gate closed
5:35am gate closed, pink thing there.
8:35pm gate open, zip ties and whatnot cut and on ground. Closed gate.
4/12 10am gate open, city pickup truck entering trail. The gate was open prior to their arrival....they just drove straight in.
4/12 810am. Gate closed and unlatched
Then encountered Municipal truck with trailor...3 or 4 guys in truck. One got out snd opened the fate. I snapped photos..to be uploaded later. One fellow got out and protested and threatened me if i take a pic of him without his permission...i suggested he call the police. He added he was doing trail work..me: then you have nothing to fear. They left the gate open and so did i. I hadnt noticed them on my ride up from JH parking lot-[though there was a police vehicle there for s bit that left towards Greenfield.]
The pic i have that includes the fellow opening the gste is not the fellow i interacted with..
When you say municipal truck, I presume you mean it wasn't City of Pittsburgh, just had municipal plates?
4/12 345pm cmu police drove to greenfield end an turned around...went back...
Pics for that as well. V. Bush has video from other side...stay tuned...news at 11..on Cabke Channel Scafflaw Lawmen.
Pgh is the Municipality
4/12 1:30pm gate open. I closed it but only latched it with used zip tie.
4/12 6:55pm gate closed, pink thingy set in place but not wired in as it was on 4/10, previously-cut ziptie just hanging there, 2nd ziptie is secure
As it happens, I was climbing Junction Hollow and passed the upper-end gate which was zip-tied closed at 3.30 pm Tuesday 4.12.
I came back down and passed the upper-end gate which was now open at 3.50. I encountered a CMU Police vehicle (which was behaving very professionally - slow & safe) We exchanged waves.
I met Iguana as he followed the CMU police vehicle uphill. He said they came down, stopped, did a 180 and climbed out.
I think it's great that Police are patrolling the trail.
I also think that a closed gate is a safety device.
It's ok with me if they open the gate,
but they should secure it with a Zip-tie when they leave.
to restate: during normal patrol (not responding to emergency),
if they undo the gate, they should re-secure it on the way out.
I am not happy that they're driving on it still. If they want to patrol, there are CMU bike cops. Again, that trial isn't made for multi ton vehicles to drive up and down it on a daily basis. I don't need pinch flats from crap trail conditions.
With all the motorized traffic on the trail it needs traffic signals...and given it's a single lane...maybe we'll get some action when a city truck head-ons a police car...
I wonder what would happen if someone parked their car on the trail at the Greenfield end--to do trail maintenance...we waited for someone to come from the Oakland side...then padlocked that end....It might cost a ticket, but someone gets caught with their hand in the cookie jar.
Though there are new garbage cans along the trail now--so some of the traffic may be approved...
4/13: 5:25am - gate closed, maybe ziptied. Didn't stop to look.
Why are the CMU police even on the trail? That trail does not go through the CMU campus. They are likely just using it as a shortcut from the main campus down to the CMU buildings on 2nd Ave.
At this rate, it's only a matter of time until there is a collision between a motor vehicle and a pedestrian or cyclist. I don't recall, has anybody tried to get one of the local TV stations interested in this? Seems right up the alley of local news. People on this board have done all the right things by contacting city department (police and public works) supervisors and elected officials and the problem has continued. I'd think one of the TV stations would pick this story up.
What I saw did not indicate short cut taking since tbey turned around once the arrived at the end...Im pretty sure if spmeone call cmu security, we'll get answer.
I just spoke cmu security...the person I spoke to wasnt aware of specific use if the teail, but dud say that there was an incident on Winthrop yesterday rhat us still being investigated and that may be why they were there...she offered to transfer me to a suoervisor, but tjis is consistent with ehat I saw...slow driving...turning back at the end...
Sometimes a cigar is a cigar...even if it smells bad...
Shouldn't cops or other motorized vehicles using the trail for official purposes have their lights flashing?
Winthrop is on the other side of Forbes Ave. 3/4 mile from the end of the trail, halfway between Fifth and Forbes. Nowhere near the trail.
Near Neville...which is connected to the Boundary bone which is connected to the JH trail bone...
If the police aren't responding to an emergency, then I don't think they use flashing lights. That's supposed to be a signal for all other vehicles to pull over and let them pass. No flashing lights means you treat them like any other traffic.
If they're just looking to see if a fleeing suspect might have gone down the trail, I wouldn't expect them to use flashing lights.
Also entirely believable they were sent there to intercept someone trying to flee.
From what limited info I see here, this one sounds like routine police work.
4/13 2:55pm ziptie, no pink thingy in sight
4/13 3:25pm gate closed.
I don't know if a new thread is required, but tonight there was a police car on the Eliza trail. Apparently a black SUV had driven down the trail fron the parking area, hit one of two ladies biking on the trail, subsequently hit a bus. The biker was only slightly hit and is fine. The SUV rode along the ramp to the HMB and dud some damage there as well as losing some parts to his car. Was he drunk...a Trumpite..an antiTrumpite...a Bucco fan..a Penguins fan..a Steelers fan...don't know. This occured around 9PM. I arrived after the fact. Here are some pics of the carnage:
Iguana: which parking lot do you think this car entered from? Swinburne? We need bollards to block such idiots, apparently. (Yeah, this would be better in a different thread, as it's not the JH trail.)
Would a flexible plastic bollard (or a nice solid one for that matter) _actually_prevent_drunks_ from driving their vehicles on the trails and mowing down cyclists and plowing into a railing?
I think not.
They'll just drive right on through locked metal gates, over plastic bollards, cut zip ties, move boulders, etc... drunk or not.
I'm sure it's possible to make a barrier that cars can't get past (without a key to unlock), on the EFT or JH trails. It would be easier on the EFT because the entry points are more controlled.
Please tell me that PghPolice were able to apprehend the individual responsible for this.
I know that if you damage a utility-pole the electric company (who owns the pole) will bill the vehicles owner or insurance company for the cost of replacing the pole & labor to fix the lines, etc.
I hope that Friends of the Riverfront (or whoever owns this) goes after the driver to repair this.
I think they got him...I think an appendage of his body has replaced the pink thingy on the JH trail gate.
@paulheckbert: I guess this conversation is continuing on this thread...or move it.
Please tell me that PghPolice were able to apprehend the individual responsible for this.
You do not lose major pieces of the suspension and/or drivetrain of your car and get very far afterward.
> You do not lose major pieces of the suspension and/or drivetrain of your car and get very far afterward.
well, not in the car, anyway.
, I will be strongly opposed to any new barriers or poles on the trail unless they are very well lit and reflectorized. It's not that long since someone was killed
running into a bollard on an Ohio trail, and I know riders here who've been hurt or damaged their bikes on trail barriers.
6:50PM : gate open, closed it as we passed.
Last year, my friend R. encountered a visiting cyclist riding Pgh-DC who hit one of the bollards on the SouthSide Trail, in Duquesne at Grant Ave iirc.
It was an older cyclist and he was really injured. Spent 4 or 5 days in the McKeesport UPMC facility. Trip over, and a long recovery to go.
4/15: 5:35am: gate open. I closed it.
I would love any updates anyone has about the driver on the EFT
4/15 1205 noon gate open,,,in a hurray and left it that way..
4/15 10:30 am gate open, DPW pickup truck driving away from it on the trail...they appear to have left it open behind them. Disappointing.
3pm I closed the open gate.
4/15: 6pm: gate closed
5:40 PM Gate closed.
8:30 PM Gate open, we closed it.
4/15 6:05pm gate closed, ziptie
2016-04-15 @ 18:25 gate closed.
2016-04-16 @ 15:45: gate closed; did not check for a zip.
810pm...gate closed..I DID check for zip....it was there.
4/16 7:45pm closed, ziptie
4/17 2pm'ish Gate was closed, no zip tie
4/18 10:08am gate open, city truck drove through open gate, left it open.
I ended up with some noodling time today and decided to check into the gate data.
First off, this thread is really popular, with tons of speculation and discussion and, get this, *50* observations submitted! Here's an initial visualization (yes, there inconsistencies):
Let me be the first to say that this is not all that satisfying: in its current form it doesn't say that much about when exactly cars trespass on the trail. I folded things into a week period because it seemed useful. Which it is. An analysis that tries to predict likely open times would be more likely to do it (basically, marking intervals between "close" and "open" events and noting cumulative density).
Anyway, this is what I see so far:
1) It's a workday phenomenon. Not really that much open gates on the weekend. It also implies that the action happens at the start and end of the day.
2) For what I expect are work-related reasons, cyclists are scarce midday (~ 10am-2pm)
3) For some reason cyclists (at least the ones reporting on this thread) are pretty scarce on Mondays and Thursdays.
Without any clear evidence, I suspect that the trespassers are people who come through on the way to work (north) and back (south). But we need more data and some actual pics.
So for now, I think we should continue to generate data. And if possible fill in some of those blank periods. Do pause and swing the gate closed if it's open (easy to do! it's nicely balanced) The OPEN/CLOSED events are the most informative. (CLOSED means you actively closed an open gate.)
It should soon be reasonable to plan a stake-out (or a steak-out, if the weather is nice).
4/18: 530am: gate was closed when I went through.
7:10pm: gate was found open, so I closed it.
Thanks for looking at the data.
I may have mentioned that I did for sure see a truck go through there one morning between 5 and 6am last year from Oakland to the run. It was some guy in a truck picking up a buddy in the run and going on their way down second ave
4/19 9:10am gate open
Ahlir, that's a great start and the week binning is exactly what I was thinking of doing as well.
I've linked the form submissions to a spreadsheet (that should auto-update itself?) which can be found
Here's the form for those like me who keep loosing it in this thread!
It's great seeing so many reports!
2016-04-19 @ 18:05 gate closed, did not see any zip tie. @20:30 gate closed, no zip tie.
Gate still closed at 5:30am on 4/20
04/19/16 at 8:50 PM: gate closed, didn't stop to check for ziptie
4/20 515pm gate was open, so I closed it
I now have a specific hypothesis to test.
[based on the event log, plus additional observation]
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
Arrive at the gate by 3pm. Close it if open.
In ~10-15 mins take out your camera.
In the 30 mins following, take pictures.
Close gate between cars (if practical).
Even better if you ziplock it.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
A good vantage point might be on the Oakland side, where the road goes right; where the lake trail starts might also work. A "real" camera with a lens that lets you zoom in on a license plate would be ideal. (Smartphone zoom is fake; but if you have enough pixels it might work. Test beforehand). If you do video, even cooler! Post it to YouTube then send the url(s) to the cops and to the adjacent council people (Kraus, 3rd; O'Connor, 5th). Us busybody residents will follow up.
On both Thursday and Friday I have meetings during that interval. If you happen to be around and have some spare time, take a break and hang out. Reporting back on movement (if any) would be useful enough. After all, it's just a hypothesis at this point; it could be wrong.
I will be able to do this myself on Monday (and I'll bring a video camera), but not this week.
04/20 23:55: gate open. Closed it, did not look for tie to secure it (it was surprisingly cold down there...)
2016-04-20 @ 18:42 Gate closed. Did not check for zip tye.
4/21 10:05am open
4/21 10:30am closed, ziptie
Incidentally, a road-rail pickup truck (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Road-rail_vehicle
) was sitting on the tracks, stopped, 100 feet away, facing the trail crossing, when I crossed the tracks near Panther Hollow Lake and went up the Panther Hollow Trail. I wonder if they're counting people using that crossing. Let's keep using the crossing - show them that the trail crossing gets more use than the RR tracks!
2016-04-21 @ 18:51 gate closed and zip tie.
4/21 1930 and 2150 gate zip-tied
4/22: 530am: found the gate open, zip tie cut off and on the ground. I was getting rained on, so I didn't close the gate. I also didn't close the gate when I went through around 230pm. It was raining again, and frankly, I am sick of closing it.
4/23: 4:00pm: Found the gate open, zip tie cut off on the ground. Similar to how @stefb found it yesterday. Closed the gate, observed no vehicles on the trail.
4/24: 9am, gate open. I closed it (no zip ties)
4/24: 2pm-ish, gate still closed
4/24: 4pm'ish Gate was closed, no zip tie.
I am sure you folks that use that trail a lot are tired of closing the gate, but I do want to thank you folks. I only get through there once a week and I haven't been feeling well, so haven't been there for almost a month, but I really want to thank those of you that have taken so much time and effort to close that gate. I love the fact that the a-holes have to get out of their trucks and open it all the time. F them! Thanks again. I may get there next week. Not sure what is going on with me, but just not feeling well. Maybe I am just too old? Don't know what is going on?
It was open at 530am 4/25. Didn't close it
I commute through that section every day & have only seen a city maintenance vehicle cutting through twice(?).
The police go through all the time but they do that in so many park/paths. Just saw them driving around the fountain at the point.
Is their use an issue?
There is a AAA Battery truck often hanging in the parking lot so that's one to watch.
Point State Park is patrolled appropriately.
As far as I know--and I've talked to them--the AAA people just hang out there....take a break, etc. I've never seen them on the trail...and even discussed it with them.
Others take breaks there as well: I've seen Verizon FIOS there often.; there was a guy in some kind of maintenance vehicle (maybe a backhoe) with his engine running taking a nap one day...kinda dangerous I thought...
Note: there are no signs prohibiting after hours parking there. I've suggested to some to park there for overnight trail touring...and it has been used as such.
ok, so I did show up today ~3pm hoping to catch people going through the North gate. My big idea was this would be around quitting time. I was wrong (at least for the time I chose). The gate was zipped.
On the other hand, I did see a car go through (and the driver rip open the zipped gate) at about 2:55pm. It was a small, old car; color was greenish. The driver was out of central casting: dude with dark wrap-around sunglasses and an on-backwards cap. He looked like he had done this before. I closed the gate again.
Unfortunately I was not ready to record anything, so there's no evidence. Ah well. But at least we know something.
So who is free to hang around sometime between 230 and 330?
I would only suggest it if there were someone hanging around with a pair of snips in case of legitimate need for access, but stainless steel zip ties
are a thing, and would certainly slow down a transgressor enough for picture taking.
Just take a clothes hanger (double or triple it up) and twist it. Probably take someone a few minutes to figure out how to undo it. If you use pliers...that thing might be pretty hard to undo without snips.
4/25 19:30: gate open. Closed it.
There's a difference between ensuring the gate is closed, and intentionally making it difficult for law enforcement to do their jobs. I would think that "interfering with police access" could turn into a criminal charge.
Reddan's caveat about somebody standing by is wise; otherwise, it's not a very smart thing to do.
I don't think it's smart for the Pittsburgh Police to be cutting through a pedestrian pathway because they're too lazy to use Swinburne st. So every time a cop goes through there for expedience (for what, I don't know) we're willing to risk a pedestrian getting hit? One rainy night, a cop not paying close attention...
I would vote for continuing to narrow in on likely times and just hanging about until something happens. (I would be inclined assume that I happened to luck out today.)
Yes, it's work. But sometimes you just have to put in the time. If someone ends up being prosecuted (and, ideally, it makes the papers) then I think the problem might abate. That would be worth it; especially as it communicates that our community is highly invested in the integrity of that trail.
Based on my experience, things happen fast. The time between "whoa, there's a car" and it rolling past is actually very short. (Okay, at least for the klutzes amongst us.) So some preparation is warranted.
The vantage point I (eventually) settled on today is at the top of a footpath that shortcuts from the trail to the path accessing the (forbidden) railway crossing to the lake, maybe half-way up from the gate. You get a clear view of the gate, and can then swing around and get a license plate shot. It's easier if the come from the south...
I will make a point to show up there if I have a lull in my day (I work nearby). But there's no reason for others not to make some (random) time. It doesn't have to be be much more than a pause; 10-15 mins spent communing with nature, observing others ride/run/walk by, or maybe reading a book. Today I just enjoyed looking at nature, waking up around me.
Have anyone gotten a response from the City regarding who is legally allowed to motorize on the trail and under what conditions; e.g. maintenance vehicles trail-maintaining, emergency vehicles emergency-responding, patrol cars trail-patrolling, ... ? ...as the sign clearly prohibits motorized vehicles.
[We have pics of cars and people going through and opening the gate--so we have that evidence already..]
And though this belongs on another thread: Whoever is hanging out watching for scofflaws on the paved trail, should they also be keeping an eye out for the scofflaws crossing the RR tracks? [To help and encourage them of course...]...Maybe we can get the AVRR guards to monitor the gate as well--if they return.
4/26 8:08am - City pickup w/ dump bed rolled off the trail onto Boundary street as I was approaching the gate. There were two men in the cab who looked bored & not in a hurry; they didn't close the gate behind them (not sure of status just prior). I closed gate, no ties.
This happened real quick so I wasn't able to get a picture or truck#. I assume they just drove through as a shortcut.
@Iguana: The goal is to document breaking and entering episode that shows a recognizable person engaged in opening the gate and driving through, with an image of their license plate.
Proof of unauthorized entry means you catch an individual opening the gate, who is not police or city (who arguably can assert the right). If you don't, the driver can simply assert that the gate was open already and claim they "didn't know".
To identify the individual you need to get the license plate number. Unless the car had been already reported stolen, then the individual opening the gate is likely the owner, who can be traced.
I don't think the point is to be vindictive, but it is the case that the authorities have effectively ignored reports up to now, citing the need for evidence. So if we want something done we have to give them what they want.
We might want to further complain about city vehicles whose drivers leave the gate open but that's a separate issue (which, actually should also get documented as per above)
But I'm open to other suggestions.
4/26 5:00 pm ziptied
4/26 7:37 pm closed no ziptie
Three more data points:
2016-04-25 @ 18:55 gate was open. Did not close.
2016-04-26 @ 17:55 gate was closed no zip tie.
2016-04-26 @ 20:30 gate was closed no zip tie.
4/29 1:40pm gate was open. I closed it.
4/29 3:34pm gate was open. I closed it.
5/1 1:55pm ziptied
5/4 1:32pm, gate found open, i closed it and added thin wire tie found on ground nearby. I hung out for about a half hour while waiting for a riding buddy, but no gate-bashers were observed.
05/04/16 10:15 AM open
05/04/16 11:45 AM open
5/4/16 9:30ish PM: open. Didn't stop to close it.
2016-05-03 @ 17:54 open, did not close.
2016-05-04 14:51 was closed. i didn't wait to watch the cop car southbound on Boundary.
5/5 10:00am open, so I closed it
2016/05/05 08:40 - Sighting of a police vehicle and public work vehicle on the trail. Don't know if it's a common practice or not to have a police vehicle accompanying public work vehicle.
@Gordon: nice sound track. I wonder if the police were searching for somebody, with that police dog.
I doubt it. What would Pitt police be looking for? Students who got drunk and blacked out in the park?
Those garbage bins gotta be huge so public work vehicle has that big trailer...
I've seen the Pitt K9 cop down there quite a few times. He's just giving the dog some down time.
I'm sure if the gate was locked he would park on the street, but since the gate is open...
5/6 4:21pm Gate found open, I closed it.
Also, police car was on the EFT outbound near 10th street parking lot at 3:10. Officer driving was talking on his cell phone.
5/7 4:55pm closed, ziptied
5/10 4:08pm open, so I closed it
5/9 1250, 1510, 1915, 2115 opened
@2115 I closed it and bound it with wire.
5/11 5:30am. Gate was closed. Didn't notice if wire was there.
I forgot to report one data point last week:
5/3, 9:00pm. Gate was open. I closed it (no zip ties).
05/11 6:45 PM open
05/11 9:45 PM open
5/11 22:45: still open, I closed it.
5/13 9:20pm. Police cruiser exited trail headed towards Pitt, with lights flashing. Gate had been opened; I closed it.
5/13 1:35 gate open, I closed it and added thin wire tie.
Have another sighting of Dpt of Public Works' truck this morning. I wondered why it wasn't towing a huge trailer behind it this time? Anyway, the driver gave me plenty of space when passing me, which I am grateful.
I was also curious to see if my new Mobius Action Camera could pick up the license plate number. It seems it had some difficulty getting good images when in the shadow. I increased the brightness with iMovie, but it still doesn't look very clear.
5/16 9:50 pm gate open, I closed it.
5/15 16:20 Closed but not fastened. A Pitt Police SUV drove up from the Oakland side; saw it closed (and me--hovering); they turned around and went back to Oakland. Then I zip-tied it AND wire-tied with little red flagged wire.
5/17, 18:06: Closed.
Did not check whether it was tied.
5/16 2:42pm, gate open, I closed it and put found ziptie on it.
I was able to get a good picture of the license plate this time. I'm pretty sure it's a different truck judging from the license number. It seems the city doesn't use the same truck maintaining the trail.
5/17 19:22 zip-tied
5/20 18:38 At Greenfield end Pgh Police entering trail. But another Pgh Police SUV coming down the trail; they pass around the Junction Hollow parking lot (one goes onto side of trail; they exchange words; they pass; the newly entering vehicle travels short distance and turns around--exiting at the trail entrance. The other also exiting and not slowing down as I was riding up the trail--I had to veer off onto the gravel.
By their actions, it "appeared" they were patrolling--and the since one had already come down the Hollow, there was no need for the other to cover it again...OR the vehicle coming down had picked up the pizza and beer, and they were heading to the party on the Greenfield end.
18:42 Gate wide open as expected--I didn't stop--running late for 412Flock...which I missed.
@Iguana: I saw the police vehicles, too. I have the video of the lead vehicle. I encountered the following vehicle on the Boudnary St, and I forgot to include it in the video. The lead vehicle had the emergency light on, so it was at least some warning.
05/23 11:28 AM: Two DPW trucks PW-338 and PW-309 came up from Greenfield side. They may be hauling trash from yard work underneath the I376 bridge.
5/22, ~1am: gate open, I closed it
5/23 9:50pm: gate open, I closed it
5/24 5:15pm ziptied
Somebody chalked a number of locations with "TENT" or "CANTINA" or "MEDIA" on the Junction Hollow Trail below the Blvd of the Allies bridge. Also "NO PRIVATE VEHICLES IN THE PARK". Is some big event going to take place along the trail in a few days?
Lol someone pushed the no parking sign down across the trail behind the closed gate.
5/24 22:30 Wide open. I closed it and "marked" it: NO PARKING.
This gentleman this morning was taking his motorized scooter on a ride through the hollow.
He proceeded on to the trail just after I passed him in the image shown.
I guess this is now a roadway, not a bike trail. Thanks for letting us know of the change. Best to be prepared for cars, trucks and motorcycles overtaking you as you ride up the hill. Shame this has changed, but it is what it is I guess. Again, thanks for letting us know this is a roadway.
5/27, 19:45ish: closed, appeared zip tied.
Probably unrelated, encountered a city police suv on the Jail Trail between Swinburne lot and Hot Metal maybe right minutes later. Moving slowly, but definitely on the pavement and not seeming particularly inclined to vacate it for incoming traffic (I didn't test this theory).
17:55 Gate was open. I closed it and popped the ziptie in place.
I am pretty sure I was about 60 to 90 seconds behind a gold colored car traveling north, as was I, but it was too far ahead to see more than its roof.
5/29 4:00pm gate was closed. I found a ziptie there that I was able to reuse to secure the gate.
In all seriousness, has anyone considered a trail camera of some sorts that could be used to not only count vehicles entering the trail, but also who is cutting the zipties and wires?
The "authorities" might have the same idea--so they can determine who is putting the ties/wires/stop-signs, etc. on...that are impeding their work.
The sign says motorized vehicles are prohibited--but does that prohibit police and maintenance vehicles (in the line of duty)--I doubt it--I certainly hope not.
Has anyone filed a 311 report on this; contacted the City; Corey O'Connor; Friends Of The Riverfront--these organizations/people have jurisdiction on the trail--our sophomoric game/prank with twist ties and... might make us feel we're making some kind of point, but ..they just emasculate those ties, and go on their way--a minor nuisance at best...and probably, now, a ritual castration and joke...
In all seriousness, I've considered electrifying the gate and setting up a laser to flatten tires; or have the zip tie slashing trigger a transporter mechanism to send the perpetrator to the seventh dimension.
But we've already got pictures, license plate numbers, videos with professionally produced scores, etc...have they been publicized appropriately?
Here's a dumb idea--let's each file a 311 report....that excessive (and unauthorized use place unnecessary wear on the trail; motorized vehicles are a hazard and danger to pedestrian's and cyclists--and I have been nearly hit by a passing vehicle...and mention the children that play along the trail--from the soccer fields...and pregnant moms..and cute puppies...
> In all seriousness, has anyone considered a trail camera of some sorts
in all seriousness, even the cheap ones are near $100, and a good one seems to be closer to $500, based on a cursory review of Cabela's and the like. to me that seems like an awful lot of money to just leave sitting out in the park....
I was wondering if the city is letting this issue slide until the completion of Almono transit link: http://localhost/mb/topic/transit-link-through-junction-hollow-for-almono/
If they could really move the bike trail and have it running along side the train track all the way up to Forbes Ave, I'd support the transit link proposal. The Boundary St is the least favorite portion of my commuting route due to lack of shoulder. If not, the shuttles running through Boundary St will only make matters worse for everyone.
Gate open ~4pm today. Closed it; dragged the No Parking sign over and propped it up against the gate.
I'm actually not sure what exactly can be done about city and police vehicles occasionally passing through there: they will claim that they're there on official business. But we still need the city councilors on either side of the trial to declare their position and perhaps to cause the right things to happen.
I have tried, without success so far, to get to O'Connor.
I don't know whether his staff is not so good at passing requests up or whether O'Connor himself is not interested. Or whether all this bicycle stuff is simply not all that important. I'm open to suggestions on how best to get my representative's attention. (Can you provide an introduction?)
In any case the real problem, to me, is randoms using the trail as a private road and creating dangerous conditions for legitimate users.
If the City can't restrict motor vehicle traffic on the motor-free Junction Hollow Trail, how on earth can anyone think they can keep a "bus-only" road restricted to buses? Or even "only buses and emergency vehicles dealing with actual emergencies and maintenance vehicles in the process of doing maintenance along the trail"?
On the topic of improving bicycling conditions between Junction Hollow Trail and Fifth Ave (not Forbes, Forbes crosses high overhead): The Oakland Planning and Development Corp (OPDC) has a Green Team that deals with bike/ped issues. The Green Team has a committee looking at improving bicycling along Neville St. The current construction by both CMU and Central Catholic offer opportunities for improvements, and this goal of this committee is to get an overall plan and work to persuade all parties to get their individual pieces to match up in reasonable ways. Updates are given at most Green Team meetings, which are the third Thursday of the month, at 6:00pm in the Oakland Career Center, 294 Semple Street.
Just for some education on "bus only" roadways. All Police regardless if they are on or off duty can use busways. They put their hazard lights on and drive alone those roads. Once that happens that trail is not longer a bike trail, it is a thruway. To be honest, I think the writing is on the wall. That bike path is no longer for bikes, it is for lots of vehicle traffic. There is no stopping it now. At some point, bikes may lose the use of it. Enjoy the beautiful days we have been having. Personally I miss winter!
6/1 5:55pm gate open, I closed it
What happened to the idea of making 911 calls when vehicles are on the trail?
Oh I forgot to post, gate was open at 9:44am Friday (today). I closed it.
Didn't see vehicles on the trail or I would call someone...
EDIT: I think that police should be required to keep the gate closed/locked after they pass through. Might make using it as a short cut more of a hassle, but then, I think they should not be able to use this unless they have business ON or regarding the trail and park itself and if so, take the extra 15 seconds to close it unless it is an emergency and time is of the essence. There's quite a difference between police vehicles sharing a path with buses and sharing it with non-motorized vehicles. That would be (kind of) like saying that police motorcycles are perfectly fine with using the Hot Metal Pedestrian bridge with bicycles and pedestrians when there is a backup on the other bridge just because they can fit...
Or if there is justification for their more frequent use, then they should be able to communicate that with the community and prove the need.
It has been open every time I passed through this week (8 times).
4:45pm today: it was open.
Closed it and dragged the signpost in front (may as well make them work for it).
Gate was open 10:07pm Saturday night - closed it.
4:30 - 6/5/2016 - Gate open on approach from Fifth Avenue. Closed it, placed no parking sign over it, but was unable to ziptie.
5:00 - 6/5/2016 - Gate closed, no ziptie. In same situation as when I left it at 4:30.
6/6/16 5:30am: gate still closed with no parking sign in it
I had closed it Sunday night (6/5) around 9:45 and put parking sign in the gate.
6/6/16 08:00 am: Gate was open. My guess is that the workers from the Dept of Public Works opened it as I've run into them twice about the same time in the day in the last couple of weeks.
Waze attention would be bad. But doesn't Google have the ability to flag roads as "private" or some other status that prevents routing on those roads?
More generally, I notice that most of the vehicle reports here are for police of city maintenance vehicles. Do those actually represent the bulk of the motor vehicle traffic on the trail?
6/6, approx 8pm. Gate open; closed it. The parking sign was not immediately visible--it may have been collected by DPW?
6/7 10:50 am: Gate was opened, and for good reasons. There was a DPW's weeding truck on the trail. See below:
6/7 6:30 pm: Gate was closed and zip-tied.
I went by there Tuesday evening and it appears the boom mower (seen in Gordon's video) mangled or injured a few trees. Sad. Maybe the operator was being overzealous.
6/7 9:10pm gate closed, unsecured, so I scrounged some zipties and secured it
6/8 7:55pm open, so I ziptied it
Hmmm. I went by 6/8 at 655pm -- closed and zip-tied (or appeared so--with a black tie)
Came through again around 945pm---wide open...I didn't stop.
...that's a lot of action...maybe the rabbits and deer are chewing the ties...
Thursday 6/9- 11:10am gate open, closed it
9:48pm gate open, closed it and put sign on gate (it was hidden in the recently trimmed foliage on the uphill side). It appeared someone piled some rocks in front of the gate after it was opened, but they fell away with a small tug.
Yesterday (Thursday) at around 6:30pm there was an ambulance on the Junction Hollow trail, but seemly justified.
I think someone on a bike had crashed over by the parking lot (past the bit of trail with the steel railing) and was on the ground with a couple others providing assistance.
6/10 6:50pm gate open
6/10, 23:50 or so. Gate closed. Looked like it might've been zip tied, but didn't check closely.
11:00am June 10- open but the mower was sitting just inside the gate, so I just rode past.
10:30pm June 10- closed
Sunday night 10pm- gate open, did not see sign around. closed it
6/14 9:10pm gate closed but unsecured, so I ziptied it
June 16 @ 2:45pm: gate open. Closed it and arranged NoParking sign. Found a ziptie and used it.
The other day, at the Home Depot, I happened across metal zipties; not sure if they would be long enough to fit though. I wonder how people might feel if those started to show up. They might be harder to jerk open though.
[I've wondered whether trying to secure the (remaining) gate would cause problems for emergency access. But on reflection those gates had been closed and padlocked for as long as I remember. I think this means that emergency services had been adequately routed without the need to use the Junction Trail. So maybe the previous arrangement, with only authorized maintenance personnel with a key to the padlock being able to pass worked.]
6/16 3:00pm gate was closed, ziptied, with sign propped against the gate. I added another ziptie.
6/22 7:45 pm: gate open, closed it. Didn't bother with ties or sign...
9ish pm: passed police car (3x21, iirc---40-45ish white female officer sitting in it...) parked on EF Trail between Hot Metal and Swinburne.
9:15: gate still closed.
6/24 8:30pm gate closed
6/29 4:05pm gate open, I closed it and used a ziptie on the ground
7/1, 10:20ish pm: gate open, closed it.
July 4th approximately 10:50pm - gate closed.
1115 closed and latched with metal band
7/6 5:45pm open
7/6 7:00pm ziptied
7/14 1205a: gate open. Closed it.
7/19, 5:50ish pm: gate open, did not stop to close it
7/21 10:22am ziptied
8/29 9:30pm gate open. Pedal Pittsburgh sign on gatepost (that bike ride went through here yesterday).
Not exactly the 'trail', but might provide some insight: PGH Police twitter account asserts police motorcyclists' right to use Penn Ave bike lane outbound at will:
I have been closing the gate on and off the past few weeks. I was going to ziptie it with one lying nearby a few weeks back, but the metal loop that ran through the end of the gate had been cut off. Someone evidently got really tired of having to stop and get the gate open.
The Police twitter account appears to be wrong about this, in multiple ways. Title 75 section 3105 lists which traffic laws emergency vehicles may violate.
"The driver of an emergency vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or when in the pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law or when responding to but not upon returning from a fire alarm or other emergency call, may exercise the privileges set forth in this section, but subject to the conditions stated in this section."
It says they can park or stand anywhere, speed, ignore stop signs and traffic lights, and "Disregard regulations governing direction of movement, overtaking vehicles or turning in specified directions". Not listed is anything that would let them use a bike lane.
And the rules are clear that they can only do these things during an actual emergency.
Further, they must use lights and sirens when taking advantage of these special rules.
This north gate appears more bent than I remember it being before. Maybe someone rammed it in the past few weeks.
9/4, 17:50--gate open, closed it
It does look more bent. It is always open when I go through there now
2016/9/9 10:25am: there was a cop driving south through Junction Hollow (driving on the grass to pass cyclists that were biking on the asphalt trail). When I got to the gate, it was open, so I closed it and ziptied it.
9/15 5pm open.
Are people still seeing non-cop, non-Public-works cars or trucks on this trail? I haven't, for several months. Perhaps the zipties helped discourage that?
There's been a dude riding an orange moped/Vespa-type vehicle who I've seen a few times in the last couple of weeks. I've seen him over the last year or so, too - since the Greenfield Ave. bridge closed. After he passed me one time, I talked to a resident of the Run who said the driver had been a problem and had been reported to the police a number of times, to no avail. Apparently also warnings were delivered to the driver's parents but the problem has continued. The next time I saw him, maybe two days ago, he was walking the moped on the trail. But then again, I've seen him do that before, too, then go back to driving it at other times. I also saw a woman walking her moped on the trail last week.
damn, did my post just get swallowed? I have seen a guy on an orange moped driving through occasionally over the last few weeks.
No, your post did not get swallowed. See the thread about "constructive comments on the message board". Darned annoying. Several minutes must pass before you can see your post.
New posts may not appear to the poster for 10-25 minutes--this issue is at least a week old: http://localhost/message-board/topic/message-board-updates-and-constructive-ideas/page/5/#post-332140
--but the rest of us do see it. I even got the email ...
Chris Mayhew: do you think the driver of the Lincoln SUV with PA license plate HLF-2481 will find the video you shared
and feel embarrassed? Did you notice that the first car was driving the trail in reverse!?
Ah, sorry about the double post, then. I'm not a super frequent poster and wasn't aware of the technical issue.
*waits for 20 minutes for this to appear*
The south gate is back!
11ish pm, 9/16: both gates closed, though at a glance the north gate looked like it might be so bent the locking ring may no longer go through the plate...
Some Iguana told me about a new gate near the south end of the Junction Hollow Trail (2 blocks from Saline St) and sure enough, at the end of Friday's 412 Flock ride, there it was! The north gate (near Juno St) is still there, though bent.
Status as of Friday 9/16, 9pm:
south gate: ziptied (see picture below)
north gate: ziptied
So they put in a new gate but didn't put a lock on it? Strange....
I saw the new gate this morning and am almost fell over from shock.
Now can they just lock them like they used to?
Sun. 9/25 9am:
south gate: ziptied
north gate: ziptied
On a semi-related note, the other day when I was riding to work, I was passed by 2 motorcycle cops on large shiny Harleys using the West End mixed-use path to avoid the West End Clustercircle and get to the station. They were going slowly and being watchful, friendly nods were exchanged and nothing adverse happened.
The new gate is already bent, It's not even a week old.
A Duquesne Light employee passed us pretty closely and got an earful about it.
Did he have anything to say for himself...?
Have you sent the video to DLC? Do they have anything to say for their driver? (And what the heck was he doing on the trail, anyway...?)
He was apologetic and appeared to be there in some official (albeit non-emergency) capacity. Perhaps light installation work?
Three new poles appeared near the north gate in Junction Hollow (the unpainted ones, below). Curious. Is this Pittsburgh Public Works? Perhaps this is a new gate being built, similar to the new south gate. If so, I'd like to know: why build lockable gates across a trail if you never lock them? Why not put some effort into using the existing gates instead of building new ones?
For now, the rightmost pole prevents the old gate from swinging to the old pole. But one could lock the old gate to the new pole.
As I predicted on 9/30, the north gate in Junction Hollow has been replaced. The old painted one is gone. There's a shiny galvanized one there now, that functions just about as well as the old one, and seems to never get closed by city workers, the same as before. This north gate has not yet been rammed and bent by a car or truck. I found it open on 10/8, so I closed it.
If you see the gate open, please close it, to discourage trail use by motor vehicles.
I really do not understand why they replaced these gates with ones which latch open, but do not latch closed...
10/14 7pm: both gates ziptied
10/15 ~10am both gates open.
12:30pm today, I found both gates open, so I closed them both and ziptied them.
3pm today, The Iguana found the north gate open.
Saw something new last night: the south gate was actually ziptied open. North gate just open, not tied. I closed both.
11:00pm on Tuesday I encountered a southbound police car with its lights on while heading northbound on the trail. To my surprise it slowed down and pulled off the trail to let me pass by. I was preparing to cede the trail to it due to its emergency lights.
It was just using it as a cut through obviously. Just like when police put on their lights at an intersection because they are tired of waiting at a red light.
Today, some workers were drilling north of the north gate "for soil samples" (their trucks visible here) and said they would be doing similar drilling on the trail later in the day. They asked me to not ziptie the gate, as they needed to drive in. I asked them what the purpose of the pipe was that they were putting in ("water supply?") and the worker said he didn't know; they were simply contracted to take soil samples. One of the workers had his white Subaru Legacy sedan parked along the trail (PA license JNA9191).
As you can see from the picture, somebody must have forced the gate to swing past its normal stopping point. Maybe this gate got banged up, also, like the south gate?
Drilling is often a precursor of construction. Could this mean the Almono shuttle road is moving forward? If so, we need to get out ahead of the planning and make sure that the trail is preserved.
I'd guess it's something more mundane. In November 2015, flags went up saying "water" and "sewer" but other than flags and some paint markings, I don't recall any heavier construction other than the new gates, since then. Maybe they (PWSA?) are finally getting around to those water and sewer pipes. http://localhost/message-board/topic/junction-hollow-work/
They may be getting ready to put the lighting in too, remember they promised to light this before the Greenfield bridge was blown-up.
Of course I think Mary's explanation is the more probable explanation.
What is the status of the almono shuttle? What ever came of that?
This may be some environmental review they need to do in the early stages of whatever they are doing. No guarantee that anything will happen but I bet they need to look for contaminants just in case. Don't want to open up a superfund site.
I asked the "drillers" what was going on--they weren't sure--they were just taking core samples for future activities--assumed to be some kind of pipe line---I was wondering if the trail would be closed there...Also, there are supposed to take some more samples along the trail...
Sometimes when people say they don't know why they're doing something, it's because they don't want to answer the question.
In fairness, sometimes when some guys are taking soil samples it's because their company was contracted to take soil samples and they actually don't know -- and maybe their company doesn't either.
After posting, it occurred to me that the sampling might be a head start on the Four Mile Run plans that will be presented (for the first time IIRC) in a couple of weeks.
Anyone who has stuck with this thread all this time will surely be interested in what is planned for Junction Hollow. Here's the announcement of the public meeting:
https://www.showclix.com/ event/four-mile-run-watershed- gi-concept-plan-update
Tu Jan 24, 6-8pm
The Connolly Ballroom, Alumni Hall 4227 5th Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
In 2016, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy began work on a plan for green infrastructure improvements in the Four Mile Run watershed. This project aims to reduce the frequent flooding in the Run, restore the local ecology, and improve park connectivity. In the coming months, our consultants, led by the landscape architecture firm Phronesis, will be working to refine this concept plan through on-the-ground technical surveys, cost analysis, and continuing community engagement.
We will be holding a series of public community meetings in 2017, the first being January 24th from 6-8pm. At this initial multi-community meeting, the design team will be presenting conceptual designs and seeking input from residents in and around the watershed (Greenfield, Squirrel Hill, Oakland, Hazelwood).
Representatives from Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, Phronesis, and partners like Councilman O’Connor’s office, PWSA, the City of Pittsburgh, ALCOSAN, and the URA will be available to take your questions, comments and concerns.
Sometimes when people say "Sometimes when people say they don’t know why they’re doing something, it’s because they don’t want to answer the question," it is because [you fill in the blank]...
In this case I believe it WAS a cigar.
They were drilling along the trail today--I didn't stop to check their cigars...
@MaryShaw - How do you find these things? Where should we be putting our ears to the ground to listen for drumbeats?
@StuinMcCandless -- I don't actually remember when I first heard about the meeting. Yale Cohen sent a copy to some of the Squirrel Hill bike/ped committee last week. A proper invitation came from the Parks Conservancy yesterday.
How can you find out? When you go to public meetings about bike infrastructure, sign in with an email address and if there's a "may we send email" box, say yes. Join your neighborhood bike-ped group, or at least get on their mailing list.
When you do find out about a meeting, re-post the announcement in places where it may reach other people who care (like I did above)
I am so glad I am gone. That is a major commuter route, and if construction starts there, I would be very surprised if a detour was put into place, let alone a safe one.
Stu: every public meeting that we find out about is posted on our "Civic Calendar"
It would be a really good idea for people interested in junction hollow to attend this meeting. Come with your ideas about three things
- Evaluate how the plan handles Junction Hollow Trail (and proposed ALMONO shuttle)
- Advocate for a bike/ped crossing (a legal one) from Panther Hollow Lake to the Trail
- Evaluate how the Schenley Drive Green Street plan accommodates bicycling
Since you're citizens as well as bicyclists you'll also care about the stormwater plans, ecological restoration, and other proposed improvements. The bicycling concerns should get you to the meeting, though. Sadly, I'll be out of town -- but I'll comment separately
Four Mile Run Watershed Community Meeting
January 24th, 6 - 8pm
The Connolly Ballroom, University of Pittsburgh Alumni Hall (4227 5th Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15213)
This project has potential for (additional to Mary's list) opportunities for improvements as well. Consider that the water in four mile run needs to go somewhere (or sit in order to percolate or evaporate), and that is most easily accomplished by daylighting the former stream itself and sending it all back to the Mon River.
1. These water projects can come with a big price tag and big funding stream. I think if there is ever a shot in hell to get a tunnel under the train tracks to carry the water, and the trail, it's this. Also connections to the future ALMONO site and Hazelwood trail could be a possibility. I do see complications with this tho, because in order to send the water to the river, they need to cross the privately owned ALMONO, which needs to get something out of the deal.
2. This meeting would be a good time to raise concerns about making sure the trail stays open during construction. This has worked in the past, for instance the construction company wanted to close Greenfield Rd completely during construction of the Greenfield Bridge, but the City was able to negotiate access to Pocusset St
I have a feeling that the soccer field is on the chopping block as that's a lot of space to hold water
Soccer field might be ok -- there's a lot of area in that valley.
Ask about routing the trail alongside the RR from the top of Junction Hollow, between the parking lot and the tracks, and on to the CMU property (under Schenley Drive Bridge) where it can connect with the space CMU reserved when they built that parking lot.
As part of getting the water across Almono, ask about improving bike/ped connection between (a) Junction Hollow Trail and (b) Eliza Furnace Trail and (c) the trail through the ALMONO site. Maybe they can create better options than The Chute along 2nd and safer than going down to Hot Metal Bridge and trying to use the pedestrian crossing in competition with cars turning right from 2nd onto HMB
Well, went to the meeting last night. They say they will have the full presentations up within a month.
This was a very conceptual plan. They really tried to shy away from any details, like what Schenley Dr (thru golf course) might look like, what Junction Hollow would look like, etc. Basically they have a phased plan, where each segment of the plan will come with its own community process.
For instance, Phase 1 is Junction Hollow. They left the soccer field in there, but said that if the money comes in to do something, then there will be a process to decide on what to do down there. The process will provide concepts and tools based off of what the community would like to see. For instance, they could actually put more soccer fields down there, and be able to build them in such a way that they can store water underneath. Or they could get rid of them all, and have a surface-level water feature. Obviously each option would come with its own positives and negatives, outcomes, and costs that the community will have to weigh. I asked "if the money magically came tomorrow, what kind of time frame are we looking at?" PPC said that at minimum it would take two years from start to construction finish.
For Schenley Dr, which seems to be the least impactful in terms of managing water, they basically presented their water management best-case scenario for street design. This is not what we all worked on thru a series of community and stakeholder meetings in terms of a safety-focused street design that either maintains the current safety levels, or makes it better. Basically they discarded all of the community meetings and design brainstorms that led to a design consensus because it didn't present the best-case water outcomes. If they ever decide to move on Schenley Dr (which does not seem likely any time soon), then they will restart a community process, but now if we alter from their "ideal" then we will be to blame if our design changes impact the water management outcomes. To be clear, we were pushing to maintain the regular bike lanes along the sides (willing to compromise on width) but with the understanding that they would also work on sidewalks to get pedestrians out of the cartway. They seem to really like the 2-way cycletrack (its the narrowest), but we came out against it because it is dangerous on a hill that steep, it wasn't clear if it would be shared with pedestrians or not, and would worsen the current cycling comfort level. Schenley is considered a latter phase, i think because it really doesn't accomplish as much as other interventions. However, it would probably be the cheapest, so i could see them looking for money as a demonstration project.
ALMONO also came into the conversation. They are a key to this as the water that comes into Junction Hollow needs to go somewhere, and the best place is to send it to the river - however they need to cross the ALMONO site in order to do so. There were conflicting reports about whether ALMONO is willing to play nice or not regarding this issue. This is clearly somewhere where the City can flex some muscle. Again, if this is in play, then following the water is the best way to try to get a trail connection, in my opinion.
Lastly, I didn't realize how crappy PennDOT was in helping deal with this whole problem. Councilman Corey O'Connor basically said that they are being terrible neighbors and are discharging all of the water from the Parkway into the City's system, compounding the problem. They don't seem to be willing to work with the city to manage the water off of their roads.
Anyway, i'm sure i forgot something
Somebody ziptied the north gate on the Junction Hollow Trail in the open position. I took care of that, and used the same ziptie to secure the gate in the closed position. I spoke with a man walking his dog that said he regularly sees Public Works and police driving on the Junction Hollow Trail. I'm OK with the former, if they're doing work along the Junction Hollow Trail. But the gate should be locked closed by default. This is not a road, it's a trail.
Here's the BEFORE picture (click to see it uncropped):
isn't there a gate/latch mechanism on this so it doesn't need to be ziptied closed?
no. there is a hold-open latch--you can see it in @paulheckbert's photo above--but only a flat plate on the closed side.
Interesting. We know that public works and the police use that part of the trail to actually do work and also as a cut through. I assume it is a PITA for them to get out of the car, open it, drive through, get out again, and close it, so then someone just zipties it open so that people don't keep closing the gate.
but the worry is that more people will use it as a cut through (and give the "my gps took me here excuse").
What's the compromise, and who in Pgh city government needs to get involved? Because the current status quo (ziptie it open, cut the ziptie and close it) could go on forever.
What about removing the gate and putting up a sign that violators using the trail for private use will be fined? Seems that the city of pgh police/public works will use it no matter what (and, if they're doing work in that section like picking up trash, mowing the lawn, or patrolling, they should have access)
Personally, I have seen very few non-DPW/pgh police using the trail there--there's the Pitt Police that use it and walk their dog; and once the CMU Police were looking for an escaped grad student/robot.
I once saw a DPW truck turn back when he saw the gate "tied."
As far as signage, there are signs that quote the ordinance forbidding motorized traffic.
Corey O'Connor is the council person according to the map
510 City-County Building
414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
Office Fax: 412-255-0820
Following up on January's meeting, summarized by Erok above
, there will be another Four Mile Run Watershed Community Meeting organized by the Parks Conservancy later this month. The meeting this time will be held at the Jewish Community Center, on Forbes Avenue near Murray, on April 27 at 6pm. For details and to register see the twitter post and registration page, below. For general info on the project, and PPC's notes on that January meeting, see PPC's Four Mile Run Project page, https://www.pittsburghparks.org/projects/four-mile-run
Top. this is tonite
Another meeting on the Parks Conservancy's Four Mile Run project, last mentioned in April
--sorry for the short notice, just got this today via the Oakland Green Team list:
Tomorrow evening, PIIN and the Sierra Club will host a presentation and a call to action regarding the Four Mile Run project in Schenley Park.
Four Mile Run Community Meeting
Wednesday, July 12, 2017
Doors open at 6:00pm. Presentation begins at 6:30pm.
Sixth Presbyterian Church: 1688 Murray Avenue, Pittsburgh 15217
Attend tomorrow evening to learn more about how a $30 million investment in the Four Mile Run can deliver as much as $300 million in stormwater reduction.
I have a class, can't go to the meeting.
The most recent conceptual plan had a bike/ped crossing of the RR at Panther Hollow Lake, possibly as a tunnel/culvert under the RR along with the daylighted outlet from Panther Hollow Lake. Please be sure some version of the crossing is retained (with high priority)
Ditto for the bike/ped path along the stormwater management stuff in Junction Hollow. I think this is less at risk, but be sure it stays in, too. Don't let them make it cute with gratuitous curves and stuff -- it's a commuter through-route (for example, not like Mellon Park along Penn near Fifth, where the path detours into the park rather than following Fifth and a dirt path has sprung up along Penn). Also, I recall a version with some areas for people to congregate. Be sure these are well off the main through route.
Oh, and as a bonus, I suggested at an earlier meeting that some of the settling basins that had open water might be organized to permit ice skating. I argued that they would be shallow, therefore safer -- plus they would freeze faster.
I saw some kind of truck at the bottom of the Junction Hollow Trail yesterday on my way to Oakland after the Labor Day tour.
There is some legitimate use of the trail by heavier vehicles. We are trying to minimize illegitimate use. Emptying trash is legitimate, for example. There are some utility lines in the area as well; see earlier in the thread for a more detailed discussion. But using the trail because it's simply a short way from Oakland to Second Ave is not OK, regardless of who, and that includes the police.
Final Review Meeting on this:
they have some images up now with options.
Wednesday, September 20
6-8pm at St Hohn Chrysostom
506 Saline St, 15207
The things that i think concern us bicyclists are:
- Maintain trail access during construction
- Trail surface. Be sure it's still smooth pavement, ie no to crushed limestone
- Support efforts to build a bridge over the train tracks to the lake (which is a possibility)
It's also an opportunity to make the trail entrances look like trail entrances and keep cars off of them
One questions: What is the current status of the shuttle that Almono proposes to run from their development to Oakland? At one point it appeared that it would run through the Hollow(s).
I would like believe that the rendering of Boundary/Juno as a nice two-lane street implies that it would go there (maybe following the paper street that extends to Swinburne). But probably not.
One questions: What is the current status of the shuttle that Almono proposes to run from their development to Oakland?
That's a good question that nobody seems to know the answer to. It seems that the Parks Conservancy project isn't there to make that decision, but rather have the role to not create a limiting design so that the City could put it in if they want to some day.
As far as I know, there is no movement on it.
I heard third or fourth hand that the forces behind the Almono shuttle are still determined to make it happen.
We must not relax our vigilance.
It looks to me (and to some Greenfield folks) like Juno St would be a viable alternative. At minimum, take Juno from the north end of Junction Hollow Trail to the base of the house that fell down, next to the soccer-field parking, and grade down around the nose of the hill to Saline St, avoiding The Run entirely. Even better, connect to a bridge across Second Ave to avoid the traffic mess there.
Whatever they do, we should not accept any solution that is less good than what we have now. In particular, we should not accept buses "sharing" with bikes and peds on a commuter trail. We should also not put a lot of faith in the idea that the initial estimate of a few small buses will last into implementation.
So go to the meeting and speak out
Last week I was at the north gate on Boundary St and saw a police car drive onto the trail. I didn't see them return; I presume they drove all the way through to the area of Big Jim's.
At a minimum on Wednesday, we have the following meetings competing for the collective brainpower of transpo-minded folk:
- Almono meeting
- Braddock trail meeting
- Transit activists on a bus trip to Harrisburg
- ACTC meeting
I'm sure there are several others, too; those are the ones I know about, competing for my attention. (I will be at #4.)
The AVRR/CSW from Almono to ~ Panther Hollow Br is double tracked; it joins into one line going through the tunnel (at around the Panther Hollow Br). What if they did the join prior to the 2nd street over/underpass? Then the southern bed could be turned into a (single-lane) road for the shuttle, opening onto Boundary past the residential bit. That would totally solve the problem.
Wait! I swear I just saw some pigs fly by my window. I don't know how it's possible, but they were wearing helmets and had some flashing red lights attached to their tails. They might have been on bikes, but it was too dark to tell. Can they do that? Amazing.
This post on DC blog Greater Greater Washington
about people driving on trails is headed by a photo (and name) that will look familiar to some folks here...
people driving on trails
: call 911; specify driver's direction, license if you can.
Here's a survey that the PPC put out on Junction Hollow:
Community input is key in ensuring the best designs for the restoration of Panther Hollow Lake and a recreated stream in Junction Hollow -- two projects recommended in the City-Wide Green First Plan. Over the past year, we've gathered feedback at public meetings and walks in the park to create preliminary designs for these exciting projects.
Now, we need your help. Tell us what you think about these park areas, and how you'd like to see them improve by taking a brief survey. Survey responses will be collected through Friday, October 20th, and findings will be presented at a future public meeting.
When you respond to the Pgh Parks survey,
- Remember to ask for a legal crossing from Panther Hollow Lake across the RR tracks.
- They don't ask, but find places to say this anyhow: running a private shuttle bus up and down Junction Hollow would be an unreasonable preemption of valuable park space for private use. Further, the idea of buses sharing a strip of pavement with bicyclists is not workable (bus traffic will inevitably increase). If they can't avoid creating a shuttle route, (a) it should be up on old Juno St, not down in the valley, and (b) it should be a public shuttle.
@maryshaw: when I look at Google Maps, Juno St is a short dead-end street. What would a bus route on old Juno St look like? Can you sketch a map?
The north end of Juno St is near the end of boundary, close to the north end of Junction Hollow Trail. I don't know how far it's passable today, but in recent memory I'm pretty sure it was the only access to the house that used to be on the hill just above the parking lot near the soccer fields. So I'm assuming it can be restored, as Juno St, that far. From there they would have to construct a short road around the nose of the hill to come out on Saline somewhere near the stoplight (pretty much avoiding The Run). Some of the folks in The Run advocate an even better solution, which is a bridge across Second Ave to get the buses out of Second Av traffic and directly into Almono parking. One might also imagine a connection to Swinburne St not far above where it passes under the Parkway, but that would add congestion to Swinburne.
So, no, it isn't just a matter of routing it on a current street -- some construction would be required, but it could still be a restricted road.
There's a paper street that extends from near the current end of Juno to join with Swinburne below the Sestelli nursery. It's the natural route for the shuttle. It even avoids the Sestelli property. Why not make it a busway?
Consider the benefits:
- A stop light along Swinburne to calm traffic.
- A opportunity for PAT to put in a route connecting Hazelwood & beyond to Oakland. (Why should it be that Almono residents be the only ones to benefit from a shuttle?)
- It's infrastructure work that will generate jobs.
Sure, it's a paper street, but so what? We have the technology.
@Ahlir, Traffic lights do not calm traffic, they seem to cause motorists to speed up to try to get through before it turns red. The same reason I crashed on Butler St. at 57th St. as I slammed on the brakes.
Re: the survey; dont forget to mention that the bike path should be PAVED not just gravel. We use this all four seasons & need a hard surface.
I will say, again, the Second-Irvine-Saline-Greenfield-AVRR-Almono intersection needs a hovenring to take bikes out of the equation, no matter what else happens or does not happen at or near that corner.
I did my duty.
Two suggestions I made that you might consider:
- A separate walk for peds, from Joncaire to the trail head. Right now they have to deal with cars and bikes.
- Separate bikers and peds at the other end: the descent makes for a high speed differential. Make the bikers go through the parking lot.
This is tonite.
It's a pretty cool project in general, with the water management. I still have concerns that they will close the trail during construction, so please bring that up. Also, obv have concerns about the possible shuttle or golf cart service, although that's not being pushed by the Parks Cons. But other than that, i think they have some cool ideas, and we could end up with a better trail.
weigh in on an exciting preliminary design for schenley park projects
The Four Mile Run Watershed, which includes the neighborhoods of Greenfield, Squirrel Hill, Oakland, and Hazelwood, offers a great opportunity for stormwater management, a major issue in Pittsburgh. After gathering input on Four Mile Run project concepts from hundreds of community members, we're excited to share a preliminary design!
Join us at a public meeting this week to see the preliminary design, and to give your feedback. Your input allows us to move into more detailed design and toward a buildable project.
Four Mile Run Watershed Design Review Meeting
October 26th, 6 - 8PM
Oakland Career Center
Another public meeting on "mobility needs and opportunities" in Junction Hollow, brought to you by the folks who just got talked down from writing a grand request to put a motorized bus on a paved trail through the Hollow:
Over the next six months, the City of Pittsburgh and Urban Redevelopment Authority will examine mobility needs and opportunities in conjunction with improvements in Four Mile Run. Join the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure for public meetings to help provide community feedback!
Tuesday, November 14th, 8 a.m. - 10 a.m.
Wednesday, November 15th, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
JCC Pittsburgh -5738 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Go, ask for a legal crossing from Panther Hollow Lake across the RR tracks.
Go, tell them that running a private shuttle bus up and down Junction Hollow would be an unreasonable preemption of valuable park space for private use. Further, the idea of buses sharing a strip of pavement with bicyclists is not workable (bus traffic will inevitably increase). If they can’t avoid creating a shuttle route, (a) it should be up on old Juno St, not down in the valley, and (b) it should be a public shuttle.
Yes, again. Eternal vigilance is required.
Speak early, speak often -- to them, not just to ourselves
These are the Squirrel Hill meetings. Look for meetings in other areas (presumably at least Oakland and Greenfield) and post them here too.
Saw this on the Office of Community Affairs FB Page.
It has a timeline associated with it
What happened at the meeting? Any links to the project?
The City/URA just issued this RFQ for the project. This is an unsettling line in the document:
The regrading and reshaping the contours of Four Mile Run and the hollow due to the Green Infrastructure project will temporarily remove this important bicycle and pedestrian trail. The project necessitates deliberate thinking about where and how the non-motorized trail should be restored in the hollow and what opportunity the facility or other facilities can provide in addressing unmet needs for connectivity and access between southern neighborhoods and Oakland in a sustainable, reliable and accessible way.
Here's a link to the whole thing
looks like we may need to double down to make sure that the trail isn't shut down during construction.
Recall: planning meetings for the Junction Hollow shuttle idea are Tuesday (tomorrow) 8am-10, and Weds 6pm-8
, at the Squirrel Hill Jewish Community Center. See above http://localhost/message-board/topic/police-using-junction-hollow-as-a-cut-through-just-because/page/10/#post-347917
This afternoon I sent the following email to a bunch of public officials, neighborhood bike/ped committee folks, and a handful of other people involved in the planning. The issue at hand is whether the will close the trail during construction ...
I'm writing regarding possible trail closures during construction in Junction Hollow. This is not a hypothetical concern -- as noted at the end of this message the RFQ for studying the area clearly anticipates that this will happen.
Let me begin by saying that I strongly support the stormwater project; it is important to the City. That said, the existing trail through Junction Hollow is a major connector, especially for bicycle commuters.
It is a standard requirement for construction projects that they have a plan for Maintenance and Protection of Traffic (MPT). This should keep traffic moving, either through the project area, around the edge of the project area, or on a suitable alternate route. It must keep bicycle and pedestrian traffic moving, not just motor vehicle traffic, and in recent years this has been a normal part of projects in Pittsburgh. Currently, for example, Station Square has signs warning of an upcoming bike trail detour, and the Southern Beltway construction has committed to constructing an alternate temporary alignment for the Montour Trail where construction impacts the trail.
Therefore it is necessary for the Junction Hollow Project to have an MPT that keeps the trail through Junction Hollow open during construction or provides a reasonable detour.
No nearby road appears to present a plausible alternative. Swinburne St is too steep, and it has heavy traffic and no sidewalks. Bates St has no connection to the trail, it is too steep, and it has heavy traffic and sketchy sidewalks. Greenfield avenue is too steep, it has heavy traffic, and it goes the wrong place.
No nearby alternate trail exists.
I only see three options:
- Keep a well-surfaced trail or temporary trail open in the valley of Junction Hollow during construction. This would be the most desirable for the trail users, and it appears to be the simplest option.
- Build a connector from The Run near Proctor's Garage (Boundary and Naylor) up to the Bridle trail, either restoring the Zigzag Trail that was constructed by the Park in the 1990s or building a trail with a better gradient on some alternate alignment.
- Restore Juno St from its northern end near Panther Hollow Lake to where it used to serve the house that collapsed adjacent to the soccer field and add a ramp down from there to the southern end of Junction Hollow near where the railroad crosses overhead near Proctor's Garage. This would have the added advantage that it could be part of the "mobility connector" if that connector is determined to be worthwhile.
I note that the URA RFQ for studying this area contains the phrase, "The regrading and reshaping the contours of Four Mile Run and the hollow due to the Green Infrastructure project will temporarily remove this important bicycle and pedestrian trail." This appears to contradict the letter and the intent of the requirement for an MPT. It certainly prejudges and gives permission for the MPT requirement to be ignored. It is regrettable that this was included in the RFQ.
At the public meeting this morning (there's another mtg. just like it tomorrow evening) I shared the following:
Junction Hollow Transportation Priorities
- Maintain the bike/ped path thru Junction Hollow during construction. Dirt OK, if temporary.
- We must have a bikable level crossing, bridge, or tunnel for bike/ped access to Panther Hollow Lake to get across the railroad tracks.
- If a shuttle happens, it must be public and have stops for passengers in The Run and Panther Hollow neighborhoods.
- If a shuttle happens, it must be on a road separated from the trail, not shared. Put a low (2-3 foot) fence between shuttle road and any area where kids and dogs will be roaming (trail and soccer fields). Perhaps road should be next to the RR tracks, or on the hillside where old Juno St used to be. Make it single-lane.
- Gates at each end of the bike/ped trail in Junction Hollow should be locked at all times to keep cars off the trail, except in case of emergency. Similar for the shuttle road, to keep private cars off it.
-Paul Heckbert, Edgewood resident
Below are pictures from Tuesday morning's meeting about Junction Hollow transportation. There's another meeting this evening. If you want to send comments electronically, use firstname.lastname@example.org
. (click for uncropped photos)
Another meeting about this.
Mon-Oakland Mobility Plan: 4 Mile Run Watershed
Please join us to continue the discussion about how to better connect our neighborhoods, and what that connection might look like.
Consider potential alternative connections between Hazelwood, Greenfield, Four Mile Run, and Oakland.
Have an open dialogue about the best way to solve a mobility challenge.
Consider the mobility solutions as they relate to the green infrastructure solutions that have already been proposed.
Provide your feedback on the potential alternatives.
When: January 18, 2018, 5:00 – 8:00pm
5:00- 6:00pm: Open house & one-on-one/small group discussions
– Agency presentation on alternatives
– Neighborhood presentation of principles
– Large group discussion
7:00-8:00pm: Open house & one-on-one/small group discussions
Snacks will be provided. Kids are welcome.
Where: Magee Recreation Center, 745 Greenfield Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15217
Presented By: City of Pittsburgh Department of Mobility, PWSA, URA, Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy
For more information: Visit the Mobility website at https://mon-oaklandmobility.com
or contact email@example.com
Would be cool to make an official trail for bike / pedestrian use out of the old sylvan ave right of way which was just dug up for gas line work to connect hazelwood more directly with the run and lower greenfield.
@erok, Another meeting that I cannot make it to :-(
I included Sylvan Ave with a set of concepts for alternatives to running a road through Junction Hollow. Specifically, I pointed out that there has been discussion of a multiuse trail here for some time, and it appears to be wide enough to build a combination "mobility connector" and bike trail, with a barrier separating them.
It appears that the people doing the analysis are giving consideration to alternatives received from outside, including this one.
My set of concepts, which includes 7 design constraints (or guiding principles) is at https://www.dropbox.com/s/gslpiuq8bq3r6jg/4MiRunAlternatives-v4.docx?dl=0
I'm sure you will notice implementation challenges. Remember that these are concepts, not full-up designs, so if you see flaws, try to figure out how to solve them. We're trying to engage in public discussion about the alternatives, and that includes getting people to find ways to overcome such challenges. So please don't dis them because they aren't perfect -- remember, we're trying to collectively improve on the idea of running buses up the middle of Junction Hollow, sharing pavement with the bike trail.
For example, try to figure out how to get a decent bike connection from the Greenfield end of Sylvan to the Saline St cycle track
The design constraints are
- Keep the park as a park
- Improve the bicycle facilities, don't degrade them
- Don't sacrifice the neighborhoods
- See how muc improvement could be gained by rerouting current bus routes
- Provede a legal connection across the RR tracks between Junction Hollow and Panther Hollow Lake
- Keep trail open during construction
- Don't even consider an exclusive private bus or shuttle service
These points are elaborated in the document.
City just sent out an online way to give feedback on the project. Remember: no to sharing the Junction Hollow trail with any motorized vehicles or shuttles. No trail closure during construction. Yes to exploring Port Authority options using existing city streets. Yes to improving the trail connections.
From the City:
Four Mile Run Watershed and Mobility Public Process: Weigh in on the options!
Thanks to everyone who attended the public meeting on January 18th, 2018. Presenters at the meeting included the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, Oakland Planning and Development Corporation, the Hazelwood Initiative, and The Run Resident Action Team. The consultant team from Michael Baker International then presented design alternatives for the route and mode of transportation.
Here's where you come in: we need your input on the proposed options for the transportation route and potential modes. (Keep in mind this route is intended to provide an alternative to driving a car, and
would service either a Bike Share system, an electric shuttle, or a driverless shuttle.) Click here to view the presentation, and leave a comment on the website, or email 4milerun.mobility@ pittsburghpa.gov with your comments.
Please submit your comments by Wednesday, January 31st so we can share them with the consultant team in time for our next meeting. (Our next meeting is currently scheduled for February 22 — stay tuned for details!)
Thank you for your consideration and for your valuable input in this process.
.....And another meeting about this.
The City will be presenting their preferred alternative about it.
Date: February 20th, 2018
Time: 5-8 PM
Location: Pittsburgh Firefighters Local 1, 120 Flowers Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15207
Register for the meeting here.
The City intends to finalize this process in March.
Here's our write up about it.
Also, if the weather is decent (ie not raining too hard or icy) I plan on riding to this from Lawrenceville. Will probably take the South Side Trail to Glenwood Bridge to Hazelwood if anyone is interested in meeting up.
Why so late? I understand people have jobs, but can't some meetings be on a Saturday or before 3:00 PM on a weekday for people who cannot go to meetings at these inconvenient times. Going back to Aspinwall (Really anywhere) from Hazelwood is very difficult as It requires taking a very crowded bus through Oakand stopping at nearly every intersection along the way or climbing the mile-long steep hill known as Hazelwood Ave. and still having to deal with crowded buses in Squirrel Hill and Oakland.
@zz, that time is the one that works best for most people. If they scheduled it before 3 pm on a weekday, or on a Saturday, attendance would be much lower. For the former, because people would be at work and would not be able to take time off for the meeting; for the latter, because people either like to spend their Saturdays doing things that are much more fun than going to a public meeting, or because Saturdays are the time when they can do errands they can't do during the week.
Any recommendation on how to get to the meeting tonight from the strip district? Is it possible to sneak onto the Hazelwood trail/signature boulevard? Irvine at rush hour sounds terrifying.
I'm seeing posts in email, which has a link that brings me here, but i don't see the messages. In case blind sending works ...
Another way to get from the Strip to Hazelwood is to go over the hill to Schenley Park, then over the Greenfield Bridge and down the residential streets of Hazelwood.
@MaryShaw - Go to Page 1 of the thread, the most recent posts are showing there instead of page 10. Most likely a temporary forum bug.
don't have time to write out a review of the meeting, but here's a thread of me live tweeting it https://twitter.com/BikePGH/status/966089708064428033
It looks hopefully that a separate track is proposed
They were pretty clear that these would run on a separate track from the existing Junction Hollow trail. where they are proposing the new trail and transit road on Sylvan, it will also be separated, they said mostly 11' for the transit, and 11' for the shared trail, with a 2-4' buffer between that would be either boulders, plants, etc. one interesting item that i found was that they said that bikes would be allowed to use the track for the shuttle as well.
Wait, 11' for transit? What kind of frequency could you possibly have by essentially limiting yourself to single-track operations?
Have they said yet where capital an operational costs will come from? This isn't real transit, it's an AV test track.
They did not say where the cap and op costs would come from. They did say that they would like to make it free for the first 2-5 years, as proof of concept, and then try to integrate it into the connectcard system.
They haven't said whether it's AV or human driven. AV they say will be able to provide more frequent service and possibly run 24hrs/day
They are predicting this to be on demand transit. People can call it with their phone, or with kiosks thru the neighborhood.
i am def skeptical, but i also like the idea of throwing out new ideas for AVs that are publicly run, and different than the Uber or the ownership models out there.
I'm certainly not totally convinced that this is the best idea yet - there's still so many unknowns, but i do appreciate them thinking differently about this very real problem of a huge development that is happening, and if they don't figure out a transit solution now, then everyone will definitely drive there. It seems that the Port Authority's hands are tied and aren't able to be proactive on creating or planning for service unless their numbers pan out.
With that said, i don't think the City did a convincing job explaining how they could work with the Port Auth to alter or expand existing to handle the same need. I think a lot of people would like to see those proofs.
ok, karina predicted it would cost $2-4M
but then she also showed an image of a car elevator that the shuttles could potentially use to take them from the valley and disembark onto a bridge, like say the Charles Anderson Bridge.
not clear if peds and bikes could use the elevator, but she didn't say no to it either.
11' width is up a bit from a meeting last week. The idea is to minimize impact on the park; this would also allow it to be squeezed through tight places. There would be wide spots for passing. The idea is that the vehicles would be talking to each other so they could coordinate passing at the wide spots.
Whether this could work depends on the frequency of the vehicles, which depends on their individual capacity and the overall number of trips at peak times. If the vehicles are spaced far enough apart, this could work (Junction Hollow is about a mile long; at 15mph that would be a 4-minute run). This ignores any boarding stops, but those would provide passing places. An advantage would be making it harder for random cars to use the shuttle road (we already know that signs and gates don't work).
I had hoped to see traffic and demand estimates at Tuesday's meeting. I talked to their traffic person and emphaized that we really, really need to see these numbers at the next meeting.
As for the lift from the bottom of The Run up to Swinburne (aka Frazier) Bridge, I think that's a great idea -- but we should press for provisions for bike-ped use. Not only that, but it might enable a trail from the north end of Swinburne Bridge over through the DPW lot to get to the Eliza Furnace Trail without getting mixed up in the Saline/Greenfield/Irvine/Second intersection.
So let's call it the "mobility lift" or something other than the "car lift". Someone should also make sure the shuttle vehicles will accept bikes.
My info on the 11' was from talking to one of the Baker consultants.
This kinda sounds like the WVU people mover system.
is that on demand?
What I know as the WVU people mover is elevated on concrete posts; looks like only part of it is elevated but all is on special track.
It's 8 miles of track with 5 stations. It's called "Personal Rapid Transit", which apparently means that it dispatches a car when you go to a station and call for one. It does not appear possible for the transit vehicles to move back and forth to surface streets. So, "on demand" for schedule, not for destination.
I tried to add a photo, but the "add media" mechanism fails.
More info at https://transportation.wvu.edu/prt
Mary is correct. You can watch it of you are on the Mon river trail between Morgantown and star city. Cool to watch. I think it was a late 70s demonstration project.
And of course, WVU's beloved PRT was so successful that it was replicated in...zero...other places.
Kudos to the city for expanding their thinking on mobility issues, but microtransit isn't a new idea and it's likelihood of success is, well, questionable
. The population of the catchment area for what could be a proposed route is relatively small, meaning that it won't appreciably change mode share for people commuting to and from these job hubs. They'll almost all be coming from somewhere else, where this service would not practically scale. This service will primarily serve trips between the two, projections of which still have yet to publicly materialize.
Trust me, I'm all for experimentation, but this is precisely the type of project you don't
publicly fund. The type of pod vehicles they're discussing run around $250k each, which means they'll barely be able to buy vehicles for their low-end cost estimate. This may yet turn out to be worthwhile, but it's going to be very expensive.
All I want out of this project is a safe, succinct connection between Junction Hollow, the Jail Trail, and Hazelwood Trail/Signature Boulevard that doesn't involve that nasty chute and its blind corners on second ave.
Bonus points if they can provide a continuous bike facility that isn't a sharrow from the other side of Junction Hollow to any existing bike lane in Oakland.
The existing trail is undermined as a transportation link because of poor connectivity on either end, lack of lighting, and limited winter maintenance. $2-4 million dollars would go a long way to resolving all of those issues.
I wonder if they are considering pulling the old skybus
rolling stock out of storage for this project.
Good question! Is there an improvement to the chute planned with this?
erok's twitter thread and all the other info I can find doesn't touch on the Jail Trail > Junction Hollow connection.
I can't see how there's any possibility of improvement to the chute without major work. The problem is the railroad track above. A more direct connection to EFT means either a bridge up from Saline, which would be prohibitively expensive as well as involving an absurd climb and descent, or an at-grade crossing, which is prohibited by Federal inclinations, or a modification to connect the trail to PHT by staying on the eastern side of the tracks underneath the Parkway bridge over Swinburne (which would involve modification of the retaining wall of the bridge under the interstate), or an entirely different route from the Almono development, staying between the tracks and Irvine St. (I think the last is the most practical.) Or Stu's suspended cycle ring.
If somebody comes up with a practical plan to get rid of the chute, you're going to hear about it well in advance, because it will cost a lot of money. My own guess is that the most likely good result is for the chute to become less important once there's a more direct route downtown, if the BRT is built.
They really didn't get into that level of detail at the meeting. there were plenty of short connections that they just scribbled a line saying that they'd like to connect.
it looks like the presentation has been posted on http://mon-oaklandmobility.com/public-meetings
but i can't access it for some reason. will look into it.
it's definitely up now. don't know why i was having trouble.
here's slide 19
also, slide 10 was interesting to me. we worked with the Oakland Green team to develop a concept to extend the Junction Hollow Trail along the tracks next to Neville to CMU's parking lot, and then into bike lanes for the rest of the climb to 5th Ave. It appears that this also made the proposal, at least conceptually.
@jonawebb, how about a tunnel from Saline to the parking lot? Said tunnel wouldn't have to be too wide. I've seen these put in under fairly active railroad lines, and are very simple. It could work here ...
so they are taking comments on the plan until March 6th. Please consider submitting all of these comments!
@chrishent, I didn't remember about the tunnel, though I think it's been mentioned before. I could see it working.
Tunnel is the right solution, provided that UPMC and the railroad go along with it...
If the money is there the tunnel can go all the way to the trailhead, preserving that precious parking space.
Slide 19 is fascinating.
It implies an extension of Sylvan along its original (currently abandoned) alignment all the way to Hazelwood (Ave). That would be totally awesome. Is this an actual plan? That would give us a (literally sylvan) way to get around Irvine (assuming the Almono options would not be bike-only).
If you believe the Google property lines, there's maybe 10ft of space on the Greenfield uphill side to widen the street enough to accommodate bikes (though it's not so bad right now for experienced bikers).
I've talked to Corey O'Connor several times about Sylvan Ave. He has repeatedly assured me that city council has money budgeted and set aside for turning that into a proper bike/ped path.
It implies an extension of Sylvan along its original (currently abandoned) alignment all the way to Hazelwood (Ave). That would be totally awesome. Is this an actual plan?
Yes this is in the plan. This would also be the corridor for the microtransit. Their sketches imply that this would be a bit more "shared" than the segment in Junction Hollow, but honestly, I'm ok with how they at least represented it with a more natural separation of boulders, plants, trees, but the devil is in the details, right? A consultant said it would be an 11' trail with an 11' microtransit. Once Sylvan turns back into an actual street, it would be a share the road situation. One kinda goofy thing (but my mind is open) was that they wanted to put bike share stations in the middle of the woods, at the places where they would create some sort of connection to the neighborhoods that are adjacent to Sylvan.
Funky Dung: that's good to know, thanks for that.
Autonomous shuttles to begin testing on sharing the midtown greenway bike/ped path in Minneapolis
This is the first of several reactions to last week's meeting about the 4 mile run plan. I'm separating comments on different topics.
East Side Connector Trail
The Jan 18 public meeting on 4 Mile Run presented an alternative that ran from Boundary St south of the RR bridge (Proctor's garage) up to the Bridle Trail and then via the Bridle trail to Anderson Playground and the cycle track there. This was deemed not acceptable for cars but fine for bikes and pedestrian. This was still on the overview map Feb 20 but not in the details discussed there. I would post an image of this plan, but the "add media" button still isn't working for me. [Edit: found the image at slide 4 of http://mon-oaklandmobility.com/public-meetings
We should ask them to build this trail as part of the project. First, it would be a very useful addition to the trail system, as it would connect the bottom of Junction Hollow with Oakland (via Anderson Playground and the cycle track), with upper Squirrel Hill (ditto, plus Schenley Drive), and with lower Squirrel Hill (via Greenfield and Pocusset Trail)
Second, it would provide a viable detour in the event that Junction Hollow had to be closed during construction -- it gets to pretty much everywhere people actually want to go from Neville St & Fifth
Your action: When you fill in comments on the public meeting at http://mon-oaklandmobility.com/public-meetings
tell them that this connector is important and might be a viable detour if one is needed
More reaction to Feb 20 4 mile run (Mon-Oakland Mobility) meeting ...
Connection into Oakland
We need a good connection from the top of Junction Hollow Trail into Oakland.
OPDC did a study a couple of years ago that advocated, in effect, extending Junction Hollow Trail alongside the RR to where the RR crosses Boundary/Neville, then up Neville to Fifth. Neville is very narrow in this area, so that part might have to be shared lanes at least partway.
I noted at the Feb 20 meeting, and the consultants added this to the map, that there is an opportunity for a good connection into Oakland along Joncaire St. That's the Belgian block street that runs from Boundary up to the bike lanes on Bouquet St. Joncaire has houses on the south side, nothing but trees on the north side (except for the bottom of the steps. The north-side sidewalk could be widened and paved to accommodate bicycle traffic. A cycle track would be nice -- there's a perfectly find sidewalk on the other side for pedestrians, and there looks like enough width at the bottom to have a separate path for people using the steps. It would be ok to have joint bike/ped use, as I doubt that there's much pedestrian use.
Your action: When you fill in comments on the public meeting at http://mon-oaklandmobility.com/public-meetings
ask them to widen and pave the sidewalk on the north side of Joncaire to provide a bicycle connection to the Bouquet St bike lanes.
More reaction to Feb 20 4 mile run (Mon-Oakland Mobility) meeting ...
Alternative to the 2nd Avenue Chute
One of the ideas floated at the meeting was to keep the mobility shuttles out of the Greenfield/Irvine/Saline/2ndAv intersection by constructing an elevator at the north end of the Frazier St (better known as Swinburne) Bridge (slides 12 and 20 of presentation). This is a great idea, whose greatness will be even greater if they arrange the elevator so it will accept bikes and peds. Not only will that allow bikes to get to Sylvan without navigating that intersection and climbing Greenfield, but it also gets everything up to an elevation that allows connection to the Eliza Furnace trailhead by going past the DPW garage -- thereby giving us an alternative to the Chute.
I remember walking this with Richard Meritzer back when he was still the bike/ped guy for the city. If you go back on the DPW lot to the big bins where they store salt, you can look pretty directly over to Swinburne St just before the bridge. We couldn't take the idea any further at the time because we couldn't figure out what to do when you get to Swinburne. The new proposal answers that: take the elevator down!
Your action: When you fill in comments on the public meeting at http://mon-oaklandmobility.com/public-meetings
ask them to (1) make provisions for the elevator to carry bicyclists and pedestrians and (2) to make the connection shown on slide 20 to connect the bike/ped trail directly to Eliza Furnace Trail via the DPW garage.
More reaction to Feb 20 4 mile run (Mon-Oakland Mobility) meeting ...
Mixing Shuttles with Bicyclists and Pedestrians
The most obvious descriptions of the shuttles appear to accept the strongly-expressed position of the bicycling community that shuttle vehicles should not be mixed in with bicyclists and pedestrians. The once exception that I recall from the meeting is that it was suggested that bicyclists who wanted to use the shuttle road instead of the trail would be permitted to do so, apparently with the idea that some bicyclists want to go 15mph and that would be fine (someone from the audience suggested the shuttles should be allowed to run faster)
By the way, there seems to be a "bikes go 15mph" meme floating about. Please slay it when you see it. Serious road riders on flats or downhills go faster. Uphill, not so much. But the vast Rest of Us, about 80% of the trail users, only see 15mph rarely on downhills. Imagining that the average bike speed is 15mph is not compatible with getting more people on bikes, especially families.
Without traffic estimates, we don't know how many shuttles will be running, but based on the Smart Cities proposal https://cms.dot.gov/sites/dot
. gov/files/docs/Pittsburgh-SCC- Technical-Application.pdf it could be very high (I'll spare you the details, since those estimates may no longer be good). There will be pressure to increase the frequency as traffic goes up, and likely the vehicles sizes as well. We really, really need to push back hard against mixing this traffic.
In particular, we've heard some teasers about using the shuttle system to provide access to SouthSide Works. That would be great, in principle, but when I asked about running these 15mph, max 25mph shuttles on 2nd Avenue with its prevailing speeds somewhere north of the 35mph limit, the response was hem-hawing about how that wasn't really compatible and ... [no real answer] ... How, then, would these shuttle vehicles reach SouthSide Works? There's a very tempting piece of pavement nearby .. surely no one would think about routing these vehicles down Eliza Furnace Trail and over the bike/ped bridge? Would they? Then, as long as they're on the trail, why not down to First Ave to connect to the "T". Nip this one in the bud, folks
Your action: When you fill in comments on the public meeting at http://mon-oaklandmobility.com/public-meetings
tell them (a) do not mix shuttle vehicles (autonomous or otherwise) with the normal routes for bike/ped traffic, (b) get some realistic estimates of traffic and demand, and (c) don't even consider adding shuttle vehicles to existing bike/ped trails
Last message re Feb 20 4 mile run (Mon-Oakland Mobility) meeting ...
A Few Other Things
Connections between low trails and high places
Many of the slides have notional green lines connecting low trails with streets much higher up. I've asked the consultants to consult with Bike Pgh about making these practical -- how long and steep a stairway with a runnel can be without discouraging people from using it, how wide the turns in switchbacks need to be.
This was one of the design concepts I provided in January; I discussed these on this thread on 1/11/2018 at 9:39pm. The document is at https://www.dropbox.com/s/gslpiuq8bq3r6jg/4MiRunAlternatives-v4.docx?dl=0
and extensive discussion of Sylvan Aveshows up in the presentation at slides 22-25. I'm sure I wasn't the only one to suggest this. I bring it up here for two reasons: (a) There was earlier discussion about whether it was real, and it's certainly in the plan. (b) They did take my January suggestions seriously -- most of those ideas show up now in one way or another. So we have recent tangible evidence that it is actually worth making comments when invited to.
Your action: Do send in comments on the public meeting at http://mon-oaklandmobility.com/public-meetings
They are taking comments seriously. This is our chance to be heard, and numbers of comments matter. Don't assume someone else will do it.
I'm done now. Thanks for listening
Thanks for all the info MaryShaw, and I like the way you laid out the argument & actions. I'll be adding my 2-cents to their comments section.
Lots of spin in this article. Plus some misdirection.
"move at a quiet pace, like a bicycle" pushes the misleading meme that bicycles go 15mph. Sure, many go that fast downhill. But the intended beneficiaries are not all fit, fast, and young. Most of the bicyclists going through those communities are going much slower than 15mph. Plus, bikes are a lot smaller. Remember, lots of the residents of Hazelwood don't have cars. Part of this story is that they'll commute by bike. Most of those commuters won't be going 15mph.
"likened it to the smart elevators in skyscrapers, such as One Oxford Centre, where only carded employees can ride, and elevators can sort the riders by floors" teeters on the edge of going back to the private shuttle. I get it as a solution to the Run, sort of, but what stops people at other stops from making their own special pleadings?
"could carry 15 passengers": They were down to 10 for a while, the poster at the recent meeting said 15. For intuition, compare the dimensions on the poster (6.5' wide, 13' long, 8.5' high) to a more familiar vehicle, the full-size Chevy van (plumber's van). The shuttle is about the same width as the van, a foot and a half taller, 5' shorter, about the same weight
I'm not sure who you're implying is responsible for the "spin" and "misdirection", but you're misinterpreting some pretty common planner-speak from Director Ricks with the whole bicycles-go-15mph "meme".
While apparently easy to misinterpret, Director Ricks saying these vehicles would "move at a very human speed at a very human scale" is not meant to be taken literally. Planners use this terminology to imply speeds at which all modes are compatible together due to being slow enough - really, close enough - in speed to one another that decisions can be made, conflicts can be avoided, and crashes that do happen are not severe. Taken literally, this would mean that not even bikes and pedestrians would be compatible in the same space.
The 15mph speeds and "human scaled" language are taken almost directly from successful European street design practices like the woonerf.
I was suggesting that the article doesn't match what I've seen at the meetings. It was not directed at Ms Ricks; I have been generally impressed with her responsiveness and directness.
Specifically with respect to the 15mph, I could live with the interpretation that it's meant to mean "at human scale and mingling safely with cyclists and pedestrians". However, the plan also projects some travel times between Hazelwood and Oakland, which must be predicated on some actual average speed, plus time for passenger boarding at stops. We don't know that number. The discussion of the shuttle refers to an operating speed of 15mph and uses bicyclists as a comparison; in addition there was a question at the Feb 20 meeting about why not run the shuttles faster than 15 mph. So, you can't have it both ways. If what is really intended is "shuttle runs no faster than 15 mph and slows down when it's around other trail users to match their speeds" that should be made explicit, along with the average speed that's being used for travel time estimates.
Bicycle and pedestrian traffic mix successfully when the users are accommodating to each other -- cyclists slow to not much faster than walking pace and announce themselves when passing, pedestrians shift from 4-abreast to 2-abreast when cyclists approach and refrain from darting back and forth unpredictably, dog-walkers keep the dogs on short leashes rather than the long retractables that can stretch invisibly across the trail. If you follow discussions about trails, you'll see that friction arises when these accommodations are neglected. None of these users are encases in closed vehicles, so they can use voice to communicate (except for the trail users whose headphones prevent them from hearing, which is also regarded as antisocial). I don't rule out the possibility that the shuttle vehicles could run slowly enough to make this work, but if they're also supposed to be making the run in less than X minutes then there's a conflict of requirements. They're also vastly larger than the other trail users -- a bicyclist with bicycle isn't more than twice as large as a pedestrian, but one of these shuttles is 6.5'x13'x8.5'
Today is the deadline for submitting comments on the Four Mile Run development, aka the Mon-Oakland Mobility Plan.
Please send comments -- suggestions about what might matter to you are in the thread above. Even if it's just a couple of lines mentioning things like keeping some reasonable route open throughout construction, getting a legal connection across the RR at Panther Hollow Lake, keeping shuttle traffic separate from bike/ped traffic, go ahead and send it. You don't need to say anything new. Numbers matter.
The public presentations and a comment form are at http://mon-oaklandmobility.com/public-meetings
This page also says you can email comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
I sent elaborations of all the points I made here a few days ago.
Thanks for the reminder!
I submitted comments in favor of keeping the park as a park. If a road has to happen, make the road secondary with preservation of the park as the priority. Nobody will herald Pittsburgh for eliminating park space. Not now, not in a decade or a century. However, our increasingly linked system of river front trails, urban parks and bikeways is already an economic driver.
Nobody will write articles praising Pittsburgh for adding more roads. But we're already seeing amazing press for an admittedly still incomplete trail system. That's what will make Pittsburgh a thriving city for the next generation.
Pitt's Sierra Club is hosting some sort of forum next week.
excerpts of that article relating to the bike trail & shuttle:
"a low-speed, on-call shuttle system between Hazelwood and Oakland that would pass through Junction Hollow on a new, separate path ... new trails 20 feet wide for bicycles and the low-speed shuttle and 10 feet wide for pedestrians will be installed.
The so-called micro-shuttle — about the size of a compact car with space for 11 to 15 standing passengers — would follow a 3-mile path and get residents to doctors' offices and other Oakland sites in 20 to 25 minutes.
... she doesn’t understand why the system is being developed separately from Port Authority’s bus service in that area."
Putting shuttles on the same road with cyclists could be a mistake. The shuttle road and the bike trail need to be physically separated, with bollards, a curb, or a median. The article speaks of a combined shuttle and bike road 20 feet wide. If there is no physical separation (just a painted line, say) parents with small kids learning to cycle won't want to take their kids on this road, for fear that they could stray and get hit by a shuttle, which would probably be moving at 25 mph or more.
1. If it is 20 ft wide cars will love.to try and use it as a cut through
2. Peds will end up on it too, or bikes will end upon the peds trail...
Will the shuttles be flooring it when they see an opening to pass a cyclist that is pedaling uphill at less than 10 MPH?
It's strange that there is some foregone conclusion in all of these articles that Hazelwood needs to have a more direct connection to Oakland. Are there going to be so many people in Hazelwood that want to go wherever this thing goes in Oakland on a regular basis to justify this? Why don't the shuttles just take Bates like the rest of the cars/trucks/shuttles that want to get from 2nd Ave. to Oakland? It's only like a half mile down the street from Junction Hollow.
Well, the next public meeting is scheduled on this:
Hello and happy spring!
Thank you for continuing to stay engaged in the public process regarding the improvements in Four Mile Run. The Mon-Oakland Mobility study is wrapping up and PWSA is now moving into the next phase of design for the stormwater improvements in Four Mile Run. On May 22, 2018, we will host a joint meeting to share the findings of the mobility study and layout the next steps in the final engineering of the PWSA project. This meeting will be hosted jointly by DOMI, the URA, PWSA and the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy (PPC). During this meeting, PWSA will introduce the consultant team that has been selected to do the final engineering for the green infrastructure project in Four Mile Run. This PWSA project builds on the Green First Plan, and is a continuation of the Four Mile Run preliminary design work that was produced by PPC and its partners.
At the last Mon-Oakland Mobility Study meeting on Feb. 20, 2018, we proposed a recommended alignment for the new micro-transit connection, and collected final feedback regarding its alignment and operations. Since then, our engineering team has been working out the details of how this proposed connection will work, including ridership calculations, cost implications, and other operations issues. Since the last public meeting, we have also met with the five local core community groups most impacted by the project to share how the design has evolved and solicit feedback. We are now finalizing the investigations that are part of this scope, and will share the final findings of this study at the next public meeting.
Date: Tuesday, May 22, 2018
Location: International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE)
(300 Saline St, Pittsburgh, PA 15207)
Thank you for your participation, hope to see you there!
Community Projects Manager
Is there any chance of the Hazelwood trail finally getting finished as part of this Almono development stuff?
EDIT: also I forgot that meeting in the run was today. I'm sure by the time someone reads this it'll be over. Any news?
Meeting was this evening.
They are serious about reviving old Sylvan Ave as a side-by-side-with separation route with bike/ped trail on one side and shuttle on the other side.
I asked specifically about the 20' bit in the P-G article. In most places, the shuttle road will be 8-10' wide (one lane) with places for up-bound and down-bound shuttles to pass each other. It will mostly be separated from the ~12?-ft bike/ped path. In some squeeze points the two will be side by side, hence ~20', but separated. For example, the bit on Saline St near Greenfield has to run them side by side, using space currently occupied by sidewalk, cycle track, maybe a foot or so out of the hillside, maybe a foot or so out of the traffic lanes. Not mingled. So the P-G description is a bit confused.
Other comments of interest: RR crossing at Panther Hollow Lake is still in play. A bridge would need 22' clearance, which is awfully high, CSX approval of a level crossing is problematic (but might be under discussion). It sounded like the best bet was that PWSA would like to tunnel under the RR so the flow from P-H lake to the daylighted stream doesn't go through a pipe. If they do, the trail could go with it.
Shuttle is 11-15 passengers, electric, maybe (maybe not) autonomous. Some cities have experience with autonomous shuttles like these in traffic-free zones. However the route they plan extends into Hazelwood/Hazelwood Green at one end and up Neville and Joncaire at the other end. It is less clear that the autonomous vehicles will play nice with the mixed traffic on those open streets (especially the neighborhood streets where kids play).
One new thing is that they're talking about clouds of bikeshare e-bikes near the shuttle routes so people can get uphill into the neighborhoods (and presumably back down again). In discussion with HealthyRide.
They offered some traffic estimates, but they were much lower than the Smart Cities estimates, I think because they didn't consider the ~400 spaces in the UPMC lot at the Swinburne St trailhead. These might be good estimates for Day 1, but I was disappointed that they didn't offer any numbers about growth. This is important because they bear on the total capacity of the system.
Frazier (Swinburne) St bridge is due for rehab or replacement. So is Anderson Bridge (entering Schenley Park on the Blvd Allies. Contract for design alternatives (repair vs replace) for Anderson has been let. However that's a historic bridge and will require many discussions, signoffs, permits. So Frazier (Swinburne) may actually happen first. They're still talking about a vehicle lift to connect the shuttle from bridge level to trail level; I reminded them that bikes will need this too. The vehicle lift is important because it gets shuttle and bike traffic from Sylvan to Junction Hollow without running it through the Greenfield/Saline/Irvine/2nd mess -- but it will be part of the bridge renovation
Residents of The Run are really concerned that the mobility plans are delaying the stormwater fixes. PWSA says no, they're proceeding. I think they have a deadline to show that this approach works.
I wonder if the bridges need to be 22 feet high to allow double-decker cars. IE the discussion in Westpark about redoing the bridges there
@edronline -- Yes, double-decker cars were cited as the reason for the high clearance.
In previous discussions on this topic, people have asked whether the existing tunnel provides that much clearance. The response is that it doesn't matter, they don't want to add additional clearance impediments.
Nice write up Mary. Here's our twitter thread
, with some images of the slides and displays.
Some things I'll add to Mary's comments:
- They are taking input on whether to light the Junction Hollow Trail, and what kind of lights (overhead, bollard, glowing trail surface)
- They are taking input on what kind of trail surface we may want. lots of options. i'll post a pic
- I talked to them afterward and Justing Miller from DOMI said in summary: the intention is to keep the trail open during construction. There may be times that they will need to do a brief closure, like if they need to move a ton of dirt or if they need to tear down the overhead Anderson bridge. It could also be a temporary, rough trail at times, but they want to do what they can to maintain the existing trail as much as possible during construction.
Here's the image of the trail surfaces. I strongly suggest that people email them and recommend some sort of lighting on the trail, as well as what type of trail surface is best.
Comments can be sent to: email@example.com
I worry that if there's "one trail one material" or a non-separated trail or even the perception (or reality) that one side is better material than the other would cause peds and bikes to be on the same part of the trail as these shuttle vehicles. To bring up a disastrous supreme court ruling, I think they need to be separate but equal.