What is the safest way to ride from Neville island to downtown on a weekend morning? I've been riding through McKees rocks, across the bridge and on 65 to the north shore. I'd like to avoid the bridge and 65 if possible.
You can take this route through Sheraden but it adds hills and you still have to deal with West End Circle. http://goo.gl/maps/E4sOT
And as crazy as it sounds, you can also stay on West Carson and ride through the construction chute. I've only done it a few times but the drivers behind me were very patient - just pull over to let them pass when there is a break in the barrier.
Neville Island is tricky. Heading outbound you can follow Brighton, California, and Lincoln/Church/Center to the far end of Emsworth. (stoplight at Hazelwood). That leaves you with just a mile of wide shoulder to I-79 and Neville Island. (Yes, it is legal to ride the interstate here....)
I don't recommend that stretch of 65 inbound....it's bad in that direction.
But, following your current route, consider crossing the bridge, then heading up Brighton Heights Road a few yards. Look for a set of steps heading up to the right. Davis a Avenue will take you to California, or can get you to Shadeland.
California has a quarter mile of really scary merge (stay left! merge to California), but if you have been riding 65, you can do it.
Shadeland to Orchlee, Stanton and Woodland will take you to Brighton and an easy downhill into town...
Each is better than you current use of Rte 65
This is how I'd do it:
* Cross the MRB northbound, then get on the inbound side to cross 65
* Continue on or along (brick-paved) Brighton Heights Blvd (a.k.a. Termon Ave Extension) for a couple hundred feet
* Climb staircase. At top of staircase is a quiet residential area, and the end of Davis Avenue. Same steps as @swalfoort mentioned above.
* Continue on Davis across California Avenue and past the school
* Turn right on Fleming Avenue
* Turn left on Antrim Street
* Turn right on McClure Avenue, then merge right onto Eckert St
* Left or right when you get to the jail, then right or left to take you to the North Shore Trail
* Bend left after the Fred Rogers memorial to get up to street level. There are two places you can do this with an easy grade and without backtracking. If you get to the water steps, you've gone too far.
* Use the bike ramp up to the Ft Duquesne Bridge sidewalk. Be careful of pedestrians here and in Point State Park.
* Exit PSP on Commonwealth by Penn/Liberty/The Wyndham but get on Commonwealth after traffic has cleared, take the full lane and wait for the light if necessary.
* Turn left onto Liberty, taking a full lane of traffic. (I ride in the left tire track. This is absolutely the safest place to be in busy traffic. More on this in the next post below, but for now, trust me.)
I'm not sure where downtown you are trying to get to, but assuming one of two general directions:
* If headed up toward City-County Building, peel right onto Stanwix, get in the left lane, and turn left onto Fourth Avenue. This also sends you past the big bike lockup facility just before Wood Street.
* Or, if headed up toward the Convention Center, get in the left-most lane on Liberty, turn left onto Stanwix, then right on Penn. The new bike lane begins at Sixth Street.
If you need more specific suggestions on getting to a landing spot or bike tie-up facility, please post again.
The most significant word in your post is "safe". To be safe while riding in traffic, you need to be
Visible means they can see you. If your nose is lined up directly in front of a motorist's nose, they will see you. If you are well off to the right, as many cyclists are, a distracted driver is much less likely to see you. (If they honk at you, that's good. That means they can see you. It also means they're a bike-hating jerk, but that's for a separate discussion.)
Predictable means whatever you are already doing you are going to continue doing. Mainly this means do not make an unexpected swerve into moving traffic (such as to avoid a parked car if you're hugging the curb), but it also means following the rules, like stopping for red lights and stop signs.
Responsible means, beyond following the rules, as already stated, to act in a manner that preserves your own skin. Don't put yourself in danger by riding too close to cars. Getting doored is a constant threat, and swerving to avoid a door will place you in immediate peril. So, be responsible, get right out there in the lane, where there is no chance of getting doored. Being right out therefully in the lane is also the best way of avoiding conflict with people pulling out of parking garages, side streets and driveways, the best way to be seen by oncoming traffic trying to make a left turn, and the best way to see and be seen by jaywalkers.
Most of downtown is posted 25 mph. That works well with bicycles. Even Blvd of the Allies and Grant Street work pretty well at that speed. A strong cyclist on a good bike can exceed 25 mph.
What time are you riding through? I never seen anyone else riding and I ride to town from Moon Twp two or three days a week. Anyways, I'll just add my variation. Cross the MRB and onto Brighton Heights Rd. Skip the steps stuff (don't get why one would need to get off their bike here) mentioned above and just continue to the light. Straight through onto Termon and then right onto McClure. Or right onto California and follow to the second light and hang a left down Antrim (steep hill) to McClure. The rest the same except once down on the North Shore take the ramp up to Jerome Bettis Grill and head towards the access ramp to the Ft Duquesne Bridge, but get on North Shore Blvd, go around PNC Park, right onto 6th Ave (Roberto Clemente) Bridge and into the city. I take a left on Penn and ride the bike lane up to 10th St to get to the Federal Bldg.
Sorry, no good way to avoid the MRB. Ride the sidewalk inbound as the traffic is crazy in the morning, but ride on the bridge deck going home as you can really get rolling pretty fast on the downhill. This has worked for me really well.