Detour to start on Eliza Furnace/Jail Trail

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Ohiojeff
Participant
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From today’s Post-Gazette

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10233/1081711-53.stm

Can’t say I’m all that fond of the detour they propose, crossing to and staying on the South Side may make more sense.

Also, I find myself wondering if this isn’t something that should have appeared on the Bike-Pgh web page by now? I don’t see it. This is not a criticism, just a suggestion.

Does Mr. Patchen still work for the city? Does he not communicate with Bike-Pgh? Did no one know this was going to happen this week? I was certainly surprised to see the detour starts Wednesday. I would think this site (not the boards, but the site Bike-PGHitself) should be a first stop for people looking for updates about regular commuting routes.

Having detailed, up to date, info on detours etc. would be far more of a benefit to me than discounts at merchants etc. Again, this is just meant as a suggestion, not a criticism. The P-G posted it but there could be so much more info–like a map of the detour etc. Who else but Bike-Pgh?


pratt
Participant
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interesting….saw a truck TRY to get under this overpass in mid July.


dwillen
Participant
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Here is the previous thread on the subject:

http://bike-pgh.org/bbpress/topic/jail-trail-detour-next-year

Every time I read about it, they propose some new method of detouring trail users.

First, it was build the bridge next to the old one, then tear the old one down, then it was dump everyone onto Second Ave to fend for themselves, now we are to cross over HMB and through parking lots and back over at “Middle Access Drive”? Where the heck is that? How do we cross Second Ave and get back on the trail?

Either the PG reporters aren’t real good at their job, or the people in charge of this project can’t figure out what they’re going to do with all these bikers. Either case, I don’t blame bike-pgh one bit.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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Either the PG reporters aren’t real good at their job, or the people in charge of this project can’t figure out what they’re going to do with all these bikers. Either case, I don’t blame bike-pgh one bit.

Niether am I. What I was trying to say is that who else will know how to get the right information than cyclists? I was hoping (and knowing the city it’s probably a false hope) that the city would communicate this sort of stuff to Bike Pittsburgh as the best possible organization to disseminate this information properly.

I’m guessing no one knew about this except the contractor, someone at the DPW, and someone who called the PG. And I was just looking at the map and have the same question as Dan, where/what the heck is “Middle Access Drive?”


spakbros
Participant
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There is a crosswalk / tiny staircase that accesses the trail about 100 yards past the bates bridge. I would assume that it will cross back there?


buzz1980
Participant
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Staircase? Trail riding has now become the Pittsburgh version of a cyclocross!


spakbros
Participant
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non drive side portage please


JZ
Participant
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So, this is my daily commute. At the risk of being pissy, I’ll ask: where the hell am I supposed to go?

I’m not specifically pissy about the fact of a detour due to construction. What I’m pissy about is the fact that I *know* in my heart of hearts that they’d never close a motor vehicle road without a detour plan.

My pissiness is exacerbated by the recent partial closures of the trail along the Allegheny on the north side in the morning. Yeah, I can tell that it’s bridge inspectors, and they’re probably doing valuable work. I just resent the fact that I know that they’d never close a highway at some arbitrary point without posting detours. Yes, I know that I can detour back, go up to the road, bypass the Ft Duquesne bridge part of the trail, then drop back down. And be later for work. Again, not a big deal, except that I know they’d never do this for a motor vehicle road.

I put up with it for the first two days, then started riding through the closed part. To the credit of the people doing the actual work of the bridge inspection, they didn’t even blink.


Swalfoort
Participant
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I am missing a piece of the puzzle I think….

The detour referenced in the first media link above would seem to indicate that trail users would be detoured off the EF Trail at the Hot Metal Bridge, coming inbound. They would then use the internal circulation road at the Pgh Technology Center to get past Bates Street. But, where is the cityside connection to the trail? Others are more familiar with the trail than I. The gap in fence (intentional) on the EF Trail that leads to Second Avenue in the vicinity of the Pgh Technology Center. Is that towards the City from Bates Street? That’s got what, a half dozen steps between Second Avenue and the Trail?


Marko82
Participant
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I can see it now, a road constuction detour that makes you carry your CAR up a flight of stairs. But sir, it’s only four or five steps….


Steven
Participant
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“Middle Access Drive” seems to be the road into the PTC that extends south from Bates. That street name appears in the name of an inactive PAT bus stop near there in Google Maps. (On the other hand, many PAT stops have incorrect location data, so it could really refer to the next intersection west of Bates.)

I don’t know why they couldn’t have built a ramp over the steps up to the trail as the first step in this project. And if the detour routing is along the north sidewalk on Second Avenue, maybe put some asphalt down to make a rideable surface. It seems to be Belgian Block with lampposts stuck in the middle, plus vegetation. (Or are they going to build a detour lane for the trail right on Second Avenue?)


ErinK
Participant
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I think the only possible detour is via the tiny steps (and narrow twisty ramp) that leads from the trail down to Second Avenue. I suppose it’s too much to ask that they build a temporary ramp over Second Ave. for us?

Here’s a map that I think shows the cutoff from the trail.


josh
Participant
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Damn, 5 lanes on bates street? 18 ft overhead clearance? Will we be blowing away the sidewalk on bates? Does anyone know what is going on with this project?


ieverhart
Participant
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Alas! As the Bike Snob puts it, “the indignity of commuting by bicycle.”

I occasionally have to go to the Pittsburgh Technology Center complex, and I usually take Bates down the hill, connect to the trail and then take the “exit” at the map location posted by ErinK. There’s a wheelchair ramp that works if you go slowly around the hairpin turn. Keep an eye out–half the time I go right by it; it’s not really marked at all, and hard to see until you’re right on it.

Of more concern is the light at 2nd Avenue. The PTC driveway forms a T junction, with a magnetic sensor at the end of the driveway. If there’s no car there, the green light for 2nd Avenue traffic doesn’t get interrupted, I don’t think. There’s a pedestrian walk signal button which takes forever to activate it… and in any case, bikers aren’t pedestrians. Various upstream traffic patterns mean that there are somewhat frequent breaks in oncoming car traffic, AKA opportunities to just “go for it” with or without the light.

So, take the unmarked detour around this late-breaking construction project, wait forever and/or disregard a red light, and then hop up a wheelchair ramp or nearby steps. Sounds pretty much par for the course to me!


Kordite
Participant
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For my commute, I’m going to cross the river and take the South Side trail into town rather than trying to navigate 2nd Avenue. I bet American Eagle is going to love the increased traffic on their little corner domain.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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For my commute, I’m going to cross the river and take the South Side trail into town

+1 –unless they make significant modifcations to the light @ieverhart references above. But even then probably South Side…now we’ll just wait for someone to close that too. I think there is a project starting soon to raise the roof on the railway tunnel under that grassy strip there that will close that road.

Meanwhile, a big truck was parked on the trail delivering some construction equipment just at the overpass this morning at 7:00.


Erica
Participant
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saw that. I don’t really know how this is going to effect me (I’m awful with street names/directions), as I take the trail to and from school, and home from work…


sloaps
Participant
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Detour information included in the construction documents used to be here.

Mebbe Mr. Patchan could snoop around and post the “Maintenance and Protection of Traffic” drawings for us. As I can recall, the construction documents weren’t a very large set, and the MPT drawings were near the back of the set.

If the project has been awarded, then the documents are public record and can be viewed by anyone at this point…


Ohiojeff
Participant
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@sloaps Does this doc

http://www.city.pittsburgh.pa.us/finance/contract_justifications/city/public_works/48294.pdf

mean that Penndot is doing the work, or would have bid out the project instead?


Ohiojeff
Participant
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Since I mentioned the pending project at the other end of the Hot Metal bridge above I’ll link this for you

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/10205/1075105-147.stm

Early next year, CSX will begin to tear up Tunnel Park at the SouthSide Works to raise the roof in the railroad tunnel that lies underneath.The Panama Canal is nearly 2,200 miles from Pittsburgh, but ripples from a $5.25 billion canal expansion will be felt here starting next year.

–snip—

At the SouthSide Works, a $15 million to $25 million project calls for removing the grassy median between South Water Street and Tunnel Boulevard, taking the roof off the railroad tunnel and installing a new one that is 18 to 30 inches higher.

CSX officials said the construction, expected to start early in 2011 and last a year, will cause some disruption to traffic, pedestrians and bicyclists. A temporary detour of the bike trail that passes through the corridor is possible, but the trail will not be closed.

The project area stretches from 26th Street to Hot Metal Street.


sloaps
Participant
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@jeffinpgh – no that ain’t the document. The city had 11×17 size construction documents posted online during the bidding period for the project. Not there now.

The CSX project is funny. Norfolk Southern has lines between the slopes and flats on southside and has had the ability to stack up sea cans and trailers on their lines since forever.


dwillen
Participant
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Wow, the sidewalk police at American Eagle are going to crap a brick when they have bobcats and semi trucks running over their precious sidewalk and dozens of snarky signs. I can’t wait until they try and browbeat the construction workers.


dwillen
Participant
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Damn, 5 lanes on bates street? 18 ft overhead clearance? Will we be blowing away the sidewalk on bates? Does anyone know what is going on with this project?

They got tired of trucks getting smashed vertically, now they are going to funnel 5 lanes into 2 and smash them horizontally instead.


chinston
Participant
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This is nuts. How are we supposed to get back on the trail, when heading downtown?


erok
Keymaster
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To be honest, we knew this was coming up, but we weren’t informed as to when. I do appreciate the constructive criticism.

here is a link to a pdf of the detour.

More info later today: http://bike-pgh.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Final-Revised-Trail-Detour.pdf


Steven
Participant
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So they completely avoid using the sidewalk on the north side of Second Avenue. Not too bad, though it will still be necessary to cross Second Avenue at a light.


caitlin
Participant
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I feel for everyone when this stuff happens. For what it’s worth, often times the one or two people in DPW who know about stuff like this aren’t necessarily authorized to talk to media, so nothing comes out from the city unless a lot of effort was made to keep in touch with DPW about.

I could be wrong, but that’s the way it goes for us, and even though our friends in City Planning are great, they can’t always help make this sort of connection… then, everyone gets upset because the notifications are so last minute.

In other detour news, there is a huge blinking detour coming sign at south highland and center today. With that Spoon place offering a clusterfuck of ‘valet’ parking, and construction there, its going to S U C K.


Lyle
Participant
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FWIW, there are other ways to get downtown. Just riding on 2d avenue wasn’t too bad in the years before the trail was built (as long as it wasn’t raining). I’m not sure what it’s like now. Last time I saw it there were some formidable surface defects, and I’d guess that the intersection with Bates is going to be a mess with construction vehicles. I’ll probably wind up using 5th avenue inbound every day (though I’m thinking of switching to Forbes to avoid the traffic jam between Amberson and Craig). Anybody who wants company from the East End to Downtown on weekday mornings around 8:30 should PM me. Likewise for the return trip, usually about 6ish, on either Forbes(*) or Liberty — or 2d Avenue/Irvine/Hazelwood if we’re looking for extra exercise.

(*) I rode this recently and decided that there’s only one part of it that’s bad, and the rest is ok. The bad part could be improved fairly inexpensively.

What’s going on at S Highland and Center?


rsprake
Participant
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I would personally avoid the speedway that is 2nd Ave at all costs to get downtown.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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@lyle Rode 2nd avenue on the way out of town Sunday morning. Surface is fine someplaces, “Pinch Flat Pennsylvania” in others, and as @rsprake points out a speedway in the morning. I’m not worried I’ll get downtown I may just take 2nd to the ramp back up depending on the construction, it’s pretty okay in that area actually.

Highland/Center–they are going to close Southbound Highland(at least) for a bit and take out the traffic Island etc. Part of the Deal with Target is to return more of Penn Circle to two-way traffic flow.

@erok–looking back I can see that I seemed critical. I didn’t mean to be, I just think this is a place where Bike-Pgh could leap in a fill a void in a really useful way–but that would pre-suppose that the city actually let you know, and maybe it just never occurred to them that more than three days notice could be useful to commuters? Thanks for the map!


Impala26
Participant
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I’m more concerned with the bike and ped traffic that is using Bates to access the Hot Metal Bridge. With that roughshod access path soon to be closed, it will either divert all the bikes and peds to the Second Ave intersection or the access point about 1000 feet down Second to the west from there. As someone who has used the “fun” button press ped signal there, I can attest that it takes almost 3-5 minutes for the ped signals to activate.

If trail access will be cut off at Bates streets, the very least that will need to be done is to automate the ped signals. Sorry PennDOT, you can’t take away bike/ped access somewhere without reasonably improving it somewhere else in its stead.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I worked at Ansaldo (Union Switch & Signal) for much of 2009, so know the lay of the land at the other end of Technology Drive.

Here’s what you do to avoid the mess: Get on Hot Metal, then double back to come down toward the south side of Second Ave. Wiggle into the parking lot next to whatever building that is, and carefully thread your way through that lot onto Technology Drive proper. Ride down to the far traffic light, right in front of Ansaldo.

A couple of choices. You could exit onto Second here, turn left and ride Second Ave about 200 yards. My preference is to get on the outbound sidewalk, between Ansaldo’s parking garage and the street, and ride the sidewalk not quite all the way to the next traffic light (Brady Street). Wait for a break in the traffic and cross Second, into a rather dismal looking equipment yard almost underneath the Birmingham Bridge. There is an access path up to the trail from there. It’s a bit rough, but I made it up and down every day on my road tires.

I suppose you could ride down to the Brady St signal and double back 50 yards. Depends on how many cement trucks you want to deal with.

Do not ride past Ansaldo or on the river side of its parking garage, as Technology Drive dead-ends here, and you really really really do not want to drop down into the cement plant.

Google Street View shows a lot of trucks at this spot, but it changes every day. Most days in 2009 there was nothing parked there.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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Sorry PennDOT, you can’t take away bike/ped access somewhere without reasonably improving it somewhere else in its stead.

They do seem about to do just that, although I hold out hope they’ll adjust the light timing. This is going to put a serious crimp in the plans of some of the regular roller bladers I see out there on my commutes, esp. if they are used to parking up at the Oakland end of things.


Lyle
Participant
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Perhaps someone could “improve” the ped-crossing button. I think a small rock and a strip of duct tape would do it.


Mick
Participant
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@JeffinPgh maybe it just never occurred to them that more than three days notice could be useful to commuters?

I’m guessing that it stretches their minds to think of bus and T riders as “commuters.” Their minds probably don’t stretch far enough to consider bike riders in that category.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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Mick, you are right. I just lost my head there for a bit…


erok
Keymaster
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just got word that they will be adding ramps. apparently the whole detour will be wheelchair accessible.


Impala26
Participant
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Erok, where will the ramp(s) precisely be located and are they to be temporary or permanent?


Ohiojeff
Participant
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If you are headed out this way going home tonight, be advised that some work has begun. You can get by, but a bit before 4:30 this afternoon there was a backhoe clearing landscape etc, trucks parked on the path.

@impala, I noticed today that there is a concrete ramp (stairs one side, ramp the other) that leads down from the trail to a curb cut (one of the new ones with the yellow bumpy thing that allows visually impaired people to locate the cut) at the traffic light. And the curb has a cut on the other side as well. So that area of the junction I would say is permanent. The bends may be too sharp for some to ride a bike through, but you’ll probably be standing at the light anwyay.


erok
Keymaster
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the western end of the detour to get people from the trail to second ave and across at an intersection. i haven’t seen it in person yet, but there is supposedly a signal to get across. i’m planning on checking it out tomorrow.

the ramps are supposedly temporary

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