from oakland to edgewood town ctr?

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sarah_q
Participant
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Hi! I’d like to bike from Oakland (5th & Bouquet) to Edgewood town center (the medical offices not the grocery area). I want to avoid the 376 interchange at Braddock Ave if possible.

I know how to come down commercial and get to the Arby’s on Braddock from Sq Hill but is there a more direct way from Oakland? Thanks in advance.


ejwme
Participant
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You could try coming down forbes and travel parallel to Braddock through the back end of edgewood and Swissvale? Either through Frick Park to Commercial and out that way, or on the other side of Braddock, hopping on Pennwood, then cut to Swissvale/Edgewood ave via Race st (under a little stone railroad overpass arch thing, very pretty).

Time of day is key – I’d avoid Commercial late at night or during rush hours, crazies of all types don’t realize it’s banked the wrong way (or realize and think it’s fun).


JZ
Participant
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There isn’t really a more direct way. Frick Park is a pretty big obstacle.

As an alternative, you could go past Braddock on Forbes. Take it all the way to Peebles and make a right. Peebles becomes Savannah. Make a left on Hutchinson, then a right on Pennwood. You want to get over to Swissvale Ave – I forget the exact connection here – I lived in the East End ~15 years ago :-S. Race Street, maybe? Anyway, Right on Swissvale, and then it will bring you to the funky intersection where the Arby’s is. From there, you can make a right onto Braddock. Not direct by any stretch of the imagination, but maybe at least an interesting alternative.


Tabby
Participant
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I always choose Braddock Ave as the lesser of two evils over Commercial. Just my $0.02.

The best way to the Towne Center in my opinion is the gate behind the KMart accessed via Laurel ave (off of Swissvale ave just down from the edgewood library and country club). This avoids Braddock and climbing the hill altogether. However, the last time I was over there they put up a gate and locked it. Someone usually cuts the lock, but I’m not sure if it’s open or closed at the moment. I know that’s not real helpful to you today, but just a route to keep in mind. Also a side rant because I think it’s a huge disservice to the residents of Wilkinsburg blocking their access to the shopping center. I hate when connectivity is reduced on purpose. Grrr.


rsprake
Participant
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The one time I looked at that gate it was locked.

You can take Frick Park to Commercial St into Braddock Hills which has nice wide roads AND a 15 mph speed limit. Look on Google Maps from that point on to get you to the “Town” Center.


rsprake
Participant
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Commercial from the bottom has a nice clean sidewalk if you don’t want to take the road as well.


Tabby
Participant
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Ok, I just went by the gate and it is still locked so that’s out. I keep hoping that someone will sabatoge it. I’ve seen peds go through the bars and scale over it, but there’s no way to get the bike through now. I’m bitter since this was my route to and from work.

@rsprake you lost me with commercial st to Braddock Hills.


Lyle
Participant
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What JZ said. Forbes, braddock, hutchinson, race, under the busway, right on swissvale, BEHIND the mall, then right onto braddock.

Though personally I’m with tabby.


rsprake
Participant
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I meant Swissvale. That area has a 15mph speed limit like Braddock Hills does and I think I got them confused.


Impala26
Participant
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I would never ever want to come back west along that stretch of Forward Avenue. The road is simply too narrow and winding and cars travel too fast.

Going down it however is fun as hell.


Mick
Participant
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I’ve done this route a lot. I’m with Tabby – the hassle of the Braddock-376 interchange is better than either commerical or trying to go through the park.

It’s is somewhat directional though – Forwrd/Commerical from Sq H to Swissvale is much better than the reverse, in terms of effort and safety.

I’m somewhat bitter that the “Edgewood Town Center” is inaccessible from the Edgewood side. Bicycle Joe told me that it is still illegal (in the practical sense) to pass through Edgewood if you are black. I don’t think these facts are unrelated.

Edgewood is one nasty place, although it certainly LOOKS nice.


Tabby
Participant
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+1 Mick. There’s also a nice little parklet playground area just on the other side of the impenetrable gate. There is a sign there that the parking is permit parking only. Wouldn’t want any of those Swissvale or Wilkinsburg neighbors to benefit from a nice place to play. I’m just waiting for them to errect walls and turn away buses and through traffic from the borough altogether.


rsprake
Participant
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I live in Edgewood.

Edgewood Town Center has the unfortunate position of being framed in by the busway and train tracks. That fenced off entrance is probably closed off because the residents don’t want all the car traffic passing through their quiet street. I can’t say I blame them, I wouldn’t want anything to do with a hideous shopping plaza near my house.


Tabby
Participant
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Hey no offense rsprake. I can understand wanting to limit car traffic cutting through there as well. However, given that people repeatedly cut the fence to be able to walk through there, it’s known that there is a high pedestrian demand to connect to the Towne center from that side of Edgewood and Wilkinsburg. I wish they would have fenced it off to vehicles and kept a pedestrian gate open. Most people are just trying to get their groceries and go home, you know, not causing mischieve in the neighborhood.


rsprake
Participant
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I don’t disagree with that. I have been thinking about Bike PGH Lou’s suggestion of a bike / pedestrian committee starting up in Regent Square. This is yet another thing that such a committee could tackle.


Ahlir
Participant
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The residents on the other side of the gate do not want people going through their neighborhood; that’s why it’s that way and will remain so. (I lived in Regent Square at about the time they put in the mall and this was an issue.)

It sort of reminds me of when I worked in Austin (out by the Arboretum) and the locals were opposing a bike trail up from the city because this would allow thieves to come up and steal stuff (I’m not making this up). I still have this image in my head of some guy (no doubt a Mexican) rolling down the trail with a TV strapped to his bike rack…


Tabby
Participant
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that would be ideal for such a committee, rsprake. if there is resident support for allowing ped access it could be done. unfortunately I’m on the wrong side of the fence so I can’t really lobby for access except to say I just want to get to work and promise I won’t steal a TV and strap it to my rear rack. :)


88MS88
Participant
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deleting rear rack commentary


Mick
Participant
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@tabby I’m just waiting for them to errect walls and turn away buses and through traffic from the borough altogether.

IIRC, the busway was delayed through there because Edgewood objected to buses passing through their neighborhood. There is no Edgewood busway stop, because they do not want one.


Impala26
Participant
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Geez, these people of Edgewood sound more pretentious than those in Shadyside or Squirrel Hill…


ejwme
Participant
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there was an opportunity to connect most of Penn Hills and Plum via a greenway that was killed by a few elderly residents that openly and on the record insisted that any bike/ped path would “allow the wrong kind of people access to our neighborhood” (which was NOT a gated community but regular old suburban plans). As though those “wrong” people didn’t have access to it through cars via public roads, or even wanted to steal their stupid B&W rabbit eared tvs.

fear of “Not Us” sucks as public policy.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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@Mick: Twice. First, in 1980, causing the original busway to terminate at Wilkinsburg. Then they delayed the extension project for years. The original projected opening date for the extension to Swissvale was 1998. It finally opened in 2003.

The linear park along the EBwy is missing through Edgewood, for the same reason.

In both cases, if it had to be boiled down to a single word, the objection was this: racism.

btw, who owns the fence?


Nate
Participant
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Here http://tinyurl.com/32sp9v4 is the Race Street underpass (with bonus Reynolds alternative). The silly squiggle at the end is unnecessary on a bicycle.


Tabby
Participant
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good question stu. ownership is not clear as nothing is posted on the fence.


rsprake
Participant
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I would bet it is a Town Center Fence. What was there before the plaza was built?


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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A more pointed question: Who owns (and keeps replacing) the lock?


rsprake
Participant
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Bet it’s a neighbor who then unlocks the fence and walks to K-Mart. :)


sarah_q
Participant
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@ nate, thanks for the map. I am not sure I quite understand the Frick park segment though and I am a little afraid my road bike won’t cut it.

I think for now my plan is to come down commercial from sq’ill and then return home up Braddock through the 376 interchange.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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First thing you do is get a bunch of store owners in ETC on your side, saying their business would go up if more people from the nearby area (whichever boros) could walk or bike there.

Second thing you do is cost out the acquisition and installation of a keep-cars-out-but-let-peds-and-bikes-through gate.

Third thing you do is figure out how much less response time emergency personnel would have if they could get to and through that gate, if there was a problem at the plaza. Said emergency personnel would have a key to the gate.

When you have both business and emergency responder reasons FOR the gate, it will rapidly shut down objectors who are AGAINST the gate.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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the frick park section is actually awesome. it’s all either paved or crushed limestone, and it’s wide-ish and dead flat. it goes along the edge of the hollow, and is a wonderful secret shortcut from point breeze to regent square.

you just keep going along the path from the circle on reynolds, past the bocce lawns, and just follow the path.


rsprake
Participant
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I take that section of Frick Park every day, on a light single speed with 28s and a more robust bike with 32s and it’s fine. There is some loose gravel where they did some drainage work so just watch out for that.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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I would bet it is a Town Center Fence. What was there before the plaza was built?

In the distant past, Union Switch and Signal. Not really relevant, but a tidbit.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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@stu–Didn’t Edgewood finally agree to a busway stop, and PAT was going to renovate that train station? Or was that just a hallucination…


ieverhart
Participant
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It sort of reminds me of when I worked in Austin (out by the Arboretum) and the locals were opposing a bike trail up from the city because this would allow thieves to come up and steal stuff (I’m not making this up). I still have this image in my head of some guy (no doubt a Mexican) rolling down the trail with a TV strapped to his bike rack…

The same preposterous objections about “those people” were evidently raised when they started construction of the East Bay Bike Path in Rhode Island. It was built anyway, and now, proximity to the trail is listed as an amenity when selling a house in that area.


rsprake
Participant
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That train station is now being rented by a architecture firm which is disappointing to me. I was hoping for a cafe or something along those lines.


Mick
Participant
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Sarah, sounds like a good plan to me. Check your brakes at Forward and Beechwood before your decent. You will get your speed fix for the day going down that hill.


sarah_q
Participant
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I take commercial almost every Sunday on my ride to Monroeville to swim with JCC masters. So yeah, I know all about it. However, I have never brought myself to ride back UP that thing, even though I know I “should” someday.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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@jeffinpgh, I’d have to do some research. I don’t remember hearing about any deals. If there were any second thoughts on finally playing nice, though, that’s five years in the past by now.

FWIW, the old Wilkinsburg train station, adjacent to the Hay/South Station, is owned outright by a private owner. I do not know its fate, or if there are any plans for either building or site.


Tabby
Participant
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@sarah I wouldn’t say you “should”. I do see people riding up it occasionally but there’s no shoulder, blind curves, step as heck and cars going too fast. I feel no compeling need to tackle it personally. Maybe someday, I won’t rule it out. Certainly would be a shorter route to Squirrel Hill for me.


ejwme
Participant
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I went to Allderdice for high school in the 1990’s. There was a kid who was bribed a king sized snickers to go down Commercial on a bike. He was legend, and everyone (students, teachers, alike) all thought he was psychotic. While I was there, he was famous for this exploit, and his fame outlasted his attendance…

A: [blah blah blah], like that Adrian kid.

B: you mean the guy who rode down commercial?

A: yeah, that guy.

B: dude, he’s real?

A: yeah, graduated two years ago.

B: he lived?

But that was a few repavings ago. It might actually be banked the proper way now. Rumor had it that if you went down fast enough (in a car) you could actually feel the car lift off in the turns. I didn’t drive then, and I’m not as stupid now, so I wouldn’t know for sure. But you can bet my fellow Idiots In Training tried it, and each successive class tried it too. Just so you guys know.

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