Getting to Becks Run Rd. from GAP Trail
What would be the easiest and safest place to peel off of the GAP to reach Becks Run Rd.? Would it be a better Idea to take a 51 bus up 18th St. and access Becks Run Rd. from Brownsville Rd.?
You just cross the tracks opposite Page. There’s an opening in the fence, and a gate.
You won’t get in trouble if there are no railroad people around. You may not even get in trouble if there are railroad people around.
Yeah, there is no legal / legitimate crossing there.
Only lawbreakers and trespassers (people on bikes who want ice cream mostly) hop the tracks.
I’ve lived in Pittsburgh for 25 years, and I’ve hopped tracks regularly for all that time, and I don’t know anyone who has gotten in trouble from railroad people for crossing tracks. The railroad people would like us to fear them (they care mostly about their liability, less about our safety, and not at all about the obstacles that they create), but if you look both ways and listen, you can cross tracks safely.
That would be a good location for a level crossing or maybe a bridge over the tracks.
Crossing train tracks is just like crossing a street, only the cars are bigger and will not stop.
My M.O. is that if you can see a moving train, you should wait for it to pass before you cross. I’ve heard that it takes a half mile or so for a train to come to a stop. I’ve got time enough to wait.
This is me getting too close to a train. Note, I wasn’t trying to cross the tracks, just trying to get a good picture. Warning: Loud.
I tried it today. Becks Run Rd seriously needs a road diet and bike lanes/sharrows as well as a reduced speed limit. Supposedly, Glass Run Rd. is detoured via Becks Run Rd. Could that be where all the traffic is coming from?
Nope. Always lots of fast traffic on Becks Run. I generally take the sidewalk going towards Brownsville (from the GAP). It’s a bit slower, but I don’t feel as though someone will murder me. Going toward the GAP though, I can go faster (it’s a slight downhill slope), so I’ll take the lane…I do think they should build a 2 way bike lane in the extra non-necessary lane going towards Brownsville though…
I used to ride out Beck’s Run and never liked it. I didn’t like the sidewalk, either, too rough and irregular and sometimes there’s vegetation growing in the way. On the way out, it’s two lanes partway, so you can take the right lane for part of it. I’ve had more rude encounters on the way in, where it’s one lane, and drivers behind me get annoyed with me slowing them down (whether I was fully taking the lane or not). In fact, somebody told me the other day that they’d called the police on an aggressive driver who was threatening them in that very spot a few weeks ago.
It’s a terrible road, but also essential for riding out that way. There is a workaround that could be developed — turn the closed Parklane Road into a bike trail. That would get folks to suburbs on the northern side of the road pretty safely.
A 44 Knoxville bus would get me even closer. Are any of the trails passable with a road bike?
Even if you’re doing the speed limit (on a bike or on a car) the motorists on Becks Run will give you a earful.
It’s their GOD GIVEN RIGHT to go at least 50 MPH!
I asked for BMUFL signs some time ago, but I doubt they’ll ever put them up.
Someyear, we’ll have speed cameras, and this sounds like just the spot to put one.
@zz, Marko posted some stuff about the Hays trails here: https://bikepgh.org/message-board/topic/hays-woods/#post-328355
I quit riding Becks run Outbound (south) two years ago. I had too many encounters with suspected drunk drivers and just plain angry people. There are two traffic lanes in this direction so a cyclist occupying one shouldn’t be an issue but…
The last straw for me was when I was threatened by two motorists who got out of their cars & threatened my life (I was taking the lane & for some reason BOTH cars thought they’d teach me a lesson- even though they both could have easily & safely passed me). I then called 911 several times over two hours and no police showed up to take a report so I left.
I now ride up 18th street to get home. It adds a lot of distance and effort; and the car traffic sucks on this route too… But at least I think if something happens on 18th or Brownsville Road someone will notice my body sooner.
I’ve lived neer Becks Run for almost four decades and remember quite a few fatal wrecks. The ultimate solution is to narrow the road so it doesn’t look like a highway through the woods, but that’s probably not going to happen.
I think any effort to make this road more bike friendly should really just focus on getting a usable sidewalk. If we had a consistent eight foot path that was free of weeds/dirt/glass/car parts/parked cars/etc. I would use it. I think a lot of people would use it. We had a South Hills bike/ped committee working on this with Natalia Rudiak a few years back as well as suggesting this through various planning channels. It never went anywhere. One big issue (out of many) is where do cyclists, or even pedestrians, go after they get to Carson Street? Crossing the tracks is technically illegal, and riding Carson is a death wish.
I was hoping that the city could leverage a philantropic foundation to include a flyover bridge from the G.A.P. into any plans to develop the new Hays Woods park land. Hays Woods is bigger than Frick park, you should be able to bike to it. THEN the sidewalk or bike lane on Becks makes much more sense.
(call me a pessimist on this one)
Is there anytime when I might be able to make the nearly two mile climb to Agnew Ave. without fearing for my life? Is the sidewalk on the southern side of the road contiguous from Carson St. to Agnew Ave.? Also, when will Glass Run Rd. re-open? Would that be any less scary?
@zzwergel, one thing you do really well is to narrate as you roll video. It would be helpful to do that, starting at the gate by the GAP trail, jumping the tracks, crossing 837, and attempting to go up the sidewalk. Riding where possible, walking out into the street where necessary, showing just what a pedestrian or cyclist has to deal with. Then post the video on YT for all to see.
I’d do this myself, but my front video has been out of service for several weeks.
In this thread: You’ve got 3 Baldwin/Carrick residents saying they WON’T ride up Becks Run… it’s too dangerous. Take our advice.
The sidewalk is OK if you don’t mind nearly falling in big piles of sandy gravel, glass, weeds, garbage, dead deer carcasses….etc… don’t be surprised if you get a flat.
There’s two spots where you might need to jump out into the road:
There’s a landslide that’s eaten up the sidewalk here: (it actually used to be worse)
There’s a Meals On Wheels delivery truck always parked on the sidewalk at this house, despite having a HUGE driveway to use.
So, yeah… if it’s worth your time and trouble, go for it: THE MORE PEOPLE THAT 311 THIS CRAP, we’re more likely to see some work done/tickets issued.
Who is the councilperson for that area and do they care at all? (My guess is no else there would have been improvements done already)
Btw, years ago I learned that the east side is county. Note differences in maintenance.
@zzwergel, just because you have an idea to do something doesn’t mean you actually need to do it. this is like when you were really set on biking Blvd of the Allies end to end and people told you there was no safe time.
With Google Maps streetview you can experience all of the joy of the scenery without any of the worries about being killed.
I actually tried staying on the Blvd. of the Allies east of Craft Ave. a few weeks ago. First of all, there is a ramp coming from 5th Ave. so I moved right one lane. Shortly thereafter, I noticed that if I stayed in that lane, It would end up on the Parkway so I stopped and moved left. After that, I thought it was enough and jumped the Jersey barrier onto the sidewalk which was littered with debris and had a road work sign in the way.
I can try that tomorrow if the weather permits. I was going to go out today, but it started raining. I am not complaining about the rain because it hasn’t rained any significant amount for quite some time. Since I do not use Twitter, is there a way I can post video links to 311 via email? I believe Becks Run Rd is a gray area due to it being the location of a narrow shoelace of Baldwin Borough from just below Wagner St. to Carson St. as well as forming the border between Baldwin and Pittsburgh between Agnew Ave. and the same point below Wagner St.
@zz, ha, I did the exact same thing one time, trying to get to Mercy Hospital from Squirrel Hill.
I don’t think Beck’s Run is life threatening in the same way. If I still worked out there I would ride it. But I would be extremely cautious and use all the techniques described in Forester’s Effective Cycling.
The problem is, unlike the Blvd of the Allies, there’s no good alternative, heading out that way.
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