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Ideas for future staircase runnels

So the city is pretty happy with the Louisa St bike ramp runnel experiment or whatever you want to call it. They may be interested in putting in other ones in the future, so i thought it couldn't hurt to get a good list of candidate and useful staircases to them. Some requirements are that the staircase needs to be wide enough. many of the public steps are too narrow to add the runnel safely, or at least for the City to agree to it. Also, it's preferred if the city owns the steps. Private property is out. I know there's been discussion about the Alexis St steps in Greenfield, but I think they may be too narrow? Also, although it's owned by PennDOT, I'd like to put a vote in for the West End Bridge. any other wide, useful staircases out there?
2014-01-13 16:31:43
Termon Street (or is it Brighton Heights Blvd now) to Davis Avenue. This would connect the McKees Rocks Bridge to the Brighton Heights community without the need to climb the Belgian block hill with near blind curve that is the north end of the McKees Rocks Bridge. 99% certain it is owned by the City.
2014-01-13 16:55:08
Definitely the west end bridge. Also, bloomfield bridge/bigelow blvd pedestrian overpass. Maybe some busway / T stations with stairs? I'm not too familiar with these.
2014-01-13 16:55:33
Maybe S. Graham street pedestrian overpass (connecting ellsworth to center). However, I'm not sure how much need there really is for this one.
2014-01-13 16:56:59
How about on the steps of the city-county building? Not a super long staircase, but there are bike racks up there, and it would be easy to do.
2014-01-13 17:03:11
Duquesne incline stairs? Possibly too narrow. Mon Wharf Stairs? Till they get the switchbacks in place.
2014-01-13 17:04:08
+1 for city county building.
2014-01-13 17:29:42
The stairs from Bates St up to Romeo and Frazier would be good for me.
2014-01-13 17:37:33
Yeah, i thought of the S. Graham street pedestrian overpass as well. Wondering if that would be used. i see lots of peds on it.
2014-01-13 17:42:31
Any in the South Side?
2014-01-13 17:43:03
Oh yeah, also the steps on Heron up to Polish Hill. thoughts?
2014-01-13 17:46:27
yeah those were brought up. They said that the staircase is in apparently such bad shape that a) it might be dangerous to drill holes in it and b) if any investment is made in those stairs, they should go to replacing them. If replaced, they may be able to design a runnel into it. it was actually thought of before Louisa St, but they decided to change it
2014-01-13 19:40:22
the steps on bates st could be a good candidate too
2014-01-13 19:41:54
how are those near schenley plaza anywhere near wide enough?
2014-01-13 21:38:43
I know riding the flemming bridge is pretty rough to bike and I would carry my bike up the steps coming home from work....Here:
2014-01-14 07:55:22
Another one, admittedly unfamiliar to me, but which looks mighty useful for weary travelers going to the top of Mt. Washington and beyond: #67: Vinecliff sidewalk steps.
2014-01-14 08:13:18
There are a huge number of steps on the south side at points further east which would take a larger part of the climb and might not force at least some sidewalk free climbing on the steeps. That might make them better options or the westerly positioning of Sycamore might be importantly useful. South Hills folks?
2014-01-14 08:19:16
Same disclaimer as before, I've never really inspected any of these, but the steps mapping mashup seems to number them by the number of steps (higher rank (closer to 1) being more steps) Concentrating on the top of that list, I'm not too sure #1 is terribly useful, but for sure, for folks up on the hill on the North side, #3, Rising Main Way looks like a shortcut to bite off most of the climb albeit perhaps a scary one. #2, the 57th street steps look quite useful, too.
2014-01-14 08:37:52
South hiller checking in. Certainly there are lots of public steps in the area, but I think it would be a misuse of funds to just retrofit all of them with a rail. You want to add rails to those steps where it will really make a difference. I dont think this is a 'you build it and they will come' kind of infrastructure. So far I havent thought of any along my normal routes, but I'll continue to look.
2014-01-14 09:14:25
I don't think retrofitting all was ever on the menu. Just, ideas for a few of the better ones. Part of the trouble in our judging this as a group here is that we're pretty used to riding, and just climbing whatever's in the way without second thoughts. And some of us even go out of our way to seek pain. Starting from that personality type, it's hard to see the point. Starting from a more normal personality type, the ability to clear vertical using different muscles and not worrying about pace I'd think would be come as welcome relief. I do think there's a degree of "if you build it, they will come" if you build it in a useful enough places. But I do think the steps have to make a categorical difference to invite new categories of cyclists to the party. By that standard the vinecliff steps might be a total dud, for instance. Dunno, just thinking out loud.
2014-01-14 09:42:36
@Andrew. Looks like PennDOT owns that bridge, but that's a good idea. @byogman - Just some brainstorming here. sure most strong/experienced riders will just climb the hills, but surely we know people that aren't so experienced or strong in our neighborhoods and friend circles, or places that you've frequently wished would have one, like the Fleming bridge for instance. @marko82 - by no means would we want to try to get them on every staircase. i'm just looking to brainstorm a list of other really useful ones in case the opportunity comes up. wouldn't have made a thread and would have gone straight to the steps map if that was the case.
2014-01-14 10:09:52
I agree with ya erok. How about Rialto street? especially now that all the construction is wrapping up. (Snarkily I should say Canton too, but it would only get heavy use one day a year)
2014-01-14 10:38:29
Hmmm. Rialto is interesting...that could in theory open up a major shortcut for some people too. good suggestion.
2014-01-14 11:50:49
Speaking of shortcuts, if the steps in Panther Hollow between the lake and Dinosaur Park at Blvd of the Allies could be rebuilt and a runnel added that would open up another option for travel up through there to Squirrel Hill and the universities etc.
2014-01-14 12:03:12
Just wanted to add a comment based on my very limited (two) uses of runnels. I think these would work best on stairs that have landings built into them so you can rest a little if needed. I think a very long or very steep stairway would be unpleasant to use. Now I'll break my comment by adding the staircase from Duquesne U. down to second ave.
2014-01-14 12:42:44
byogman wrote:#2, the 57th street steps look quite useful, too.
Thought 57th st was bad, I was wrong, they are not in bad shape. I'm not sure how useful they would be for commuters though. To get to the top of stanton, you have to connect to other stairs or really steep hills. 56th st stairs looked like a good idea, but they are closed...
2014-01-14 12:58:53
How about runnels on the stairs in and out of the creepy tunnel under bigelow that connects polish hill / hill district under bigelow.
2014-01-14 13:05:39
jonawebb wrote:Speaking of shortcuts, if the steps in Panther Hollow between the lake and Dinosaur Park at Blvd of the Allies could be rebuilt and a runnel added that would open up another option for travel up through there to Squirrel Hill and the universities etc.
That would be really great But the bottm of th those stairs run right across the doorstep of a house - and the owners there (whose use the stairss daily) are hostile to the idea of the public using them . Putting runnels in and opening the stairs to the public, maybe by moving the path a few yards from the house, would definately make my life better.
2014-01-14 13:34:39
Benzo wrote:No, the tunnel connects the sidewalk on herron ave under bigelow blvd.
Whoa, the things you learn here. That is really cool.
2014-01-14 13:38:18
Connecting Bridges to Trails: Stairs next to PNC park next to 6th st bridge that take you from bridge level to the north shore trail level. Stairs from 3 rivers heritage trail to bridge on the opposite side of the river. Stairs next to 9th st bridge from north shore trail to bridge. Stairs from 3 rivers heritage trail to bridge on the opposite side. 7th street bridge has decent ramps on either side, however, they are constantly closing sections of the trail or bridges down in the summer due to events, fireworks, etc. East Busway stops: Herron ave station add rail to stairs (both sides) of busway. Negley ave station (not really needed, since access on summerlea is ok) East Liberty - being worked on - (new design should be ADA compliant and more bike friendly I assume) Homewood station - looks like it's relatively bike friendly Wilkinsburg station - looks relatively bike friendly Wilkinsburg station @hammot - looks relatively bike friendly Swissvale station @ maple - looks like it could use some rails down the stairs to boarding platforms. Swissvale station (park and ride) - looks relatively bike friendly. All the busyway stations could use a bunch of bike corrals.
2014-01-14 13:46:38
I didn't know some of these existed. The way I'd phrase this is two-fold (and note I'm pulling numbers out of the sky): #1 - If we were to install runnels on four existing wide-enough steps that are in good shape, which four? #2 - If we were to rebuild or widen four more steps that exist but are closed or too degraded or too narrow, which four? Seems like we need a separate category for anything having to do with the Port Authority. It's not exactly private property but certainly not city, either.
2014-01-14 13:57:22
South busway: Glenbury - Overbrook *Looks relatively bike friendly Overbrook - Overbrook *Looks relatively bike friendly Inglewood - Brookline *Looks relatively bike friendly Central St - Brookline *Lots of stairs to get here, rails might help? South Bank - Brookline *Needs rails on stairs that connect to saw mill run blvd Whited St - Brookline * Looks relatively bike friendly Edgebrook - Brookline *Needs rails on stairs on both sides to timberland ave and Edgebrook ave Palm Garden - Mt Wash *Needs rails on Stairs to boggs ave South Hills Junction - Mt Wash *Need rails on stairs to lelia st or jasper st, maybe other access points. Station Square - South Shore *Looks relatively bike friendly
2014-01-14 14:20:26
@jonawebb "Speaking of shortcuts, if the steps in Panther Hollow between the lake and Dinosaur Park at Blvd of the Allies could be rebuilt and a runnel added that would open up another option for travel up through there to Squirrel Hill and the universities etc." If you're referencing the Anderson Playground steps to Panther Hollow Lake, I thought that those had been reopened and are in "relatively" okay shape.
2014-01-14 15:13:32
J Z wrote:If you’re referencing the Anderson Playground steps to Panther Hollow Lake, I thought that those had been reopened and are in “relatively” okay shape.
I was. But Google maps calls that place Dinosaur Park. I'm glad they fixed the steps. A runnel would make them really neat.
2014-01-14 15:19:30
There was a stair and sidewalk passe from the 2020 Beechwood Blvd entrance to Frick and Shaw Street - but the adams apple owneres of the adjoining property covered it over. Any reasonable way to open it? I've thought about just making a damn path through their garden - it is, after all, a right-of-way.
2014-01-14 17:00:19
+1 for the need for runnels at one or more of the Three Sisters Bridges down to trail level. Access from the trail to the bridges, or from the bridges to the trail, is virtually non-existent.
2014-01-14 17:07:05
Swalfoort wrote:+1 for the need for runnels at one or more of the Three Sisters Bridges down to trail level. Access from the trail to the bridges, or from the bridges to the trail, is virtually non-existent.
Ever try riding down the switchbacks next to pnc park? if you can succeed without a footdown, then you will probably excel at cyclocross racing. It's so narrow that two people in wheelchairs going opposite directions probably couldn't get by each other. One at a time, and it will take 5 minutes to navigate.
2014-01-15 13:41:27
The comment pointing out that, on the whole, habitual riders will just do the climb is spot on. It's a matter of effort: if your legs are in good shape it's just easier to keep riding; otherwise you have to get off, hoist the bike, maneuver it up some stairs using only your (keyboard adapted) arms, get back on, etc. Man, that is work. My personal example is the the short push up from Saline over the track, to the UPMC parking lot and the Jail Trail. I mean, way back I thought that I was pretty cool and in the know when I was doing it. But actually, it's a whole lot less work to zip down the street to 2nd and back up the hill to the parking lot. (While this is not a runnel thing, the concept is the same.) So wither the runnel? Stairs where they really are the only sensible choice for the commuter. Apart from ones that respect the effort trade-off the only ones that make sense are ones that make things accessible to the casual biker, maybe the ones who would otherwise balk at a climb up a spot of interest. But while I have your attention (?), there is one improvement that would make a big difference: install a ramp or switchback at the Duquesne Incline: The current scheme is useless and forces cyclists onto a roadway, where they have to negotiate an intersection and speeding traffic. Then there's the stair piers, a bus shelter... That sidewalk is dangerously narrow and should be widened (up to the bridge, realistically). Cars travelling at the posted speed limit would not have a problem with this, especially as they are simply heading towards a traffic light at the WE circle. Heck, I'll even post a few bucks to some pedalstarter site to show my support.
2014-01-15 23:00:21
One could say the same thing for bike lanes, bike racks, etc. Those of us who are riding really don't "need" them. but they do make biking a more convenient choice for more people, and legitimize people who use them.
2014-01-16 14:59:23
Yes, please on the West End Bridge - particularly on the stairs on the upriver/north side of the bridge. These are the ones that let off right by the casino/trail. More and more I'm running into other cyclists as we lug our bikes up and down those stairs. I also agree on the sister bridges, particularly 9th.
2014-01-16 18:11:33
If they ever connect the dead end of Saline Street with Greenfield Ave/Rd/Pocusset, that should have one.
2014-01-16 21:31:14
Erok, point taken. But let's be sure that the improvements happen in the right places for the right reasons.
2014-01-16 21:32:23
no doubt. that's the reason i made the thread
2014-01-17 12:16:26
and trust me, it will take a long time for the next one
2014-01-17 12:22:31
Quite. But I tend to also worry about things like the bit of Bouquet between Sennott and Clemente. It's been fitted with a bike lane, which is nice if you're continuing on to Joncaire or Bates. Bikes turning left onto Clemente have a bad choice, and drivers get confused (and annoyed by these bikers who refuse to stay in their lane). It would have better been sharrowed. The lane was probably put in without input from bikers (if it was, what were those people thinking?). But hey, on paper and in the photos it looks like the bike people got what they wanted. (And still they're complaining! Where is Rob Ford when you need him?)
2014-01-17 15:14:18
Ahlir wrote:But I tend to also worry about things like the bit of Bouquet between Sennott and Clemente
I ride this every day during evening rush hour, and have had no problem at all with drivers here when I simply take the lane when turning from bouqeut to clemente. I find myself having to watch out more for a huge number pedestrians jay walking here than cars misbehaving.
2014-01-21 10:28:38
Glenwood bridge access from GAP trail. Baldwin road connects to the GAP trail by keystone metals, it's relatively low traveled. A couple blocks down there are two sets of stairs that take you from baldwin road to the glenwood bridge sidewalk (east side). The lower set of stairs starts near where baldwin road passes under riverton street overpass. it's a bit narrow, and the stairs are not in the best condition, but this could be an ideal place to add some runnels to make a connection to the glenwood bridge. You go up a first set of stairs which is multi-level (kind of like on west end bridge), and then follow the sidewalk about 50 feet to a narrower set of stairs (rails may need to be altered or moved to accommodate the runnel).
2014-03-10 09:06:10
Seattle has an interesting runnel design. link The city has tried several times to include runnels that simply do not work. Accessibility rules requiring handrails often conflicted with runnel design, which is perhaps most apparent on the N 41st Street walkway over Aurora. The handrail gets in the way of handlebars, wide bikes, baskets or even simple bags. My take on this is that it seems backwards, pushing it up on the drivetrain side.
2016-01-08 15:22:10
According to Corey O'Connor's Twitter, the Alexis St. steps now have a bike runnel. Also, it looks like the steps have been reconstructed: Personally I don't find bike runnels of that much use, but those who like them, go for it.
2016-06-09 10:00:54
Do we have any inkling which steps are on the short list to get these next? Did this tie into last year's steps inventory in any way? I'd like to see at least one on the north-ish side of town.
2016-06-09 10:54:00
Our Penndot friends need to look at this on the connection from the end of the Glenwood bridge to the GAP trail where they are currently reconstructing the overpasses. They shouldn't re-use the old deteriorating staircase, they should replace it with ramps with switchbacks wide enough that two bikes can pass each other without dismounting!
2016-06-09 11:43:40
Though I would love to see some runnels on the stairs next to PNC park at 6th street bridge and the downtown side to connect to the bridge with bike lanes which can take you right to market square. It would also be awesome if they made market street contraflow for bikes between the square and liberty ave so you could ride both ways between market square and the stadium.
2016-06-09 11:47:52
When I said north, I was thinking up in the residential areas, like the three above James St behind Allegheny General Hosp up to Henderson, or the end of Arch St up to Perrysville, beyond Randyland. That would make biking up to those areas eminently more do-able, since pedaling up Federal, even to the lower corner with Perrysville, is very difficult. James and Arch have much less traffic, and their respective sets of steps get you up the vertical climb with much less effort. Both contain turns, though, which will make them harder to do.
2016-06-09 19:39:23
Eat That Read This #435 mentions this WTAE story. Includes video.
2016-07-05 12:53:20
They are also misinformed on the WTAE story. "The Alexis Street steps in Greenfield are the only steps in the city that currently have a runnel." They obviously don't know about louisa street runnel, in oakland, the first in PGH that I know of.
2016-07-05 13:43:36
Reviving an old thread to announce a new stair-with-runnel project at Sefler street in Mckees Rocks that connects Railroad & Bouquet streets . My buddy was involved in the design and welcomes feedback.
2019-03-13 19:20:22
I don't know much about the area but in looking at the map it appears to be a perfect spot for a runnel.  It is a pretty long staircase, so it would be a pain to carry a bike up it on your shoulder.  There is no street nearby to pedal up.  It connects a large residential hilltop neighborhood to a lot of businesses, some bus routes, and other connections down below near the heart of McKees Rocks.
2019-03-15 00:25:23
Also in skimming through this thread there are a couple updates worth mentioning... The Joncaire Street staircase renovation with runnel has been completed.  Also the stairs that go from Ross Street to the Blvd. of the Allies still have no runnel, but there is now a sidewalk the whole way down the Blvd. of the Allies ramp to Grant Street.
2019-03-15 00:34:31
A few weeks ago while coming up Boundry Street to CMU, ready to take my usual route just after crossing the RR tracks (that may be Neville at that pount??) going right onto Hammerschlag Dr, I decide to take a few pics of the new steps going up to suggest runnels, as that would be a convenient way to the my utter surprise and enjoyment...among other reactions... I see that the steps were constucted with runnels!!! And so smooth and slick... So a general comment: What about some signage or markings to indicate bike friendly/runneled steps ...?
2019-05-18 07:10:37
So now that we have the Joncaire runnel, any chance we can short-list my suggested runnel series? The three sets of steps above James Street, behind Allegheny General Hospital.
2019-05-18 10:53:24