I am a new cyclist here in Pittsburgh and was hoping to lean on everyone’s experience in selecting the best route (safest, easiest, etc.) from the Southside (approx. 19th and Carson) to Pitt’s campus in Oakland. Google Maps suggests a route about which I am skeptical. Any help you might be able to provide would be greatly appreciated!
One would be go to 18th and carson, take that to the Southside bike Trail by the river, Hot Metal Bridge tto a right on the jail trail, then the panther hollow trail to the end, then Boundary to Joncaire, which puts you right on the campus on Bouquet Street.
Another might be Carson to the Birmingham Bridge, then up the sidewalk and/or busway along 5th, then switch over to Forbes in Oakland. This is much faster, but not as safe as the trail way.
I would consider riding the trail to Pitt, then blasting through the traffic on 5th and the bridge to get back to the SS.
Same to Joncaire, but use the just-rebuilt runnel along the 140-ish-step staircase, which pops you out on a quiet service road behind Pitt’s Frick Fine Arts Bldg. Personally, I find it much preferable to port a bike up a long staircase than pedaling up a long hill. For one, it’s a pretty good bet you will see no car traffic on the staircase. Two, shorter time and distance. Three, you employ a different set of muscles, so you don’t get as tired. Four, bike specific infrastructure! Celebrate progress!
Personally, I would just push it up the sidewalk on joncaire instead of dealing with the stairs. But I’m more apt to just ride up the cobbles. You could also ride up boundary street then through the CMU campus via Hammerschlag drive to frew street (across from phipps conservatory) or Filmore / Winthrop to Craig Street to the forbes bike lanes.
Arguably though, the trail from Hot metal through junction hollow is the most chill option. I’m not big on the situation on the Oakland side of the Birmingham Bridge and prefer to avoid that till they have a bike lane into Oakland built (They keep saying it will happen when the new BRT system is implemented in the near future).