Bike to the Three Rivers Arts Fest: June 7-16

Bicycle Culture Debuts at the Festival

by Richard Gartner

traf_main_bikepghIn a few short years, the bicycling component of the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival has expanded. This year several activities highlight Pittsburgh’s bike culture.

Bike Pittsburgh is running this year’s bike valet program again. According to Rebecca Susman, Bike Pittsburgh’s Membership and Outreach Manager, “Last year we parked about 1,400 bikes during the festival.” It operates like a coat check; you don’t need to bring your own lock, and it’s free to cyclists.

Before you get your bike parked, though, consider participating in “I <3 My Bike” at the valet tent. Cyclists get their picture taken with their bikes in front of a vinyl backdrop that includes the Pittsburgh skyline.

“Not only do you get a great picture of you and your bike that we’ll put on Flickr, but we save your contact information, your bike’s serial number and your bike’s description in a private database,” says Rebecca.

“If your bike is stolen, we can give you your information, including the picture. You can provide this information to police as proof of ownership.” You don’t have to be a Bike Pittsburgh member to participate. “I <3 My Bike” operates from noon to 9pm on Saturdays, and from noon to 8pm on Sundays.

After discovering your bike does indeed have a serial number and parking it securely, several other bike-themed projects await you.

Read more about the projects here.


What’s Happening at the Arts Fest?

This Friday June 7th, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros will kick off the 10-day festival of free live music and more.  Additionally, the much anticipated grand reopening of the Point State Park Fountain will happen, featuring a laser light show projected onto the fountain.  This marvelous combination of lights, color, music, and people at the park is a great opportunity to experience the true vibrancy of our city.  To see the entire events schedule, visit the Dollar Bank Three Rivers Arts Festival webpage here.


Beat the Traffic, Park for Free

The Three Rivers Arts Festival is located in Point State Park, an easy bike ride from most places in the city, either on the trails or on-street. That means you won’t have to pay for parking or wait in any long lines at parking garages. It also provides a great, family-friendly and healthy way to get to the Festival.

If you still don’t feel comfortable riding on the roads and are able to transport your bike with a car, you can park your car for free at several trail heads around town and ride a completely flat, traffic-free route to the point. More on that later.


Plan Your Route

It’s important to plan ahead, especially if you’ve never ridden your bike in town or you are riding with children. Be sure to check out our Pittsburgh Bike Map, the most comprehensive bike map of the City. You can find all of the riverfront trails, bike-friendly streets, and trail access points, as well as links to transit and bike shops. It can be viewed online, or you can pick up a paper copy at the BikePGH office, every bike shop in town, and other supporting businesses.

Here are some other great resources to help you plan your route:

  • BikePGH Messageboard – Learn the best routes from other local cyclists
  • Google Maps – Google has bicycling directions on their popular mapping software

Trails and the free trail-head parking

Click on the images to view a detail of the map

eft Greenfield/Oakland – Eliza Furnace Trail – 3.5 miles from the Point

Free Parking: off of Second Ave.

Arguably the most popular trail head in the city, the entrance to the Eliza Furnace Trail is located off of Second Ave in Greenfield. There is a large parking lot, port-a-pot, information, and plenty of cyclists to talk to. It’s also conveniently located near the Bates St (Oakland) exit of 376.

The Eliza Furnace Trail takes you along Second Ave and the usual bumper to bumper traffic on the Parkway. The trail ends near the Allegheny County Jail, so you’ll probably hear many veteran cyclers call this “The Jail Trail.” Since the section around the Mon Wharf is not complete (yet), you must enter into traffic at Grant St or Smithfield St downtown. From here you can take the Blvd of the Allies all the way to the Point. The Boulevard is wide through here and drivers typically treat you respectfully, but if you still don’t want to ride with traffic or you have kids, you can continue on the sidewalk for a few blocks. The sidewalk along Fort Pitt Blvd is usually pretty free of pedestrians. Make sure to give them the right of way and full respect if you encounter any.

birminghamSouth Side – South Side Trail – 2 miles from the Point

Free Parking: Under the Birmingham Bridge, South Side Riverfront Park (bottom of S 18th Street)

This park is popular with cyclers and boaters alike. It provides quick access to the SouthSide Works and the East Carson Street business district.

You can take this trail to Station Square, then cross the Smithfield Street Bridge into town. Once in Downtown, follow the instructions on using the Blvd of the Allies on the Eliza Furnace description.

Another option is to ride to the opposite direction, east, to the SouthSide Works, and cross the Hot Metal Bridge to join the Eliza Furnace Trail. Using these two trails makes for a nice traffic-free loop around the city.

washingtonslandingNorthside – North Shore Trail – 2.5 miles from the Point

Free Parking: Under the 31st Street Bridge, Washington’s Landing (Herr’s Island)

This is a popular parking spot for cyclers that want to beat the traffic and parking costs at the stadiums. You can ride this easy and pleasant path past the Heinz lofts, under the Three Sisters bridges, past PNC Park, and over the Ft Duquesne Bridge’s ped/bike path directly into Point State Park.

If you want an even shorter ride (1.5 miles), you can park for free near the Heinz lofts.

For an even longer ride (3.5 miles), you can park in Millvale Riverfront Park, just off of rt 28 in Millvale, near the 40th Street Bridge.

Not a member of BikePGH? Join today! Bike Pittsburgh works to protect bikers’ rights and promote the vision of making Pittsburgh a safer and more enjoyable place to live and to ride. For more info, check out:


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