Be careful on the trail near Millvale…
Anonymous 11/12/2012 at 4:16am #
I was riding on the river front trail between Herr’s Island and Millvale tonight. Just as the sun was going down, I hit a huge lip that I didn’t see where the trail goes from gravel to asphalt, which threw me off my bike and destroyed my front wheel (see picture), forcing me to walk home.
I’ve done a lot of night riding and this is the first time I’ve crashed at night (or ever destroyed my front wheel at any time), so I thought I’d warn everyone to watch out for this. This was actually my first time on this section of trail, but compared to the rest of the riverfront trail system which I’ve ridden a fair amount, several bits between the Heinz lofts and Millvale seems like it could use some TLC… At least down by the Smithfield bridge they’ve spray painted where roots are making the trail surface uneven.
I think I know where that is: About even with the back of the building that’s right alongside the trail. I’ve been tempted to take a shovel with me on some trip, and make a few treks from a nearby gravel pile to make that lip a little more pleasant.
In daylight, it’s easy to see that you’re about to hit a two-inch curb, and a trail of a sort has developed to the right of it. But at night, if you whack it straight on, yeah, you could bend a wheel.
I don’t know who to talk to about making a fix there.
I sent the info along to my sources at Friends of the Riverfront. Hope they can get to it soon! It looks like you took a nasty spill, Ted.
Anonymous 11/12/2012 at 3:50pm #
Stu, yes, I think we’re talking about the same spot.
Swalfoort, thanks! I’m more concerned about other people since I only got scraped up, but someone else might fare worse.
Oh man, I saw what must have been you walking your bike through Lawrenceville last night. I wasn’t about to pick up a stranger but I wish I could have given you a ride.
Glad you’re ok.
Just to clarify, this is while going upstream (downtown to Millvale), a hundred yards or so after exiting the constructed bridge structure. You go up a bit of a hill. The lip in question is just as you approach that building. The area is lit at night, but casts a shadow that masks how steep a lip that is.
Glad to hear it wasn’t worse. Maybe Friends of the Riverfront could rethink that dangerous mid-trail bollard at the same time.
Also, at the train track crossing the road entering the Millvale park and trail head, the blinking lights that warn of an approaching train are NOT functioning. (or at least, weren’t on Saturday – the trains seemed to know about it, they were slowing way down and blasting horns)
This has been developing for a while. I remember biking this earlier in the summer in the daytime and being surprised by the size of the drop between the two surfaces. At that point I think it was about an inch difference. Sounds like it got worse. And, yes, I agree with Steven — the bollard is dangerous in that position at the drop off.
@Vannevar: I think trains are required to sound their horns for any grade crossing that lacks a gate, so that may not indicate they know about the problem. The tracks there seem to be Norfolk Southern’s, if they’re the ones I’m thinking of.
You might consider calling them up and reporting the issue, just in case.
Anonymous 11/13/2012 at 11:17am #
@steven You are correct on both points. Moreover trains are required to sound their horns on some gated crossing if pedestrians could use it.
I believe our equipment was installed at the crossing. When I have time I will run to the second floor and ask about it (don’t count on me and report problem to NS — I have meetings starting 07:00 — UPRR is in town).
Anonymous 11/13/2012 at 2:13pm #
If this the bump where the paved portion trail ends @ the storage facility for the rowing club, perhaps a note directed @ thier site management might be a good idea.
They may not be aware of the potential issues due to thier neglegent property maintenance.
a bag of quickcrete a hose/bucket, and a halfway decent day are all that are needed to fix this nigh permanently. that and 20 minutes of someone’s time. same for the paved/gravel transition behind the cork factory on the other side of the river.
Anonymous 11/13/2012 at 4:51pm #
Friends of the Riverfront has plans to hard surface the trail from the Lincoln Properties to Millvale to mitigate the drainage issues. Also Friends will be working on fixing that area in the next few days. I have spray painted the area to alert caution until I can fix it.
@jeffstewart I have spray painted the area to alert caution until I can fix it.
That is such a good thing. Probably prevent things like what happened to Ted.
Anonymous 11/14/2012 at 7:49pm #
I was able to fix the area near Millvale Riverfront park and lay down some limestone to create a smoother transition from the trail to the asphalt. If anyone uses it soon let me know if it needs improvement.
im afraid its going to need a more permanent fix long term, but thanks for the short term repair! its an essentially unsustainable design right there. the steep (its short but id guess its 10-15º) slope starts right where the concrete ends and crushed limestone is, by its nature, unstable. all this means that the trail will continue to erode like crazy right there where it follows the fall line and is paved with loose gravel.
rode that section this morning it looked like orange spray paint was marking the bad spots
Anonymous 11/15/2012 at 4:52am #
Wow, thanks jeffsteward and everybody! I’m really glad we have such a passionate, helpful cycling community. The bike shop called up today and said my new wheel is good to go, so I look forward to getting back in the saddle!
Anonymous 11/16/2012 at 2:46pm #
Here is a thought. DON’T contact Friends of the Riverfront. Fix it yourself! Goodness. It amazes me the attitude of people sometimes. You can actually get off your bike, stop and fix something, instead of calling an organization that is trying hard to create a nice riverfront. That transition has been fine for years and of course over time it will become uneven because it is a transition from crushed stone to asphalt. There is no “rethinking”. It will always have a bit of maintenance issues unless you want to pave it all the way to that bridge.
Be proactive and do something instead of relying on a charitable organization to do if for you.
Anonymous 11/16/2012 at 5:37pm #
Friends of the Riverfront exists for improving the trails for all people to use. If there are any problems on the trail, you should contact Friends of the Riverfront. All repairs done on the trail have to be ADA compliant and it requires legal agreements to perform the work, so please don’t do it yourself, this is why we are hear. Thanks
Anonymous 11/17/2012 at 4:02am #
Oh, I didn’t know helping out was a big deal. I will stick to fixing the PennDot crap as well as the city sidewalk mess. I just take the bull by the horns and don’t whine about it. Guess I just feel lucky there is a trail at all, but I won’t get involved in helping out. Thanks for the heads up. Best you get to work.
In a lot of cases, be it trail, road, sidewalk, whatever, half the battle is figuring out whose it is to fix, and half of the rest is in getting a message to that person or organization. I’d rather not step on toes, either, but nor do I want to break bike parts and get stuck seven miles from home.
@jeffsteward – Does your organization have anything to do with the @pghtrails Twitter account? For those of us who are Twitter-enabled, that might be a good place for us riders to send info as we happen upon it.
Anonymous 11/18/2012 at 5:22am #
Stuin: Step on toes. Lets see the Highland Park Bridge would NEVER be cleaned on the sidewalk. That sidewalk that goes from the bridge towards the zoo? Heck, there are trees growing over it and it is a totally mess. The city has no money or interest to fix anything. PennDot takes care of the Highland Park Bridge. Last time they fixed a hole that was about a square foot in size they just threw the rest of the asphalt on the sidewalk because they were too lazy to take it away. Step on toes? If I waited for those idiots to do anything correctly, I would be dead.
Anyway, I haven’t messed about with any trails. I don’t use them much and never had a problem with any transitions in Millvale, but I have ridden it quite a bit and know the places to ride. The trails are full of dips that collect tons of water. Some areas are almost impassible because the garbage collectors stop and then peal out and create huge holes. They don’t care, they are on tax pay.
Anyway, I just try and fix up my commute and will continue to do so.
Anonymous 11/19/2012 at 11:25am #
Rode through there yesterday. Great job – Thanks Jeffsteward!
Also noticed that the bollard on the other side (near the parking lot) had been broken/cut off at the bottom. It wasn’t an even cut though, so watch out for that, folks. It’s uneven and sticks up a bit.
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