Butler Street under Highland Park Bridge and Ohio River Blvd.

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zzwergel
Member
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How are you supposed to get to the Washington Blvd. Track from Aspinwall on a bike? Take a look at the Street View in the link. The sidewalk on the downstream side of the bridge, you would have to cross Butler street at One Wild Pl. As seen in the Street View, the right hand sidewalk abruptly terminates at a Jersey barrier with the exiting lane from the bridge. How would I merge with the high-speed car traffic to continue on Butler Street to Washington Blvd. without getting smashed? This is very dangerous for pedestrians as well as cyclists.

https://goo.gl/maps/BE1LzL4ZYpx

I would someday like to bike to Sewickley and beyond. How is a cyclist supposed to manage this? No shoulder, no sidewalk, and very fast traffic. Instant death!

https://goo.gl/maps/zvQwVTzWk3B2

Why would have these roads have been designed without even pedestrians in mind?


Eric
Member
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not a good, safe way to get from aspinwall to the cycle track via bike or foot.  The fastest (and basically only) way is the way you describe — up and over the bridge, and then dealing with the traffic on route 8 over there.

There really isn’t even another way to get there.  The speeds on those roads are very high.

The only sidewalks extend from the bridge to the zoo, toward lawrenceville.

And many streets around here were designed without pedestrians in mind.

that also really isn’t a sidewalk that terminates into a jersey barrier.  That’s more of a raised median separating the road from the grass.  It is non-functional.


Steven
Participant
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Google Maps shows a dotted line that might be a footpath, from One Wild Place near Butler over to the cycle track. If there’s really a trail there, it might be an option for pedestrians, at least.


zzwergel
Member
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The Highland Park Bridge was built in 1938 when most people did not have a car. Why is there a sidewalk on the Aspinwall side, but not the Highland Park side? I think ALL roads excluding freeways which have a viable bike-friendly alternative (Route 28) should have at least a shoulder to accommodate pedestrians.

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by  zzwergel.

Steven
Participant
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The 1938 Highland Park Bridge replaced an earlier one with a sidewalk on both sides. I’m not sure if the 1938 bridge was originally built with just one sidewalk, or if PennDOT might have replaced a second sidewalk with more space for cars during a subsequent bridge overhaul.

Here’s more on that path from One Wild Place. Seems it was built for mountain bikes.


Eric
Member
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From the non sidewalk side the next time you get to sidewalks are miles down Allegheny river Blvd in Verona or way up Washington Blvd by frankstown.

Whole system over there was 100 percent designed for cars. They would have thought a sidewalk was ludicrous. And no political will to put in sidewalks where there aren’t any even though I see plenty of people walking to the methadone clinic on Washington Blvd.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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And why is the HPB posted 45? Most other bridges are 35 or even 25. The 40th St Br doesn’t have a sign so is presumably 55. And gets a wreck a week.


chrishent
Member
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There is a trail from a small parking lot near the light for Allegheny River Blvd and Washington Blvd, that goes alk the way to the Oval. It’s not paved and can get muddy, but it’s passable on a road bike.


Eric
Member
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Stu, 28 is 45 over there, so penndot must see the highland park bridge as an extention of that infrastructure.


Swalfoort
Participant
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As for Sewickley, there is a reasonable alternative to Ohio River Boulevard for the first 2/3 of your route, or better.

From the North Shore/North Side. take Brighton Road north to the intersection of California Ave, near Columbus Charter School (and the Urban Gardener.)  Turn left on California.  Follow California as it curves around, and then starts to climb after passing Marshall Avenue.  At the top of the hill is a small business district (Fridays market, etc.)  At that light, turn right onto Brighton Heights Road.  A few blocks on, turn left at the off kilter intersection/stoplight onto California Avenue.  You’ll enter Bellevue as you cross the long bridge.  Stay on this street for several miles, as it becomes Church St. in Avalon, and then Center Ave in Emsworth.

There is a bridge out in Emsworth, so you’ll have to head downhill to Ohio River Boulevard in Ben Avon….just follow the detour signs.  The good news is that if you take the hilly route to Sewickley, you’ll only be on ORB for a couple of blocks, and through a signalized intersection.

Taking the hilly route means taking ORB through the intersection at Camp Horne Road, and then turning right onto North Avenue.  Take North Avenue uphill for about 2 blocks to Center Avenue, and turn right.  Take the first left onto Locust, and the first left again onto Roosevelt Road.

Roosevelt is a very gradual uphill climb over a couple of miles.  You’ll come out at a stoplight at Mt. Nebo Road.  Turn left onto Mt. Nebo Road, and continue to follow as it turns into Blackburn Road on the far side of I-79.  Following Blackburn as it twists and bends downhill will lead you into the heart of Sewickley.

If you prefer the flatter route, ORB can be ridden by an experienced cyclists from the point of your entry in Ben Avon (via the bridge detour) all the way to Beaver Street in Glen Osborne, where the diagonal route will take you into the Sewickley business district.  It’s a really unpleasant 2 miles, and should be attempted in the outbound direction only.  (Inbound, this route is strongly discouraged.)

You could also use the I-79 bridge (yes, it is legal on a bike) to cross over to Coraopolis, then cross again at the Sewickley Bridge.  That puts you on a bad section of ORB for only about a mile, much of it downhill.

 

  • This reply was modified 2 years, 7 months ago by  Swalfoort.

Benzo
Participant
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There is a trail to get from One wild place to washington blvd through highland park. The trail starts near the bottom of one wild place and goes down to the oval. It’s shown on google maps. It’s not really rideable on a road bike, but I ride my mountain bike this way sometimes. It turns from wide doubletrack to singletrack and gets a little steep in sections, but it’s walkable.

It would be nice if you could get down by the tracks and take that over to washington blvd on the river side of allegheny river blvd/butler street. We could call it something like the Allegheny Riverfront Green Boulevard. It would be really cool if that ran all the way to the strip district. Too bad we couldn’t get the railroad to play well with this already.

It would also be cool if they could open that railroad bridge adjacent to the highland park bridge to pedestrian traffic. I think it was only really there to serve the scrap lot that is now the controversial (for a group of aspinwall residents) Riverfront 47 project.


zzwergel
Member
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There should be at least shoulders. Why would a sidewalk back in the 1930s be considered “ludicrous”? Every other city street had them. Was it because of The Depression, perhaps?


Marko82
Participant
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gg
Member
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There are two ways to get to the oval and not deal with the crazy traffic.  1. is pointed out very well by Benzo.  The path is pretty good and then turns to a single track sort of hilly ride.  It is quite pleasant on a mountain bike and if it is very dry you might get away with 23’s on that stretch, but not great.  2. is hoping over the guardrail next to the sidewalk on Butler by One Wild Place and ride down that hill to the tracks.  There is actually a crossing down there believe it or not, but you would probably have to walk that part.  Once you get to the bottom, you can ride on a road down there to a parking lot that will take you to the intersection of ARB and Washington Blvd at the light.  You can then wait for the light to allow you to get across to that island and then wait again for the light to get yourself down to that parking lot were they practice archery and such where there is a trail to the oval.  Ah yes, I have explored that area a lot.  It is a shame there isn’t a cutoff path from options 1 that follows Butler down to the flat area/parking lot.  That would be great and not all that tough.


paulheckbert
Keymaster
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Nice question. It’s a shame that Allegheny River Boulevard wasn’t designed with sidewalks!

I made a map.

RED shows the route that Steven talked about. I’ve biked parts of it. It’s steep in places, narrow in places. I’d call it mostly a walking / mountain biking trail.

YELLOW show’s gg’s route, as I understand it. I’ll have to try that!

BLUE and GREEN show routes I’ve walked but never biked. Doable with a mountain bike. From Freeport Rd near Western Ave (Ephesus Pizza), carefully cross the active RR tracks at A, then walk, or if you’re very skilled and confident, bike along the curving abandoned railroad approach ramp onto the Brilliant Branch Bridge, use it to cross the river, and at B, either follow the easy (BLUE) road down to Washington Blvd, which you would need to dash across without a traffic light, or continue along the RR tracks (GREEN) until you get close to Highland Dr, at which point you’d need to scamper down a steep wooded hillside (never tried, probably no trail) to reach the traffic light at Highland Dr and Washington Blvd.

If I had to pick one that looks bikeable most of the way, I’d try YELLOW.

Click map below to see uncropped version.

aspinwall_washington_blvd_map


Ahlir
Participant
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The Brilliant Branch could be an amazing addition to Pittsburgh’s trail system, benefiting cyclists and walkers. In particular we could get a trail from Aspinwall to Homewood (say to the bit between Frankstown and Kelly where it would be easy to ramp down to street level) that ties together the north shore of the Allegheny and an area in the city that’s prime cyclist territory (the so-called plateau). Imagine, not having to bike over the Highland Bridge…

AVRR, the railway company we all know so well, owns that railroad and is said to run a train on it maybe once a week. Or maybe not (I don’t actually know, does anyone? I’m tempted to place a penny on a rail to maybe find out.)

If you’re interested:

1) An envisioning study that describes a plan for the Brilliant Branch Bridge over the Allegheny.

2) The PennDOT survey of citizen priorities, where you can enter (multiple) suggestions for things that should be a priority. Make a Brilliant suggestion one of them.


gg
Member
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Keep in mind the route hoping over the guardrail was for a mountain bike.  I have also accessed that shoot on the other side of Butler and went under Butler, which is a little less steep.  I do this maneuver to go from Aspinwall to Verona via the RR tracks.  It isn’t a horrible ride, but it isn’t very good either. Oh I am on 3″ tires, so that helps a lot.


Eric
Member
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Where exactly is the shoot on either side?

 

As part of redoing that bridge I thought the land from the zoo parking lot to the river was eventually going to be a park. If that happens it’ll make life much easier.

Down the GG route is the lock, choderwood, possibly some city of pgh stuff, and maybe a marina.

What still is scary is where that exits out onto ARB at Washington. There is a light for that driveway but it runs at the same time as Washington Blvd traffic. I often see cars stuck there for several cycles. It can also be hard to time ARB traffic to get a jump on Washington Blvd traffic as there are always cars going through the ARB red at 45-55 mph. And from both directions.


Steven
Participant
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I think gg must be talking about descending into the Heth’s Run ravine, straight ahead in this Streetview.


paulheckbert
Keymaster
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Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy solicited ideas for Heth’s Run (the north-south ravine in which the zoo parking lot sits) in summer 2016. See article at http://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2016/07/05/Survey-asks-public-what-to-do-with-Heth-s-Run-project-near-the-zoo/stories/201607040009 and in the comments I put a link to my ideas for some trails in that valley, including one under Butler St to the Allegheny River.

My map:

red = parking lot
turquoise = marsh or meadow
black line = walking/biking trail

(as usual, click for uncropped version of picture)
heths_run_proposal_map


Eric
Member
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Any time table?


gg
Member
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I think gg must be talking about descending into the Heth’s Run ravine, straight ahead in this Streetview.

 

Yes, that is what I have done.  I heard about the park idea and I am not excited about it because I would bet they would fence off that RR tracks, and then you couldn’t access that little road down there anymore.    Not sure if this link will work, but if you look at Heth’s Run from above you can see the RR crossing.  It isn’t some nice crossing and pretty steep.

https://www.google.com/maps/@40.4879109,-79.9186372,58m/data=!3m1!1e3


Vannevar
Participant
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Eric
Member
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Except from what I read here that the bridge isn’t “out of use” because the avrr runs a car on it every so often. :(

 

The pg had an article about the negley run bioswale this weekend and seemed to intimate that heths run/area by the zoo is next for storm water mitigation and thus a park.

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