Easiest route to MR Smalls
Google gave me this:
But I’m far from familiar with the area, and have a tendency to get horribly lost, sometimes even when I have a map. Is this route about what yinz would take?
(Edited to put in a link that works)
It seems relatively straightforward. I’m wondering what the traffic is like on this route?
Mr. Smalls is only about a half mile from the Millvale Trailhead. But, the connection from 40th Street is not good. If you go that route, you can ride down from 40th into Millvale, but you might want to walk UP the goatpath on the river side of the street at the end of the evening (cars won’t be expecting to see you there, there is construction, etc.)
An alternate route that is worth considering is to take the 31st Street Bridge, and pick up the Millvale Trail near Washington’s Landing (where the new section starts).
At Millvale Riverfront Park, follow the path all the way to the stop sign. Turn left under the railroad bridge, cross railroad tracks etc. At stop sign (which is where you would be coming down if you came across the 40th Street Bridge) continue straight (towards big Family Dollar sign). Stay on that road about 3 blocks. Look right, and when you can see the Millvale Police Department/Borough Building on the cross street (or when the street addresses approach 400), turn right (uphill) for one block. Mr. Smalls will be on the left, on the far side of Lincoln. By bike, it is certainly less than ten minutes from the trail, and probably more like 5 minutes. These will be two way streets, single lane in each direction, with very little traffic. I think there is a street light at just about every corner. I also think the posted speed limit is like 25 mph. Very confortable for riding. You might want to be sure to check your lights, just to be safe. I think they have that old time “character” street lighting, which is not terribly bright.
If you head out of the park where the trail is, and head for the Family Dollar sign, it will be hard to get lost. There are two parallel streets that have businesses on them. You’ll be on one, Mr. Small’s will be one block to your right. The streets are only about 6 blocks long, and at every corner they have signs that point to area businesses. I think they are blue, and I’d bet that there will be one for Mr. Small’s on the street you are riding on……
I agree with Swalfoort on using 31st/trail, especially going home. The ramp up to the 40th street bridge is in traffic that gets way fast after dark.
Mr Small’s is in what used to be a church. It’s a fairly large building on the NE corner of whatever intersection that is.
Between 40SB and the base of the hill, a set of jersey barriers separates traffic from cyclists (in actuality, half of what once was a traffic lane, so it’s paved). The only real difficulty is getting from the base of the jersey barriers over to that stop sign at the lower end. There is a posted pedestrian crosswalk, easy to see and use, but equally easy to miss. I recommend trying to find it and use it, pushing the bike both directions, and staying on the sidewalk that it puts you on, until you figure out where you’re going.
At the top, you never have to deal with cars, but it puts you on the upstream sidewalk, which is a bit narrow. Two opposing cyclists cannot pass comfortably. Also, there is a big road sign on the sidewalk about halfway across that is hard to get around.
On the road, going north across the bridge, watch for one of those stupid drain grates that can eat a tire. Just one; the other 30 are fine. It’s about 3/4 across. On the southbound side, if you do end up on the traffic lane, the grates are fine, but there’s a mound of spilled concrete about 3/4 across that’s high enough to spill you.
Anyone know where a good place to park near Small’s is?
Last time I went, I ended up sharing a street sign at the corner with about 139 other bikes.
Millvale is one of those towns that needs about 140 bike racks. What’s ironic is that they MAKE the bike racks in Millvale.
Sorry I don’t have any better specifics. At least there are plenty of signposts in the area.
Last time I went I ended up sharing a signpost with half the bikepgh staff. ;). If there’s anything else I don’t know about it… May be worth asking the smalls people if they’ll put in some racks.
Did I miss something? Last I checked the 31st St bridge was still absent and not an option. As for the 40th St bridge, I cross that on the sidewalk all the time. Yes, if you get opposite direction bike traffic you may have to wait a minute to let them pass, but it usually isn’t that busy in my experience. If I can ride past that road sign without trouble then anyone can. I’m one of the least experienced/capable road cyclists on this forum.
Just be careful at the big intersection going into Millvale. Ditto what Stu said about using the crosswalk. Traffic flies through there so heads up.
Isn’t the 31st St bridge still open to River Ave? Or did that connection close?
@salty, I went to highschool with one of the owners of Mr. Smalls… I’ll see if I can get in touch with him in order to make that suggestion.
OH!! Thanks, Marco. No wonder I was so confused! I kind of wish folks would start a new thread when it’s been more than a year since anyone posted. I’m probably in the minority, but I don’t always look to see when the thread started. My bad.
* You cannot cross the river on the 31SB
* About the only thing you can do is ride the 30th (not a typo) St Bridge from Herr’s Island to the end of River Road, and from there, access the trail.
* Crossing the 40SB has not changed in years, though the north end connection to Rt 28 is entirely different.
* I recommend using the upstream sidewalk both directions.
* Careful at the north end of the upstream sidewalk, as the turn onto the protected bike lane is blind.
* This goes for riders coming up the protected bike lane, too; watch that you don’t clobber anyone as you turn onto the upstream sidewalk.
* Did I mention that there is a *protected bike path* to get you from street level in Millvale up to the 40SB?
* Having said that, going from bridge to Millvale, I usually use the road, not the path. TAKE THE DAMN LANE. It’s downhill, and they (and you) have to stop at the bottom. Expect, though, that some jackass will pass you on the right doing 45. But this is preferable to you clobbering 12-year-olds toodling up the bike path. 95% of drivers are pretty cool with a bike in front of them for the 0.1 mile from bridge to traffic light.
* Be aware that a lot of the traffic coming down the ramp veers off to the right to get on the ramp up to outbound 28. If you opted to come down the bike lane, you have to cross it. If you’re already controlling the traffic lane from the bridge, this is a non-issue.
* About that traffic light. It’s a new light, only been there about a year. Usually pretty easy to deal with traffic there, but again, TAKE THE LANE. Nobody can move very far or very fast at the light, so you will have more of a problem with cars being in your way than they will with a bike being in theirs.
* Mr Smalls is on the street that’s a straight at that light and a left at the next one (Lincoln). I don’t go that way. I get in the left lane and head down Grant. Lots more bike traffic, and it’s level that way. Then make a right at Butler St (the one with the bank).
If you come from the trail, first be careful about trains. It’s a live track, fairly active. Fortunately, sight lines are good, you’re crossing the tracks at a 90 degree angle, the signal is new, and the crossing was JUST rebuilt within the past year. Really, as far as rail crossings go, it doesn’t get any better than this. Just pay attention.
As stated above, once you get to the stop sign, be very careful about drivers flying past to get on northbound 28. If you can get past them, it’s only a few feet to the approach to the traffic light above, though you should still be careful of traffic coming from the left.
All that said, that gets you TO Mr Smalls. Now, as to getting home…
Use either Lincoln or (Butler to) Grant. Once you get to that traffic light, decide whether you are going bridge or trail. For both, you are going to need to get across traffic coming from the bridge. There is a left turn lane once you get past the light. Use it. Bridge car traffic will have a straight ahead lane, and will fly up it at 40+. Don’t use that.
Re-read cautions above about traffic coming off the bridge. If you’re in the left turn lane, and wait for traffic to clear, you’ll be fine. Trail traffic, continue under the highway, over the railroad tracks, hang a right and you’re on your way.
Bikes headed for the 40SB, get across bridge traffic and wiggle onto the protected bike path. It’s just a bit narrow at the bottom, so please watch for people and other cyclists coming down it.
OK, that should get you there and back. Here is a Google map of the area. The 40SB and the trail are just off the bottom edge.
Thanks for the map and description, Stu.
I may just suffocate at the Tyler show on Friday – but if I make it out alive, your description will be of great help. :-)
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