With yesterday’s flooding fresh in mind, I think it’s worth noting what trails, if any, got flooded in those storms. As the number of cyclists grows, it will become more important to know what areas are prone to water rising quickly.
I looked back through some old threads for where we’ve touched on this before, and only found a reference to Panther Hollow on this thread during Superstorm Sandy (late Oct 2012).
In summertime in particular, Pittsburgh tends to get two or three of these trash-mover-gully-washer storms that drop three inches of rain in one part of town. That August 2011 storm that killed four people on Washington Blvd is another that comes to mind.
Yesterday’s stories mentioned serious flash flooding along Streets Run Road, an area we had also talked about for a potential trail. I am particularly curious to see how the potential trail area fared in that flooding.
Regarding Streets Run: The rail road tracks were completely underwater in several spots & the TV news last night showed one section where the rail-and-ties were hanging in mid air because the water had washed away all the gravel from underneath them. So any bike/ped trail through the valley will have to have regular maintenance for sure.
Trail maintenance is one thing. I was thinking also of personal safety. Since many trails tend to follow natural valleys (read: where flash floods are likely to occur) , it seems to me that as we educate cyclists on safe trail riding, it would also be a good idea to tell them how to recognize the conditions that precede a flash flood, and what to do if they see water start rising.
It would also help to know which parts of which trails are most likely to flash flood, and if we’re making signs for trails, that would be a good thing to make signs for.
Short version: It would be good to have a written plan, and implement it.
The Montour Trail goes along several creeks that were in the news for flooding (Peters Creek, Piney Fork Creek), but I haven’t seen anything yet about damage. The new Triphammer section is only a few feet above Piney Fork Creek. Hope it wasn’t messed up.
Since it hasn’t been mentioned yet, I’ll just throw out a word – when riding today, and for the next couple of days – watch out for gravel washouts on the road. Take downhill turns more cautiously than usual, and don’t over-ride your sight line.
Got caught on the Montour Trail last year in a downpour and it wasn’t fun. Took shelter under a picnic table for about an hour while there was lightening. When I continued back to the car there was water rushing down on both sides of the trail; places where it was getting washed out; and I took video of the flooded area at California St. (Completely under a fast-moving creek-turned-river.) The big intersection there was in danger of flooding and the trail bridge was close to being submerged.
Just saw a request for volunteer help to clean up and repair extensive damage there from Wed’s rain. I haven’t seen how bad it is, but that seems to confirm that the MT is vulnerable in heavy rains.