Lawrenceville -> Downtown
Recently moved to Larryville, and I commute to work downtown. I’m used to coming from Sq Hill via the Jail Trail, and the shorter and flatter commute is quite lovely.
One issue I’m encountering is traveling on Smallman or Penn in the AM. I generally leave around 5:30, so it’s dark outside. I have all proper lights/reflectors, but have found myself getting passed closely and drivers being generally belligerent on both Penn and Smallman.
Even though Penn has two lanes and there is limited traffic, drivers don’t seem to be taking too kindly to me. Smallman is one lane, and I think people use it as an expressway that time of day (blowing through stop signs, traveling over the speed limit). I can’t stand the Riverfront trail either, I’d rather deal with this than be smacked in the face by low branches and mosquitoes.
Any ideas for alternate routes or ways to improve my AM commute stoke?
Take names and kick ass. Penn and Smallman are plenty wide to handle multi-modal traffic. Get a camera, preferably two, one pointed forward, one backward, and start capturing video. Get plate numbers. Contact the police when necessary. Nobody should have to put up with this at any time of day.
I don’t have experience riding that early, but i usually find it fine to take a lane on Penn Ave. Also, at around 31st St you can cut over to Railroad St, which takes you to 21st. Smallman from Lawrenceville 37th-ish to 31st is fairly wide.
Do you know about the secret passage under the 40th St bridge?
Erok’s suggestion is good. I get over to Smallman as soon as I can after the 40th st bridge, and then over to Railroad, which has very little traffic and only a couple stop signs. At the end of Railroad, I go over to the trail (which is a really nice ride on a clear morning) and take that all the way to the Point and into downtown that way. Depending on where you’re going in downtown, that might not be the shortest way to go, but I find that the extra distance I ride is more than made up for by the fact that I have to interact with very few cars, and the second half of my commute is entirely free of traffic. I used to just ride down Penn the whole way, but since I switched a couple years ago, my stress levels are way, way down.
Edit: I obviously need to improve my reading skills, as I now see that you don’t like the riverfront trail. Still, I do like riding on Railroad, and that bypasses a lot of Penn/Smallman.
erok wrote:I don’t have experience riding that early, but i usually find it fine to take a lane on Penn Ave. Also, at around 31st St you can cut over to Railroad St, which takes you to 21st. Smallman from Lawrenceville 37th-ish to 31st is fairly wide.
Do you know about the secret passage under the 40th St bridge?
I do take the lane on Penn, and get honked at and passed closely often.
I do not know about the ‘secret passage’. Does it go from the bridge directly into the back patio of Round Corner? The other day, I had a dream that passage existed. Maybe a good candidate for the next big infrastructure project…
The shortcut under the 40th st bridge.
From butler st, turn down 42nd st towards the river.
Make a left on to willow
Make a right on to 40th st (that parallels the bridge, not the bridge)
Cross the train tracks and look for a gap in the concrete barriers
cut through the parking lots here.
You can turn on to 39th st from the first lot, if you go past more jersey barriers, you can access 38th st from that lot, or you can keep going through the parking lots till you hit a service road that connects to 36th st and from there you can make a right on to smallman and eventually cut over to railroad st if traffic is busy.
However, you can wiggle around they alleys on 39th st or 38th st over to 36th st below butler st to connect to smallman st as well. Do it a few times and find out which route works best for you. Just stay between the river and butler st and head toward downtown and you’ll figure it out.
yeah, you can avoid all of butler st this way by taking either Hatfield or Plummer and Willow.
erok wrote:this is roughly the route under the bridge
Thanks, y’all. I do know about that way, I found it by accident last week coming back from the Farmer’s Market. When I didn’t live in the neighborhood, I used to love cruising Butler to see what new businesses were popping up. Living there, I quickly learned that Butler is terrible to ride down.
I live right off Foster, so that way has been incredibly convenient.
I would encourage anyone encountering low or protruding branches to 311 them or remove on your own- it will be your contribution to the cycling/ pedestrian community.
Railroad St. is good, rarely many cars on the street. But some will pass you while speeding. MUCH better than riding Penn. Noooo thanks. Any side streets between the river and Penn are decent.
You’re right though, the trail is badddddd.. I rode it last night around 9pm and the bugs were so incredibly bad. I only take it to about 21st. Or wherever that Consumers Produce warehouse is and then use Railroad to at least 31st.
I regularly come over the 40SB and cut back through the little passage between the barriers under the bridge. My typical path is to head for 36th, which means dealing with lots of trucks backing up in those couple of parking lots. Just be very courteous and expect to have to wait for them to back up. (I’ll even turn off my headlight if I have to wait for a truck to back up. I know that it can be annoying and distracting, and they’re trying to earn a living, too.)
As to bushes, knotweed in particular, if I’m not in a hurry, I’ll stop and yank some out, but I always snap off protruding branches if I’m just rolling by.
If you’re on a cross bike with fat tires or a mountain bike, you can just keep going past 36th st through the gravel paralell to the train tracks and that connects up to railroad st in about 3-4 blocks.
It will be bumpy. I cut through there all the time, but you definitely want big tires to get through this. Though, I barge it on 28mm tires frequently I don’t recommend that skinny.
Hopefully, sometime in the future, we will have a commuter bike path here next to the tracks as per the allegheny green blvd project, if that comes to fruition.
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