What is everyone’s favorite route? I’ve never had to commute out that direction, and lots of folks I know attest to the sketchiness of Allegheny Blvd. Is Freeport Road through Aspinwall/Blawnox any better? Frankstown and then dropping down over the hill?
What do most folks find is a safe way down the Allegheny river valley?
In my experience, the sketch level of ARB is highly dependent on time of day, day of week, and direction of travel. I’d not worry about it outbound on a weekend morning, but most other times the pucker factor is a bit high. Winter, especially, as there tend to be lots of ice sheets and/or small glaciers creeping off the shoulder from seeps coming off the hill.
Freeport isn’t bad; the shoulder’s a little craptastic through Aspinwall and the Waterworks area, and traffic merging from the left coming off 28 outbound can be a bit touchy. Aside from those, Freeport as far as the Hulton Bridge is fairly pleasant, in a utilitarian sense.
I typically cross HPB and ride freeport all the way into Harmarville, but if I need to stop at the LBS (Dirty Harrys) I will stay on this side of the river and go down ARB, I have encountered some of the ice that was mentioned above, but otherwise it seems anout the same to me on either side, although the Freeport road side does have more of a commercial area that breaks up the traffic. I typically leave work at 330p, so it may be a bit early for a bigger rush that may come through later.
One thing to consider is that they are in the beginning stages of replacing the Hulton Bridge, its hard at this point to say how that will affect traffic, but it surely will in some way.
For me, Freeport Road is fine through Aspinwall, Waterworks, RIDC, etc., but I hate the four-lane highway section before the Hulton Bridge. I was buzzed there twice at high speed, even though I was taking the whole right lane, so I’m leery of that entire stretch now. Lots of other people have no problem with it, though–it’s possible I’m just a scaredy cat.
ARB is just generally bad on weekdays. The tiny shoulders have lots of debris, branches sticking out, etc.
I’ve spent some time thinking about some sort of bike attachment that would allow me to comfortably ride one of the rails on the tracks that run along ARB, but I haven’t come up with much yet.
If you dont mind climbing… Head out the east end to lincoln ave.
Left on the green belt, straight through and up. Left after light onto 2nd
ave. cross over and go straight on poketa… you can choose your way
down to oakmont from up there but most are not horrible. Plum St is
a great descent and climb. turns into 8th ave in oakmont.
Thanks for all the tips. This was a one-time trip — and I ended up doing Highland Park Bridge to Freeport Road. It wasn’t a bad ride at all, though Highland Park Bridge was new to me. The shoulder was a fair enough width and thankfully had metal plates covering those otherwise dangerous zipper-like bridge expanders. Cars on the bridge didnt care to give much space, but alas, I am still alive. Freeport to Hulton wasn’t too bad either, though a bit unnerving at times, as I’m not used to such high-speed roads (granted, the speed limit is much lower than cars go). But folks on Freeport definitely gave me a lot more room than on HPB.
I definitely don’t mind hills, so if I ever need to chase down a mid-afternoon cupcake from Oakmont Bakery, I might try the Lincoln Ave. route, which I have been eying up on Google Maps anyways.