Rankin and Browns Hill Road Construction?

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myddrin
Participant
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Anyone know when the construction on the Rankin Bridge and Brown Hill Road are due to end? My regular ride is to go from the waterfront over the Homestead Gray Bridge, down Greenfield Ave, then the trail to downtown & the south side and back.

However the construction is really problematic right now. Not only is the traffic fairly intense, but the sidewalk over the bridge is shut down on one side. So my options are to either 1) go in the traffic across a bridge that is not particularly cycle friendly, or go across the sidewalk against traffic. Both ideas that I don’t like.

I looked at going over the Rankin bridge up to edgewood, but there is construction there as well and as a result the traffic is unpleasant… and while I’ve seen people cycling across it, the state of the open side walk looked errr… painful to go over on a road bike.

So, any idea when this will all end, or perhaps alternate routes?


rsprake
Participant
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The Rankin bridge won’t be done until at the very least spring but there will be a brand new sidewalk on the one side as soon as they are done with that half.


sloaps
Participant
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Rankin’s a county project:

Rankin Bridge has a special webpage:

http://www.alleghenycounty.us/publicworks/rankin.aspx

to keep up-to-date with county traffic restrictions go here:

http://www.alleghenycounty.us/publicworks/traffic.aspx

Brown’s Hill is a mish-mash of public and private entities:

http://www.summersetatfrickpark.com/userFiles/News/BrownsHillRdRelease.pdf


dwillen
Participant
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I drive past the construction fubar on Browns Hill Road and keep thinking, “boy it would be nice if they stuck a bike path over there when they were done”.

Anyone know if they are going to add a shoulder, bike lane, bike path, or a sidewalk wider than 2 feet across?


myddrin
Participant
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Thanks for all of the replies.

dwillen, it looks like they may be expanding the sidewalk. I keep hoping for a bike lane also, but I am wildly pessimistic about it. There are supposed to be sidewalk and roadway improvements according to the pdf that sloaps linked to, but no mention of a bike lane or if ‘sidewalk improvement means a widening.


Nate
Participant
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The Rankin Bridge sidewalk is not as bad as it looks. I know, that’s a weak statement. And my tolerance for bad riding surfaces is pretty high. FWIW, then, I think it’s ok.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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@dwillen wroteI drive past the construction fubar on Browns Hill Road and keep thinking, “boy it would be nice if they stuck a bike path over there when they were done”.

This isn’t strictly germane to the issue here, but one of the reasons they are doing that construction is to push the road from the Summerset development (all those houses on the old slag heap) through to Brown’s Hill Road. They are realigning the intersection. Eventually, one will be come up the sidwalk on the Homestead High Level—er Grays–bridge and make a right into that road and pedal through to Forward Ave/Commercial street. Still a bit of hill with an annoying (for bikes) UPHILL stop sign on Forward headed to Beechwood–but it you are headed toward Sq. Hill, Oakland etc. it will be a way to avoid the traffic on Brown’s Hill.


dwillen
Participant
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Yea, that will be nice, though it may be a tad round about for me. I guess I’ll have to see where the roads connect when they are done. I live in Greenfield and it kills me to drive down to Lowe’s every time I need a bolt or something. I’d love to feel safe enough biking up and down that hill to just pedal there. I tried it once and hated every minute of it.

Going downhill the right lane has oodles of potholes big enough to swallow car tires; I can’t imagine what would happen if I hit one of them at speed with my bike. The “sidewalk” over there, if it even is a sidewalk, is an even worse option. It is some kind of elevated rain gutter, barely wide enough for a [skinny] person to walk along. The speed limit on the road is a boggling 25 mph, which seems nuts considering the normal traffic flow is more like 45-50 mph. If the flow was actually 30ish mph, I would see no problem taking the lane on the way down.

Going uphill isn’t too bad, the sidewalk is a tad wider, so you can ride that and dodge all the cars making last minute turns off to the side streets. If someone is walking on the sidewalk you end up dismounting, since it isn’t quite wide enough to pass safely.

Maybe there is a better option to get to the Waterfront that I just don’t know about?


Ohiojeff
Participant
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Well, Winterburn to Hazelwood Ave, to 2nd Ave, over the Glenwood Bridge. Exit at Glass Run. Left under the road, left again and onto the ramp toward Homestead. That would be ever so slighly more sane than Brown’s Hill–but also longer. Someday there will be the bike path…by 11/11/11 I guess.

For a bolt at Lowe’s the East Liberty Home Depot is probably easier. Or T&T Hardware on Carson Street.


myddrin
Participant
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dwillen, I go down Browns Hill on a regular basis, on the road. It’s not that difficult, you just have to keep your speed down and your wits about you.

Then near the bridge, there is a ramp you can use to switch over to the sidewalk to actual cross the bridge. Just don’t take it too fast as I learned at the end of August and you’ll be fine.

So far (and I’ve been living at the waterfront since July) the cars have mostly been respectful. A few beeps and jeers when I’m heading up the hill, but otherwise the drivers seem to be understanding.

There is, btw, a storm drain that is broken in the upper third of the hill other than that its just the pot holes.

jeffinpgh, I’ve looked at going that way (also going that same way to the southside) but I wasn’t sure if bike traffic was allowed through the interchange. I might have to give that a try.


dwillen
Participant
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Yea, I saw the broken storm drain. There was a cone there last time I went past.

People pass me very aggressively when I’m going up the hill at 30 mph in a car, I don’t think I have the balls to try and bike out in the traffic. Do you take a lane, or end up getting squished between cars and the curb?


Ohiojeff
Participant
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jeffinpgh, I’ve looked at going that way (also going that same way to the southside) but I wasn’t sure if bike traffic was allowed through the interchange. I might have to give that a try.

Bikes are allowed, you just have to be prepared to be passed by fast moving vehicles incl. trucks. The streets are pretty wide though. Going to the South Side and back wouldn’t be too bad in fact, since Carson street is the first ramp going, and coming back you’d be able to loop up and around. At rush hour? Not a good thing, but other times it would be doable. I think that bridge was overbuilt to handle big trucks from the Mills that mostly aren’t there any more.


Lyle
Participant
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Shame, there used to be a perfectly good hardware store in Greenfield where you could buy your nuts and stuff. But I think the taxpayer-funded big-box developments of Lowes and HD drove the local hardware stores under.


myddrin
Participant
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People pass me very aggressively when I’m going up the hill at 30 mph in a car, I don’t think I have the balls to try and bike out in the traffic. Do you take a lane, or end up getting squished between cars and the curb?

I try to stay as close to the side as I can. However there is a great deal of debris in the road, especially when you get near the top… so I have to swerve a bit. Although, usually by that point the traffic is going slower due to the light. Also, instead of turning left onto Hazelwood, I follow the right turn lane on to Beechwood, and then turn around when I get to Salina St.

You could also turn into the Wendy’s parking lot and follow the back route out of there (behind the beer distributor). There are a lot of blind spots going that way, but I have tried that coming down.


myddrin
Participant
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Bikes are allowed, you just have to be prepared to be passed by fast moving vehicles incl. trucks. The streets are pretty wide though.

That is awesome, thanks! During this construction, I might start using that way to get to downtown and then come back over Greenfield Ave on the way back. I loose 1 climb, but I can live with that for a while.


Ohiojeff
Participant
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That is awesome, thanks! During this construction, I might start using that way to get to downtown and then come back over Greenfield Ave on the way back. I loose 1 climb, but I can live with that for a while.

My strong caution would be that the stretch of East Carson after the bridge is kind of narrow for a while and a bit of a speedway. If it’s a lower traffic time and you are just going to the South Side etc. you’d be fine. However, if you commute during the normal morning rush hour you might find it annoying (esp. since you can see but not get to the bike path from there). Though if you’re using Brown’s Hill now, the traffic may not bother you. You might drive it once just to get the flavor of it.

Or you could go over the bridge (I think there is even a sidewalk though who knows how you get to it) and take 2nd avenue. Also a morning speedway, but there is more room, and eventually you can connect with the jail trail. Maybe that’s what you meant?

Jeff


myddrin
Participant
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So I actually had a chance to go down to the Hot Metal bridge via 837 this weekend. Your right there is a narrow stretch which I don’t think it would work during rush hour. (Or at least, I wouldn’t want to do it!)

Fortunately for me, I only cycle for pleasure since I work from home. :)


Ohiojeff
Participant
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Fortunately for me, I only cycle for pleasure since I work from home. :)

Nice work if you can get it! Well, 10/10/10 is less than a year away and then you’re supposed to be able to take the path the whole way, right? (Or is it 11/11/11?)

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