^ I often avoid it because it is too narrow for 2-way traffic, has 3-4 blind curves, has a hairpin turn and/or a steep curb at one entrance & often has cruft along the way that I don’t want to ride over (broken bottles, wet muddy leaves). Even if I dismount, it is awkward to get past peds waiting for the bus, especially if they are wearing headphones or carrying groceries. It’s about as much fun as the sidewalk through Armstrong tunnels. A bad setup!
That said, I do take it during times when there is a lot of speeding traffic on 2nd Ave.
I mostly avoid this area these days (oddly, I prefer dealing with the Birmingham Bridge and Oakland). Sometimes I cross the tracks, sometimes I don’t. Like Chinston, I typically have loaded panniers, so picking up my bike is a pain in arse (though I do carry it up a flight of stairs to get my house).
I agree with Stu: it’s really not a safety issue in crossing those tracks. It’s not like bullet trains are passing through there. I’m more concerned about the annoyance of dealing with security at the UPMC lot.
Also, I typically only use the cattle chute when heading outbound–I will use Second Avenue when approaching the trail.
i have never had anyone say anything to me about crossing through the lot.
anyway, i believe i have met the injured gentlemen a few times on the way home. our commutes would cross for a few blocks, and he is a pleasant guy to chat with. hope to run into him again in a few months.
Does this John have a somewhat homemade (or homemade-looking) recumbent?
I’ve never timed myself doing both routes, but I remember once coming off the Jail Trail with another (experienced/fast) rider. I hopped the tracks, he didn’t and presumably took Second Avenue. As I recall, he passed me by just as I was arriving on Saline Street. Obviously a couple factors play into this (if you get a red light, how comfortable/fast you are running down the ballast rocks) but my take-home was that going on Second Avenue, while it feels like a big detour, is not any longer, vis-a-vis time, than crossing the tracks.
This crash might somewhat change my calculus, but if I am not getting there any faster, have a non-zero chance of getting arrested/hassled for trespassing and have to worry about moving trains, I figure it’s better to ride on the official route on Second Avenue (usually not taking the chute). Even if I do contemplate the unofficial route almost every time I need to make that connection.
I have often thought of clearing some of that stone away wide enough for a bike or for some foot traffic. But i decided against it. I figured that someone would just put it back. Also,I think that sometime this summer, more rock was dumped there at some point. I dunno. I could be wrong. Maybe I just wasn’t paying much attention before.