Detour to start on Eliza Furnace/Jail Trail

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Steven
Participant
#

ADA rules (for those same elderly and disabled) limit the slope of a walking path. With the trail now higher in that area, maybe there wasn’t enough room to run a sloping path up to trail level in the available space.

Wikipedia says pedestrian overpasses built to interstate highway standards have to have 17 feet of clearance. The old bridge had 11.5 feet. I think the new bridge is thicker too. So say it’s 6 feet higher up.

The old path was about 150 feet. It didn’t climb the full 11.5 feet though, since Bates, heading south, drops down, as the path climbs up. Say it went up 8 feet in 150 horizontal feet. That’s a grade of 5.3%, well within the maximum ADA grade of 8%.

A new path along the same route, climbing the extra 6 feet, would have a grade of 9.3%, over the limit. So a path there would have to turn and parallel the trail, maybe. To get the same grade as before, they would need to extend the connector another 110 feet.

Also, if they used the existing route and a steeper path, there might not have been enough clearance going beneath the parkway. If the old path couldn’t be raised as it went beneath the parkway, it would have to climb the additional elevation (perhaps 6 feet) in just 40 feet in the segment south of the parkway.

Or not. These numbers might be all wrong.

I agree that elderly and disabled folks on foot, planning to walk down Bates and across the HMB, would likely prefer to cross Second at the light, not walk up and get on the trail. But that doesn’t seem like a big deal. Pedestrians do this all the time. Having to push a Walk button and then wait is more of an issue for cyclists.


mr marvelous
Participant
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I was thinking about sneaking across the trail this morning because I was running late for class but chickened out because I didn’t know what time construction workers start in the morning. As I took the detour like a good little biker I looked over and seen 6 different bikers ride thru the trail. That’s it no more Mr nice Guy.


Pseudacris
Participant
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sure, but now people have to make a choice of getting hassled/hurt/annoyed by cars or walk a half mile out of the way

There was that mom (in Florida I think) last year who tried to cross the road with her young kids and bags of groceries. They ended up trying to charge her when one of the kids was struck and killed by a car. The crosswalk was waaaaaay up the street, and her apartment complex was directly across the multi-lane road from the bus stop.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Oh geez. Is there a handy link with a picture illustrating this new bridge?


Pseudacris
Participant
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One page back on this thread are some photos by Kordite of it in an almost-finished state. Also, I think someone (TDW?) posted some images in the Wheelset of Fortune thread.


rsprake
Participant
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But that doesn’t seem like a big deal. Pedestrians do this all the time. Having to push a Walk button and then wait is more of an issue for cyclists.

And the accommodations made at the intersections are above and beyond what we are used to seeing. The sidewalk areas around the crosswalks are huge. I don’t have any idea what the crosswalk timing is like however.


mark
Participant
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i’ve been hit at an intersection exactly like that by a car running a redlight because they “just didn’t see me” in the middle of a sunny summer day. run the path up to the trail at the maximum allowed slope and then run it beside the trail at the same slope till they meet, it’s really just a lack of common sense on the part of the planners that peoples best option is to cross the street here.

as i said before I don’t think that it will be long before there is a reasonable alternative worked out by everyone who uses that path daily that almost everyone will be able to use. also it’s not a big deal that they have to cross the street, but when the first person gets hit at this intersection it’ll change everyones tune. lets hope that doesn’t happen.


Kordite
Participant
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Nick D
Participant
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Nice pics!


mr marvelous
Participant
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Tried to be a rebel today and sneak thru and there was a couple of construction workers loading up equipment on their truck.


erok
Keymaster
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so the ribbon cutting for this is on monday at noon.

i heard that the head of the Turnpike Commission will be there to give a speech. weird. this isn’t on the turnpike….why would this guy…oh…hmmm…no…but… The Mon Fayette dammit!

erok Posted 1 year ago –

also, why is the pitt news the only one talking about this aspect of the project:

Using $3.6 million of city, state and federal funds, the city will replace the old railroad bridge with a taller, wider bridge, said Chuck McClain, the city’s project manager for bridges and structures. The new bridge will accommodate the proposed Mon/Fayette Expressway into Oakland — and 17-foot-6-inch tall trucks…. The city acquired the bridge from PennDOT about 20 years ago, and because car drivers don’t use it, officials don’t give it high priority, McClain said.

“If the bridge was not part of the Mon/Fayette Expressway, I doubt if we would be replacing it,” he said.

here’s the source: http://pittnews.com/newsstory/city-to-rebuild-problematic-bates-street-bridge/


stefb
Participant
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I have just been skimming this thread but was wondering: So is or isn’t bike pgh gonna be there? I was speaking with someone this morning and we agreed that the bicycling communty should be there.. The city or whoever could have just redid the overpass (since it was a traffic issue) and didn’t HAVE redo the bike path, right?


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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I’m confused.

The article cited above references the bridge as part of the M/FE… but it also says it was a rail bridge converted to rails-to-trails use. Ok, so now its a trail. Question #1 – does the TPC intend to reclaim the current trail as part of the M/FE?

OR – Does the TPC intend to route the M/FE beneath that bridge and up Bates Street?

Or am I just dense?


Tabby
Participant
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I think it’s the beneath option, ALMKLM


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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No, the damn road would go straight up Panther Hollow, AFAIK, because there’s nothing there. *cough* [trying to refrain from using profanity, and failing miserably]


erok
Keymaster
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BikePGH isn’t speaking at this.


sloaps
Participant
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You won’t have to speak since there might be dozens of BikePGH stickers all over the new bridge.

Idk, I have an awful memory, terrible foresight and wear thick glasses to see presently.


Tabby
Participant
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oh crap stu that’s no good at all.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I would really like to show up at the bridge opening with a bunch of anti-MonFayette signs. Yes, we’re happy they gave us a bridge back, but there was a perfectly operable bridge (from our perspective) there already. The main reason for this bridge is to allow big trucks through, in no small part because the MFX/MFE/MFSoB plans to feed it a lot more.

Remember, the ONLY thing that’s preventing the road from being built is the promise of money. The money itself doesn’t need to be there. That’s damn scary. It’s based on traffic and engineering studies done when gas was 50 cents a gallon, or less, and we were hell-bent on building, building, building.

If I get to this opening, I will not be applauding. I’ll have a picket sign and prepared to speak to the press.


edmonds59
Participant
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From the article: “..If you make one big mistake like tearing a top off a tractor, you’ll be out on the street,” he said.”

I fail to see how there’s a problem with that. People are freakin’ amazing.


jeg
Participant
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I have to be at class by 1, but I’m in for picketing the MFE beforehand.


sarah_q
Participant
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wait, what? They are building an expressway through Panther Hollow????


reddan
Keymaster
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Worried about those poor turkeys, Sarah?


bikeygirl
Participant
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@stu: Wow…. a truck road up Panther Hollow? Are you freaking serious?

This whole thing is looking mighty dark and sinister to me!!! More info please?

EDIT

Just found this website….. and there seems to be a “Major Road” indeed by the Panther Hollow general area, but can’t zoom enough in the map to clarify. It could also be Greenville Ave.

Hrm.. need clarification :/

http://monvalleyhelp.com/project/proposed-new-trails

EDIT EDIT

On a closer look, the map does not seem to have a new road on Panther Hollow…. hrm.

Enlightement would be appreciated….


sarah_q
Participant
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Dan, if those turkeys are displaced they will go right to Squirrel Hill and they’ll be even angrier!

I work in Morgantown so I wouldn’t mind a good connection between the two areas… but right through Panther Hollow? Really?


bikeygirl
Participant
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UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE

@stu et,all:

(1) *YES* the MF/E is expected to dump traffic on Bates St.

(2) *YES* the TCP is paying for the bridge/part of the trail, and is part of the MF/E proposal to balance different transportation systems.

(3) *NO* there will be NO MF/E related-roads going into Patnther Hollow trail. Only Bates St. is slated for that (which is enough).

Panther Hollow **has never** been part of the Plan to be included on the MF/E Proposal.

One of my co-workers was part of the Deisgn Advisory Team for the Oakland and Hazelwood Communities studying the MF/E impact, and he has assured me that Panther Hollw is safe.

The MF/E is itself not a good thing for our region environmentally and economically ((regardless of what they might say), and that in-itself is a strong reason to picket the ribbon cutting.

In terms of the Panther Hollow trail, it is not true that is part of the MF/E plan.


helen s
Participant
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I did not think going up Panther Hollow was doable as it sort of ends, unless they road dumped onto Craig Street.

I did see 4 turkeys in Gesling Stadium last Friday.


salty
Participant
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“sort of ends” is not really an obstacle when you have gobs of money to bulldoze stuff and build ramps and bridges… but I’m at least somewhat encouraged by bikeygirl’s information.


sarah_q
Participant
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“The MF/E is itself not a good thing for our region environmentally and economically ((regardless of what they might say), and that in-itself is a strong reason to picket the ribbon cutting.”

I get the environmental problem but what is the economic one? Typically increased infrastructure is good for a region economically. Just curious.

ETA: also, who thought it would be a good idea to route trucks up Bates St. What happens when they get to the top — they are in the middle of Oakland? This is not a good truck route.


melange396
Participant
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i was going to guess that bates is involved so that traffic from the MFE can get on 376… but you can only get on 376 eastbound there, which would be back in the direction that they came from. perhaps they will redesign that interchange?


melange396
Participant
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on second thought, traffic could get from 376 to the MFE via the exit onto bates. theyd be avoiding the major choke point on 376 caused by the idiotic sqill interchange and tunnels.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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This road, if they build it, will cost somebody FOUR BILLION DOLLARS. If we had $4B, which we don’t, we could fix every broken or inadequate bridge and road that already exists. Every ped and bike project imaginable in the area barely gets out of 8 digits; this is halfway to 11. And $4B later, we still haven’t fixed one broken or inadequate bridge, and have 40 MORE miles of immense infrastructure to maintain going forward.

That’s the obvious reason. The not-obvious reason gets into the “peak oil” argument, that we (humanity, all nations together) are already past the point of being able to pull petroleum out of the ground any faster than we did in 2005-6, it’s now declining, and we’re adding 20 million petroleum powered cars to the world fleet every year. Thus, there’s no point in building a huge new road to handle all this traffic they’re expecting, because there won’t BE any, because gas is going to cost $10/gallon in the not-too-distant future, on its way to $20 and beyond.


Impala26
Participant
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From my intern work at the City Planning, I found out that according to their plan, the ENTIRE I-376 Interchange would be redone at Bates Street. It basically involves eminent domain-ing most of the properties in the Bates St. swale/ravine area from Boulevard of the Allies to 2nd Ave. The new interchange purported would interface DIRECTLY with the Boulevard.

The MFE project is, as Stu basically said, a feel-good cash-sink advertised by leaders who liked when building new highways was in vogue (1970’s). I believe the first plans of the MFE came in the early or mid-80’s if that gives folks any idea as to who we’re dealing with.

It’s an outdated and expensive plan that has no business being even TALKED about it today’s current economic and socio-political climate.


cdavey
Participant
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Stu – I’m going to elaborate further on something you said at the beginning of your post. You said “If we had $4B, which we don’t”. I’ll go one step further and say we won’t – not ever. The math isn’t there.

There are two sources of funding available here – the state of the Feds. PA is broke. They barely balanced the budget this year. Unlike the Feds, they can’t run annual deficits. The years into the future are going to be the same – they are going to have trouble finding the money to balance the budget, let alone build this thing. I think they’ll have too many more pressing needs to spend what money they have.

The Feds can borrow the money to do it and pass it through to the state – maybe. There’s a practical problem here. The Federal deficit — which is debt – is growing at a faster annual rate than the underlying economy. Both of these rates of growth are exponential functions. The function that has the higher exponent — here debt — will over time always run away from the one that has the lower exponent. At some point even for the Feds the amount of debt will overwhelm their ability to borrow more money for anything, including something like this. I think we are basically at that point now.

They could always try to simply print the money – monetize the debt without actually borrowing the money. That won’t work either because the resulting inflation will eventually reduce the purchasing power of the money needed to finance the project to the point that they can’t buy the labor and materials to do it.

Either way they’re screwed and it won’t happen. When this project was proposed 20/30 years ago, oil was plentiful, gas was cheap and we were wealthy enough to be able to afford this sort of thing. As you pointed out with your peak oil reference, none of this true now. The fact the money isn’t there and won’t be only makes it this more unlikely to happen. But the promoters don’t know these things or don’t know want to know it and willfully ignore them. They’re either too thoughtless or too stupid to see the status quo they believe in has changed. The just obliviously continue to spout the same lines and rationales they always have. They’re smoking too much hopium on this one.


sprite
Participant
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Dumping more traffic on Bates? Sheer genius. :/


erok
Keymaster
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One word: Boondoggle


bikeygirl
Participant
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@salty: The MF/E gains nothing from going up Panther Hollow and dumping traffic to Forbes avenue @ Craig St, so rest assured that will not happen.

@Impala and Cdavey are right: Moneywise in-regards to the MF/E, neither the State, City, nor the TPC have money to get this built. If any, fixing the bridge/trail in the name of it is just a feeble attempt by some to keep the project alive, but no one has the money nor time for it.

One should obviously stay alert for developments, but with the current economy and the outdated-goals of the project, don’t think anyhting will come of it anytime soon.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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The practical implications of the M/FE dumping into the City of Pittsburgh include property acquisition on a staggering scale.

And bikeygirl is right (and Stu, too) – the M/FE is a cash trough, and as long as certain lawmakers can keep it alive, there are legion engineers, PR firms, caterers – you name it, feeding from it (I know, I used to work for one providing “public information” and arranging “public meetings” – lots of billable hours there!).

Studies will continue, meetings here and there will be held, but I suspect/hope nothing will come of it.


erok
Keymaster
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the wiki page was clearly written by the folks trying to push this thru.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mon%E2%80%93Fayette_Expressway


sloaps
Participant
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If you think the turnpike can’t get funding, then why would you believe another mode – rail – could?

Turnpike can’t leverage the borrowing they once could, same as everyother government, so a Public-Private Partnership is the policy de jour for capital investment. PPP Legislation has been stalled since January in Harrisburg, I suspect because not enough PA companies will benefit – it’s basically seasoned foreign entities vs. loose knit American partnerships backed by foreign venture capital.

So, there’s time to make picket signs and buttons.

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