Encouraging Almono to think big on active transport

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paulheckbert
Moderator
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I recall them using the term “aerial tram” (not “gondola”).

When I said “but there’s plenty of space in Junction Hollow for a shuttlebus road”, they brought up problems with railroads and property. They didn’t give details.

If the planners are OK with shuttle buses running on existing roads from the Junction Hollow soccer field south to Second Ave, then I don’t see a railroad problem. The buses can use the existing Boundary and Saline streets.

If the planners have their hearts set on a dedicated shuttlebus road all the way to ALMONO then perhaps the two RR crossings are the problem. The natural route for a shuttle road is west of the CSX RR line up near the Panther Hollow neighborhood, then crosses to east of the RR line near Big Jim’s, then crosses to west of the RR line near Second Ave. The existing RR underpasses are pinch points, particularly the latter one.

Keeping the shuttlebus route west of the RR tracks all the way looks possible, but would cost money. See my map of ideas for Pittsburgh Bicycle Connections, in particular the curve called “Junction Hollow Trail – rerouted”. It’s a way to stay west of the railroad tracks. Maybe a dedicated shuttle road and/or a bike trail could follow that route. All you’d need to do is move the railroad tracks east 20 feet or so to make space. (It’s been done elsewhere: Route 28 & 31st St Bridge).

map: http://goo.gl/lT0LWO


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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There are already Port Authority routes which stop at either end of the Almono property and run to Oakland–the 58 Greenfield and 93 Hazelwood-Lawrenceville, respectively.  Both are a bit circuitous at the moment, but that (especially in the 93’s case) should ease once the Greenfield Bridge reopens, projected for this fall.

CMU and Pitt both already have shuttles which run to the business park at Second and Bates, and of course there are multiple UPMC shuttles to their lots along Second Ave.

Instead of introducing yet another source of traffic to the corridor, Almono should be pushed to work with one (or more) of the existing transit providers to make theirs available.  A rebuilt 84B that extended the Port Authority’s old South Oakland loop down to Technology Drive and Almono (and provided evening and weekend service than the last version…) would be beneficial to residents of both neighborhoods as well as to the university students and staff that use the Pitt and UPMC shuttles.


Benzo
Participant
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I haven’t been keeping up:

Is the boulevard through Almono open to the public (on bikes) currently or is it still gated off indefinitely?


paulheckbert
Moderator
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It was gated the last time I was there (last week). In practice, some people are skirting the gates and getting through.


jonawebb
Participant
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Interesting story on Almono and why it’s taking so long: foundations are trying to make sure it happens right. Including bikes, the neighborhood, and so on.
https://newsinteractive.post-gazette.com/nonprofit/#chdevelopment


Eric
Member
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Not sure if this was posted before and I’m coming late to the game, but this seems interesting —

https://www.hazelwoodgreen.com/lytlestreet/

 

Raised and protected bike lanes when Lytle Street is extended throughout the development…


Benzo
Participant
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FYI. Get updates on trail’s protective canopy at https://www.hazelwoodgreen.com/trail/

Looks like the last update was

>> 10.01.2018 UPDATE
Construction under the rail underpass is underway! Initial work is composed of connecting utilities and completing the roadway.


chrishent
Member
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Hazelwood Green roads to open on April 1st:


paulheckbert
Moderator
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Eric
Member
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per the trib article-
A 1.9-mile dedicated bicycle route known as Hazelwood Trail that parallels Blair Street provides a direct connection from Hazelwood to Eliza Furnace, Three Rivers Heritage and Great Allegheny Passage trails. The Port Authority of Allegheny County has agreed to route its 57 Hazelwood bus line through the property.

Where exactly is this direct connection between Hazelwood and the EFT? Or am I missing something?
ie, if I go over the HMB from the Southside Works instead of connecting to the EFT I can get on the Hazelwood trail under the HMB on the Oakland side and then avoid getting on 2nd avenue?


dfiler
Member
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What they’re referring to is that the Hazelwood neighborhood is now connected such that once you’re on the bike lane in the development, you can reach the entire riverfront trail system or EFT without mixing with traffic again.


chrishent
Member
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Yes, you can get on the Hazelwood Green Trail by getting off the EFT at the Hot Metal Bridge, crossing Hot Metal Street, and getting on the Hazelwood unpaved trail. I rode it today, and the transition is a little funky, and the old section of the Hazelwood trail is not packed in. Once on the Hazelwood Green trail, it’s a great ride. Right now you do have to get on the street where the railroad overpass is, as that section of the trail isn’t finished. No biggie. You can hop back on the trail and continue all the way to Hazelwood Ave.

I’m a little disappointed that the western end of Blair St. did not connect directly to Swinburne St., so you could access the trail there. Also, the traffic light at Blair and Second Ave is not operating yet.


chrishent
Member
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oh, and there was no fencing on the western end this afternoon. No need to cause a ruckus ;-)


paulheckbert
Moderator
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I think me talking to Karina Ricks this morning (plus the tweet for backup) helped get the fence removed. The car fences were down by 9am but the bike fence was still up at 11am, I noticed. Maybe they would have removed the fence today if I’d said nothing, but I kinda doubt it.

Post-Gazette story about today’s road & trail opening:

https://www.post-gazette.com/local/city/2019/04/01/Hazelwood-Green-streets-trail-opens-to-public-for-the-first-time-in-decades/stories/201904010057


dfiler
Member
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Is there a plan to pave the crushed limestone sections? It is disappointing that the fancy permeable asphalt bike lane passes through 90% of the development and then just ends.

Certainly not all of the hazelwood trail is on their property but paving to their property line on both ends is still possible. I know I should be happy that Blair Steet has a bike lane at all. But it seems  more like a check box checked and a photo opportunity rather the developers actually providing good infrastructure. In my opinion it would be ludicrous to build such a beautiful bike lane and then leave both ends unfinished.

Hopefully this is just a temporary issue. The land is just barren ground at this point so it would be understandable if higher quality connections were slated for a later phase. But when the developer announces the bike lane is open but didn’t bother to put in a curb cut at the on one end and didn’t bother to take down a fence blocking the other end, their dedication is a bit suspect.

https://www.hazelwoodgreen.com/hazelwood-trail

 

 


zzwergel
Member
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Today, I went for a ride on the new track and I think Blair St. is on on the most beautiful roads I’ve ever seen. Is the track going to be shared with pedestrians, or is it bike only? I like the idea the many of the sidewalks Pyongyang, North Korea had bike lanes striped on them to reduce collisions with pedestrians. here is a vier of Mirae Scientists St. in Pyongyang. The asphalt sections of the sidewalks are the bike lanes.

Does anyone know that once some businesses and residences move into Hazelwood Green, Will the 57 bus increase in frequency?


alleghenian
Member
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Judging by the pictures and the satellite view in google maps, there is a sidewalk on both sides of Blair Street for its entire length, so I would think that this is the exact intention: sidewalk for pedestrians, asphalt trail for bikes.


zzwergel
Member
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The sidewalk on the river side of Blair St. is narrow and has lights and signposts obstructing it, so it is not ADA compliant.


Eric
Member
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Tangential post: keeping vs razing historic industrial sites. Focus on Hazelwood green.

Industrial buildings tell Pittsburgh’s story. Preserving them is costly and takes dedication.


Eric
Member
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Rode it today. The dirt/rock trail from HMB to almono sucks. Could also use better signage at bottom of HMB.

Once im almono there is so little traffic taking the road was the easiest option.

Any idea what they are building in the old superstructure/ Skeleton of the mill?


zzwergel
Member
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The traffic light on 2nd Ave at Blair St. is functional. You can turn right off of Greenfield Ave., or Swinburne St., get in the left turning lane, and turn left at the traffic light which features a protected left. The Hazelwood Trail can also be accessed from Bates St. via a 1-block dash on 2nd Ave. Also, I think more bike racks and should be installed in the business district and 2nd Ave. sharrowed south of Hazelwood Ave.


Eric
Member
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it’s too bad that those utility poles along 2nd avenue (ie., smack dab in the middle of the sidewalk) can’t be moved back a bit onto the property… I can only think that it was done intentionally.
(i.e., “we don’t have right of way to put it on almono property and, shoot, no one walks over here anyway, so lets cut the sidewalk in half and obstruct visibility for people using the sidewalk and just put ’em right in the middle.”


zzwergel
Member
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@eric,

It appears that those telephone poles have been there at least since 2008 according to Street View.


MaryShaw
Member
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I’ve been told they plan to pave the bit from Blair St to HMB.  There are two more serious problems, though:

  1. The horrible tight switchback from HMB onto the ramp to 2nd Av
  2. The awful pedestrian crossing of HMB to get into Hazelwood Green.  Is there ever a time that no one is either turning right on red or going on green?  There needs to be a route that goes to the river on the downtown side of HMB and crosses under HMB to hook up with Hazelwood Trail.

Fortunately, there is currently an opportunity to speak up about getting these improvements!

Bicyclists who use the Eliza Furnace Trail and (want to) ride through Hazelwood should be aware of the current study of multimodal transportation in the Second Ave Corridor from 10th St to the south end of the Glenwood Bridge.  This includes the nasty mess where “The Chute” picks its way through the Irvine/Greenfield/2nd/Saline intersection to get from Junction Hollow to the Eliza Furnace Trail.

The project web site at https://spcsecondavenue.com/  They had a public meeting a month or so ago and have been doing intense design.  There will be another public meeting in early May.

If you have opinions about improvements in that area, this would be an excellent time to send comments to the project.  Please use spcsecondavenue@wrallp.com as the contact email address. Please send comments by late April.

If you’d like to see what several of us have written as suggestions, take a look at the reports at  https://furnace2furnace.org/   However, do not assume these reports are enough.   Every additional message gives greater weight.

Mary


MaryShaw
Member
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It has been pointed out to me that “If you have opinions about improvements in that area, this would be an excellent time to send comments to the project.” is too subtle.

So,

If you care about cycling improvements to the 2nd Ave corridor between 10th St and Glenwood bridge, now is the time to speak up

The project web site at https://spcsecondavenue.com/  Please use spcsecondavenue@wrallp.com as the contact email address. Please send comments by late April.  Plan to attend the public meeting in early May.  Get your ideas into the plan they’re making.  Opportunities like this don’t come around very often.

  • This reply was modified 1 week, 3 days ago by  MaryShaw. Reason: Brought doen project web site from previous post, in case it isn't clear that this post follows up on that one

Benzo
Participant
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@maryshaw – Thanks for raising awareness of how bad it is to get to the hazelwood trails. I added a few comments about access issues from Hot metal and the street crossing there when the wikimap opened.

Now the trail is open, I get an even better impression that that crossing at the 2nd ave intersection sucks as I had to play chicken with some right turning cars while walking my bike across the crosswalk with a walk signal.


zzwergel
Member
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Here is video of me going from the Blair St. track to the Eliza Furnace Trail on 700Cx28 tires. Tomorrow, I’ll try to go from the Junction Hollow trail to Blair St. via 2nd Ave. I’ve already done it once, but I did not get video.

  • This reply was modified 1 week, 2 days ago by  zzwergel. Reason: Add info about tires

dfiler
Member
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I typically bypass the road crossing by going under the hot metal bridge on the trail, then turning right on the sidewalk past the first building. Follow that around and it’ll lead you to the HMB ramp without having to cross a road. It adds probably 200 yards to your journey but can actually be quicker because you don’t have to wait for traffic.


zzwergel
Member
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@dfiler,

Thank you for letting me know. I did not know there was a path under the bridge.


Eric
Member
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@dfiler — that’s genius! How in the hell did I not even think of that?


dfiler
Member
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It works but could be even better. There is a sidewalk next to or under the building immediately next to the HMB. However there are steps as well. It is a gradual grade so if I remember correctly there are only single steps and they are spaced perhaps 30 feet apart. If it were repaved to eliminate the steps, it would still be an gradual grade and also be usable by bikes. My description may not be entirely accurate but the general idea is that the sidewalk isn’t useable but would be the optimal route for the connector to the bridge ramp.  It is the shortest route and also eliminates the need to cross a road.

Granted, the sidewalk certainly appears to be private property so I don’t feel entitle to its use. In hindsight though, one built further out from the building and without steps would have benefited everyone, including tenants of the building.

Perhaps that is still possible.


alleghenian
Member
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This thread motivated me to take a ride on my lunch break from downtown to check out this trail.  I concur with most of the comments here.  The switchback to get down to the crossing requires an impossibly tight u-turn.  It was nerve-racking to cross Hot Metal Street with the ped signal because most cars were turning right from 2nd Ave onto the bridge at high speeds.  The half mile or so from the bridge to the paved trail is in bad shape. In some places it is basically single-track. In other places the crushed limestone is so thick that my tires were sinking in like sand.  And you have to know the specific way to get there… No one exploring the Heritage Trail system would ever notice it if they were not given directions.

That being said, the new trail is awesome once you get there.  Fresh pavement, cool views of the valley.  Barely any cars on the road for the time being.

If you go under the Hot Metal Bridge coming back toward downtown, one other alternative is to follow the path up to Technology Drive, then cross 2nd Ave. at the ‘Middle Access Dr.’ stoplight. There is a ramp to the Eliza Furnace Trail here, which used to be the trail detour when the bridge over Bates Street was being replaced a few years ago.  This is easier and probably faster than dealing with the Hot Metal Bridge.


Benzo
Participant
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But isn’t that sidewalk in a business district due to the office buildings here? Technically making it illegal to bike on without signage designating this as a shared use path? I’m just being pedantic here. But it makes a case for the necessity of a 100% legal, safe, and bikeable access to the Hazelwood trail.

Business district—The territory contiguous to and including a highway when within any 600 feet along the highway there are buildings in use for business or industrial purposes, including hotels, banks or office buildings, railroad stations and public buildings which occupy at least 300 feet of frontage on one side or 300 feet collectively on both sides of the highway.

https://www.pacode.com/secure/data/052/chapter37/s37.202.html


paulheckbert
Moderator
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It’s curious that the definition of business district used the word ”highway” and not “road”. I wonder if they define “highway”.


zzwergel
Member
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Here is me connecting from the Junction Hollow Trail to Blair St. via 2nd Ave. 2nd Ave has a dedicated left turning lane which makes waiting for opposing traffic to clear less stressful. A similar maneuver can be done from Swinburne St. as well to connect from the Eliza Furnace Trail. This is not for anyone who is unsure of their skill and not confident.


MaryShaw
Member
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Please send these opinions to the current Second Ave Multimodal Corridor Study. There is a public meeting coming up where you will be able to see the current recommendations and make your own suggestions.  From the announcement:

The next public meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday May 8th, from 6 to 8 pm at the Spartan Community Center of Hazelwood (134 East Elizabeth Street). The meeting is an open house, you are welcome to join us anytime from 6 to 8 pm.

The Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission (SPC) invites you to attend a public open house focused on transportation needs and solutions along the State Route 885/Second Avenue corridor between the 10th Street Bridge and the interchange with State Route 837 just south of the Glenwood Bridge. The State Route 885/Second Avenue Multimodal Corridor Study will analyze current and future transportation and land use conditions to provide a series of recommended multimodal strategies for this growing area. At this meeting, we will be seeking your input on potential future transportation and land use scenarios.

The project web site at https://spcsecondavenue.com/  Please use spcsecondavenue@wrallp.com as the contact email address. Please send comments by late April.  Plan to attend the public meeting on May 8.  Get your ideas into the plan they’re making.  Opportunities like this don’t come around very often.

  • This reply was modified 1 week, 1 day ago by  MaryShaw. Reason: Removed stray html that crept into post

zzwergel
Member
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I cannot attend meetings that late as I live in Aspinwall and the buses in Hazelwood do not operate that frequently. It would take a long time for me to get home and it will be after dark. I do not think the 93 operates that late.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Z, there are enough buses headed downtown from there, and enough 1 and 91 trips after dark to get you home.


zzwergel
Member
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@stu, The 56 and 57 only run every 50 minutes during midday on weekdays. Is there any chance the two schedules are staggered so the 57 comes and then 25 minutes later, the 56 comes, and so on? If they are staggered like this into the night, even if each individual route runs on a 60 minute interval, that means there will be a bus every 30 minutes and that is acceptable.

  • This reply was modified 1 week ago by  zzwergel.
  • This reply was modified 1 week ago by  zzwergel. Reason: Correct capitalization mistake

paulheckbert
Moderator
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When sending your Hazelwood / Second Avenue corridor wishes to spcsecondavenue@wrallp.com this week, you should not only say that we need a connection to the Duck Hollow Trail, but also say loudly and clearly

REPAIR DUCK HOLLOW TRAIL ASAP!

cc that message to corey.oconnor@pittsburghpa.gov, also.

(DHT was cut in half by a water main break in February).

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