extending north shore trail

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cycleguy
Member
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Now that the city completed the Mon Warf ramp for cyclists riding into Point State Park, and over the Fort Pitt Bridge to the North shore, will there be any plans on extending the North Shore trail, both Northwest past Alcosan and Northeast past Millvale.It would be so nice if they could extend the North Shore trail in both directions.Any thoughts??


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Both have been discussed at length in other threads. In brief, yes. Up the Allegheny, expect a patchwork of segments to appear over the next few years.

Down the Ohio will be much tougher. Even if you could get past Alcosan, there’s no way to get across the railroad tracks until you get to the lock & dam, and no way to get into the tiny slot between the tracks and PA65, as if that’s going to be much better.

And even with the 200-foot climb up to California Ave (my preference is Eckert to Woods Run to Antrim to Fleming to Termon to Calif), that dead-ends in Emsworth at the landslide in Kilbuck.

When I’m not half asleep (4:30 am as I write this), I’ll link the relevant threads.


Steven
Participant
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I’d guess we’ll get a decent trail along the south bank of the Ohio (maybe all the way up to Rochester) before we get one through those problem areas Stu mentions on the north bank (and those aren’t the last ones either: check out the Conway rail yard farther along the Ohio).

The south bank at least has space for a trail almost everywhere. It just needs political will and (lots of) money. But the “easiest” way to get a long trail along the north bank would be for the railroad to decide it no longer requires tracks there. Otherwise there are just too many choke points.


cycleguy
Member
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If we could get a trail on the south bank of the Ohio,from Station Square to just hit Neville Island,(let alone all the way to Rochester),that would be great!! Once you’re on Neville Island you can cycle safely into Groveton to get on the Montour Trail.


NMR
Member
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Shaler Township just hired an engineer to develop construction plans for the Millvale to Etna extension in November, for what it’s worth.

Ballpark guess would be that they’ll break ground in 2021.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I want to say it was March 2010 when I saw plans to extend the trail up the Allegheny. At the time, the North Shore trail was basically mud beyond the 9th St Bridge, with here and there a patch of decent gravel or pavement. The tar-and-chip didn’t appear until maybe 2013, and the “no trespassing” sign on the trail by the ramp up to the 30th/31st St Bridges was there until at least early 2016.

Anyway, the plans in 2010 were that each municipality had bright-eyed ideas for having some sort of bike facility along the north shore of the Allegheny, all the way up to Ford City, but prior to that there wasn’t much vision about hooking them together. The best anyone could come up with was a patchwork of trails through one town or another, with on-road segments connecting them.

Now, much of a decade later, we are starting to see some of that patchwork happening. As Nick said a bit above, the Millvale piece might be happening inside of three years. Elsewhere the whadyacallit-47 project in Aspinwall. At least one other upriver — sorry, I never go that way, so I’m scant on the details. But that’s just it, bits and pieces, and that’s from plans put together in 2009-2010.

It would sure be nice to have a definitive plan for the whole thing. If it does exist, someone please link it.

Down the Ohio, we’re not beyond pipe dream stage, and on the south shore, tens of millions wasted on a road rebuild in the most critical part that did worse than nothing for cyclists. Exactly what we cyclists warned in December 2011 would happen with that lousy design did happen, and exactly what I warned would happen in a May 2013 letter to PennDOT is happening, in effect “we just worked on that, so have no plans to touch it anytime in the next 25 years.”

Get McKees Rocks to raise hell and put a chip under it about bike accessibility to town, like Millvale has. Knock West Carson down to 25 mph and 10-foot lanes smack up against the south edge of the road surface. There’s 34 (38?) feet of roadway to work with. I think they can find space to put in a jersey barrier protected bi-directional bike lane on the north edge of the road surface.

And how you get to that? By building a bike structure similar to the one between 40th and 31st, between the West End Circle and the Wabash Tunnel, get Port Authority to open the Wabash Tunnel to bikes, and rebuild the bridge they stupidly tore down over West Carson just downstream of the WEC. Not sure how best to get bikes over the WEC and Steuben St, probably an extension of that same structure.

That would at least get us from town to Rox.

A simple extension of that to West Liberty Ave would open up a swath of the Dormont-Brookline-West End to town, too.

  • This reply was modified 5 months ago by  StuInMcCandless. Reason: Added StreetView link to trail's No Trespassing sign

StuInMcCandless
Participant
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I do not know how to put this nicely, so I won’t try.

Oh, but let’s right away build a multi-hundred-million dollar swimming pool for rich people on the North Shore, next to the casino, to fuck up the existing trail. Yeah, get on that one, git’er done.

Anyone want to bet that by 2030 the Cool Kids Pool will exist and a trail extension will not? And in doing that, will push cyclists either into the river, or into traffic, long term temp if not permanently? (For precedent, see 2008-10 on the casino project, or since dinosaurs roamed, on the Strip District Trail.)


NMR
Member
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Oh, but let’s right away build a multi-hundred-million dollar swimming pool for rich people on the North Shore

Allow a developer to privatize the trail and I guarantee you it would be in Aspinwall by now.

As for public investment, our politicians love to talk about the economic and social benefits of trail development but priorities are found in a municipality’s budget, not its vision. The reality is we drastically underfund trail-building to the point that piecemeal development <i>is the only reality we know.</i> And lets not even get started on state of good repair.

Anyways, since you brought up the Esplanade, are any trail-building or maintaining entities at the table? Walk/Ride was able to get meetings at the extremely early stage when the idea of a project here was just beginning(I want to say summer of 2015?), but got shut out of discussions as soon as the proposal became real. We’ve only been given vague platitudes about the developer valuing the trail and intending to improve it for public use, which I do very much believe, but lack any detail on what that means during and after construction.


paulheckbert
Moderator
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Brackenridge (which is along the Allegheny River upstream of Aspinwall, Springdale, and Tarentum, but downstream of Freeport) is having a trail design meeting on Thursday 2/7.

https://triblive.com/local/valleynewsdispatch/14581137-74/brackenridge-plans-public-meeting-on-riverfront-trail-project


Eric
Member
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What would be cool is if, in 50-60 years, of course, the north shore trail connects to the buffalo/Freeport trail so one could bike from the prison to Butler. Or DC to Butler.


cycleguy
Member
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It would be “cool” if 50-60 years from now the Northshore trail connects to buffalo/Freeport,but unfortunately most of our generation and many of our children’s generation won’t be alive to see this happen.What would be much more “cool” is if the trail could be extended to Brackenridge or further to Freeport 5-6 years from now instead of 50-60 years from now.It’s been now been more than 30 years to just extend the trail a few miles upriver from Millvale to Etna for Gods sake!!!


bicycle heaven
Participant
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It would be fantastic if they could extend pass the water plant it could go all the way to Ohio and its flat no hills ,,,,anything can be done if you want to .


Eric
Member
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AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Several years ago ARTEZ developed a common ordinance which member towns could adapt and adopt to ensure any future riverfront developments met certain minimum criteria and building standards, etc, including green space, open space, riverfront access and trail development. Via this ordinance (I know Aspinwall adopted it, I can’t say for sure the other towns), riverfront trail development is *required* of a developer (such as R-47).

It has been my understanding that from the get-go, R-47 intends a trail through their property to connect to the existing Aspinwall Riverfront Park… and from there who knows. I believe that R-47 has in fact hired an engineering firm and begun the actual planning for the trail through their property, which I expect when all is said and done would run continuously from the Etna Park between Etna and Sharpsburg right up to Aspinwall Riverfront Park. Beyond that is PWSA and it is anybody’s guess what happens next with that sh*itshow – they have enough other problems going on there.


fultonco
Member
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Noted yesterday the Fleming Park Bridge is still closed for what appears to be major renovation.  The closure is a serious impediment to using the 3 Rivers Heritage Trail to get to Groveton and the Montour Trail.  I’ve heard June, for re-opening but based upon what as observed yesterday, that seems optimistic.


Benzo
Participant
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Fleming Park Bridge Reopening planned for  June according to this article. Not sure if it’s in any way realistic or accurate.

https://www.wpxi.com/news/top-stories/bridge-to-neville-island-set-to-close-in-august/788519586


chrishent
Member
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As someone whose bus is currently detoured due to the Fleming Park bridge closure, I can’t wait for it to reopen. And yes, based on my daily observations of it, progress seems slow and the end of June date seems optimistic. But hey, I’d rather they do the job right than not do it all, since that bridge was in rough shape. And, frankly, I’d worry more about how to get to the bridge in the first place (West Carson, anyone?) than the bridge itself.

If you don’t feel like riding the hilly portion of 51 between Stowe and Coraopolis, you can always take the 21 bus (and the 20 on weekdays) to get you to and from the Montour Trail.


Eric
Member
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I found this website but it is super slow.
https://www.dot7.state.pa.us/OneMap?ProjectID=78212

When you click on the yellow dot it gives you a lot of data re: the fleming bridge project, and completion date on it (scroll down down down) is 20190820. so, august 20th. I assume they update this with the best available data?

It has a lot of other information including the email for the penndot contact person on the project.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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*Question – why is discussion about the “Fleming Park Bridge” project on a thread titled “Extending North Shore Trail”? When I first saw these mentions, I assumed they were in reference to the RD Fleming Bridge between Shaprsburg/Etna and the City of Pittsburgh (also known as The 62nd Street Bridge). That bridge is at least relevant to the proposed North Shore Trail corridor. Am I missing something? The Fleming Park Bridge spans between Neville Island and Stowe Twp, which isn’t even on the North Shore…


Eric
Member
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No. Someone posted in the wrong thread. The message board controls for the average user are sparse- post, edit within 2 hours, and that’s it. No delete. So we’re trying to be helpful.

There are moderators but they are not very active/active at all. Clear spam posts never get removed…

TheBBS I ran in the early 90s had more features. :)


fultonco
Member
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The reason the question was asked about the Fleming Park Bridge is, earlier in the thread, connections via the North Shore Trail, roads, and the McKees Rocks Bridge to Neville Island and ultimately to the Montour trail, near Coraopolis were mentioned.   Currently the FP Bridge, vital to making that connection, is and has been closed for quite some time.  The closure leaves very few options for making that connection from the North Shore.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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@fultonco – thx for the clarity. Cheers…


Eric
Member
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My landlord lives by the Docks in O’hara. She said that the president of the FOTR lives in her development and told her that it’s ok to use the train tracks between the Docks/St. Margaret, and that FOTR has an understanding (which will be in place soon) that bikes, etc can use the driveways through the actual Waterworks (ie PWSA) to avoid freeport road.

I’m not sure I’d go trying this right now, but my landlord walks to work here in aspinwall via the traintracks, and she’s only gotten yelled at by the PWSA people.

anyone hear anything else re: this?


fultonco
Member
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@atleastmykidsloveme – most welcome.  thanks for the civility.


cycleguy
Member
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Any more news updates of extending North Shore Trail from Millvale to Etna/Sharpsburg and beyond??


Eric
Member
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Supposedly Etna starting park July 1. So that will at least get us to the 62md St bridge.

I think Sharpsburg’s part by part restreetscaping will be their contribution to the trail. So I think that part will be on street without bike Lanes.


alleghenian
Member
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I had heard that the Etna Riverfront Park will be breaking ground June 3rd.  Etna’s border only goes to where Pine Creek empties into the Allegheny, so there is a stretch of riverfront there that is within Shaler Township.  Shaler’s trail is also in the works.  No idea if Etna’s portion might be done before Shaler’s, or vice versa.  Hopefully both are done this year.


zzwergel
Member
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If Etna and Shaler can get their sections of trail done, that would be great! No more crossing of the Highland Park or 62nd St. Bridge needed to reach Downtown.


Eric
Member
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Oh. You’re right allegenian. Etna only has a tiny piece of land. It’s actually shorter than one of those long warehouses! So it’s Shaler that’s the key.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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Shaler is I think doing preliminary engineering, Etna is constructing their park, and then I think it mostly leads to the R47 property, which as discussed recently, they are trying to separate the “trail” property from the “development” property so that trail construction would not be dependent of the generosity of the developer. Beyond R47 is Aspinwall Riverfront Park…

So, while the trail may be forced onto the “practical” alignment (ie: the street) through Sharpsburg, that would only be if and until the R47 part is done (which could be soon, or it could be later. But the narrowness of Main Street through Sharpsburg, and the wonky exchange between Sharpsburg and Aspinwall at the Highland Park Bridge demonstrate the need of the riverside trail alignment through this area – not only would it be more convenient, but safer as well.

So, here’s hoping the trail property purchase from R47 can happen, and then we would have a full link from Etna Park to Aspinwall Riverfront Park. North of ARP, Freeport Road opens up a bit…


Eric
Member
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I don’t think R47 goes past James Sharp landing, right? And that’s, what, 19th St in Sharpsburg?

It also looks like the Crookstons and mascaro aren’t going to give away the trail portion of R47. They’re looking to make money off of it, which is their right, but will slow down trail development over there.

Here’s a link to a PDF that shows exactly how tiny etna riverfront Park will be. The money for the connection is Shaler riverfront Park.
https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://www.spcregion.org/pdf/TAP/Etna%2520Riverfront%2520Park%2520and%2520Trail%2520Project.pdf&ved=2ahUKEwi2-rHPquHhAhVHR60KHWGOAe0QFjAAegQIARAB&usg=AOvVaw2ZjRI1cylXvfvPQvFBY9PV


cycleguy
Member
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If the the North Shore can be extended  this year to Aspinwall,or even Shaler,it would be great.This is the trail that’s eventually to connect to the Armstrong and Allegheny River Trail up to Erie.It’s been at least 30 years now where we’ve been stuck at Millvale and so looooong overdue to extend this part of the trail.Just maybe after extending this small part, development in other sections will move along much faster for trail completions.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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@eric: Not sure what “it looks like” means, but… R47s major developer is Mosites, not Mascaro. And, Susan Crookston, while also being a minor partner in R47, is also behind the idea to separate the trail alignment property from the R47 property. She told the Northern Region Bike Summit a few weeks ago the same thing she discussed at the DCNR press event at R47: that separating the property is the only way to speed trail development. Further, she told the Summit that Steve Mosites was offering the property at a below-market rate. So, no, not giving away, but not holding for ransom either. As far as I know, it is a matter of the DCNR funding the purchase, and according to what Susan said at the Summit, DCNR is excited about this project, and that this could possibly represent a new model for trail development, rather than the “let’s all just rely on the generosity of the developer” model.

@cycleguy: even if the DCNR scheme regarding the R47 trail property were to work, I doubt we are looking at a “within the year” window – would probably be <5 yrs (guessing?) though, but regardless will definitely be quicker than the alternative, which is best understood as you say on a generational scale…


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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@eric, Pt 2: Regarding the extent of R47 property down river, from what I have heard, whether R47 purchases the remaining property(ies) between their plot and Etna Riverfront Park, is likely a matter of when not if. But, technically and legally speaking you are correct, the R47 property does not currently connect to ERP. But I expect it will eventually, so forgive me for rhetorically jumping ahead there.

Also earlier I referenced Shaler doing preliminary engineering – I see now that could have been read as though they were doing engineering for Etna Park. That is not my intent there. Shaler is doing preliminary engineering on the possibilities of a trail connection through the township along the river between Millvale and ERP. Sorry for the poor syntax there.


Eric
Member
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Everything you said makes sense re: R47. I think it’ll take a while, however, since there’s the matter of the finding a buyer/DCNR as well as dealing with Aspinwall, O’Hara, and Sharpsburg.

I hope that when they build the trail they separate it from the brownfield. I assume they will for now, probably with a fence. The Mosites corp (a la the strip) has a long hx of blocking off trails for years for construction. I think maybe the difference would be that when/if the trail is sold off, Mosites wouldn’t control it like they control the strip trail land.

As for the Shaler part, that’s really the key to make the connection for the riverfront trail being nice between millvale and 62nd street bridge. The Etna part is really tiny. Just a few hundred feet long, less than one of those warehouse buildings along the trail. i’m guessing that the SHaler stretch is at least a mile if not longer. So it’ll be nice for a few hundred feet, then majority rocks like it is now, and then it’ll get to Millvale. At least something is better than nothing.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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@eric: Shaler 1.6 mi approx.

Re: R47 – from images I saw, the property in question would primarily abut the river, but point taken, about trail blockages during construction. (That said, I’m not sure who has responsibility for the trail through the strip, but if this DCNR purchase plan succeeds, then the property becomes I think “Allegheny Riverfront Park” or something like that, with some sort of management board or the like, who could advocate to to keep the trail unencumbered during construction, etc., in the same way your neighbor can’t dump a pile of dirt in your yard when he is digging a pool in his. If there is separate ownership, then there are rights. I suspect in the strip, because the trail was via the developer, they may have negotiated some right with the city to close as they see fit. But this is all conjecture. TL/DR: we can all hope, right?


Eric
Member
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Hopefully the railroad will be ok with increased traffic post Etna / pre Shaler. May be ironic situation where they close off the rocks for the time it takes to build the Shaler park since it technically isn’t a path right now.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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I suspect the Shaler portion is the farthest off – from what I understand it may require some pretty expensive engineering/construction solutions (think the “bridge” south of the boat house…).


Eric
Member
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thanks for the updates. It’s good to get info from those in the know. there isn’t a lot in the newspapers around here other than an article every year or so with a vague outline of existing projects.


zzwergel
Member
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Where is the boat house?

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