Greenfield Bridge Demolition/Replacement
You know, I’ve been looking at google maps around the area. For those who don’t know, before the parkway was built, there was actually a street that ran all the way from Second Avenue in Lower Greenfield along the ravine (Four Mile Run) to Beechwood Boulevard in Squirrel Hill South. That road is, or was, Saline Street. This helps to explain why there are two distinct instances of the street currently, if anyone was ever curious about that.
My thought is simply this, the current end of “west” Saline Street in the run ends not all that far from Murray and Forward Avenues. What is the feasibility of making a path or even just a rough trail from the end of Saline along the Parkway right-of-way to this area?
I understand there’s space and right-of-way issues (not to mention dealing with a PennDOT depot), but making a “bike entrance” to Squirrel Hill like this would be astounding. If it could be done, it would establish an even better connection between the river trails and the East End.
hmmm, interesting idea. there might be some elevation change and geological issues to deal with there. for instance, i think pocusset st is slowly falling down the hillside into the construction staging / storage area below.
perhaps a small paved path (or even a staircase, if need be) from the saline st dead end up to the intersection of pocusset (which is essentially forward ave), greenfield rd, and greenfield bridge?
The east end of Saline is about 150 feet below the north end of the Greenfield bridge, and about 600 feet west. So a direct path up the hill would have a 25% grade. But there’s space for switchbacks.
Connecting Saline to Murray/Forward is a bit more of a climb, but over a much bigger distance. Seems like getting the trail past the Greenfield Bridge supports would be difficult though.
ejwme They should totally put in a zipline for pedestrians
According to Bill Metzger’s book on teh history of the GAP, they used to have them when trolley tracks ran down just one side of the Yough. They called them “Sky Trolleys”
Things that aren’t there anymore. Yeah, I can see where “East Saline” used to cross Monitor here (StreetView). Get out of SV and see where the old right-of-way was, angling off to the NW from that corner. The Parkway was plunked right atop it, it would appear.
If it could be done, this would be an amazing piece of bike-only infrastructure!
Reviving this old thread. There’s a meeting Wednesday on the Greenfield Bridge replacement project. Seems that imploding the old bridge has been postponed (again), this time from 2014 to late 2015. If they postpone it enough times, they won’t have to bother tearing the old one down.
Getting from Greenfield to Oakland by bike will become a lot more difficult while this bridge is built. If the bridge is to be demolished at the end of 2015, that means there are almost three years to make improvements to alternate bike routes.
Without this bridge, the best route to Oakland would probably be to go all the way down the hill on Greenfield Avenue to Junction Hollow trail. Going all the way to Murray Avenue is too long and Swineburn Street is too dangerous. I have seen previous discussions on this board about improving connections from the Run/2nd Avenue to Panther Hollow. Also, how easy is it to connect from the north end of this trail to Oakland? Could this end be improved?
I’ve never traveled to Oakland via Junction Hollow but I will likely be doing it a lot during this construction work. I think that we should push for some of this work at the meeting in addition to making sure the new bridge will accommodate bike traffic. The improvements to the alternate routes would help us get around during construction and also be a nice long term addition to the city’s bike network.
You’re right, that would be the best route to Oakland. It would also be nice to do something with the connection to Squirrel Hill via Beechwood and Forward Ave. Right now it’s a mess for cyclists, but there’s more space than usual there to play with, so maybe something can be done. I wonder if we can get some of the parking space turned into bike lanes.
So here’s some more info:
Although I didn’t see any specs for what they are planning, word is that the plan so far is to a) have a sidewalk on one side (that’s wider than either of the existing 2 sidewalks) b) have sharrows across the bridge into Greenfield and bikelanes across the bridge into Schenley. There is still time to influence the design (as in how much goes to cars, bikes, peds), although it seems that the total width of the bridge is set.
As indicated above, there’s a public meeting on Wednesday Jan 16:
6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at St. Rosalia Church, 411 Greenfield Ave.
Our contact at DPW is hoping that there are cyclists to show up. They are interested in:
a) How important the bridge is for the general cycling route.
b) How to work with project team to develop viable alternative routes during construction, ie they want to know what everyone will most likely be taking in order to possibly plan for some improvements along those routes.
so please, if you can, show up to the public meeting. I’m directing our DPW contact to this thread, as there is some great info and insight in the discussion
Anonymous 01/14/2013 at 8:19pm #
Getting from the north end of the Panther Hollow to South Oakland is a bit trying. Joncaire St would be a good route, but it’s all cobblestone.
As far as Central/North Oakland, it’s not too bad. You can just take Boundary Street. It’s a little uphill, but drivers are rather accustomed to having cyclists on the road and it’s rather wide.
Joncaire could possibly be improved as a route to South Oakland by making a bike path parallel to the road. As I recall on the north side it’s pretty bucolic. There might be enough space there to cut into the hill and provide a bike path.
Anonymous 01/14/2013 at 9:36pm #
It’s on Wed, Jan 16, 2013, right? We have “conflict of interests”… Bakery Square 2.0 Community Meeting
Community Meeting 1-16-13
I plan to be at the BS2 meeting.
Can anyone go to this one RE Greenfield Bridge?
Boy it’d be nice to have a connection from Greenfield down to that parklet at the cut-off end of Saline Street. Before, during, and/or after bridge work.
I cannot guarantee I can make either meeting, as I have a late-day meeting myself. Given I can make either, I will try to get to the Greenfield one.
Additional problem, I just don’t know the area or the issues all that well.
The sidewalk on the uphill side of Joncaire is probably wide enough already if you cut the weeds back and cleaned up the dirt that is encroaching on the cement. It would be great to make it wider, but just marking this as a shared sidewalk so that peds would know to keep an eye out for bikes would be a huge improvement. I try to be courteous when using the sidewalk, but a lot of the peds have their attention on their phones or ipods here. Most peds I encounter are ok once I give them a ding of my bell, but you can tell they were completely oblivious prior to hearing the bell.
I’ll try to be at the Greenfield Bridge meeting but I can’t get there until after 6:30 so I’m not sure I’ll be allowed to testify.
oh, and jonaweb. It looks like the meeting is an open house style, meaning there will be a presentation, it looks like at 6:30, then the project team will be there until 8 to answer questions, take comments, etc.
I can’t help but think about a two way separated bike lane that travels through Schenley Park and continues across the bridge with some bike specific lights to get traffic integrated again.
Thanks for the info.
BTW I’ve been trying to think of an alternative route from Eliza Furnace Trail to Squirrel Hill that could be designed for use while the bridge is under construction and can’t come up with anything really good (I know about the route through Schenley Park, which may have to do if there is nothing better).
I’m thinking of continuing up Beechwood Ave and then crossing under the Parkway at Forward Ave. But I can’t think of any reasonably safe way to get from the right side of Beechwood to Forward Ave, with the traffic coming off the Parkway headed to the Waterfront, even if there was money for redesigning the lanes, etc.
And the reverse trip is worse — Beechwood is one way at that point, and Forward downhill is narrow, with no shoulder, etc.
Does anyone have any suggestions on this?
Anonymous 01/15/2013 at 5:37pm #
Traveling that section of Beechwood is absolutely horrendous. If you’re looking to go from the EFT to Forward, I’d try taking Greenfield to Lilac, Lilac to Murray, and Murray to Forward.
I take this route home almost every day (usually go Greenfield to Frank to Lilac to Murray). It’s uphill but the traffic is pretty calm.
@elmo, yeah, that does look better. I wonder if that could be marked as a recommended route at least while the bridge is under construction.
Edit: or, for that matter, Greenfield->Graphic->Flemington->Murray. Google maps seems to prefer that route–comments?
Anonymous 01/15/2013 at 6:16pm #
@jonawebb The first hundred feet or so of Flemington is paved with uneven bricks, which is why I stopped taking it. Also, at Lilac and Murray, you get a stoplight.
I was there, as was George/melange. The speaker (Patrick Hasselt) seemed genuinely interested in accommodating everyone, specifically including cyclists. There is a website http://www.pittsburghfederalprojects.com that describes the project (including the slides shown at the meeting) and a place you can send comments (http://www.pittsburghfederalprojects.com/index.php/contact-us/). I think they are legally required to take each comment into consideration in the planning.
The meeting was well attended, at least 250 people were there. They didn’t plan for such a big crowd and ran out of comment forms etc.
All the planning has to be done by Oct. 2014, with demolition starting Oct. 2015. They’ll be covering the Parkway in a layer of dirt and the blowing up the bridge Christmas 2015. Then building the new bridge January 2016-May 2017.
There are two options for the bridge, option A with sidewalks on both sides, and option B with no sidewalk on the Squirrel Hill tunnel side and more space for bikes. I suggested (based on a comment by someone else here) a protected two-way bike lane (they call it a cycletrack) on that side and he seemed interested. It could be extended to Panther Hollow Road because Greenfield Road is pretty wide there.
A big issue was the pedestrian detour. There has to be an ADA-approved route and the proposed route is absurdly long, up Greenfield, over to Beechwood, then across to Hobart.
I also asked about a crossing light at Forward and Beechwood (the intersection near the Parkway). He said he’d asked the Feds about that before and got turned down, but would try again. Since the road there is part of the Parkway exit they have to approve it.
He mentioned the possibility of a bike rail so you could walk your bike up the stairs to the Murray Ave Bridge. I’m not familiar with the stairs or route there, maybe someone else could comment. How would you get from Squirrel Hill to Greenfield that way, with Beechwood one way between the Squirrel Hill ramp and Forward?
I sent a comment in about the route Elmo uses, Greenfield->Graphic->Lilac->Murray. It sounds like we can get them to at least mark the preferred bike detour for us.
I really appreciate the effort. I take this bridge all the time and I’m not looking forward to the construction but hopefully something constructive comes out of this.
Anonymous 01/17/2013 at 1:44pm #
Thanks for the summary, jonawils.
I wasn’t able to attend last night, but sent them a message regarding my suggestions as well. I don’t use the bridge, so I don’t feel comfortable making a call about the layout, but I did comment on the detour.
I couldn’t make this meeting as I was at the Bakery Square 2 meeting. Thanks for speaking up and suggesting the two way cycletrack jonawebb!
Why does this bridge need 3 lanes? Is it really that busy that people need to overtake each other on the bridge? Why not 2 wide traffic lanes and 2 bike lanes?
Anonymous 01/17/2013 at 3:10pm #
@benzo It designed to serve as a buffer zone for traffic turning left — https://maps.google.com/maps?q=Camp+Horne+Road,+Pittsburgh,+PA&hl=en&ll=40.427288,-79.938326&spn=0.001421,0.006089&sll=41.117935,-77.604698&sspn=6.553958,12.469482&oq=Camp+Horne+Road,+pittsburgh&hnear=Camp+Horne+Rd,+Pittsburgh,+Pennsylvania&t=m&z=18&layer=c&cbll=40.427307,-79.938564&panoid=-N_unJtYB9FEs_b_wlBMNg&cbp=11,222.09,,0,3.01
I use this bridge occasionally on my car during evening rush hours (around 7 times in 2012). My recollection is that about 60% go left to Beechwood, 30% straight, and 10% right to Alger. Since there is a traffic coming from Greenfield to bridge and Beechwood is kind of backed up up to to freeway entrance, the second lane (left one) is also backed up almost to the turn.
Just trying to explain. I am not advocating two three lanes.
BTW when I mentioned the cycletrack Mr. Hasselt first said, “We don’t have a cycletrack yet. There’s one planned for Downtown.”
Does anyone know anything about this?
If they want to see an example in the area, there is a cycletrack as part of the Steel Valley Trail/GAP in the Waterfront (between the Pump House and Marcegalia entrance).
A cycletrack downtown would be cool. Smithfield Street anyone?
Boy it’d be nice to have a connection from Greenfield down to that parklet at the cut-off end of Saline Street.
If we had that, and they restored the Anthony Street steps (connecting Saline Street up into Greenfield, on the opposite side of the Parkway), it would make a pretty short alternative non-ADA pedestrian detour, for those who don’t mind a 200-foot climb. It’s only about half a mile on the map.
It sounds like the ADA-approved detour is just under 4 miles.
Pretty certain the cycletrack is planned for Smithfield along with other improvements.
Yeah, I was there too. It seems that Pat is preferring the one sidewalk, bike lane option. I was mostly trying to find out if people put up resistance to that idea, which it seems they didn’t (although I couldn’t hear all the questions and didn’t stay to the full end).
“We don’t have a cycletrack yet. There’s one planned for Downtown.”Does anyone know anything about this?
Kinda surprised he mentioned that. it’s still in the preliminary stages.
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