Highland Park –> Downtown

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catherineskii
Participant
#

Happy Friday & Bike to Work Day!

I currently live in Lawrenceville, and my commute to work downtown is a nice, straight shot down Smallman (through the Strip). It’s so wonderfully easy. I barely even have to pedal.

BUT… I’m moving! To Highland Park (near the very north end of Highland Ave, directly south of the park itself). This commute, while not impossible, is certainly going to present a few more challenges re: traffic, hills etc. So I was wondering if anyone had an advice as to a good route. ‘Good’ as in, incorporating as many trails/bike-friendly roads as possible. It doesn’t have to be the shortest route out there (although under 8 miles would be nice).

I’ve looked at the Bike PGH map, and found a few possibilities, but they all seem to be pretty traffic heavy – especially around the Liberty/Friendship/Penn Circle area. I also found a link on this site to a Gmap pedometer trail that someone kindly uploaded, which would take me down through the park to Butler St., and then all the way into downtown via Butler/Smallman etc. This route seems more appealing, because it avoids the afforementioned Liberty/Friendship/Penn Circle area, however I’ve no idea what the biking is like that far north on Butler.

Anyway, sorry for the giant essay, just wanted to throw this out there in case anyone has any advice, or some particularly killer routes that they’d like to share .

Thanks in advance :)


brian j
Participant
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I biked along Butler Street for about two years. The northern section is okay, but traffic gets kinda speedy past 57th Street, but the road is wider, so I suppose it balances out. Be aware of the intersection with the southern end of Baker Street–cars tend to take the corner fast.

The only potential disadvantage to Butler is that the road is narrow through Lawrenceville, with lots of parked cars.

Another option is to take Euclid to Penn Circle, then take Penn down the hill to the Strip. Euclid is very quiet, and the only disadvantage is that you have to weave your way through East Liberty to get back to it on the way home.


xerotope
Participant
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I commute from Highland Park to Lawerenceville. I usually just take Butler all the way. I generally don’t have problems with traffic, but after 57th St it can feel a bit crowded.

Occasionally I take Stanton down to Butler, but that involves the extra hill up to Stanton Heights.

Otherwise, I’d say just take Highland to Penn Circle to Penn, and just shoot down Penn all the way. Detouring to Friendship Ave may also be an option…

Along all three routes, there are some pretty rough patches of pavement. Not so much potholes as crumbled asphalt.


steevo
Participant
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If I were commuting, I would take butler st to plummer st .. follow that until you hit the cmu

robotics place, cross under the 40th st bridge there

and take the alleyway to smallman, and roll down

smallman. This would be about the same as your last

commute. Also if it were me, I would take hampton to

morningside, then down baker to avoid the tight part of butler by the ice cream stand.


catherineskii
Participant
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Update: I think I found my route! I thought I’d share it here in case anyone else is looking for a similar commute.

Unfortunately, Negley is almost entirely unavoidable in any route out of HP (unless you head north to Butler). Negley SUCKS. But that’s another story for another day. My current route takes me from Wellsely to Negley, but then instead of taking a right onto Penn, I head straight across Penn and take the second right onto Coral St. Coral St. becomes Comrie Way, which in turn becomes Woolslayer Way… and these roads run parallel with Penn the whole way to 37th, when I take a quick right and shoot down the remainder of Penn before taking another right onto Smallman, through the Strip, and into downtown.

I love this route! It avoids Penn, which I hate – especially the flat section through Garfield, where there’s lots of traffic, badly timed traffic lights, and no space for bicycles – especially in the AM/PM rush hour. I also love that I can sail through the back roads and enjoy the scenery, with virtually no traffic (albeit lots of stop signs, however there’s rarely anyone waiting at the crossroads). It makes for such a less stressful commute. The only down side is that some sections of Coral/Comrie/Woolslayer are horribly worn down, full of potholes and the like. But I just like to imagine that I’m riding on a trail :). Also, there’s a couple of old brick roads back there, which are always fun – kind of like cycling on a xylophone.

Now, if only I could figure out a return route that didn’t have so many uphills…


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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steevo – I’ve been trying to figure out how to get through under the 40thSB without either ending up on live railroad tracks, staring down some guard-type person in an equipment yard, or landing in the river. Last Friday, after Critical Mass ended up right there, I stood there looking at it for a while and still don’t see how it’s done.

catherineskii – Sounds like a plan, but as I said in another thread, the closest I’ve ever come to a hurtful collision was nearly T-boning a 10-year-old kid riding a bicycle on a sidewalk somewhere in the Comrie/Coral/Woolslayer area. A hedge prevented us from seeing each other.

+xylophone streets!

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