Mon Wharf Switchback update from Riverlife
The Mon is still less than a foot below flood level so the warf parking is closed today. Though cleanup can begin at least. As usual, there’s up to a half foot of mud in some spots.
My assumption is that warf needs to be accessible for construction to proceed. A bridge lane might be closed for concrete trucks on pour days. But it seems likely that the warf is needed for material and equipment staging.
With that in mind, i hope the warf doesn’t flood again so that the ramp can get finished asap.
In addition to the wharf being safe from flooding, they mentioned that they need some number of days (10-ish??) with temperatures warmer than something (40-50ish?) in order for the concrete to cure properly.
Ahhh, that makes sense. So pouring could have to wait a month or more it would seem. There are still freezing nights for a while.
But hopefully the formwork and rebar can begin soon. Yeah, i’m a bit impatient. ;)
Rumor heard third hand so take it w a huge grain of salt.
FOTR ran out of money for the rest of the switch back project so that is why there has been zero construction.
Again, it is a wild rumor. No verification. The weather and flooding could certainly explain the stop in progress. But I wanted to at least throw this out there and see if anyone has the real 411.
Hi everyone, Switchback update here from Riverlife, the organization leading the project in conjunction with the City. I wanted to confirm what has been mentioned by others in this thread previously: Construction of the ramp was seasonally shut down over the winter, as is typical for outdoor riverfront projects like this. The contractor requires several weeks of consistent mild weather (40-50 degrees) for the ramp’s concrete to be poured and cure in place. As we all know, that type of forecast can be very unpredictable in Pittsburgh at this time of year! Thank you for your patience as we wait for the weather to comply so that progress can continue at the site.
Stephan @ Riverlife
Perhaps your source confused Riverlife, who is actually managing the project, with Friends of the Riverfront, who are unfortunately working through some internal issues?
Riverlife wouldn’t have been allowed to go to construction without funds in hand to cover the bid cost, and we haven’t heard anything about massive overruns that would be required to put them in a position of stopping work. Nor have they engaged in any additional fundraising to cover the hypothetical overrun.
Thanks to Stephan @riverlifepgh for sharing about the plan. Totally understandable the weather needs to cooperate so the concrete cures properly. FWIW, I drove by the ramp on Monday April 2 and saw a construction worker installing rebar. So it seems they are preparing to pour concrete as soon as the weather allows. Let’s hope it’s sooner than later.
Vivien Li, Riverlife CEO, is stepping down.
They started pouring concrete on the ramp several days ago. See photos.
A few days ago I re-shared the photo of the nasty bike-hostile curb at the west end of the Mon Wharf on Riverlife’s facebook page (see https://www.bikepgh.org/message-board/topic/mon-wharf-switchback-update-from-riverlife/page/4/#post-348855), and I got a reply from Stephan Bontrager of Riverlife: “We’ve been aware of this problem and have advocated for a solution with the stakeholders/property owners.”
Good grief. It doesn’t require a full-up reconstructed curb cut with new cement and all the trimmings, especially since the eventual better connector to Point Park will require modifications anyhow. Twenty bucks’ worth of Sakrete or other ready-to-use cold patch applied at some point along the curb could covert the curb to a ramp. Think about how where the Southside trail enters the Marina where 18th St crosses the tracks — someone laid down some asphalt to even out the bump.
I’ll bet that no one would notice if it just happened some day.
Nice! It looks like all the concrete pouring is done. Did you see any spots left unfinished?
Next they’ll need to strip the forms, seal the concrete and install railings. Is lighting planned? That could add some time to the schedule as well.
I might be just a little eager to go ride this ramp. ;)
Not to be an asshat since we’re getting a nice, needed ramp, but how wide is it? Looks a little narrowish especially if bike has panniers and there are people going the other direction.
Note that the switchback is very early on the mainline route from Pittsburgh (where the ceremonial endpoint is the plaque at the Point) to DC. That means that a lot of people with scant experience riding a fully-loaded touring bike will be making climbing turns with full panniers and/or trailers.
I think the ramp is great. Of all the things to complain about in terms of bike and pedestrian infrastructure around the city, the width of this ramp is pretty trivial. That it exists at all is an amazing accomplishment.
For one thing, inexperienced riders with fully loaded touring bikes will probably make up less than 0.01% of the people using this ramp. I’m ok with it maybe being difficult for them and that they might have to put a foot down.
Saw on Riverlife’s facebook page today that the concrete deck is fully installed, and they are going to let it cure for two weeks before doing the next step, which is putting up the railings.
I walked past this the other day and it looks at least as wide as the Mon Wharf trail and the sidewalk along Fort Pitt Blvd that connects over to Grant Street. I don’t see any point in making it much wider than the trails. The u-turn would be tough with a trailer, but so would the turns up onto the Smithfield Street Bridge. Plus with only one turn, it will be easier than the switchbacks on the Hot Metal Bridge or the Fort Duquesne Bridge.
I assume Paul also sent these to 311, possible with the MyBurgh app.
Who lives in this Council District?
This is the sort of thing your Councilcritter can help with. Call, write, or stop by the office. Mention the benefits to the district of bicycle traffic in general and bicycle tourists in particular. Describe the situation and the safety issues. Ask for two things:
1) An interim solution to the lack of a curb cut, for example by sending an asphalt truck down to fill in a little ramp from the curb to the parking lot (like the one at 18th St). This could even be done while they’re patching potholes on the Wharf. This will, of course, be replaced with a better solution when they build the better connection to Point Park, but an asphalt fill will hold us in the interim.
2) Add the trail to the parts of the Wharf that get cleaned up after a flood. We know they get down there to clear off the parking area, they should clean off the trail as well.
No amount of discussion here does nearly as much to solve the problem as repeat reminders to whoever in the City will listen.
While we’re complaining, let’s not forget our favorite concrete pillar.
OK, I filed a 311 at http://pittsburghpa.gov/innovation-performance/311.html, id 245798:
request type: Handicap Ramp, Request for Installation
The west end of the Mon Wharf path has 3 problems, 2 long-term and 1 short term: (1) No curb cut as shown in first picture. Tracks in the mud show where past cyclists have traveled. This is bad for wheelchairs, strollers, inline skaters, and cyclists. This problem has existed since the Mon Wharf path was built in 2009. (2) Drainage channels about 6 inches wide that used to have covers of some type several years ago are now open channels that someone could get injured by (twist an ankle or even break a leg). See second picture. (3) Short term: there’s dried mud all over the path. These problems are important because this path is part of the Great Allegheny Passage trail, which brings thousands of tourists to Pittsburgh every year, and because this route will get MUCH more traffic than it has in the past after the Mon Wharf switchback ramp opens in a few weeks(?).
This WESA radio article about the Mon Wharf switchback ramp announces “Almost Ready To Roll: Missing Link In GAP Trail Downtown Nearing Completion”.
Huh? What about DCNR’s missing link?
it says that they’re expecting an “August or september” inauguration. I guess that means that in reality it isn’t “almost” ready to open…
Dumb question,but is that the final decking they are walking on? It looks like it. If so, maybe they’ll open it once all the railing are up? Wonder what else they need to do?
After the handrails are installed, they’ll still have to put up lighting and other finishing features. The target opening date in August will be here in no time.
So much should have been an on-street protected bike lane. Now we have an expensive band-aid that directs cyclists to a route that closes during flooding, takes travelers away from downtown businesses, and forfeits street space to an auto-centric mentality. Sad.
Re on-street lane: whatever did happen to the Ft Blvd – Stanwix lanes? There was a big public meeting with design, one grumpy adjacent business … then … nothing.
They got shelved due to public backlash. There was an article about it maybe a year ago?
Last year’s article on the Fort Pitt bike lane plans being scrapped: http://www.post-gazette.com/news/transportation/2017/05/01/Fort-Pitt-Boulevard-bike-lane-plan-dropped-Pittsburgh/stories/201705010131
I currently use Ft Pitt as my connector from the Jail Trail to PSP on my inbound commute and will continue to do so when the Mon Wharf is flooded or the switchback goes untreated in the winter.
Rusty, I know, I followed that whole thing. “What we’re doing is taking a step back…”. She nailed that.
I don’t look at this as an either/or situation in regard to the mon warf switchback and bike lanes downtown. Thus I look don’t at the completion of this ramp with any bitterness. The way I look at it is the more infrastructure built the more pressure is put on the remaining missing links. The mon warf switchback and connector are a massive missing link for the riverfront trail system.
Sometimes I think us advocates can get so close to the topic that we forget to step back and enjoy progress, even if slower than desired. In this thread we should be celebrating a watershed moment for biking in Pittsburgh rather than fixating on a different, failed bike lane project.
When both the ramp and connector to PSP are complete, it will help motivate additional bike infrastructure. We will have great river front trails encircling downtown but cyclists have no way to get into downtown. A more complete system means more riders putting pressure to gain access throughout the golden triangle.
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