New to the East End

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raphael
Participant
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Hey, so I am moving to Chislett St in about a month, and will be commuting to and from Oakland every day (hopefully by bike). However, all of this news about horrific scenes on ELB and Negley have really freaked me out. here is my route, and I realize that I am probably way off. Is there ANY safe way to get through East Liberty nowadays? Help anyone?


stefb
Participant
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i live on chislett! The way i went to oakland tonight was: get onto negley, but instead of turning down east liberty blvd (do not go way that by yourself), go down to where you can make a right onto baum. left onto aiken, then right onto fifth and it takes you right to oakland


raphael
Participant
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cool! that route looks a lot better. i’m a grad student at pitt and i will be going to oakland and downtown almost every day starting in august.


stefb
Participant
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if you want to go to downtown, you can either get to liberty and then take penn or smallman, but i like to get down to butler first. i just wouldn’t ride liberty once you get into the strip. people go way over the speed limit. but that’s just me. i see people riding the whole way into town on liberty.

morningside is really nice. there are a few other morningsiders here as well.


brian j
Participant
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Another Morningsider checking in…my preferred route to Oakland (taken everyday) is Negley to Ellsworth to Neville.

As for downtown, I always preferred Butler, but that was just habit. There are pluses and minuses for each option (Liberty, Penn, Butler). Butler can be more convenient if you live at the north of the ‘hood, as I do.


Pierce
Participant
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I second Bjanaszek’s route. That’s what I’ve been doing lately too. I take it verbatim except I start from Witherspoon off of Chislett.

The little fork in the road right before the Center and Negley intersection can be a little annoying because you have cars trying to cut left from the opposing direction as well as merge into you from behind.

Also, when you make the right on Ellsworth there are annoying parked cars so space is tight for about two blocks, but besides that, it is a decent ride.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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have any of the east liberty boulevard incidents happened before dusk? i was rather under the impression that it’s safe enough during the daytime. this might not help in the winter, but things tend to calm down when the air chills.

i head through morningside somewhat regularly (from shadyside), and i also do negley and ellsworth. i’ve never complained much about negley (except about the road surface), but it’s probably not for the faint of heart. the number of travel lanes and where on-street parking is permitted are always changing, and you’re likely to be dodging potholes for a good bit of your ride. still, it’s ever-so-slightly downhill toward shadyside so you get a bit of speed, and traffic isn’t all that bad, in my experience.

ellsworth is a very frequently traveled bike route. my gf lives a commute along ellsworth from me, so i often walk or bike it, and i never see fewer than five cyclists along that stretch. i rather wish they’d add bike lanes and cut parking on one side, but it’s not an unpleasant route, and cars expect bikes along it.

oh, and you can also go through stanton heights to, say, mossfield, but that might add a few miles and an unnecessary climb or two to your commute.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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one of the first incidents of the year – someone being sucker-punched while waiting at a red light at negley @ ELB – was at about 6 pm. middle of freaking rush hour.

i used to think morningside was allright but riding back from lawrenceville the other night i was yelled at (“GET ‘EM!!!”) but a huge group of young men hanging out on a porch just of wellesley. sigh


Noah Mustion
Participant
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oh and to get downtown from this area, negley > baum > gold way > melwood > herron > brereton > 28th > penn is my jam.


stefb
Participant
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i’ll have to try that one, noah.

yeah there are a few blocks in morningside that i would consider kind of sketchy (rentals and up near east liberty)


brian j
Participant
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If people yelling at you was a sign that the neighborhood was “bad,” every neighborhood in the city is “bad.” The sad part is, however, that you never know who is simply being a tough guy/jackass and who might actually try to jump you.


helen s
Participant
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I don’t ride into Penn Circle very often, maybe a few times a month, and it has always been in the daytime, but I have never personally felt unsafe and never been threatened or even yelled at.

I am concerned that these forums foment fear and paranoia and the us versus them mentality, and sometimes feel like I need to stay away from some threads for my own mental balance. I see alot of posts as having a negative influence.

I also don’t have a problem riding on Liberty during rush hour in either direction next to the strip district, but only if in a hurry.


ejwme
Participant
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I ride alone through all kinds of “scary” parts of the East End (and farther east), but I stick to daylight (Frankstown being the exception if I have to get home after dark, I like how busy it is then). Eyes and ears open, don’t bike like a prick, don’t act like a target. At the same time I may come across like a grinning village idiot since I wave and say hello to everybody.

But there are no guarentees – of good or bad.


caitlin
Participant
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i cant believe how many people ride on Baum! I think its way dangerous than the kids on ELB.

I live at Chislett n Hays and I take bjanasek’s route when i go to oakland. Ellesworth is reliably okay and even though riding negley kind stinks, it isn’t that far.

If you really want to avoid ELB at all times you could take black to mossfield through friendship to milvale, but I wouldn’t ride that one at night because cars FLY


brian j
Participant
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+1 to what helen said. For what it’s worth, my wife and I have both been cruising through East Liberty later in the evenings (~10:00 PM) on the scooter, and haven’t had any problems, or even seen any groups of kids. YMMV.

And +1 about the crazy people taking Baum. I don’t like driving on Baum, let alone biking it.

Negley is an acquired taste, and is actually better (no, really) during rush hour because cars are not (theoretically) allowed to park between Friendship and Baum, and most won’t treat that section as a two lane road.


stefb
Participant
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i have always thought baum was crazier between liberty and where it goes down to oakland (cause of people swerving around parked cars.. i don’t often ride there) rather than from negley to liberty. but i guess each individual feels better on/safer on/is more accustomed to different roads.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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sorry man. given the high incidence of violence against bikers in this neighborhood, i’m going to be a little wary of large groups of kids screaming “get ’em”. i get yelled at often, yes, but not with this kind of hostility around. This shit has already hit home TWICE since it’s begun, so yes, i’m a little jumpy lately. what can i say?


salty
Participant
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melwood (R)> herron > dobson > brereton saves you that climb up herron.

i don’t mind riding on baum (or centre), might even be better than ellsworth.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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i’ve always wondered about dobson but never was in the mood to try it. thanks for the tip! nothing bugs me more than slogging up a hill just to immediately go back down it when i know there’s an alternate flat route!


salty
Participant
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yeah – dobson isn’t completely flat but much flatter than herron. there is a big “dip” at the end but you get enough speed going downhill to pretty much coast back uphill.


HiddenVariable
Participant
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yeah, melwood/gold/melwood/etc. is my favorite route for shopping in the strip, especially on the way back (once did embury to shadyside giant eagle in about 12 minutes–can’t beat that!).

i did dobson last time i was heading back from downtown. i just tucked, and the hill was nothing. but although brereton is pretty wicked steep, i do really dig the climb up herron from melwood, and sometimes a wicked steep hill is exactly what i want (just not after a lunch at srees!).


JZ
Participant
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On Ellsworth outbound, beware the potholes of death approaching South Negley. The road is already narrow there, and it’s hugely chewed-up. After it rains, the standing water makes it look like it’s just a low area with poor drainage, but those holes are man-eaters. I just take the lane starting around Ivy. Most local drivers are well aware of the situation, and they don’t stress about a bike taking the lane.


cburch
Participant
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fyi, you can also just go down herron and make a left on liberty. it drops you just below the quick mart.


Noah Mustion
Participant
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Yeah I know, I just prefer to spend that extra 5-6 blocks on Polish Hill, not fighting traffic on Liberty…


cburch
Participant
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the trick is to cut to the right on 33rd st and go to penn. you are on liberty for like 50 feet max if you do that.


Ahlir
Participant
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33rd is however tricky. It doesn’t look like a street but more like a parking lot entrance (there’s no curb work). Yet there’s a street sign if you look up. I don’t get it. But, hey, that’s Pittsburgh.

The street itself is actually under the RR viaduct.

You can turn on Penn or you can cross and continue on to Smallman, or to an alley further down that gets you to Railroad. Or stay on Mulberry; a bit stop-and-go but definitely no traffic.

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