Sandcastle GAP obstructionism
Sandcastle is the last remaining obstacle to a complete Great Allegheny Passage from Pittsburgh to DC. They are being obstinate and unresponsive to reasoned argument. See this article in the Post-Gazette.
I wonder what people think about the possibility of a boycott. Businesses tend to be really sensitive to this kind of action — a small decrease in attendance could really affect their bottom line.
You’re all forgetting about Keystone Iron and Metal. I would suggest many many bake sales to purchase right-of-way, because I don’t believe they would donate the land required for a safe thoroughfare.
The last I recall was that they were simply going to bypass Keystone Iron & Metal. Unfortunately, this would require building a new flyover bridge rather than refurbishing the existing pedestrian bridge.
walk an extra 1/4 mile or so along the tracks. the fence ends and you can just step over the guard rail and continue on your way.
Oh? I was heaving my bike over the gate on the corner of the parking lot. I guess since it was always dark at the time I didn’t see there was an easier way over.
Does anyone have any video skills, and feel like a project?
I could see a 30 second video, obtain all kinds of images from the GAP trail, from DC on – quick cuts, all montaged together, mile post 0, smiling happy people, riding, beautiful views, mile posts clicking by, right up to mile post 3XX whatever, that sign above, dead stop, bam, downtown just in the background (might have to get creative), then the closing title – “Sandcastle, Stop The Obstruction”. Out on the internetz.
That’s my pitch. Project, anyone?
@kordite the fence ends at the old bridge pier. after that there is a 5 foot wide strip of grass with a guard rail and that’s it. the waterfront end has gates designed to keep cars out. they only go across the road, not the grassy areas with a 6 inch curb next to the road.
Old bridge pier? The only one I know of is on the west side of the Glenwood Bridge unless you are talking about the active rail bridge that cuts through the park itself.
yeah its the far side of the rail bridge. Right here.
in fact is you street view the turn around at the entrance to sandcastle (behind costco) there is a guy riding his bike on the sidewalk at the turnaround who seems to have just come from sandcastle.
in fact is you street view the turn around at the entrance to sandcastle (behind costco) there is a guy riding his bike on the sidewalk at the turnaround who seems to have just come from sandcastle
this guy? “hey, what is that goofy car with all the cameras on top?” Damn, the internets are creepy sometimes.
As of this past week I have now tried to contact Jon Schmitz who wrote the article in July as well as Onorato and his people to get an update.
I wrote to him on 9-15 and he got back to me on 9-20 saying
Unfortunately we have not had an announcement yet. I keep checking on it and have been told there are no snags. I’ll be checking again in the next couple days.
I recall a time when the goal was to have the trail complete, including the Sandcastle piece, by 10-10-10. That was moved to 11-11-11 (as a goal)when it became apparent that the earlier date did not work. But, the fact that we are now past 10-10-10 and inching slowly but surely towards 11-11-11 may make this good timing for a series of letters to ???? Onorato, if he’s going to be around after January. Otherwise, maybe your local elected officials?
Sorry, Scott. I wasn’t given the opportunity to ask that question today.
The GAP links to DC, who has the Washington Post and we’ve got a cycling advocate who used to live there (calling Lolly?). Sandcastle is owned by a parent company who also owns a number of other amusement parks, I believe world wide.
While a (comparative) handfull of unhappy people on bikes who can barely get paint put on roads in their neighborhoods jumping up and down and whining about finishing the trail may do relatively little good, perhaps approaching the trail from the other, more populous and nationally paid attention to end, and connecting the local water park to their larger owner, as well as publically shaming them, might do some good.
unless that’s been done and truly nobody in a position to do anything actually gives a damn.
I may sound like a negative nancy but im not going to worry much about this until the rest of the trail is ready. they put the decks on the bridges but you still cant get from here to there. I would think that Sandcastle will be part of the “Grand opening” or want to be part of it.
So I can sort of see them being quiet about it until that point then all of a sudden saying “yeah me too”
if not then I say we get pissed and go all ulocky on them
dback – I envisioned you running through sandcastle brandishing a u-lock and a battle cry… not actually hitting anybody, but in general being a Very Alarming Individual. way to make me giggle
The listed owners of SandCastel is Parques Reunidos. They are a sub of a private equity firm named Candover Investments. This is one of the largest private equity firms in the world! They are based in London but are rumered to be owned by investors in Saudi Arabia…good luck with pressuring/shaming the owner.
The fact that you envision me “running” at all is the funny part for me.
Candover Investments is the full name of the parent private equity firm that owns Parques Reunidos.
Candover Investments PLC is a sub and is publicly traded. The sub is in the middle of accounting scandal and they are supposed to be retuning money to investors…
(Edit) Anyway the point is that a very large and wealthy privet investor that does not give rats ars owns the park.
But they are also not involved in day to day operations of the parks.
@dbacklover I may sound like a negative nancy but im not going to worry much about this until the rest of the trail is ready
Putting this in parallel with the casino closing the trail for a few hours, it would do Sandcastle well to post a helpful sign at each end, something along the lines of “Joggers and Cyclists, Suggested Detour:” along with a map, “You are here–> and are probably trying to get there–>, and this is a good way to get there.”
Even if the suggested detour is two miles out of the way and sends us along a thoroughly unpalatable piece of road, the idea that they do something seemingly helpful would be very good P.R. It would certainly be seen as more helpful than “break through this fence and we’ll throw your a$$ in jail”, as the current sign implies.
I think they would want to do this, especially as more and more people learn about GAP and just show up, unannounced, with 300 miles of trail dirt and sweat on them, after sundown on a Sunday night.
If there’s no announcement yet but also “no snags”, maybe they’re just waiting for the right time for an announcement?
Last year on November 11 they opened the section into Duquesne, and announced that they hoped to extend it into Homestead by November 11 2010, and connect that trail into downtown by November 11 2011.
Perhaps when the Duquesne to Homestead section opens (and last I heard, they now didn’t expect to open that section until February 2011) we’ll get an announcement of a deal with Sandcastle?
In any case, if Sandcastle is currently cooperating with the folks hammering out this agreement (and it sounds like they have been), a Very Alarming Individual running through the park brandishing a u-lock might do more harm than good.
Steven, I think there’s no danger of a premature ulock rampage, rest assured. that was mostly in my imagination, which, as my parents have been trying to convince me for 30 years, has absolutely nothing to do with reality in any way whatsoever.
I like stu’s idea of signs – shows good faith, is super easy and cheap, gets the word out to those who care. (perhaps gives them something to do in this time between “no snags” and “no development”)
I like dback’s idea of giving them a chance to sort things through… i don’t like the idea of waiting, though it is fairly easy to distract me with other things, like bridesmaids dress rides and shiny new sharrows near my grocery store, so I’ll shift over to those ideas for a while.
Also as to those un-announced riders who show up, unless they show up on the weekend they wont be able to ride the trail into town anyway until next spring (if I have my facts right)
For the record I am not sticking up for the park. I expect when the time come the park will be exposed as the massive group of pricks they are and tell us to shove off. Im just saying that they don’t have to worry about telling us to shove off until they are the only roadblock.
(yeah I’m feeling bitter today) This isn’t the place for my bitter. I apologize. Time for the Blog Pen to come out.
The trail now goes past Kennywood Park.Just biked it today.To get there you have to cross the railroad tracks in Rankin,where they’re almost done, finishing the bridge.The same company owns both Kennywood and Sandcastle.I feel positive it will eventually, also go past Sandcastle.
I dunno, I think it sounds like fun – we could recreate the battle scene from Braveheart, but with lycra and u-locks instead of kilts and clubs. And with Timito leading the charge instead of William Wallace! Sounds like a party!
As a Bruce in Good standing Ill stick with Kilts and Broadswords. But I got to say I like the way you think
So i’ve been checking this out from time to time. I didn’t really read the last few posts, but I think, at least for me, the trail connection is much more than closing the GAP. Having accessibility to the waterfront from my side of the city would be LIFE CHANGING. Being able to get to Target would be amazing. Costco, even better!
The East Liberty Target might be open before you could ride the trail to the Waterfront.
Here is the latest from the County:
Dear Mr. Bricker:
County Executive Dan Onorato asked that I respond on his behalf. As you know, the development of the Great Allegheny Passage has been ongoing over the past 30 years. The last nine miles that we have been working on since 2006 have proved to be a challenging opportunity. Since late 2006, we have worked with our trail partners, the Allegheny Trail Alliance, the Steel Valley Trail Council and the Friends of the Riverfront to secure and develop some outstanding trail segments. There are many, but we have some recent successes. The Riverton Bridge is a fine example of a partnership that took several years to develop, as well as the additional bridges that are being constructed in both Duquesne and Whitaker that have taken a number of years in which to secure development rights. Working with US Steel over a number of years, we acquired almost three miles of trail that connect Duquesne and Whitaker in one of the most scenic vistas along the trail. Other easements acquired for this segment are completed after successful discussions, including property within the RIDC parks in Duquesne and McKeesport and Guardian Self Storage.
We understand the importance of the Sandcastle segment and it has been the highest priority. For many years, the owners of the property were not interested in discussing trail development on private property. Since the property was sold two years ago, we have worked closely with the new owners of Sandcastle to negotiate an acceptable agreement.
As Mr. Judy mentioned in the article, Sandcastle is working closely with the County to develop a suitable agreement that will work for all parties involved. Additionally, we needed to engage another private property owner to be able to complete the Sandcastle connections. We understand the critical nature of this project and we are committed to seeing this through. I will be happy to update the bicycling community on our progress to date.
Darla J. Cravotta
Yeah, she’s the special projects coordinator at the county working for the chief executive – not parks, public works or economic development, but the chief exec’s office.
We’ll see what happens to her position and priorities after November 2nd.
OOOh, OT, but, I heard “county special projects coordinator, chief executive” – an excellent special project might be to get PAT bus drivers not to run over cyclists, and management to do something about it.
@sloaps – I’ve met her at a couple of rails/trails events, and she’s not an Onorato political hanger-on. I’m pretty sure she’s been doing this type of work long before Onorato became County Exec. It may be appropriate to identify Onorato as a little distracted, but not Darla. She’s very committed to rails/trails and riverfront projects.
I was struck by the phrase “Additionally, we needed to engage another private property owner to be able to complete the Sandcastle connections.” That sure does sound like new information to me.
My take on “another private property owner” = railroad.
Again, rotsa ruck. I hate to be cynical, but if a RR is involved, 11/11/11 is optimistic. Moving pen and paper is much harder than moving dirt, and moving minds equally harder than moving pen and paper.
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