South Hills Commuting Films
Tagged: updated info
I’m going to try and give you a flavor of South Hills Bicycle Commuting through some very amateur filming I’ve done with a GoPro Camera.
This first one is a short ride home, from the Trolley Stop at Washington Junction, which is located at Route 88 and Milford Drive, in Bethel Park.
Noteworthy in the film is a typical dangerous high-speed pass by a motorist on Milford Drive. The driver not only endangers him/herself but also engineers a close call with an oncoming motorist.
- This topic was modified 5 years ago by fultonco.
The film shows one alternative to Greentree Road, for as much as is possible, going inbound (see the Ride with GPS map).
Note the driver who passed me and was going so fast that (he) had to run a red light because stopping was not possible after the pass. Luckily, this did not result in an accident. With my Go Pro Software, I was able to run the part of the clip, going down the hill to the West End, on Greentree Road, at 5X. Doing so adds an interesting dimension to already thrilling ride.
Film of commuting down West Liberty Avenue from Mt. Lebanon. Doesn’t look to bad on a Sunday Morning but is definitely ramped-up bit on a weekday.
While cruising down this morning, I couldn’t get that old song out of my head, by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, “Nowhere to Run.”
Can you make a video showing the reality of trying not to get run over by half-awake heroin addicts in $500 shitbox cars in Carrick and Mt. Oliver? Or bunny-hopping a used needle on Brownsville Road?
All kidding aside, is improving any part of the south hills on Bike Pittsburgh’s to-do list? If so, where does it fall in terms of priorities? If not, what would it take to get that part of town on their agenda? Can anyone speak to these issues from a position of knowledge?
I don’t know if improving the bike/ped situation is on Bike Pittsburgh’s list or the City’s list for that matter.
There is a small group of us who are beginning to do something. We would love to have your support. If you are interested in joining us, we will be happy to include you whenever information is disseminated.
A video from a recent commute during the pm rush. This one starts at the top of Glass Run Road and proceeds to Churchview Avenue and Sankey Avenue before turning left onto Brownsville Road.
Note the virtually un-used public parking lot on Sankey Avenue while cars are parked all over both sides of Brownsville Road. The traffic is heavy but is quite manageable for a bicyclist when the parking lane clears, at times.
The film continues with a right turn on Marylea and proceeds to a lighted crossing of 51 onto Delco.
Brownsville Road, from the top of 18th Street to the beginning of “Marko82’s” St. Norbert’s route.
No $500.00 toilets tried to run me over, only more expensive models. No needles today. Probably got scarfed-up for the weekend.
More later. Happy Motoring !
WooHoo, I think you nailed it. Good use of the lane, control and release, etc. There isn’t much room for a lot of this, and you asserted yourself when you needed to. Two big thumbs up.
@fultonco: a suggestion: when sharing longish videos like this, tell us the timecodes of the notable parts, so we can jump to them. Most people don’t have the patience to watch a 17 minute video of traveling down a road. thanks.
Also, it’s possible, in Youtube, to get a timecode that starts at a particular time. Click on Share and then Start At. Perhaps useful.
How you do that (having not watched the whole video for specifics): Say you want to start the player automatically at the 6 minute 22 second mark. You would add “ampersand t equals 6 m 22 s” to the end of the URL.
With that in hand, you can then embed it in an “A” tag. Change the square brackets to angle brackets, and remove the spaces that I added so the board does not link it right here. You do need the space between the A and the HREF.
[a href=”https ://ww w.youtub e.com/watch&v=uF8Tx3tp1cc&t=6m22s”]some descriptive text here[/a]
So that what you get is this.
Edit: Darn, the board is messing with the ampersands. That sequence should look like “watch&v=”.
Edit 2: I would love to see this same thing with a rear camera going at the same time, so you can catch delightful as-it-happens sequences like this, if you happen to have side-by-side computers/monitors (front, rear).
Thank-you, Gentlemen. I’m new to this filming business, grateful for your suggestions, and will try them.
The most recent, 17+ minute film didn’t have any highlights, to which to call to attention, so I just left it as a trip down Brownsville Road. Not quite as relaxing as the Canal Trip but maybe someday, cycling around the South Hills will be a bit more pleasurable.
I need to get a rear camera, as I too would like to see what some of these insane drivers are doing as they approach me from behind.
I am most grateful to you for your comments and suggestions.
I can’t count the number of times someone almost got into a head-on collision during my 640 mile bike ride last week to Rochester NY and back. I guess it’s ok to risk your life and that of innocent people coming in the opposite direction to save yourself 30 seconds of drive time. This happened at least 10 times each day during the 7 days I was out riding in both NY and PA.
Yes, it happens so often that it’s just ho-hum stuff on film. One would have to film an actual collision to get anyone to pay attention.
Warrington Avenue and Route 51 – This film is 6 minutes and 30 seconds long and was shot at the afternoon rush today.
It begins at the intersection of Southern and Boggs Avenues. After a right turn at Warrington, one reaches the light at Route 51.
My path home involves getting onto West Liberty Avenue (WLA), which is reached via an exit ramp off Route 51 South.
I chickened-out and rode the sidewalk on WLA, which was its own sort of adventure. I cannot average 20-25 mph going uphill and wasn’t in the mood for irate drivers today.
I’m not sure who are the responsible property owners but it is clear, most of that sidewalk has not seen any maintenance for quite some time. The exception was in front of one used car establishment, where the sidewalk was in good shape. Kudos to them. I’m not sure why nobody has had the inclination to take a weed-eater to that stretch any time during the last 10 years.
I bailed at Brookside Avenue. If this isn’t a dirty dozen hill, it has to be awfully close. The ride up Brookside and then Sebring is daunting, to say the least. I didn’t film it because it takes an old man a long time to ascend and you don’t need to see that.
> I’m not sure who are the responsible property owners but it is clear, most of that sidewalk has not seen any maintenance for quite some time.
likely most of that is either City or Port Authority property or part of the public right of way (and thus still the city’s problem), with only a handful of non-public owners anyone can still reach.
if you’ve got some free time, you could spend some on the County Real Estate search (start here, remember to change both instances of the parcel ID in the url to bring up a new map & owner info), or you could just send a span of addresses and/or intersections to 311 and let them sort out whom to send letters and where to send DPW.
Commuting through Beechview on Broadway. The film is 4 minutes long. Other than the poor condition of the road surface, this is actually one of the nicer roads to be on during the rush.
Continuation of the film posted on 7/11/15 @ 1215 hours – “Marko82’s” St. Norbert’s route and then onto Castle Shannon.
The film is approximately 17 minutes long. The “highlights” and times they appear are as follows:
St. Norbert’s becomes visible – 2:30
The Jughandle at Routes 51/88 – 4:15
Asking a construction worker for directions across the intersection – 5:28
Glenbury to Transport Street – 6:32
Route 88 – 8:05
Close pass (one of many) on Route 88 – 8:25
Grove Road – 14:15
Willow Avenue – 14:27
^ at the 2:30 mark you can also enter the church parking lot in front of you for a more pleasant decent of the hill, you’ll come out at the driveway you passed at 4:07. This pass through is especially useful in the other direction when going UP the hill since Ivyglen Street is only one lane wide and steep.
In case you have to ride out to Upper Saint Clair and on to McMurray, PA –
This video is Part 1 and starts near South Hills Village, in Bethel Park, PA. US 19 South or Washington Road is a 40-45 mph speed limit roadway. There are two lanes in either direction but no shoulder. The road surface abruptly ends to the right with a curb. This would be a tough road to ride during the rush hours and during business hours. This film was shot during the early morning hours on a Saturday.
This film is Part 2 of a ride on Washington Road / US 19 South, from Upper St. Clair to McMurray, PA.
There is a shoulder that begins after passing the exit for McLaughlin Run Road, and continues to the Washington County Line. There, the shoulder disappears again. The film is a little more than 13 minutes in length. For anyone who wants just the highlights, they are as follows:
00:46 – Wide shoulder ends
01:28 – Wide shoulder resumes at Old Washington Road intersection
04:45 – Boyce Road
05:40 – rumble strip (redneck braille)
07:25 – Washington County Line – shoulder narrows
08:10 – “new” Market District “quick stop” and Get-Go complex
09:51 – Honda Dealership on left
10:30 – Chevy Dealership on left
12:11 – Exit to Lawrence / Hills Station
12:44 – Exiting US 19
13:13 – Old Schoolhouse
A few years ago I rode from US 19 at McMurray up to South Hills Village on a Sunday afternoon. You can bypass some of the unpleasant parts via parking lots and Old Washington Road (though it has a one-way bit that makes things harder southbound).
Nice pucker moment at 0:57 of second clip. I don’t know if taking a more leftward position in the lane would have helped. It’s something that really takes some practice getting comfortable with, especially going slow uphill, but it prevents the lane sharing to a large degree.
@steven – Yes, there is a network of backroads that one can take to avoid most of US 19. It is, however, longer, hillier, and more complicated. If there was just a decent shoulder along the roadside, it could be ridden. I know that one-way section of Old Washington, of which you speak. It is on the right, as you start up the hill past the exit for McLaughlin Run.
@marko82 – The gas truck!! I guess I’m de-sensitized after all these years. In the ’80s, I rode all the way up California Highway 1. Those logging trucks in Northern California literally give you 6″ or less and they are long!! You have to hold ‘er steady as there is no room for error. You really could reach out and touch someone, as the saying goes.
If you really want to practice taking the lane in difficult spots, I can think of no two better spots than:
* North of town: southbound McKnight in the half mile prior to the I-279 on-ramp
* East of town: eastbound Business 22 from the Lower Rodi Road peel-off up to Penn Center
Is there a comparable spot South? West Liberty up from Saw Mill Run does not count. Not difficult enough.
@stuinmccandless – comparable routes in the South Hills would be either US 19 or PA 51.
The Midtown Greenway (Minneapolis, MN) at rush hour on the afternoon of 8/3/15. The bike / ped network in the twin cities is impressive.
This film is approximately 18 minutes long. If you commute to or from the South Hills, have a box of Kleenex nearby.
Sure looks nice… but I think I’d get bored if the only hills were on/off ramps.
Was this an old rail line? It’s striking how wide and well marked everything seems to be. There were quite a few walkers too, with their own lane!
That’s very nice. Suggestion: if it’s out-of-town, post it in the out-of-town news thread instead of here.
@marko82 – I am not sure but I believe it was an old rail corridor. Regarding the lack of hills, I was thinking the same thing while riding there. But for a commute home, especially after a long day at work, a flat ride w/o cars would be nice.
@paulheckbert – Thanks for the suggestion. I didn’t feel that an out-of-town ride was “news.” I can certainly post the link to the video in that thread also. I wanted to contrast what I experienced with what we have available here in the South Hills and elsewhere, for that matter. Minneapolis has an extensive network of bicycle greenways, trails, lanes, boulevards, and sharrowed roads. One can get from nearly anywhere to nearly anywhere on the bicycle system.
Recent errand-running trip in Bethel Park:
00:00 – Film starts at Pro Bikes, on Fort Couch Road, near South Hills Village;
00:45 – Right turn into driveway of St. Thomas More Church; shows some of the route discussed in an earlier thread about low traffic routes from South Hills Village to Mt. Lebanon;
01:45 – The UPMC Lot and Driveway;
02:45 – Path past the ballfield and to the trolley stop;
04:02 – Left onto Strathmore Lane;
05:00 – Right onto Milford Drive;
05:20 – Left onto Santa Barbara Drive;
07:38 – Right onto Strathmore Lane;
08:16 – Right onto Meadowbrook Drive;
09:53 – Left onto Bethel Church Road;
10:13 – Right onto Highland Avenue;
11:12 – Right onto Summit Street;
11:37 – Left onto Belmont Avenue;
12:40 – Left onto Center Street;
13:06 – Right onto W. Library Avenue;
14:00 – Left across the trolley tracks and Right onto Brightwood Road;
14:24 – Left onto Lytle Road;
15:26 – Left into CVS parking lot (at the corner of Route 88 and Lyle Road).
Two casual cyclists encountered along Brownsville Road, in Carrick. Today, during the afternoon rush, are two very short videos of 9 and 18 seconds, respectively. In the second clip, the cyclist is visible at 00:03 seconds.
Greentree Road Alternative – approximately 14 minutes long
The film starts in the West End. To get to the South Hills, Greentree Hill must be climbed but there is an alternative to the busy Greentree Road!! It is Kearns Avenue, a poorly maintained road that has barriers to prevent through automobile traffic. Not sure why maintenance has been all but abandoned, because people live all along the road. With a solid bicycle and good tires, this is an excellent alternative to the main drag, especially during the rush hours.
02:07 – Greentree Road climb begins
02:45 – note poor condition of the sidewalk
03:28 – right turn onto Kearns Avenue
Hmmm, I wiped out going down Kearns the other day. I was going fairly slow, but the road was wet (as it is in your video) and rear tire slipped from under me on one of the cracks on the road and landed on my right side. Works OK as an uphill road, though.
@chrishent – Winter would be an adventure on that road. I was thinking about that as I ascended. You are correct in pointing out that there are some good-sized cracks and holes. If anyone tries it out, be careful.
Mt. Lebanon – Evening Rush – 2:33
This film starts at the corner of Morrison & Meadowcroft, crosses Beverly, and turns right onto Kenmont. Traffic can be heavy but on this day, the ride through went relatively smoothly.
Cochran Road and Hope Hollow Road – Mt. Lebanon and Scott Township –
There will be an Open Streets Event held along Brownsville Road, in Brentwood.
The date and time of there event is Saturday, October 17, 2015, from 9 AM until 1 PM.
Marko82 and I will be helping to lead a bike ride, that will begin at the South Side Riverfront Park, going up 18th Street, and then following Brownsville Road until we reach the event in Brentwood. The bike ride starts at 8 AM.
If you are on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/events/400057890200181/
If you know of any volunteers, vendors or musicians who might be interested in having a presence there, these links to online registrations can be passed along:
Interested businesses should fill out the following form:
Interested active lifestyle vendor should fill out the following form:
Interested musicians, street performers, buskers, etc should fill out the following form:
Interested volunteers should sign up here:
I will pass on additional information as it comes my way.
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