I live in the South Side on Sarah Street and I’ve been having trouble finding a good route to Duquesne University/Downtown.
The only two ways I can cross the river into Pittsburgh are the 10th street bridge and the Birmingham Bridge (22nd street).
I’ve been taking the 10th street bridge over the river but the Armstrong Tunnels are a pain in the ass. It’s a little too intense for me to ride in them and the pedestrian path is too narrow for me to pass other pedestrians. I’ve been having to walk it through the tunnel and stopping to let people pass me as it’s barely two shoulder widths.
The other way is to go over the Birmingham bridge but I have to back track a little to get there and you have to pass through the hill district at night.
Has anyone else done this route? Also, when I’m zipping around the South Side, should I ride my bike as if I were a motor vehicle? Meaning stay off the sidewalks and keep to the right hand side of the road to let motorists pass me?
Personally, I’d probably take the long way ’round to DU: Tenth SB > L Second Ave > R Ross > R Forbes. Not as flat as going through the tunnel, but without the claustrophobia and tinnitus of the tunnel.
As for getting to Downtown, I usually take Carson all the way up to the Smithfield SB.
Another option would be the Hot Metal pedestrian bridge and the Jail Trail into town, but you’d be doing a fair bit of backtracking that way, too. Probably the safest route, though.
As for biking habits in the South Side, being on the sidewalk, at least on Carson between Water Street and 10th Street, is illegal because it is a business district. On the wide bits of Carson, you can probably give enough room for cars to pass you safely (but stay out of the door zone of parked cars). Where it narrows at 17th, you are better off just taking the lane.
Do you know about the steps? That staircase leading up from the inbound entrance of the Armstrong Tunnels will take you right up to Duquesne U. You’re pretty much guaranteed of two things:
1) You will meet precious little car traffic.
2) You will develop some serious leg muscles after a few such trips.
Bottom to top, there are 212 steps.
Heading Downtown, cross the 10SB on the upstream sidewalk (careful about pedestrians), then stay on the sidewalk around to the right, and circle into that parking lot. The Jail Trail is on the other side of that lot.
I work on the South Side and I try to avoid Carson (and it’s many cars/peds/lights) if ever I can. I take Sidney > Murial > Bingham > McKean > Exxon parking lot (cautiously) > Station Square E > ramp up to Smithfield St bridge sidewalk to get downtown.