Specific Routes – Squirrel Hill to Shadyside & Oakland.
I’m moving into town in about two weeks and need some help with commuting routes.
thanks, in part, to some helpful folks on this forum, I’ve landed a spot in central squirrel hill.
Now, I need good commuting routes. I’ll be going (mostly) to Shadyside UPMC. My wife will be heading towards Oakland – near Magee Women’s.
We’ll be living a couple of blocks away from Murray & Beacon.
Any suggestions for best routes? Keeping in mind that we know almost nothing about traffic in Pittsburgh, please assume that nothing is obvious to us.
I’ve looked at your KML routes for Google Earth, but they certainly don’t tell the whole story.
BTW, I must say that I’m hugely impressed by bike-pgh. The maps, guides, and other resources on this site are just amazing. Makes me feel like I’m moving to the right place…
For her, the bus would make a lot of sense, the best choice being be the 67H, which uses Forbes-Craft-Allies-Beacon. Good backup choices are the 61C/61D/61F (Forbes to Murray), but they use different bus stops from the 67H. She could bike there, too, but would have to deal with a lot of traffic since she’s traversing the length of Oakland.
See if her employer can get in on a free-busfare deal using her employee ID; lacking that she might have a pre-tax fare deal available.
About 3/4 of the buses have bike racks, enough to get complacent about expecting to have one, and just enough to be irritating when one shows up w/o. We’re about 3 years out from 100% of buses with racks.
To get to either you could both take Wightman to Wilkins to Fifth to Morewood to Elsworth. From there you both can deviate to where you need to go.
To get to Oakland you could also take Wightman to Forbes. Both have newly painted bike markings making it a pretty nice ride. I don’t have much in the way of suggestions once you make it to Oakland as I don’t ride there very often.
I live near Murray and Beacon, I would suggest something like Murray -> Wilkins -> Amberson -> Ellsworth. The turn from Murray to Wilkins can be tough if there’s traffic, you can make an earlier left (e.g. Woodmont) then right on Wightman and finally make a left at the light onto Wilkins.
It’s mostly all downhill going there and uphill all the way back.
Really, pretty much all the streets in Sq. Hill and Shadyside are great for riding, I would just explore and find which route you like the best. You could start with Beacon -> Wightman -> Wilkins -> 5th -> Aiken – the only bad part being that last left onto Aiken but I think there is a green arrow there. If not you can take 5th the other way and make a right on Amberson and get back to Aiken via Ellsworth or whatever. Or, head down Shady and find your way through Shadyside, Walnut/Elmer/Ellsworth all go across to Aiken. The Murray/Forbes intersection can be kind of a mess so I’d tend to stay away from there, but otherwise you’ve got plenty of options.
The best bet for your wife is probably going through the park – Beacon -> Wightman -> Forbes -> Schenley Dr. and take that all the way to Bouquet then wind through South Oakland. Another option is Beacon to Hobart/Panther Hollow/Blvd of the Allies which has a lot of traffic but I don’t think is too bad, especially going downhill. And, again, there are plenty of other options (5th Ave, cut through CMU, trails through the park) that are worth exploring to have some fun…
Good luck, I think you’re in a great spot for biking, not too far from me. BTW, I highly suggest trying to ride up Negley from 5th sometime, it’s fun… Also Murray Hill is a good time, very bumpy cobblestone road, not nearly as steep as Negley.
lots of good suggestions so far. there are a lot of ways to do this, and some might make more sense depending on where you’re leaving from.
my gf had a morning class at the jcc in squirrel hill this summer and we both live in shadyside, and i biked her up there most days. for a total beginner, the best, quietest route was devonshire through the morewood parking lot and through cmu, then up schenley drive (aka the golf course) into squirrel hill.
if you’ll be leaving at the same time, i recommend you going through the golf course, and you can both do half of your route together. from there, you can go morewood to ellsworth to aiken. she can continue on schenley drive through schenley plaza (where the carnegie library is), and head along bates street (meh) or wind through the side streets in oakland.
Thanks for the feedback. I’m heading to a spot at UPMC Shadyside that’s a bit east of some suggestions – looking at the map, it seems like Shady might be a good bet.
I’m assuming that there was just a tad of sarcasm implicit in the comment about Negley? I’ve driven Murray Hill and won’t be biking it any time soon..
imakwik1 – hidden variables? I’m missing something here.
Thank. This group is really fantastic…
I wasn’t completely kidding about Murray Hill or Negley – they’re not my usual routes up the hill but fun for an occasional change of pace. Murray Hill isn’t bad at all actually – just REALLY bumpy. Negley is a good challenge – I can do it on my MTB but not on my cross bike, need a smaller gear…
Shady should be fine (without knowing exactly where you’re going – the hospital itself is off Aiken) keep in mind there is no nice way to get to Centre or Baum directly from Shady – and Highland does not intersect Ellsworth, it goes over it.
I agree with Salty. I’ve lived near Beacon and Shady for 20 years and ride all the roads people mention here all the time. It’s all perfectly ridable in this area. Somtimes it’s messy but it’s fine.
If I were headed to Shadyside Hospital, I’d probably choose Shady Ave to Howe or Walnut across to Aiken. Watch for doors in Shadyside–narrower streets. Study the map a bit because there are lots of ways to switch the route up if there are issues on a particular day. Wilkins is okay but Shady offers more “buffer” on bad weather days.
Magee is a bit more complicated to get to because of the one way issues with Forbes and Fifth. Both of them are ridable, but they are also full of buses and traffic etc, though you can get used to it. To work the easiest route is probably Darlington and through Schenley Park and swing toward the Blvd. of the Allies before Phipps. You could go through the Anderson Playground to miss the bridge if you want, but then out onto the Blvd. The Blvd is busy at times but this is just a short stretch, there is space, and the lane markings are good. The right turn into Halket street is popular with cars but fine.
Reversing that in the evening is not as attractive a prospect due to traffic trying to get to the Parkway. Also more cars headed into the park–but it is acceptable. Personally, I would probably ride Forbes to Meyran, then left on Sennot, right at Bouquet and then the next left at the Katz school and back up into the park.
I’d actually ride Forbes all the way at many times of the day but the bus density in the right lane afternoon is sort of annoying.
I was gonna show off my sCaRy Squirrel Hill-Shadyside kowledge, but then I realized that there was a thread on that a month ago.
There are some other good routes talked about in there (Chatham, etc)
+1 on Jeff’s Blvd of the Allies route to Magee. If it were me I thinkg I’d use the Blvd to get to Magee, but to get back, Forbes then the park to get back.
Salty, Jeff and Mick supplied the bike detail I couldn’t provide in my first post. What I’ve experienced is that going one way by bike and the other by bus, or bike-on bus, is often a good bet, because of weather, traffic, something to carry, whatever.
I also like the idea of having an inexpensive 2nd bike whose primary location is your destination, so even if you didn’t ride in, you can ride home. Anything is better than tying up thousands of dollars in a (2nd) car.
profslacker-hidden variable was the poster above me
edit: i realized that may have been an attempt at cleverness that went over my head, but in the event that it wasn’t…
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