Weekend ride over Highland Park Bridge?

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Lori
Member
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Would anyone be interested in doing a weekend ride over the Highland Park Bridge on a weekend? I’d be up for it as soon as I can find folks interested and more knowledgeable about how to do it than me.

I use Google Maps Bike to navigate around the city, and I keep getting stuck unable to get places I want to go because I can’t figure out the Highland Park Bridge crossing. Without using that route, the alternatives take too long to be practical. Google maps bike seems to think there’s a way to get to the bridge (I’m coming from Shadyside) and then cross the bridge safely by bike but when I get close-ish I get stuck.

I’ve found these links (including a shaky video) but it’s just not clear to me, after I would ride it once with someone who knows how to navigate it safely then it would finally be clear.


Eric
Member
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It’s easy. Come down one wild place. At the bottom where it hits Butler street by the zoo cross in one of the two crosswalks to the far sidewalk (the sidewalk along the river side of Butler St). Ride toward the bridge. This turns into the sidewalk on the downstream side of the bridge. Cross the onramp and get back on the sidewalk. And you will be on Freeport.


Eric
Member
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here’s a google map link from the bottom of One Wild Place to Concentra Urgent Care which is on Freeport right after the sidewalk for the Highland Park Bridge.

https://goo.gl/maps/DQshM4darQv

Make sure it is set for bike mode. I think that’s the default for the link.


gg
Member
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I ride across it all the time.  No big deal.  Use the crosswalk and enjoy the safe ride across the bridge.  Take note of the seagulls flying around there.  There is some green glass on the sidewalk right now.  I didn’t have a chance to clean it up yet, so be careful about that.


zzwergel
Member
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To avoid crossing Freeport Rd. I often sneak down the on ramp from the sidewalk and make a U-turn onto Freeport Rd. to ride into Aspinwall.


zzwergel
Member
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Here is a video of me going to Highland Park from Aspinwall.


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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*not a recommendation, but just for context: there are a lot of riders who cross the bridge on the road deck – especially outbound. Again, not for everybody, but it *is* a thing many folks do.

Inbound, I recommend the sidewalk as all vehicular traffic is fresh off the highway, going very fast and looking to make lane changes, plus that end starts on a bit of a climb. Outbound, however, is a fairly wide ramp, a reasonable crossover at the merge point and a flat-to-downhill shot across the bridge to the Aspinwall ramp down to Freeport Road.

(Disclaimer: I am of the mind that we need to be seen riding road segments like this to normalize bikes in the minds of drivers, but I respect this mind-set is not for everybody)


Eric
Member
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I ride the 62nd Street bridge on the deck as there is less traffic and the stairway to the sidewalk sucks, but my heart still goes a bit aflutter outbound when I need to get in the left lane with 55 mph traffic around to so I can take the ramp down to Sharpsburg/Etna. My sense is that the HPB would be worse especially with random crap in the road and potholes around the exit ramp to Aspinwall.


Gerry Durishan
Participant
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Where is it you that want to go when you get across the bridge?  Many years ago I used to ride a circle route from Oakmont down Old 28 to the HPB then down Allegheny River Blvd.  My roommate was doored on ARB, so I  stay away from it.  Thankfully, he wasn’t severely injured.  Someone followed the offender and called the police.  They guy got nailed for assault.   Last spring I rode to Dancing Gnome from Oakland.  I went across the sidewalk and worked my way to the brewery.


Eric
Member
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What’s Old 28? Freeport?


AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe
Participant
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@eric – that is correct: “Old 28 = Freeport Road.

Re: ARB – ironically (or not), I’m willing to ride HPB on the deck (outbound) any day of the week and twice on Sunday, but I rode ARB once in my life and that was enough. Traffic goes at high speeds, and there is no shoulder and nowhere to ditch. It’s just you, the cars and trucks and the white line for like four miles.

And as far as what is on “this side” of HPB: Sharpsburg has multiple craft breweries, and two new restaurants opened recently near Waterworks Mall (a new Mad Mex and Alta Via). not to mention all that wonderful asphalt Fox Chapel and Saxonburg, if that’s your thing…


Ornoth
Member
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I think that’s reasonable, ALMKLM. I’m comfortable and will take my space just about anywhere, including the HPB deck in/out, Washington Blvd, Route 8, wherever. But ARB is one of my exceptions; it’s harrowing. The one positive thing is that most of it has good sight lines.


Gerry Durishan
Participant
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I used to ride ARB back in the late 80’s early 90’s.  It wasn’t so bad back then.   Well, at least better than today.  Correct, Old 28 is Freeport Road.  We used to ride from Oakmont to 3 Rivers Stadium for ball games.  I’d love to see a trail on both sides of the river, but that is likely a pipe dream.  There are a lot of great places to get fat and drunk in Verona, Oakmont, Blawnox, Sharpsburg etc.


Lori
Member
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Thank you to everyone for these riding tips for figuring out how to cross the Highland Park bridge by bike! Eric’s Google Maps bike route for that stretch has been very helpful, viewed in street view half-screen and map the other, while looking at the recommendations from Eric, GG, and AtLeastMyKidsLoveMe. I’m going to try it again this weekend and I’m excited about the possibility of being able to get around to a lot more of Pittsburgh.

Gerry asked what kind of things I wanted to go to. The very last one which I missed was a group hike last Sunday “Hiking & Exploring the Fox Chapel Trail System” that started here: https://www.google.com/maps/search/?api=1&query=40.498474%2C-79.882980  Google Maps Bike said it was a 40-minute bike ride to get there, which would have been nice before and after the hike…  The alternative bus ride would have taken 47 minutes each way, which is not at all appealing to me.

Thank you again everyone for your help to figure out bicycling this bridge!!!


Gerry Durishan
Participant
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Try the smartphone app, EasyRoute.   EasyRoute is simple to use.  The gpx of routes can be exported to other devices and applications as well as emailed to friends.  I use Google Maps, Strava or Ride with GPS to double check routes. Google Earth is great for checking out road for safe riding conditions.

To get to your hike from the middle of Walnut Street, Easy Route suggested a 6 mile route.  It takes you down through the zoo to the left hand sidewalk of the HPB then wraps around to go behind St Margaret Hospital to Fay and Squaw Valley Parks.


Eric
Member
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As long as you cross Butler and get on the far sidewalk, you’re home free.


Lori
Member
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Yesterday I finally biked across the bridge! Thank you again for your help, everybody!!!!

Eric: Yes, that was the key, learning to do that. Definitely needed the help from you folks here for that. Thank you!


Eric
Member
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Mazel tov!

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