With the bridge back, can we prioritize an uphill bike lane on Greenfield Ave?

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byogman
Member
#

Not really any more to it than that… we’ll have a lane and some sharrowed thing on the bridge, I know there was a usable shoulder (lane?) on Greenfield Rd. and I think I recall seeing something done downhill too, which is lower priority but… connections matter, especially uphill.

Personally, my hope is that my daughter, who’d like to be attending CAPA in a little under two years, has a safe and reasonably efficient route from/to western squirrel hill.  I might use it, too.  Bates/Blvd/Panther Hollow Rd. is direct I’ve gotten used to it, but you’re forced to choose between a bad sidewalk situation or a less than mellow ride even dancing around the interchange (pretending you’re taking overlook and cutting back over right after the divider) to avoid the low visibility spot on the still trafficky, but potentially high speed section.


zzwergel
Member
#

@byogman,

To Downtown: From Beacon St. at Wightman St.

  • Head east on Beacon St.
  • At the stop sign, turn right onto Hobart St.
  • Continue straight onto Panther Hollow Rd. at the traffic light.
  • Bear right onto ramp near the swimming pool to stay on Panther Hollow Rd.
  • At the yield sign, cross Panther Hollow Rd. into cycle track an cross Panther Hollow Bridge.
  • Follow track onto Scheley Dr.
  • Just past the median parking lot by Phipps, turn right across Schenley Dr. onto Frew St.
  • Turn left onto Hammerschlag Dr. Continue down Hammerschlag Dr. to Boundary St.
  • Turn left onto Boundary St., Make sure to cross R.R. tracks at a 90 degree angle and to stop at the stop sign at Joncaire St.
  • Just past Joncaire St. bear left to stay on Boundary St. And continue onto Junction Hollow trail.
  • Follow trail and use paths through The Run to access Saline St. cycle track
  • At the traffic light, turn right onto Greenfield Ave. then right onto 2nd Ave.
  • At the flashing yellow lights, Turn right onto Swinburne St.
  • Trun Right into the Eliza Furnace Trail head parking lot.
  • Take the first right onto Eliza Furnace Trail. Follow to Steel City Bike Rental.
  • Turn right to access 1st. Ave.
  • Board the T at 1st Ave. Station.
  • Get off the T at Wood Street Station and bike down 7th St. to CAPA.

To Squirrel Hill:  From CAPA

  • Reverse last five steps.
  • Take ramp from the parking lot down to contraflow cattle chute on 2nd Ave., ring bell or shout around the blind corners.
  • Access the Saline St. cycle track from Greenfield Ave. sidewalk.
  • Take the paths through The Run to the Junction Hollow Trail.
  • Follow the trail up to Boundary St and continue onto it.
  • follow Boundary up to Hammerschlag Dr. stopping at the stop signs at Yarrow Way and Joncaire St.
  • Take a sharp right onto Hammerschlag Dr.
  • At the top of Hamnmerschlag Dr., turn left onto Frew St.,
  • Turn right onto Tech St., and immediately left onto Schenley Dr. Cars turning left onto Frew St. from Tech St. do not stop so make sure to stop on Frew St. before turning.
  • Follow Schenley Dr. to Darlington Rd., turn right.
  • At E. Circuit Rd., turn left to stay on Darlington Rd.
  • Proceed through one stop sign and at the second stop sign is Wightman St. Turn right.

jonawebb
Participant
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@zz, that’s helpful.
On Greenfield, I see people take the sidewalk up all the time. Not my style, but seems like a reasonable way to avoid the traffic there.
I think an uphill lane could be made if you remove on-street parking and shift the lanes over. There’s only a little bit of on-street parking; the city could purchase the vacant space next to the billboard and build a lot, for the use of those residents.


byogman
Member
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Thanks, and I’ve done the connecting with Hammerschlag drive before (as well as joincaire).  These routes are just so convoluted and indirect and the number of little notes and transitions I’m not even sure really make them better for junior cyclists, there’s just less extended steep-ish climbing than Greenfield.  The rr track crossing is a particular badness because there’s that point of technique on the angle of crossing, there is traffic to negotiate that with, there are poor sight lines in terms of the train, bad pavement generally, and it’s just bit of an isolated spot generally.

With the bridge back but without further improvements what I’d do is train my daughter to follow the greenfield route, and just take the blasted sidewalk up.  It’d just be awfully nice not to have that hard hill for her made harder by dealing with the choppy surface (and of course, driver’s who aren’t looking coming off the saline street bridge).  It’d also be nice for me to skip Panther Hollow Rd and the choice of the interchange by the playground, ridiculous jughandle maneuver back onto Hobart/Beacon, and earbudded joggers along the way or sometimes significant traffic stress in-lane.  And when you get back to it, that’s the larger point.  Few even among adult cyclists would even consider the latter an option.  For how annoying it is, the Greenfield Avenue sidewalk gets a lot of use for lack of better alternates, and with a bike friendlier bridge coming back into play again, it’s really high time to do something to improve this.


Ornoth
Member
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Agreed. I’m a pretty bold and experienced rider who lives on Hobart, and I won’t take Panther Hollow between Hobart & BotA unless it’s both (1) in the downhill / westbound direction and (2) before 7am on a weekend. And that route will get worse with the Greenfield Bridge reopening.

Panther Hollow could be a nice bike route if it had buffered bike lanes, but for now there are several safer but less direct alternatives, like Forbes, Schenley, Circuit, Overlook, Greenfield, and Hazelwood.


zzwergel
Member
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@byogman,

I do not think that train is frequent. After biking that way numerous times, I’ve never had an encounter with a train. An uphill lane on Greenfield Ave. is a great idea, but until that happens, I would recommend my route.

@ornoth,

I’ve bike Panther Hollow Rd. westbound many times. After reaching the top of the short hill, A cyclist can go pretty fast down the other all the way to a least Dawson St.


andyc
Member
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I’ve taken Greenfield Ave up on the sidewalk many times. It’s easy enough but it’s important to come to a full stop and look in all directions at the Swinburne St bridge to prevent being hit by someone turning off of Greenfield.


chrishent
Member
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A climbing lane on Greenfield Ave seems perfectly reasonable. You may not even need to get rid of the onstreet parking on the downhill lane. There are a few sections were it is wide enough to put the bike lane in.

(A bit OT)

Regarding Panther Hollow/BOTAs, the city has a long-term capital project to do major work on the Charles Anderson Bridge, which carries BOTAs in and out of Schenley Park. It’s unclear whether this is a major refurbishment (a la Liberty Bridge) or complete replacement (a la Greenfield Bridge). This seems like a great opportunity to incorporate some bike infrastructure into that bridge and Panther Hollow road…


zzwergel
Member
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@chrishent,

There is a green two-stage left box on the eastern side of the Bartlett St./Hobart St./Greenfield Rd./Panther Hollow Rd. intersection. I think Panther Hollow Rd. can be widened by about five feet on the eastbound side (No sidewalk) and include a protected climbing lane for bikes. The inclusion of sharrows on the left most westbound lane and signage near the interchange would also be a good idea. I already noticed that electronic speed signs were placed on Panther Hollow Rd. that flash if there is a speeding vehicle. A bike box on the southern approach to the intersection as well as striping out part of the right westbound lane on Hobart St. between Beacon St. and Bartlett St. and using it as a dedicated left turning lane. just before the intersection would also be a big improvement to this corridor.


byogman
Member
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It would be amazing if Panther Hollow Rd. itself could be widened to accommodate a protected bike lane.  That, and, I agree, sharrows down, would be the start of a wonderfully efficient route connecting to the lanes associated with the BRT.  The two stage left seems a clear sign of thinking starting in the direction of sharrows down.

We’ll see if that happens, and then what happens with the rest, and when.  I’d spent most of my energy to this point advocating for incremental stuff at intersections and widening / continuation of the north side sidewalk through the field, and a ped activated signal crossing back and to get cyclists into the right side of the bike lane on Beacon.  Not as good as a lane, but it’d serve more masters and presumably be cheaper/easier.

Enforcement of the 35 (or less fun, but more inviting, 30 or 25) on the way down is important though for the sharrows to mean much to many.  A lot of less assertive cyclists feel squeezed and ride sidewalk down or hug the right.  I don’t do it but I do understand where it comes from.  A couple years back there was a day I was tracking my ride so I know I was going 40mph in the left tire track before the interchange, and I still had someone do a reckless pass and then cut-off to go north.  For that matter, I’ve had someone pull the same stunt going down Greenfield Avenue before the swineburn street bridge and had to jam the breaks there.  There’s little limit to the outer edge of driver stupidity.


zzwergel
Member
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@byogman,

I have video of me riding the entire length of Panther Hollow Rd.


Ornoth
Member
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As the byog indicates, it inevitably comes back around to Stu-bob’s favorite issue: Pennsylvania’s idiotic refusal to permit local police to enforce speed limits using radar. I’d call it laughable, but it’s too deadly a failure to treat lightly.

Repealing that prohibition is probably the single biggest and most widely-beneficial thing we cyclists can advocate for, because actual enforcement of speed limits will save numerous lives all across the commonwealth.


zzwergel
Member
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@ornoth, @stu,

Why is the reason for this prohibition anyway?


MaryShaw
Member
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Rural speed traps, I think.  That is, preventing small towns to balance their budgets by using crafty 30mph zones on 55mph rural roads


edronline
Member
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Here’s a decent but dated article from Philly.

PA is the only state that doesn’t allow local officers to use radar.  Seriously.

http://www.phillyvoice.com/-is-a-long-denied-tool-finally-on-the-radar-for-local-police-in-pennsylvania/


Mick
Participant
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I live off the Blvd of the Allies, just before the bridge to the Schenley Park.  I usually deal with this in a fairly cautious way.

I was a passenger in car going up Panther Hollow Rd,  once, with a bad driver at the wheel.   Near the top of the east-most hill with the curve, we passed two joggers in the street.   Oh [expletive]!  was it scary.

I have not ridden my bike up Panther Hollow Road since.

Although I use the road the other direction, sometimes.  There are wonderful paths through the woods and there is a OK sidewalk on PH Rd.

I’m unusually slow.  I’m slower when I’m on paths or sidewalks with even the possibility of pedestrians, so my speed through there is best described as “gradual.”

 

 


byogman
Member
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I’ve taken the lane downhill on Panther Hollow hundreds of times, perhaps even 1000 times at this point.  The fun factor outweighs what is now for me only occasional stress doing that.

Uphill, I skirt the low visibility curve by exiting to overlook but cutting back just past the end of the divider to onramp back onto panther hollow again.  I wouldn’t take Panther Hollow in-lane uphill if there weren’t this out available at the really dangerous spot.

Aside: I’m actually really surprised nobody has made and marketed a day-glo, lights blinking flexy nodachi thingy to improve visibilty on blind and blind-ish turns to the right.  If I had to contend with more of these turns with no out, I’d have totally hacked something together, probably starting with a pool noodle.

Anyways, I wait at the end of the onramp till the flow from the last light has cleared and then crank with pretty high effort to finish the remainder of the climb in a reasonably short amount of time.

It’s still, per any driver’s perspective, ridiculously slow, and it can take a little time for them to merge into the left lane, so I know people are getting annoyed.  That’s why I don’t recommend it to others.  It’s been a while, but on occasion, I have gotten a horn or a little verbal abuse.

It’s really more about reducing the number of drivers that feel aggrieved coming up upon me from behind rather than any one of them particularly appreciating how hard I’m working for them.  They can’t know, but I also budget myself on Bates (after the merge), Blvd, the bridge, and ramp turning back onto Panther Hollow, specifically to be the least possible impediment there.

I even stay on overlook rather than merging back if I’m feeling a little weaker that day.  Anyways, there are all my rationalizations.  I think they’re quite excellent though I’m sure hundreds of people trying to skip squirrel hill tunnel delays disagree with me and with the bridge opening there’ll be more.

Unless, of course, Greenfield Avenue is given an uphill lane.  Then it’s a natural enough route even on my fair weather roadie.  Still slower, but the trade-off time/stress wise would be worth it.  I don’t see that being true with just a crummy sidewalk.


jonawebb
Participant
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Outbound I avoid the blind hill on Panther Hollow (descending to Greenfield) by taking Overlook. Inbound I have no problem taking Panther Hollow the whole way. But that blind hill, with speedy traffic coming from Oakland, scares the hell out of me.


zzwergel
Member
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Isn’t the Greenfield bridge opening tomorrow?

@jonawebb,

Me too. Going east on Panther Hollow Rd. is too stressful. Today, From Oakland, I took Panther Hollow Rd. to Overlook Dr. and followed that to Greenfield Rd. I turned left onto Greenfield Rd. and continued onto Bartlett St., Left onto Serpentine Dr., Right onto E. Circuit Rd., Straight onto Darlington Rd., Left onto Murray Ave., and right onto Forbes Ave. to reach Squirrel Hill. Once I found out that BikeTech was closed, I took Forbes Ave., left onto Murray Ave., right onto Beacon St., Right to Hobart St., Straight to Panther Hollow Rd., Take ramp to continue on Panther Hollow Rd., and right onto Schenley Dr.


edronline
Member
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Bridge opens Sunday at 8am.

 

Party tomorrow to celebrate it.


zzwergel
Member
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@byogman

Anyways, I wait at the end of the onramp till the flow from the last light has cleared and then crank with pretty high effort to finish the remainder of the climb in a reasonably short amount of time.

Do you mean the traffic light at Dawson St?

Outbound I avoid the blind hill on Panther Hollow (descending to Greenfield) by taking Overlook. Inbound I have no problem taking Panther Hollow the whole way. But that blind hill, with speedy traffic coming from Oakland, scares the hell out of me.

Is this the hill east of the ramp coming from the Panther Hollow Bridge?

Also, you can take Overlook Dr. to Camp David Lawrence. Turn left onto the walkway and go past the ice rink. Follow the paths near the Schenley Oval Sportsplex back to Overlook Dr. and turn left. to cut out the unnecessary distance


byogman
Member
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The last light before the park I think is Dawson as you said.  I take the right lane up to along Blvd and past on Panther Hollow across the bridge and on up to squirrel hill.  The only exception is around the interchange.

The linked map shows where I do something different, and that most dangerous section of Panther Hollow Rd. I do skip, though it shows a different method than the one I use.

https://goo.gl/maps/Su6iKx2DNSq

Instead of using sidewalk and cutting under the bridge then re-approaching the interchange from a different angle, as depicted, what I do is exit onto Overlook Drive but then cut back onto the parallel onramp back to Panther Hollow Rd right immediately after the low concrete divider ends.

Sometimes I can use that onramp onto Panther Hollow Rd without having to stop at all to wait for traffic to clear, but typically I do wait some.  I don’t necessarily mind a short wait to freshen up the legs post climb to that point and to finish the hill strong.

I recall trying cutting over to the vietnam vets pavillion as an out years ago, but then there were stairs which annoyed me.   I’ll explore this routing around Camp David Lawrence as another bail option.


byogman
Member
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I actually used greenfield avenue yesterday cutting from sidewalk over to road at an opportune drop in the sidewalk/gap in the traffic.  It was ok-ish… there wasn’t what I’d really call enough but it was a little more passing room than I remembered and the motorists were reasonably nice about it there.

However, I got through at the end of the light cycle from Greenfield Rd. right onto Hobart and got into the left lane for the turn.  I’m more accustomed to having a tiny breather before that little rise on Hobart and the left on Beacon and doing that piece as a sprint.  They weren’t very nice about the fact that it was just a continuation of my steady climbing effort this time.

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