Police using junction hollow as a cut through just because

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stefb
Participant
#

This is the second time in the past month that I have seen a cop do about 25 on that trail. He cuts through from the Oakland side going toward the run. No lights. It happens around 424pm. I commute home at variable times, so I don’t see it consistently, but I just happened to look at my watch and I noted that it was the same guy at the same time.

How do we get this abuse of power to stop? Again, trails are deteriorating because of unnecessary vehicular traffic like this, and it just isn’t safe.


gg
Member
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Video submitted to a news channel is probably the only chance. Bad publicity is about all we have I think. Peduto isn’t going to go against the Police. Look what happened to Luke. You can’t mess the the police, unless you can get the press going. The media is looking to make money on shock value. Did they come close to running you over? That would be a good story for them. It is what it is. Thanks for bringing it to our attention. I will keep a lookout.


stefb
Participant
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No he moved over but didn’t slow. It didn’t look like he was patrolling either. I would love to take a day and just sit there to see who drives through regularly and find out why.

And shocker, the EFT utility work still isn’t done like it was to be at the end of December.


paulheckbert
Participant
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In January I saw a Pittsburgh Public Works truck coming toward me on the Junction Hollow trail as I was biking, so I waved him down and talked with him. I commented that cars and trucks on the trail are damaging the asphalt and he was defensive, saying a couple times that the trucks use the trail in order to empty the garbage cans. I didn’t see any garbage bags in the back of his truck, so I suspect that excuse didn’t apply to whatever he was doing that day.


mattjackets
Member
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Junction hollow trail is pretty much a road now. Lots of personal vehicles are driven over it. The city has acknowledged this in a reply to one of my many 311requests.

It would seam that the city has stopped trying to keep the gates locked, citing the ongoing removal of the locks.


jonawebb
Participant
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What does Corey O’Connor say about this? It’s in his district.


reddan
Keymaster
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It would seam that the city has stopped trying to keep the gates locked, citing the ongoing removal of the locks.

Ongoing removal, eh? It might be an interesting experiment if private citizens were to padlock the gates shut themselves, at least during known times of frequent misbehavior. Said hypothetical citizens would need to remain in the vicinity, in case a legitimate emergency vehicle needed access, and to hold the video camera to record any vandalism for immediate report to the police and news channels.

For a less aggressive, data-acquisition approach: station one person at each end of the trail, and log entry/exit times for each motor vehicle. Use that information to demonstrate the problem, including license plates…


chrishent
Member
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Can’t help but think that this is being allowed due to the closure of the Greenfield bridge…


jonawebb
Participant
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Mucking about with city property, including replacing padlocks, is heading down the path of vandalism. Once you start, what’s to stop somebody from putting boulders on the path? Plus, do you really think some emergency vehicle is going to roll up to the gate, wait politely until you run out from the bushes to remove the padlock, then roll on?
Really, this is an issue Corey O’Connor’s office can and should address. Maybe they’ve been unresponsive; but I’ve not heard yet of anybody who tried to raise it to their attention and not gotten a response.


reddan
Keymaster
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Really, this is an issue Corey O’Connor’s office can and should address.

Agreed. I mention the data-acquisition scheme because, frankly, it has more impact to complain “13 unmarked vehicles used the trail in a 90-minute period on Tuesday morning” than “I saw a truck twice last week.”


mattjackets
Member
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I’d be willing to take a shift with a camera during rush hour. I just can’t stay there for hours, so someone would have to take over at some point.


mjacobPGH
Member
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The only garbage cans that the city maintains that have bags in them are in downtown; the rest just get dumped into a truck so there would not be bags. Even if the crews don’t empty any cans while on the trail, they still have to go check them.

DPW has repeatedly attempted to seal off Junction Hollow for official use only and (presumably) residents in the area have cut locks, moved boulders, and even destroyed the gate on the Greenfield side entirely. Additionally, while a police vehicle shouldn’t be driving very quickly on the trail, as someone who used to commute there frequently and never saw police, I would feel safer knowing that they have a visible presence in an otherwise secluded spot.


mjacobPGH
Member
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Official motor vehicle use that is.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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Police have claimed in the past that they can’t patrol the trails, including Junction Hollow, in part because they aren’t lit.

Has that policy changed?

(Coincidentally, when Greenfield Bridge was closed, JHT was supposedly going to get lights. Has that been cancelled?)


stefb
Participant
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Bike pgh, can you please help us with this?


stefb
Participant
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Also wondering who is in charge of the trails?


mattjackets
Member
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DPW Parks Foreman? I don’t know who holds that position, but somebody on the boards may chime in with that info. I get the feeling that the DPW shares our unhappiness about the situation.


jonawebb
Participant
#

Corey O’Connor’s office phone: 412-255-8965
His feedback form: http://pittsburghpa.gov/district5/feedback
He’s also on Facebook.

Lynette Lederman (lynette.lederman@pittsburghpa.gov) is his executive assistant.

Please, someone who’s seen this, tell them about it and see what they say.


mjacobPGH
Member
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DPW(who I work for) would be responsible for the maintenance of pretty much everything in Schenley Park including this trail. The Park Foreman for Schenley Park has tried everything within reason to close the trail to be used for official vehicle use only including constructing new gates as well as installing locks and providing keys to the appropriate personnel including emergency personnel(police and fire/EMS). Again, there is good reason for DPW trucks to be on the trail given that they must check each garbage can along the trail as well as perform a variety of other tasks in that area(the same applies to the EFT). Unfortunately, people have taken it upon themselves to destroy public property in order to access that trail by vehicle which is unbelievably frustrating. I can’t speak to the police policy for patrolling trails though I don’t know how the lighting issue would affect their policy during the day which seems to be when @stefb witnessed them. I would gladly attempt to reach out to the police but that’s also a concern, along with regular vehicles using the trail, that should be voiced directly to Zone 4: 412-422-6520. Additionally, I’m not personally familiar with plans regarding lighting on the JHT but I’ll ask around.


gg
Member
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Lets face it, that so-called bike trail is now a road and we can’t get from that road to the park anymore because of the RR. We lost it all. Just put in a highway already and put in a razor wire fence so no one can get to the pond area. This is the new trend and it only gets worse from here.


erok
Keymaster
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We’ve discussed this with our contacts at DPW and Friends of the Riverfront several times.

It would really help to have more evidence.

Also, while i’m sure there’s residents destroying the gates, in the past (i can’t speak for now) there were also DPW employees breaking the gates because locking and unlocking them was annoying or something.


Benzo
Participant
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One of those inexpensive motion detector game cameras could be really handy. Though I bet there would be quite a lot of pictures of cyclists just going by.


reddan
Keymaster
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Quoth @erok:

It would really help to have more evidence.

If we can identify when this seems to happen, I’ll follow @mattjackets‘ lead and volunteer to take an hour-long shift to document miscreants.

Ideally, if we could document the same patterns of behavior over a week-long period, that would go a long way to identifying both the scope of the problem, and the identity of repeat offenders.


Ahlir
Participant
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Is it fair to say that a good number of vehicle passages happen around rush hour(s)?

I have a video cam and tripod; I’d be willing to set up near the north side of the soccer field, say maybe starting at 4pm and see if it’s possible to record some some activity.

I’d actually like it if also someone else could hang around, in case a driver decides to stop.

PM me…


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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One of those inexpensive motion detector game cameras could be really handy. Though I bet there would be quite a lot of pictures of cyclists just going by.

…that might not be a bad thing, for a number of reasons…


J Z
Participant
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Didn’t someone on here have a motion detecting trail camera set up for some incidents that occurred at the Greenfield parking lot? If so, might be a good time to give that a try again without mentioning it here.


mattjackets
Member
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@erok here are a couple of videos from my bike camera that provide some evidence:
This snowfall is only a few hours old, note the number of tire tracks:

This tan minivan was unmarked, and accelerated very quickly when I turned around to get his plate:

I spoke to one of the offenders who was driving a black Acura. He claimed to be lost, and that his GPS unit directed him to take the trail. Other offenders know exactly what they’re doing (eg. minivan man).

I experience the trail usually during late rush hour, and I see personal vehicles on it often.


Mick
Participant
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Late one snowy Friday night, I was started up Saline from Greenfield Ave and I was passed by a white truck with a snowplow on it. I did not see the truck come back out

There were fresh truck tracks on the trail, but no plowing had been done on the trail.

After I finished playing harmonica on frozen Panther Hollow Lake, I resumed travel up the trail, just in time to see a white truck, looking suspiciously like the one that passed me, was pulling out of the Panther Hollow parking lots and heading up Neville.

I was unable to get the license number (and it was 2 am), so did not report it.

When the police are abusing the trail, I’d guess – I could be wrong – that they would not have McLay’s support. Different, of course, if some emergency were involved.

I live near the trail and would be willing to volunteer monitoring time there.


stefb
Participant
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I would say start around 2pm. I saw cars heading that way. I hope it was to park or turn around. I did close the gate just before that, so someone would be inconvenienced by having to get out and open it at least. I would like to sit there, but I would rather wait until it is a little warmer when my schedule allows.


paulheckbert
Participant
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The north gate (that’s still there) appears to be just inside Pittsburgh City Council District 5 (O’Connor) and the south gate (that got knocked down around 12/28) I think spans the border between Districts 5 and 3 (Kraus). I emailed O’Connor and one of his staff people responded already, asking about a timeline.

If anyone has photographs of the gates in a locked state, or of the south gate down, or of cars on the trail, that you haven’t shared before, now would be a good time to share them.


StuInMcCandless
Participant
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Anyone care to gauge the level of disconnect between Chief McLay and the rank-and-file? Like Port Authority drivers and mechanics, do they take orders from the management chain or the union boss?


stefb
Participant
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So I pulled the gate shut around 230 yesterday afternoon. At 515am it was open again.


Vannevar
Participant
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Stu that’s the jillion-dollar question, and the backdrop to the current Fired Sergeant drama. I think McLay-Peduto intend to change the status quo, and it’s the Force vs Mountain game. There’s a bit of seeing who can outlast-outwait whom.


jonawebb
Participant
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I wouldn’t assume that everything comes down to a conflict between the FOP and McLay. The police officers may be perfectly willing to enforce the law on Panther Hollow trail, once it becomes a priority. The DPW seems to want to have it enforced.


mjacobPGH
Member
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I spoke with Zone 4 and the officer there was pretty surprised this was happening. She said that PPD does check on trails periodically but not “patrolling” or foot patrolling as they mostly can only respond to 911 calls. Again, this emphasizes the importance of calling 911 or Zone 4 if you witness it because it at least gives more attention to the problem and at best they have a car in the area that can respond quickly. In addition, I spoke to the Park Ranger for Schenley and he said that they would monitor the area, as well. There are signs posted that say for official vehicle use only subject to, I think, a $300 fine. Trust me, this is frustrating to the DPW divisions, as well, because they get all the blame for it and any damage to the trail or playing fields when they have tried a lot to prevent it.


chrishent
Member
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Rode through Junction Hollow today just before 6 pm. The gate in the run was open, so I closed it. Did not encounter any motor vehicles.


stefb
Participant
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Thank you, Jake.

So a guy was walking his disabled dog on that trail yesterday. The dog appears to not have functioning hind legs, and was using something that I like to say transforms the dog into a chariot dog. The dog can use its font legs, and hind legs are suspended and on wheels. The dog looked so stoked, but wasn’t moving too fast. Yet another reason that there should be no vehicles using that trail at all. I can’t imagine if any vehicle came flying through there.


buffalo buffalo
Participant
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1:30 pm 3/5: the gate at the Greenfield end is gone entirely. Only the pole it would lock to is there.


paulheckbert
Participant
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buffalo-buffalo: That gate got knocked down around 12/28 last year and disappeared a few days after that, I recall. See post by RustyRed: http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/green-truck-using-jail-trail-as-shortcut/#post-321575


mjacobPGH
Member
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Yes, that’s what I was referring to by people destroying public property as well as other acts. The gate was pulled out of the ground not long after being installed/replaced by DPW from what I’m told.

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