Spring riding conditions report
Welcome spring, alternated between sleet, cold rain, and snow this morning. I’ve been seeing increased vehicular traffic on EFT/Jail Trail and the South Side trail with the work on Birmingham Bridge going on. Strangely, a couple of days ago I saw a Pgh Parking Authority truck driving on EFT towards the Greenfield parking lot. The construction contractors/cherry pickers/etc. I understand being on there, Parking Authority, not so much.
Watch out for flooding and deep mud deposits on the trails near the point under the 10th street bypass, the point, the mon wharf, and by PNC Park.
Snow melt and rain has been causing high river levels and depositing quite a bit of debris.
I don’t know the current status, but a couple days ago there was a flood warning for the wharf. http://www.post-gazette.com/local/region/2015/03/18/Flood-advisory-continues-wharf-still-swamped-pittsburgh/stories/201503180175
PNC Park and Heinz Field area are clear and they’ve cleaned up the debris from when it was flooded over the weekend.
Penn Ave lanes are grimy. Leftover sand and dirt from this awesome winter. A good torrential downpour may wash away some of this stuff. Or maybe we can get the street sweeper on it.
Stiff westerly headwind today. Still not enough to deter what must have been at least 100 cyclists from going on the trail between Pittsburgh and McKeesport. That put a smile on my face.
Also, there’s a downed tree on the trail just before Kennywood. It can be avoided but better to remove it. To who do I report this to?
Headwinds were stiff, almost annoyingly so.
I was all bundled up in winter kit (and steaming); most everyone else was in their shorts and such. Planning.
Roadies are starting to come out of hibernation; haven’t been wooshed so many times in months…
There were also a couple of big rocks near that downed tree but the rest of the trail to McKeesport is fine except occasional wet leaf detritus. I found the crosswinds on the bridge at McKeesport to be the most annoying…
Thanks, @chrishent. I notified others on the Steel Valley Trail Council just now about the fallen tree and rocks. We manage trails along the Mon on both banks, between the Glenwood Bridge and Clairton. So Sandcastle, Waterfront, Kennywood, Duquesne, … that’s SVTC. When Yale and I were riding that trail on the 11th, we saw a fallen tree half-blocking the trail, but we only partially tidied it up that day. Perhaps the same one. Thanks for the reminder; we’ll get it cleaned up better.
If you see dangerous obstacles (rocks, branches, …) if you’re able to clean them up a little by yourself, please do.
The Forbes Ave bike lane from S Braddock to Dallas is damn near unrideable due to debris, potholes, and other obstacles. Even the sidewalks were covered in loose gravel.
I noticed some potholes that were present on Old William Penn Hwy last week were patched this week. Meanwhile, McCrady Rd is in deplorable condition as always.
Yea I should have stopped to clear those rocks. I was going pretty fast and being a stravasshole.
Who do we report the deep hole on the EFT to between the greenfield side trailhead and the HMB ramp?
In general, there’s gravel everywhere, so watch turns, take it easy.
That mud next to the Allegheny River by the 10th St. Bypass is something else, though. Anyone got any bright ideas how to take care of it? All I can think of is a team of shovelers, followed by a fire hose.
Actually, a hose apparatus might be a useful tool for the city to have. A weekly pass at the goose droppings on the other side of the river would improve the human visitors’ quality of life.
@stefb: For Friends of the Riverfront trail hazards, the best person to contact is Jeffrey McCauley, the FOR trail stewardship coordinator. I emailed him your note.
@stuinmccandless: The city has a truck with spray nozzles that I saw blasting goose droppings a couple weeks ago, near the Point. The mist from their spray had a chemical smell to it – de-icer?
I rode this route today, which includes a stretch from the McKees Rocks Bridge to E Carson. I didn’t realize the current state of W Carson (1 lane, jersey barriers on both sides), otherwise I would’ve avoided it.
So, does anyone know a good inbound detour to avoid W Carson St? Preferably, it would resume the aforementioned route somewhere in the S Side. I’m not averse to more climbing.
Were I to do that:
* southbound McKees Rocks Bridge, exit at Helen Street
* L Helen, L Robb, R River through The Bottoms
* R West Carson, L Chartiers
* L PA51
* straight Stafford St
* L Maple, R Radcliffe, R Stadium, L Stafford
* R Minton
* L Zephyr
* R Sherwood
* L Sheraden
* R Hillsboro
* two L onto Chartiers (across Busway)
* R Chartiers (instead of straightleft onto Corliss down to WCarson)
* optional L Lorenz to climb to W End Overlook
* L Steuben
* R Wabash or Alexander or Sanctus
* L West Main
* R West Carson, however you want to approach it.
I have not biked this, but this is my favorite detour by car. Knowing this route in reverse is how I *get to* McKees Rocks from downtown.
There’s a section of the southside trail below Hofbrau that is completely covered in mud. Better to go over on the top side of that trail on that sweet paved detour. Also, 311’nd a ridiculous pothole on Swinburne underneath the Parkway overpass on the uphill lane. Hit that one hard today…
Took the GAP to the Steel Valley to the Montour yesterday. The tunnel in Cecil was closed still due to ice. But there was a easy way to navigate around it. The wet gravel from Cecil to Mcdonald was like quicksand and took twice the effort to pedal. People passed too close coming home on Noblestown, but that happens every season.
Street cleaning begins in April, so hopefully that will address most of the gravel and debris issues. I’ve encountered this on Stanton and the debris includes broken glass. In addition, not sure if anyone uses Smallman but one of the factories/warehouses around 34th dumps a lot of water onto the street and this caused icy conditions today.
Apparently, there is snow outside right now. Just saying. So tired of wearing base layer. I’m over this winter.
I check Wunderground; satellite shows the next rain band is maybe 30 mins away. I leave to ride home. Outside it starts to drizzle. Oh well. I forge ahead. Drizzle turns into shower. Shower turns to rain.
I approach home. It’s back to a drizzle, the clouds are breaking.
A nice evening ahead.
Perfect timing. (And no rain gear.)
@stuinmccandless: The city does have a hosing apparatus (a truck of sorts). Last year they used it – daily – to hose down goose poop on the North Shore. They used to take a sweep at the trail around 7 AM, going from the Science Center to the kayak place. They would even move over and turn down the water flow if they saw my blinky in the rear view mirror.
So it exists. I haven’t been down at river level since the Viking ride, so don’t know if the mud situation has improved. Do or did or can they bring that apparatus over to do the city side after a flood?
I don’t see why not. It’s a rather large truck with a cistern. So as long as there is vehicular access they should be able to.
On a related topic, I think the geese should be re-homed to Brunot Island or some place less populated.
Don’t get carried away dealing with this on your own: http://bikeportland.org/2015/04/06/bike-rider-wanted-hit-run-left-one-duck-dead-138833
Somebody hitting someone else and then can’t bother to stop… where have I seen that before…
FWIW, the guy has apparently apologized a couple of times in the forums. Why am I getting worked up about the killing of one duck in a world of wanton and pointless nonhuman animal killing?
Maybe I’m just different, but I actually stop when I see animals lying in the road to see if they’re still alive. There are wildlife rehabilitators as well as an emergency center for companion animals out by Camp Horne road.
I hope no one got caught in the storms yesterday. Be safe today. I heard more may come during the morning commute.
Various amounts of debris, especially on the jail trail along the jail parking lot.
Traffic light at Neville and Bayard in Oakland out as of 5am.
Flashing light at Market and BOA downtown (BOA gets the flashing yellow).
Careful around all turns, as there could be gravel at intersections.
I was riding home on Rt 130 and stopped at an office building as a storm cell approached. The lightning and pouring rain was fun to watch from a safe place. Then I continued on through Dick Valley. All the street lights were out in West Homestead.
4/10 8:15AM Standing water next to the Second Ave parking lot on EFT/Jail Trail…3-4 inches when I went through, may want to go through the parking lot, it was pretty deep for that low lying section, I think that the sewer is clogged there.
I took shelter at AGH when I saw, coming up Cedar Ave, that I was not going to outrun the storm. Afterward, one light out at North Charles, and Cemetery Lane in Ross was closed because of a downed tree. Aside from that, just the usual debris on the road one expects after a storm.
A few years ago, I didn’t outrun a storm and tried to take shelter in a bus shelter. No good; it was fully exposed to the direction the worst of the wind and rain was headed. I may as well have jumped in a pond.
Since then, I’ve mentally filed away spots along my usual routes where I can take shelter. Some are better than others, but the key is to think how far ahead (or behind) me the nearest one is, and to gauge the sky to know whether to make a run for it.
If this morning was any indication, there were a ridiculous amount of commuters/rec cyclists on EFT/Jail Trail. I can believe those numbers that indicate that the amount of riders is way up.
I used to see no one between 5 and 6am on my way to work. Now I see about 6-8 other cyclists regularly.
I bused the bike downtown, then saw at least five in my brief ride from 9th and Penn to the library on Smithfield, about 7 this morning. I kinda wished I’d been able to talk to the couple I saw on the sidewalk, but I wasn’t close enough to chase them down.
Bike racks in the Strip all seemingly had at least one bike on them. It was awesome.
“People don’t go shopping to the Strip by bike!” Right…
It’s nice actually having bike racks to lock to in the strip. It’s now easier than ever, Wish they had a couple corrals other than the one on smallman by kaya, something visible from penn would be nice.
Speaking of racks, the racks at the city-county building really, really suck, as I think has been pointed out before. The good news is that they are also consistently packed full. The bad news is that they suck and are full. Can we get the city to install about 3x more capacity with something that wasn’t designed in 1965?
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