Westend to Southside Works
Hello, I am a new bicyclist who is interested in making a commute from Crafton to Southside works. My issue is, Westend. I would be making this haul during 7:30-8am Rush hour traffic. I am wondering what the best way to get there would be.
My own 2 cents, though I don’t go that way that often, is: (a) Know your back streets, like Arnold and Neidel, (b) Always take the lane, (c) You can cross the river a couple of times to make life easier, (d) Make good use of staircases to avoid hills or traffic. (e) There’s nothing wrong with using the buses’ bike racks when you feel like it, and there are a lot of G2s; (f) If you don’t have a triple up front, consider making that change.
Really, you have two questions: Getting there. And getting back. There may be more than one good answer.
I’ll let the natives chime in with more specific suggestions.
If you’re looking to avoid the 60/837 stuff, (and I can’t say I blame you) there are sidewalks on Steuben St to get you over to the WEB (and then stairs down to the trail) where you can take trails back over to the South Side the via the North Side/Point Park/ Station Square trails.
It’ll add a bit more time though…
If you are quite new (and if you are, big welcomes!), a good way would be to bike to the Crafton West Busway stop, pop the bike on the G2 bus rack, ride on in, disembark at the 1600 West Carson Street stop, and make your way to the Station Square western driveway right there. Then bike the South Side trail all the way to your destination. Reverse going home. This would be a really good way to comfortably put your toes in the commuting waters until you get your sea legs, or bike legs, or whatever.
I have other good route recommendations for biking the whole way, but they require a bit more road confidence, the above is a really good way to get going. The important thing is to not knock yourself out right off the bat, and give up. Start easy.
Hi there! My solution, that I’ve used for years now, is as follows:
Depending on where you start in Crafton, get up onto Crafton Boulevard, which goes up a bit and then turns into Noblestown Rd. Say “Wheee!” down Noblestown.
At the bottom, there will be stopped traffic. Carefully filter past on the right. Work your way through West End – on days that I don’t want to deal, I get up onto the left-hand sidewalk (the side with the Village Tavern) where there is basically zero pedestrian traffic in the mornings.
Just past Artifacts, on the sidewalk, it turns left into a little path/ramp thing that goes under the car ramp. Watch the blind bend and stay on that path until it comes out in the West End Circle.
Get off of your bike and walk through both pedestrian crosswalks to get across to the bridge side. Especially look out at the first one for a-holes turning left on red who aren’t looking for you in the crosswalk.
Carry your bike down the first set of stairs. Take the sidewalk on Carson Street until you get to the entrance to Station Square, just before the Duquesne Incline.
When I first started commuting, I was shy about using the sidewalks. Now, I’m shameless. Here’s how I see it:
We have no bike infrastructure in the west. We have very bike-inexperienced drivers in the west. We have basically no pedestrians on these sections of road, but I always turn down my front light and yield when I see them.
Occasionally, on weekends or whatever or if we are on the tandem, I’ll just ride the road the whole way in. But this isn’t the east end or downtown we’re talking about, so I got comfortable leveraging whatever I could.
Lastly, I’d recommend doing it on a (non-marathon) weekend to try it first. Feel free to PM me if you want a guide or partner to check it out. I usually leave earlier than you do, but I could show you the ropes on a Saturday or Sunday.
Good luck and welcome! Love that more and more bike commuters are cropping up in my neighborhood!
The route Pinky described above is exactly what I do. It’s not bad at all. Actually, I’d love to see more bike commuters on that route! Power of numbers and all
The worst part inbound is the bit of Crafton Blvd. that is windy, narrow, tree covered, and 35 mph. This is roughly between Dinsmore and Stratmore. However, there’s a workaround: take a right up the short hill on Sterret. Then continue on Clearview Ave. all the way to where it opens up to the Clearview Trail. If your bike can handle it, take the Trail to Stratmore or even the very end at the intersection of Noblestown. Hop back onto Crafton Blvd./Route 60, then go wheeeeeeeee all the way down to West End!
The sidewalk on West Carson St. really isn’t that bad. I’m hoping it gets cleaned up a bit when the construction ends.
I’ve biked from southside or oakland to Crafton a few times and for the eastbound ride I agree with Pinky & Doublestraps’ comments. Clearview Park Trail (between Crafton Blvd & Clearview Ave) is nice. Route 60 downhill goes pretty fast, crosswalks at West End Circle (ugh), stairs down to Carson St sidewalk – yes.
The return (westbound) route is a bigger challenge. Here’s the route I used. Try it and see if you like it. It uses Neidel and Arnold (Stu mentioned) for much of the climbing: https://ridewithgps.com/routes/11880573?privacy_code=XVrcKY0vzQcyxU2w
If you spend much time on the fast parts of Steuben St, watch out for drivers like the one that crashed into Better Maid Donuts: http://bikepgh.org/mb/topic/cars-hitting-buildings/page/23/#post-310722
Ah yeah for eastbound, it looks like this:
Carson sidewalk to the second set of stairs up to the West End Circle. Duck into traffic on the ramp that comes up off of 51.
Wait for a break in traffic and then ride like you stole it, taking the lane, from WEC, down into Main St in West End. Then straight up Noblestown, watching for getting right hooked at the light at Stratmore.
But before I was more confident in traffic, I would basically do the reverse of my morning route, leveraging the crosswalks and that mini path near Artifacts.
I’ve never biked west on Noblestown/Rt. 60 but maybe I’ll give it a try. I’ve always worried that I’ll be going really slow because of the long uphill climb, and some jerk will come flying around the big bend and take me out.
So for heading West, I’ve either taken the side streets mentioned above, usually walking my bike up the worst hills and sloooowly ascending the stairs, or just bussed home. Any way you go, you’re bound to get a workout. It takes me an extra 20 minutes or so to get home.
There are many cyclists that need to,not only for recreational but also transportation purposes, get into the west end from the city. I am one of them.The county was planning a number of years ago of extending the Panhandle Trail from Walkers Mill eastward past Carnegie to Chartiers Creek and ending around Esplen/Mckees Rocks. I haven’t heard anything more about it for at least a decade and was wondering if they decided it just wasn’t feasible.I would be so nice to see this happen!! Any thoughts??
Noblestown westbound isn’t as bad as you might think. It’s wide and has probably the most forgiving hill grade of the roads that go up from the river to Crafton. And there are multiple places with chunks of sidewalk or driveway where you can pull over to catch your breath.
I’ve almost never had problems getting buzzed on the big bend, but here and there I’ll get a close pass elsewhere. Interestingly, though, most close passes for me happen inbound.
The worst part for me is from the light at Stratmore Ave (where drivers right hook) and then those last 20 yards to the top where it narrows in. You could avoid this by taking the trail as suggested earlier.
Thanks for all the responses and the Welcomes! I am new to Bike Pittsburgh and haven’t commuted to work for about ten years now. When I did commute it was Bloomfield to Oakland and wasn’t a bad ride. Westend Circle is a big scare section I am dreading getting through, but I didn’t realize there were steps leading down near WE Bridge, so thank you all for letting me know! I haven’t rode in a year (except for the little bit I’ve done before purchasing my current bike to test it out) and even when I did it was only a few times on trails for the past 6+ years.
I am actually off this Friday, so if the weather is nice I might try test out Pinky’s route – non-rush hour to get my feet wet..
I am located just off Noblestown by Shop n Save/Westwood Elementary school. I was even considering taking Kerns down to Freewalt St, to McCartney st to Wabash to Main and then going across Carson at the cross walk and down the stairs… I know Kerns is closed for a section, but I’ve walked it many times and it seems stable, with wide enough clearing for a bike to do well on. I could take Noblestown all the way down. I have also seen some pretty aggressive drivers inbound on Noblestown – which is why I am considering trying Kerns first (Plus it looks shorter/more of a straight shot from my house).
Anyone else ever try to take Kerns down to Westend?
@banandee, I’ve taken Kearns down. I slipped on some wet, cracked ashphalt. I wouldn’t recommend this as a downhill road.
Like others have said, Noblestown is a good road to go both up and down. Easy on your legs going up, easy on your brake pads going down.
I find Noblestown to be an excellent road for biking, except for west of the Poplar street intersection, but you don’t need to worry about that. It’s my preferred route, especially outbound (I live in Robinson). I’ve never had a problem on it.
This thread is awesome. I’m an east ender who is also a total fraidy cat about the west end. Y’all are making it seem totally manageable!
When y’ins get brave enough to get right out there in the lane, everything becomes do-able. I deal with McKnight Road; the West End Circle is a breeze.
The trick is to get in the left tire track, or nearly so, so that your nose is directly in front of a driver’s nose. This is absolutely legal, and actually preferred behavior. Drivers may legally cross the center line, even if yellow, to pass you, so there is no concern about “holding them up” or “letting them by”. (I do pull to the side in the first 100 feet after a red light, to let the pack by, but then I take the lane without apology.
On uphill Noblestown, if it’s wide enough (like over 16 feet), I would keep to the right and let cars by, but I am not that familiar with the road. I climb Federal, which is a really narrow single-lane climb, and I’m fully in the lane there, as there is no “over” to get over “to”.
Anyway, going downhill, yeah, plant yourself flat up against the yellow line if it’s only one downhill lane, and to hell with what they think. Chances are pretty good you’re going faster than the posted speed limit, so why care?
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