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Switchback Ramp at Pittsburgh End of GAP Nearing Completion

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Switchback Ramp at Pittsburgh End of GAP Nearing Completion

Old 08-11-18, 11:43 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I think this was a huge waste of money and doesn't serve the city well as far as the GAP is concerned. I would rather see a route through downtown to get from the point to the north side.
You're probably right. I had no idea how expensive it was to build bridges / ramps until I started seeing construction costs for various bike infrastructure projects. We probably could have put in a lot of bike lanes for whatever it cost to make this ramp, but I think it is nice for the people who just want to ride the river trails on a city bike for the day. I'm all about anything that gets more people out riding. And it just feels wrong for the trail not to connect all the way to the point. Hopefully anyone on tour would be adventurous enough to get off the trail and check out the city a bit.
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Old 08-17-18, 10:15 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
It is actually even nicer if you take the Allegheny river side bike path and cross under the convention center. Then make your way down Grant St to the Smithfield St. Bridge. Takes a bit of figuring to get on to the sidewalk/path that leads to the bridge but it is pretty much across the the PNC building
We did that a few weeks ago when starting out our GAP ride from our hotel near the train station. Was a bit annoyed that the bike path was actually closed at what I think was the convention center (or a hotel?) due to a large wedding and I had to go out on the street with my son to get around the section. There were actually staff people blocking the path and telling us we couldn't proceed. I was pretty surprised they were allowed to do that :-(

Regardless, it was a cool ride along the river, especially seeing the Warhol Bridge. I wasn't sure if the new ramp was done yet, so we just rode out on the street from the Point down to the start of the trail. No biggie on a Saturday morning with very light traffic. We rode past a building and my son said "that looks like the building from the Inspector Gadget movie." I kind of scoffed at that, because it's been a few years since we saw that movie. That night we stayed at the Melody Lodge in Connelsville and guess what was on the TV? That same movie, and sure enough, it was the hotel we rode past! I couldn't believe my son (13) noticed the building (PPG building I think) and remembered it!

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Old 08-18-18, 06:23 PM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by Philly Tandem View Post
We did that a few weeks ago when starting out our GAP ride from our hotel near the train station. Was a bit annoyed that the bike path was actually closed at what I think was the convention center (or a hotel?) due to a large wedding and I had to go out on the street with my son to get around the section. There were actually staff people blocking the path and telling us we couldn't proceed. I was pretty surprised they were allowed to do that :-(

Regardless, it was a cool ride along the river, especially seeing the Warhol Bridge. I wasn't sure if the new ramp was done yet, so we just rode out on the street from the Point down to the start of the trail. No biggie on a Saturday morning with very light traffic. We rode past a building and my son said "that looks like the building from the Inspector Gadget movie." I kind of scoffed at that, because it's been a few years since we saw that movie. That night we stayed at the Melody Lodge in Connelsville and guess what was on the TV? That same movie, and sure enough, it was the hotel we rode past! I couldn't believe my son (13) noticed the building (PPG building I think) and remembered it!

A shame you could not go under the convention center. If the foutain was on your would have really enjoyed it. I am 59 years old and been through there countless times and still get a kick out ot it.

I hate when weddings Bogart a public venue. I was on the Montour Trail recently and the wedding party thought nothing about blocking the whole trail for photos.

I hope you did not miss the bicycle museum? Again your son would have loved it.
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Old 09-25-18, 09:28 AM
  #29  
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I rode by the switchback on Saturday morning. The ramp itself looks finished. However, the area around the bottom entry point still needs work and the existing railing at the top is still uncut. At the pace work is going, I expect it to be completed just in time for winter.


The width of the switchback is about 10'.





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Old 09-25-18, 10:05 AM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by Altair 4 View Post
I rode by the switchback on Saturday morning. The ramp itself looks finished. However, the area around the bottom entry point still needs work and the existing railing at the top is still uncut. At the pace work is going, I expect it to be completed just in time for winter.


The width of the switchback is about 10'.



I expected it to be worse at the bottom of the ramp after the flooding a couple weeks ago... I think I read somewhere the issue with getting it open is access to the Point from the other end of the wharf but I don't follow it enough to know for sure as I tend to stay off the Smithfield St bridge.
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Old 09-25-18, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by edthesped View Post
I expected it to be worse at the bottom of the ramp after the flooding a couple weeks ago... I think I read somewhere the issue with getting it open is access to the Point from the other end of the wharf but I don't follow it enough to know for sure as I tend to stay off the Smithfield St bridge.
I'm sure the flooding hasn't helped the schedule. The bottom section entrance to the ramp needs to be paved or concrete laid. I rode the length of the wharf to enter Point State Park and tried to look at it as an out-of-towner who would be unfamiliar with the area. There was still a quite a bit of mud along the river side of the parking area for the entire length of the wharf. The surface of the parking lot is deteriorating at the edge of the slabs and at cracks, providing a bumpy ride. You can pick a decent line, but you'll weave around to find it. Not sure what it would be like riding it on a weekday when the parking lot is open. The ramp into the park is relatively narrow and tightens even more around a pillar supporting an overhead roadway. Then you pass two dumpsters before entering the visually appealing section of the park. It needs work, for sure.
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Old 06-10-19, 01:28 PM
  #32  
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The ramp was open and in use when I was there May 20th 2019.
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Old 06-10-19, 01:52 PM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by eridout View Post
The ramp was open and in use when I was there May 20th 2019.
Good to know. I should be kicking off a trip Saturday morning. I was going to cross at the Hot Metal Bridge yet again because it's further south and will shave off a little of the backtracking from Lawrenceville back to the Point Park, but I just realized that a stop by REI might be in order to get some Esbit tablets that I can't fly with, so I'm stuck in town until at least 9am, so maybe I'll go to downtown anyway and try a different bridge out.
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Old 06-10-19, 01:59 PM
  #34  
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Been open since late fall last year. IMHO, an ENORMOUS waste of tax payer money. The walk way on that side of the river is in horrible condition and you need to cit though the parking lot to access the rest of the path. To get to the Point, you need to squeeze through a narrow part of the path where there is a support for the freeway above.

I will get a pic of the narrow space if I think about it. IMHO, You are much better off taking the Boulevard if boming from the Point.

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Old 06-10-19, 02:13 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
I will get a pic of the narrow space if I think about it. IMHO, You are much better off taking the Boulevard if boming from the Point.
I think that's what I did last time. Actually both times I think what I did was take the Boulevard up to the point the night before, just so we could say we biked all the way from the point to Cumberland (also it's a nice park). Then in the morning we headed for the Hot Iron Bridge and continued from there.

I'm somewhat hopeful that I'll have time to bike around a little the night before again, so maybe I can explore it unloaded. Or maybe I can just cross over at Point Park on 376 (which Google lists as a bike route?) and ride the south side of the river for a change.
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Old 06-10-19, 02:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
I think that's what I did last time. Actually both times I think what I did was take the Boulevard up to the point the night before, just so we could say we biked all the way from the point to Cumberland (also it's a nice park). Then in the morning we headed for the Hot Iron Bridge and continued from there.

I'm somewhat hopeful that I'll have time to bike around a little the night before again, so maybe I can explore it unloaded. Or maybe I can just cross over at Point Park on 376 (which Google lists as a bike route?) and ride the south side of the river for a change.
Hot Metal.

Bicycle Heaven is always worth exploring.

Another idea is to take the Duquense Incline up to Mount Washington. Ride toward the Monongahela Incline and ride down the hill into south side.
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Old 06-10-19, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Hot Metal.

Bicycle Heaven is always worth exploring.

Another idea is to take the Duquense Incline up to Mount Washington. Ride toward the Monongahela Incline and ride down the hill into south side.
I like that. I've been wanting to go on the inclines since my first visit to Pittsburgh and I've never gotten around it. That's another thing I thought I might try if I got in and settled early enough on Friday.
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Old 06-10-19, 08:14 PM
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Originally Posted by alan s View Post
I hate turning the corners on those ramps with a fully loaded touring bike. Just sayin.
Woodrow Wilson Bridge bike path near DC has nice wide curves on the Maryland-side ramp. First time I rode I thought, "Wow, they really spent big for the bikers!". I soon realized it was probably designed that way for vehicular access.

Anyway, kinda funny that the most complicated part of GAP is crossing into Pittsburgh. Esp if train schedule etc involves riding in the dark. I'm not that familiar with Pittsburgh & am a bit worried about getting lost and/or having to ride thru unsafe areas.
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Old 06-17-19, 02:00 PM
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I certainly wondered whether I was leading others behind me astray when I squeezed through that narrow gap, but it worked out ok I thought.
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Old 06-17-19, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post

Anyway, kinda funny that the most complicated part of GAP is crossing into Pittsburgh. Esp if train schedule etc involves riding in the dark. I'm not that familiar with Pittsburgh & am a bit worried about getting lost and/or having to ride thru unsafe areas.
My advice is to get a nearby hotel if getting in late. Take the surface streets and avoid the trails. If you do that you will be OK.

The bad areas are Homestead, Duquesne and Mckeesport. Hard to avoid Duquesne without taking the trail. But if you must go through Mckeesport at night, take Walnut street and don't wander into back streets and you should be OK. But I would avoid these areas at night if you can.
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Old 06-17-19, 02:30 PM
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Originally Posted by eridout View Post
I certainly wondered whether I was leading others behind me astray when I squeezed through that narrow gap, but it worked out ok I thought.
Bad when someone is coming from the opposite direction. Still a squeeze with bags. I am hoping they are not finished.
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Old 06-17-19, 05:05 PM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Bad when someone is coming from the opposite direction. Still a squeeze with bags. I am hoping they are not finished.
I'm not sure there's a whole lot they can do to widen the path without spending and a$$load of money. The ramp is definitely one of those "it looked good on paper" kind of projects. They would have been better doing some sort of bike lane on Fort Pitt Blvd. As an aside they're digging out some of the buckles in the asphalt on between South Side Works and Homestead so that's a plus, but some of the ruts are pretty rough, at least they were a few days ago.
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Old 06-17-19, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
My advice is to get a nearby hotel if getting in late. Take the surface streets and avoid the trails. If you do that you will be OK.

The bad areas are Homestead, Duquesne and Mckeesport. Hard to avoid Duquesne without taking the trail. But if you must go through Mckeesport at night, take Walnut street and don't wander into back streets and you should be OK. But I would avoid these areas at night if you can.

Thank you! I'm not sure if I'll take the AMTRAK train...I think they changed the schedule but IIRC getting from the campground to the train station would be pre-dawn. The hotel might make sense even if I rent a car for the return to Cumberland...gives more time to explore Pittsburgh incl Bicycle Heaven. Reminds me of recent time I rode to Union Station DC...a guy hanging around advised against locking the bike up outside, heh. (So I wheeled it inside w/no problem.) Union Station 2 blocks from US Capitol but very near some high-crime areas.
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Old 06-17-19, 06:43 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by edthesped View Post
I'm not sure there's a whole lot they can do to widen the path without spending and a$$load of money. The ramp is definitely one of those "it looked good on paper" kind of projects. They would have been better doing some sort of bike lane on Fort Pitt Blvd. As an aside they're digging out some of the buckles in the asphalt on between South Side Works and Homestead so that's a plus, but some of the ruts are pretty rough, at least they were a few days ago.
Yeah, I was thinking another ramp but that is likely not in the cards.
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Old 06-17-19, 06:49 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by DropBarFan View Post
Thank you! I'm not sure if I'll take the AMTRAK train...I think they changed the schedule but IIRC getting from the campground to the train station would be pre-dawn. The hotel might make sense even if I rent a car for the return to Cumberland...gives more time to explore Pittsburgh incl Bicycle Heaven. Reminds me of recent time I rode to Union Station DC...a guy hanging around advised against locking the bike up outside, heh. (So I wheeled it inside w/no problem.) Union Station 2 blocks from US Capitol but very near some high-crime areas.
You could hang out in the downtown area of Pittsburgh till the sun starts to come up. That early 2nd Ave would be fairly safe. You could take that to the Hot Metal Bridge. Once there, you really don't have to worry till you hit Duquesne and by that time all the gang members probably went to bed.

But I have seen some shady goings on were the bike path crosses through Duquesne. It was on the other side of the fence. Keep my eyes on the path and minded my own business.
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Old 06-18-19, 09:52 AM
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
You could hang out in the downtown area of Pittsburgh till the sun starts to come up. That early 2nd Ave would be fairly safe. You could take that to the Hot Metal Bridge. Once there, you really don't have to worry till you hit Duquesne and by that time all the gang members probably went to bed.


But I have seen some shady goings on were the bike path crosses through Duquesne. It was on the other side of the fence. Keep my eyes on the path and minded my own business.

I frequently commute on the trail between the Homestead section of the trail and downtown, usually between 5:45 and 6:30 AM, and can say it's very safe. Every once in a while I'll see a homeless person camped out on the side of the trail between the South Side Works and Station Square but that early in the AM they're usually sleeping plus there are other commuters and joggers on the trail so I'd argue that it's pretty safe. If I don't commute I'll ride between Homestead and Dravo Cemetery in the evenings there are a lot of people out riding the trail and hanging out on the side of the road and, knock on wood, I've never had an issue or anything that's caused me any alarm and my hello's are generally met with friendly greetings in response. I take the make eye contact and greet approach, if things look less than friendly I put a little more muscle into the pedals. I've been riding through Mckeesport at least twice a week for several years and with the exception of some young teenagers on bmx bikes trying to hit on my then 16 y/o daughter when we were riding have never had an issue, though I did have to promise the wife I wouldn't ride through Mckeesport during the Antwon Rose trial. All that said, I'm not sure I'd ride the trails at night unless I have a couple of buddies with me or reinforcement in my handlebar bag.
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Old 06-18-19, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by edthesped View Post
I frequently commute on the trail between the Homestead section of the trail and downtown, usually between 5:45 and 6:30 AM, and can say it's very safe. Every once in a while I'll see a homeless person camped out on the side of the trail between the South Side Works and Station Square but that early in the AM they're usually sleeping plus there are other commuters and joggers on the trail so I'd argue that it's pretty safe. If I don't commute I'll ride between Homestead and Dravo Cemetery in the evenings there are a lot of people out riding the trail and hanging out on the side of the road and, knock on wood, I've never had an issue or anything that's caused me any alarm and my hello's are generally met with friendly greetings in response. I take the make eye contact and greet approach, if things look less than friendly I put a little more muscle into the pedals. I've been riding through Mckeesport at least twice a week for several years and with the exception of some young teenagers on bmx bikes trying to hit on my then 16 y/o daughter when we were riding have never had an issue, though I did have to promise the wife I wouldn't ride through Mckeesport during the Antwon Rose trial. All that said, I'm not sure I'd ride the trails at night unless I have a couple of buddies with me or reinforcement in my handlebar bag.
Good to hear but people ride through third world counties with high crime rates and never have an issue. Doesn't mean it is prudent. All of the graffiti on those trails tells me something is going on. Again early morning you will be unlikely to meet up with someone that will do you harm but again you never know,
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Old 06-20-19, 12:02 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by spinnaker View Post
Good to hear but people ride through third world counties with high crime rates and never have an issue. Doesn't mean it is prudent. All of the graffiti on those trails tells me something is going on. Again early morning you will be unlikely to meet up with someone that will do you harm but again you never know,
there's a thread on ******/r/bicycling412 discussing trail safety on the section between South Side Works and Homestead in the early AM, it appears as if I'm not the only one that hasn't had an issue... FWIW, I'm not on ******, I came across the thread looking for other local information after reading about bike maps,
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/w...=pocket-newtab, and wondering if there is anything like that for Pittsburgh...

Thread for anyone interested... edit: wow, I guess the R site is evil... maybe a shortened link will work https://bit.ly/2FgLM9x

Again, I guess some people are more cautious than others. My mother in law refuses to leave her 3'rd floor windows open because she's afraid someone will use a ladder to climb through them, heaven forbid you suggest she open any windows on a nice day, and she lives in an upscale area of town... Me, mid 60's every window in the house is open.
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Old 06-20-19, 01:14 PM
  #49  
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I haven't ridden that section of trail this year yet (recovering from a fracture that's really eaten into my riding), but I do recall seeing what could best be described as a homeless stealth campsite, with a tent or two and accumulated trash back in the woods. The "R" link that Ed mentioned says that the city kicked them out of there. I've never had any trouble with the group as a whole short of having one guy walk out of the deep woods onto the trail without looking left or right. Startled me and I could have hit him if I had been going a bit faster.
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Old 06-20-19, 04:05 PM
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Originally Posted by edthesped View Post
there's a thread on ******/r/bicycling412 discussing trail safety on the section between South Side Works and Homestead in the early AM, it appears as if I'm not the only one that hasn't had an issue... FWIW, I'm not on ******, I came across the thread looking for other local information after reading about bike maps,
https://getpocket.com/explore/item/w...=pocket-newtab, and wondering if there is anything like that for Pittsburgh...

Thread for anyone interested... edit: wow, I guess the R site is evil... maybe a shortened link will work https://bit.ly/2FgLM9x

Again, I guess some people are more cautious than others. My mother in law refuses to leave her 3'rd floor windows open because she's afraid someone will use a ladder to climb through them, heaven forbid you suggest she open any windows on a nice day, and she lives in an upscale area of town... Me, mid 60's every window in the house is open.

Again 100s if not 1000s of people travel through much worse areas with out issue. That still does not mean it is a prudent thing to do.
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