The Dead-Ends of Mary

Google map of the Southside Slopes neighborhood of Pittsburgh, PA.
Southside Slopes Neighborhood

This run started on the flats, Southside Flats, that is. It flowed away from the busier streets into some long dead ends then went up stairs and streets. Eventually it just became a run to back to my car. But that’s the short version.

The long version. I started near Ascend again. Ascend is on Mary Street. In that phase of Mary, it is a small street tucked at the base of the mountain, parallel to elevated train tracks. Not thinking I’d see Mary again, I wound my way among the streets punching their way under the train trestle. Trying to stay on the flats for a bit, I didn’t go up to Josephine Street. This section of the Southside Flats has a mix of small industrial warehouses, retail shops, corner bars and coffee shops intermingled with narrow houses, twenty feet wide, and two and a half stories tall.

But then, I’m on Mary Street again! Ah, the continuation of streets and a curiosity. Mary Street becomes Mary Jane Street (I wonder who came up with THAT name), and finally transitions to the Jane Street. Jane Street rises to become level the train tracks and eventually rises above it. At the top, Jane Street turns the corner, only to dead end at some sort of power station, replete with no trespassing signs, danger messages, and cameras. Oddly enough a car had just driven down this road. Hmm…

Before the ending of Jane, Handler Street turns off. I’d say Handler is half the width of Jane Street. Handler is also a dead end, and there’s ALSO a car coming down the road, literally, for Handler is steep. Handler rises off of Jane Street for 750 feet along a heavily wooded ravine. Per my “dead-end rules” I need to run at least halfway. I actually run to the end, which becomes a private driveway for one last sprawling wooden house underneath a ring of houses on a ridge above. I gave it a 7 out of 10 on the creepy scale.

Coming off of Handler, I hit a dead-end section of Mary Street. Since I hope not to pass this way again, I run it. The houses were relatively well-kept and it’s not long to the dead-end. But then, there are stairs at the end. It’s still Mary Street, so up I go. 125 linear feet and maybe 50 vertical feet. So now, I’m on another section of Mary Street. This time, I’m playing tag with a brown UPS van which keeps storming up the small streets, stopping for deliveries. The small cracked sidewalks made that a delicate dance.

Finally having enough of this, I run up nearly 200 feet of the 30th Street stairs, popping out on Josephine Street as it winds up the mountain into Arlington. Long gradual hills, short steep hills and steps later, I find myself on South 18th Street as it plunges back to the Southside Flats. I go back where I began, on Mary Street.

Run All The Streets 0009: Southside Flats and Slopes

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