Adventurous Run Open Streets

Map showing route of run from Squirrel Hill to downtown
Run to OpenStreets: RATS 00097

That map does not do this run justice. It was a hot and sunny day as many of this summer’s runs have been. I would have given much to be in the start of a classic detective novel (you know… a dark and stormy night…). Anyway, with that groan out of the way, let’s go through this run.

I mapped out the first half of this run pretty well. It met two objectives, run over ten miles and cover lots of new streets in Oakland and Uptown. I got a late start, hitting the pavement around eleven in the morning instead of eight. It was hot, but I had some electrolyte fluids with me and have gotten used to the heat. However, I was definitely planning to take it easier than the previous day’s 13 miler.

Getting a nice start through Schenley park, I checked off Prospect Drive, a long looping park drive. Then, I delved into onto South Oakland, jogging on Dawson, Frazier, Semple, and Ward streets. Frazier St, I must say, wasn’t as hectic as the rest. In a little playground, water was spewing and I took the opportunity to soak my shirt. The other streets were lined with apartment entrails; sofas, bookcases, lamps, plant stands, TV’s, broken dressers, and mattresses. U-Haul’s were maneuvering in the narrow streets. New students were fumbling with apartment keys while parents unpacked vans. Moving season in South Oakland was in high gear!

Finally going up Halket, I approached Fifth Ave with five miles already under my belt. I took advantage of the Pittsburgh OpenStreets event in progress and explored some Uptown streets. In particular, I traversed Watson St. I was “in the loop” of closed streets, so I didn’t have to worry too much about cars. Watson Street is quite narrow with quite the variety of buildings on it. In many parts of the city, this would have been an alleyway. On it were a few older houses, some row houses, some detached houses. There were new warehouses and very old, haunted warehouses. There were parking lots and a small corner store. It was nearly devoid of people, except a couple of groups of young men and the occasional homeless person. There was even a city groundhog, nervously eyeing me as I passed.Just a block away on my left, the Open Streets program hubs were busy and cyclists were zooming around.

Finally coming to the end of Watson St, I made a loop and headed back home on Forbes Avenue. Only fifty yards in, I heard my name and there, just outside the Armstrong Tunnels, were Sasha, Chris and Donies. I was happy to stop running and chatted for a bit. As we were starting to break up, Suzanne, Amy and a friend biked past. Wait, we needed to chat more! It was great! Eventually, Sasha, Donies and I headed up Forbes, while Chris plunged into the cool Armstrong tunnels and Amy & Co biked away. Pretty soon the three of us split up as well and I made my way to Tustin St.

Now, there’s nothing fabulous about Tustin St. It was similar to Watson, but narrower and not as pretty. There’s not much in this area except concrete, asphalt, fencing and row houses. Tustin was in the zone as well and I didn’t have to worry about cars. It also seemed very direct and started taking me down to the Birmingham Bridge, with all of its underpasses and overpasses.

However, after I passed the Tustin Tot Lot, a little playground, I found a small vacant, grass covered lot guarded by a mounted horseman!

Sir Samelot on Tustin St from Google Streetview

That was the highlight of my run. I made my way back through Oakland, happy to find kids selling lemonade. I made use of the Lawn St stairs and Frazier St stairs to get home as directly as possible.

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