Little Library and Big Steps in Hazelwood

RATS #00239 – Hazelwood and Glenwood

So, I’ll have to share a secret…. sometimes, just every once in a while, planning a run is a pain in the butt. I inevitably go down the “Oh, I can do THAT” mode of thought. Ten miles and a hundred turns in, the route looks awesome on my 32″ monitor. However, I’ve learned a thing or two along the way.

  • The first is that OpenStreetMap is not always 100% accurate in the fine details, small things like, “Do these streets intersect?
  • The second is that a logical rectangular grid in Pittsburgh means incredibly steep streets.
  • The third is that temporary obstacles, such as loose dogs, tree-trimming closures or police scenes, upset carefully laid plans.

Lastly, the longer I’m out there running, the less likely I am to remember where I need to turn, which is a direct consequence of the first and third things I’ve learned. Just use a route-funder, you say. Well, I have used the RunGo app several times. Once it is off course, you either have to turn it off or accept hearing “You are off-course” in a disapproving voice for the rest of the run.

Today’s run was meticulously laid out to cover a few small streets off of Tesla Street and the grid of streets east of Glenwood Avenue. In spite of its electrical name, Tesla Street looks rural. It is one of the steepest streets in Pittsburgh. Luckily, I was going down it this time.

There are a few small streets off of Tesla, which look like they were the beginnings of housing subdivisions that never quite took off. Nonetheless, they are lined with neat brick houses carefully maintained. Crossing Clarion Street, the last of those small streets, I descended Dido Way, a stairway, to Flowers. Once on Kilbourne, I spied the bottom section of the Eddington Street Steps. I know, from a previous jaunt, they are closed on top. They’re closed at the bottom, too, but I went up them a bit anyway. For awhile, the steps are decent, but then the jungle closes in and there’s no way to continue.

I did feel a little guilty clambering over the “Steps Closed” sign, while across the street small children chattered and played. I hoped they didn’t get any ideas from me.

At any rate, my plan was to go down Kilbourne and Odin then take an extensive flight of steps from Nordica Street to Steele Court. Alas, these steps are either very well hidden or gone. Checking Google Street view, they haven’t been visible for a number of years either. Perhaps on a cold winter’s day, when the foliage has died away, they would be visible. I must say that Odin has lost some of his thunder to only have such a small street named after him.

That left me on another powerful street, Ampere Street. Ampere Street abuts the Hazelwood Greenway. This large undeveloped tract is generally overgrown, but is home to several radio towers. The effect is that people have large yards which back into the woods. In spite of this, during this early evening run, there were more people out than I expected.

I wound my way to Steele Court. This would be the bottom of the expected steps. I did see several flights, but not the ones I was looking for. An aggressive dog barking between the porch railings on Steele Court didn’t encourage me to explore too closely.

This type of neighborhood specializes in micro-decoration. No HOA here, with rules about paint color and height of grass. Here, there are vistas of lawn ornaments, Steeler flags, and other personalizations. High on Glenwood Avenue, a blocky school building sports an avant garde sparrow clutching an iron gear. Perhaps it is a jayhawk, but it looks like a sparrow to me.

Finishing the whole of Glenwood Avenue, I noted a few stairs rising off of it, but figured I would save them for a later run. There’s no easy way back, so I picked my way to closed Nansen Street in Owl Hollow. Nonetheless, they have a nice little library at the bottom, emblazoned with their owl emblem.

Nansen Street is slipping off the hill, sidewalk steps first. Below are pics of the bottom, middle and top sections of those sidewalk steps.

Nansen Street Steps – bottom, middle and top, left to right

Nansen Street is so steep that I was happy to get to the more gradual Hazelwood Avenue and jog back to my car.

2 thoughts on “Little Library and Big Steps in Hazelwood”

  1. Hi, just found your blog, it’s really neat!

    Cool to see that you use OpenStreetMap, I edit it a lot 🙂 I also have contributed to Mapillary (crowd sourced street-view) around town, by car and by foot (and a bit by bike).

    It’s interesting that you mention the steps in that part of Hazelwood — I photographed the top of the remains of the Steele to Nordica steps on Mapillary. I think I may have removed them from OSM after discovering their absence. See also https://mis-steps.com/trip-272-nordica-street-hazelwood/

    I also saw the closed Eddington steps from the top.

    Over in the western part of Hazelwood there are also ruins of what was a set of steps which went all the way from Second Avenue by the Hazelwood Green development, over Irvine Street, and up tons of steps to Noah street! I explored this too, before the foliage grew in, and I think that is on Mapillary too. (see http://pittsburghsteps.blogspot.com/2018/01/amazing-discovery-in-hazelwood.html )

    There is also remnants of the Bohem Street steps in Oakland, which similarly went up entirety of the same hillside, and once passed over Second Avenue, the Jail Trail, and the parkway!

    See http://pittsburghsteps.blogspot.com/2013/06/fabled-parkway-east-rises.html where the latter two sets are mentioned.

    1. Glad you found my blog. I love all this detail you’ve given me. I’ll have to revisit Nordica in the winter.
      And i might ask you for tips on editing OpenStreetMaps… it seems to have a lot of paper streets on it. There’s also many a street which has been reclaimed as a personal driveway.

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