Nearly a month ago, March 7, to be exact, I explored the Ivory Avenue section of Pittsburgh. This little ‘Burger slice is isolated from the rest of Pittsburgh by I-279 and Ross Township. It is closer to Ross Park Mall than to Downtown, but retains a neighborhood feel, once you get off the busy feeder roads to the interstate.
I started, as I often do, from Riverview Park, winding down Venture Street and up East Street. “Up” being very literal here. That brought me to wide, sunny streets in this northern hinterland. The houses and yards here tend to be large. With that theme, someone is really serious about staking their garden. Is it for “Godzilla Big Boy” tomatoes, or hops plants? I’m not sure.
Grizella Street (yes, that’s the actual name) sports little dead-end spurs, Radium, Rutland and Montana. They are pleasant enough to run on, but after a short flat section, they fall off the hill, and the climb back up is very steep. Montana continues as steps from Grizella to Swanson, where a KDKA transmitter sits. The tower is contained behind a rusty fence and old antenna shells litter the ground below, like petals falling off a flower.
From here, I continued toward Ivory Avenue, passing Fiasco Art Center en route. Eventually I came to I-279 as it passes under Perrysville Avenue. The city border is pretty jagged here, I had to run out of the city on Connie Drive to get the section of Connie Drive which was in the city. While that was a bit of a pain in the butt, at least I found the murder weapon. It was Colonel Mustard on Connie Drive with the Crowbar, right?
This area wasn’t very runner friendly. While there was a sidewalk on one side of the bridge, it dropped me off on a wide and somewhat busy Ivory Avenue with no sidewalks. Luckily the far neighborhood was much more cozy, perched on a hill and full of three and four bedroom homes.
Ross Township cuts in and out of the neighborhood but I could keep my bearings by glancing up at the Channel 11 TV Tower. The far side of the hill dropped me onto West View Avenue as it intersects McKnight Road. This was another pedestrian-unfriendly area. Nonetheless, traffic wasn’t too bad and I dodged in and out the shady streets like Zane Way, Valley View Street and Cherryland Street. Darting into Summer Hill briefly, I made my way back to Evergreen Road, pleasantly surprised to find a sidewalk through the rock garden under the interstate bridges.
Returning by going up Venture Street, I finished up with 15 miles and a nice 1,700 feet of elevation.