Outside the Liberty Tunnels, just beyond the cloverleaf and traffic lights, Saw Mill Run Road starts snaking South. Barely a hundred yards from the last entry road is a small section of streets, Woodruff Street and Lewis Street. I had puzzled for some time as to how to run there, say from Mt. Washington, but there’s no good way to get there, so for run #00457, I just drove and parked near the Steamfitters’ Union building.
Surprisingly enough, there are several houses down there along Saw Mill Run (the creek), including this impressive white one. Along Lewis Street, modest houses line the small road.
There are a couple of small businesses along the highway there, which is a quick turn-off for cars zipping down Saw Mill Run Blvd. I zipped through this run as well, for all of its .44 miles.
This next run, RATS Run #00458, was also a short run in a hard-to-reach place. So, one Thursday evening, I zoomed down Washington Blvd. Normally when I go this way, it is to go over the Highland Park Bridge to 28 or to zip around to Upper Lawrenceville. This time, however, I stayed straight, crossed the tracks and found a small public parking lot along Lock Way West. There were a couple of cars parked there, which I found discomforting. Nonetheless, I hopped out and ran down toward Lock 2 on the Allegheny. The Highland Park Bridge stood out against the fading daylight.
Now I passed the car and went to the other end of Lock Way. It was really getting dark. There are a couple of residences along here, which seems strange to me. But, as I should know by now, people live in all the nooks and crannies Pittsburgh has to offer.
The other section of Lock Way meandered along a railroad track and ended up at the Brilliant Boat Club and some Alcosan buildings. With that, I trotted back to the now deserted parking lot after a whopping 1.41 miles. Not exactly marathon training.
This run, RATS #00456 was a Sunday evening run in early October along the Pittsburgh-Crafton border. My main purpose here was to complete “Bell’s Run”. Now to get there, I started in the Crafton-Ingram Shopping Center, parked between the Giant Eagle and the Crafton-Ingram Bowling Lanes. You can’t get more Pittsburgh than that. I ran through Crafton’s Central Business District, past Stotz Avenue and out along Bradford Avenue. Making the left along Crafton Boulevard, I crossed the bridge in search of Chartier’s Avenue. Here, it is a trail at the end of Kingston Avenue.
Continuing on the Kingston/Chartiers Trail, I came across some steps which took me up to a residential area. I’m not sure whether to call them the Ewing Road Steps or the Kingston Steps. Anyway, they led me off the trail to a region of large houses and yards in Crafton.
But I was veering off of my path, so I made my way back to Chartiers Avenue near the Idlewood Station, where it is resurrected as a street. I stayed on Chartiers as it wobbled in and out of Pittsburgh. Cellone’s Bakery once had a pedestrian route to their shop, but it was blocked off now. Turning on Bell Road, the road splits, but both ran into closed gates; a bakery and a communication’s tower.
Returning as dusk settled, the deer were out in force, including ones nonchalantly playing in a front yard as well as a skittish buck on the trail. The Dari Delight was still open, so I got a soft-serve. Last one for the season probably.
I started on the flats, parked under the railroad trestle on 26th Street. I warmed up by going downhill and circling Sidney Court, a small plaza of townhouses in the heart of the South Side. They look new and relatively modern.
Now I reversed course and clambered up the 30th Street Steps to Josephine Street. My targets were a few streets off the beaten path in Arlington. Going up Northview Street, Cobden and Cologne were just a “short-cut”. One more set of steps, the Syrian Street Steps powered me over to Devlin Street, which is unexpectedly broad and flat. (It was, the first time I came over here.)
My target street, Castel, had two portions; an obvious one which quickly dead-ended and a section which curved towards and old playing field. This was the section I had missed. Some light bush-whacking was involved and got me to the end as it unceremoniously dissolved into weeds. Returning, I scurried up the steps of a building. It still must be an active garage.
Next, I ventured to the very end of Roman Way. I’d been on the street long before and was not surprised by the flat street with modest houses spaced neatly along it. Sometimes, I feel like I’m going back in time in the neighborhoods. I wouldn’t have been too surprised if Rip-Van Winkle himself had emerged from an old RV.
I did run down to Orin Street, but was thoroughly dismayed at the mass of cars parked on that dead-end. From there, I went up to Dial Way, off of Jonquil Way. Dial Way doesn’t appear on Google Maps, but there it is, street sign and all. It just goes a hundred yards or so downhill between faltering houses.
From here, I popped over to Spring Street on my way to Waite, where it sticks into St. Michael’s Cemetery. That cemetery is high on the hill and the houses across the way look like they are in the sky.
I made my way behind the yellow house onto Quarry Street. It was the day of the South Side Step Trek and I could hear the crowds down in Quarry Field. While later in the day, I did part of the Step Trek with some friends, now I was destined to find the back of St. Paul’s Monastery before climbing down the steps on St. Joseph Way. The views up here never disappoint.
To finish off September 2021, here are four runs; two in the Perry North and Brighton Heights areas, one in Fineview and one in the West End. A couple of these included run ins with pets, famous and obscure.
On a Monday evening, after work and dinner, I set out to finish out a few little streets in Brighton Heights. I must admit, this was not a particularly effective or long run. I did find the end of Weltz Way (looking amazingly like a driveway) and fixed my shoes on Cobbler Circle. However, I took a pass on Karwich and Dougan, with dusk coming on strong (spoiler alert, I came back later to finish those).
That little corner of Pittsburgh off of Speck and Haller streets is quite hilly. Crossing Benton to San Pedro, I was rewarded with a nice broad view and deer leaping up the yards.
From here, I went up Brighton to a stub of Jacks Run Road. Turns out, that wasn’t the end I needed, but it got me out of the city for a few minutes. And, NOW, I know where to get dry ice.
This was another evening run, but this time I started in the West End. I always take the opportunity to run through the green tunnel on my way to check out the city view from the Overlook. Tonight, a cloud seemed ready to overtake Downtown.
But my way headed down the hill. First stop was Cameron Way which, I discovered, has the city’s pinkest concrete mixer, in addition to an old red van plugging the end.
From here, I glided downhill to explore Nittany Street where it hits Chartiers. Each end of Nittany Street has a sharp curve and changes names; one end, “Valle Rue” and the other “Elf”. Continuing, I passed Pittsburgh Classical Academy School and went up Dubois Street. The street continues through a few turns and changes names at each turn: Idola, India, back to Dubois and finally Dickens. The end of Dickens Street is strewn with old appliances and parked cars, which, honestly always feels creepy to me. But, there’s a nice little cut-over to Greenway Drive, which runs around the school again.
Back at Chartiers, I continued to Municipal Street, going up the steep hill. I just needed to do Fierro Way, an alley. Fierro Way quickly ascends behind the houses on the left. The houses mostly front Fallston Street and have little fenced in yards. The Twilight Bark was going on, every dog in each house taking up the howl, growl and bark as I ran up the alley. I was just thinking “I’m glad they’re all fenced in”, when a screen door burst open and a healthy black and white hound bounded up the back-yard steps and started chasing me. I sped up a little, hoping to get beyond the Fido’s territory, but ended up in a cul-de-sac at the end of the alley.
I now realized Fido wasn’t really chasing me, he was just happy to get out of the house. When I scolded him and told him to go home, he turned around, tail between his legs and trotted back. At his yard, he scurried down his steps.
Whew! I was so relieved that I started seeing orange and purple flamingos on my way back to my car.
This was a Saturday run after City of Bridges’ Saturday group run. During the group run, we ran across the most famous pet of the year, the Steller’s Sea Eagle, Cody. Cody was just chilling in California-Kirkbride after escaping from his cage at the Aviary. My first thought when seeing him was “Is that real?”
We took lots pictures. He was good with selfies, too. Some folks called 311 but there wasn’t much to do except ogle excessively, so we just finished our run. The epilogue is that Cody stayed free for a week or so and was re-captured in Pine Township, just north of the city. Go to the Aviary and you can see him, squawking to the other birds about the day he got away and ran with City of Bridges.
So, after all that excitement, I took a short route through Fineview, starting up Federal Street. Letsche Street scurries becomes a narrow lane in front of a housing development but steps at the end let me back onto Belleau Street. I turned down Sandusky to see the end of Catoma Street. It just dead-ends into bushes, so not much to see there. Lots of houses here are on crazy slopes. Some are well maintained but many have seen better days.
I went past the Fineview Overlook and up Warren Street, where the “Fineview” is spelled out. Off of Warren Street were a couple of stubs of streets. Ural curves around to Pilsen and stops. Several cats scurried about, likely wondering where that big bird was they had heard about.
I expected the next street off of Warren, Pilham, to be similar. However, while it started off badly, it continued around the backs of houses until it came out on Sprain Street.
Sprain grips the edge of the slope. There are a couple of houses on the high-side, while the low-side houses have fallen into disrepair. Sprain emerges onto Compromise, which ends in steps down to Middle Street in East Allegheny.
With this, I simply returned to my starting spot.
This was very similar to RATS #00451 above. I started at my base in Riverview Park, ran south to make sure I finished Kennedy and Leroy Way. Then I headed north to get the correct section of Jack’s Run Road along with Perryview Avenue. It was another evening run, racing the twilight.
Milroy is one of the steepest, curviest roads you can drive on in Pittsburgh, but I just went down partway. After hitting the end of Bothwell, I scurried up Tretow to Watson Boulevard. That street has quite the mix of houses, some grand mansions and some decrepit row-houses.
And now, for the North section. Pretty scary going down Venture Street, while Perryview Ave was surprisingly flat, filled with brick Pittsburgh Four-Squares.
The most interesting section was Roosevelt Street off of Bascom. While it was just a small lane between 50’s style Cape Cods, there were steps leading into lower Riverview Park. Wooden and wonky, they led to a couple of houses at the bottom.
That’s it for September, 2021. I had lots of miles, aided by my 100K, but struggled to make good progress on the streets. Stay tuned for October!