Uptown and Lower Hill on a Beautiful Morning

RATS #00240

This morning’s run was meticulously planned to be in Brookline. Unfortunately, I was day-dreaming on the Boulevard of the Allies and ended up on the Crosstown Boulevard instead of the Liberty Bridge. Oh well, sometimes its better just to start where you are. So I ran in Uptown and the Lower Hill. I must say, it was still a rewarding run, with a number of grand views and murals.

Uptown and the Bluff are dominated by Duquesne University and other large facilities, such as PPG Paints Arena. With the amount of pollution generally in Allegheny County, I’m not sure why there’s a continual flame above the People’s Natural Gas Gate, but it is cool to see.

Further east of Duquesne is Mercy Hospital with its helicopter pad and construction. Given the depth of the digging, it looks like something big is being built next to Mercy. I had to stretch out to get a pic over the fence. For a bit there, my GPS became wonky – claiming that I had run a four minute mile. That worried me for the rest of the run, but it turns out the route was recorded properly, regardless of that mile.

Eventually, the area settles down to small streets and alleys with row houses and small businesses intermixed. While there’s a lot of chain-linked fencing enclosing parking areas, there’s also bold murals along the houses and walls.

Crossing over the Lower Hill, I ran among the residential streets and alley ways in Crawford-Roberts and Bedford Avenue. Much of the area has been rejuvenated, with townhouses, condos and tree-lined streets. However, there are some older structures; dark-brick row-houses, standard Pittsburgh brick four-squares and tall narrow houses which are still in poor shape. Beyond Bedford Avenue, there are a number of places with views across the Allegheny River.

This is a very urban area, but is more green space than I expected, such as this parklet overlooking the Allegheny. The ‘featured image’ of the tire-swing surrounded by a grassy field is something I attribute to more suburban and rural settings.

This area is also pretty big. These seven or eight miles didn’t cover nearly the streets I had hoped. It looks like I’ll have at least two more runs in the Hill District before I can cross it off my list.

Upper Lawrenceville – Mission Accomplished? Not quite.

RATS #00236

Today’s run embodied a simple plan; start in Lower Lawrenceville, struggle up the steep streets into Stanton Heights and come back around on Butler Street. It went pretty well and I covered a few holes in my map.

My rough approach to Stanton Heights was to ascend 54th Street, pick my way over the steps from Leydon Street to Kendall Street and go from there. In the top corner of Lawrenceville, it was interesting to see the differing housing type. That simple small house is on Kendall. The larger traditional house is on Duncan and the new modern condos are perched on the top of 54th Street, before it becomes a stairway. These are all within a couple of blocks from one another.

In an earlier blog I documented the stairs down to Upview Terrace and Woodbine Street. Today, I continued on Woodbine as it re-crossed Stanton Avenue into another section of suburban-in-the-city living. This is quite a contrast to the densely packed houses of Lawrenceville. Off to the left, down Oglethorpe Street, Garage Way and Drive Way (yes, that’s a real street name, “Drive Way”), the streets take you to the edge of bluffs where wildlife abound.

I would like to come here some quiet morning and just watch the birds. Continuing down to Morningside, I made my way to Baker Street with its nice view of the Allegheny. The road steeply falls toward Butler Street, where the sidewalk ends and the steps begin. From here, it was a flat fast run back to my car.

I’m now a half-block away from completing the streets between Butler and Stanton Avenue and have only a half-dozen streets in Stanton Heights itself. Once I get One Wild Place done and a couple of streets jutting off of Butler done, I will have run every street from Butler Avenue to North Negley Avenue.