Beltzhoover and Edgebrook Avenue

Two runs in late May


Back-alleys in Beltzhoover

RATS run #00410 in Beltzhoover

Prior to this project, I did not appreciate the size of Beltzhoover. Now, I appreciate it, as I keep going back to ‘finish’ up more alleys and cul-de-sac’s. This run, run #00410, was on a beautiful Sunday morning, but my plans were immediately altered. My old nemesis, “Nonexisting Streets” was at it again; Pear Way, for example.

However, I persisted and found my way down many a country road there. Yes folks, this is a reputedly tough inner city neighborhood.

I’m often a little tense running through alleys like this because I’m not sure what I will find. I generally shouldn’t worry too much; mainly I’m dodging chipmunks, squirrels, groundhogs, the occasional cat and sometimes deer. Every once in awhile, I’ll come across someone walking their dog.

This is not to say these alleys are pristine. Often decaying garages house cars which haven’t moved in a generation. Tires and garbage are common. I do believe there is a City of Pittsburgh Ordinance about the cars, though. Oh, here it is:

The accumulation and storage of abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles, or parts thereof, on private or public property, not including highways, is found to create a condition tending to reduce the value of private property, to promote blight and deterioration, to invite plundering, to create fire hazards, to constitute an attractive nuisance creating a hazard to the health and safety of minors, to create a harborage for rodents and insects and to be injurious to the health, safety and general welfare. Therefore, the presence of an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle, or parts thereof, on private or public property, not including highways, except expressly as hereinafter permitted, is a public nuisance which may be abated as such in accordance with the provisions of this chapter. [Ord. 664 C.S. § 1, 1973.]

https://www.codepublishing.com/CA/Pittsburg/html/Pittsburg08/Pittsburg0812.html#8.12.010

If only this were enforced! Maybe it is just too much hassle and paperwork, I don’t know.

Now, at some point someone decided that a directional sign pointing to Beltzhoover’s amenities was a good idea. It sounds like a great idea to me too! However, apparently there wasn’t any money to keep the right of way mowed or stairs intact, so now the sign is rather ridiculous. The pic below on the right were steps prior to 2007, if I’m not mistaken. Of course, these days, with smartphones and maps, I don’t think we need directional signs that much.

That was about it for alleys of Beltzhoover. I’m sure I’ve missed some and will be back.


An Epic Run From McKinley Park

RATS Run #00410 from McKinley Park to Brookline and Back

This run, RATS run #00410, started pretty close to the previous run, run #00409. However, I went in an entirely different direction, down Bausman to Saw Mill Run Boulevard. My main goal was completing Edgebrook Avenue. I did that and added a few charming streets.

McKinley Park is fairly large. The main access to it is along Bausman Street, where folks park along the road and have picnics, play hoops and skateboard. However, it was a rainy Saturday morning when I went through, so the park was deserted.

At the bottom of the hill, Bausman ends at Saw Mill Run Boulevard. This is only a quarter mile from the Liberty Tubes, so it is very busy. T-tracks tower overhead and a thriving thrift store sits across the intersection. You might notice the picture with the T is bright and sunny, while the Thift store is all gray. That’s because I did this one section twice. The first time, my GPS failed, so I felt compelled to do it again. (Argh!)

Behind the thrift store, Timberland Avenue crosses a closed bridge and runs past a couple of derelict houses before disappearing in a tangle of underbrush. The stream, Saw Mill Run, still has car carcasses littering the gravel.

Now running down Saw Mill Run Boulevard, the sidewalk disappeared, so it was crappy running. How about getting sidewalks here? Anyone? Buehler? Buehler?

There were some curiosities along the way. I feel like this truck was trying to hide, parked as it was between a shipping container and a billboard. However, it was as successful as an elephant hiding behind a refrigerator. While the door below is kinda cool, in that battered-steel-door genre, I really like the retro numbering next to it. (I’m sure it is original, not really retro at all.)

I finally got to Edgebrook Avenue. It actually starts under the T and even has a couch for resting. (Apparently having indoor furniture outdoors is against city ordinances, too.) Then Edgebrook Avenue passes a small car dealership and rises into Brookline, rising along a winding, wooded valley.

Up toward Brookline, several small streets branch off of Edgebrook Avenue. Milan Street used to have steps to Whited Street. But then, a tree fell. And fallen trees can’t be removed.

As always, people decorate their places. This goose was very appropriately dressed, while the fairy garden was trying to bring magic into the day.

I magically lumbered down Brookline Avenue to Pioneer Avenue, catching Oleatha Way en route. Then I decided to cross West Liberty Avenue and check out a couple of streets rising from beneath the Norfolk and Western train trestle. One just led to a city vehicle impoundment area, but Dawn Avenue rose on cobblestoned paths up the slope to Charm Street. Charm Street, ah, well, take a look and tell me how charming it is.

I was, honestly, surprised how far Charm Street extended. But at the end, well, it was dead. Again, I’ve taken a liking for doors, so here are a couple.

Dawn Street has its own South Busway stop and apparently a T stop. Stairs on one side led across to steep stairs on the other. Before coming down, I had a good look at that Norfolk and Western line. Such an impressive bridge for just one track.

Finally, I rounded the corner and found myself at the Thrift Store on Saw Mill Run again. I slogged up Bausman, taking a small detour for Lorna Way, another Beltzhoover alley.

Lorna Way

That’s all for now. Just remember, keep your couches inside and your cars operational. And, for goodness sake, stop driving into creeks.

HPRC Coffee Run and the ways of Lawrenceville

Classic Railroad Trestle along the Allegheny River in Lawrenceville
With me scanning the horizon, or maybe reading graffiti. Photo by Dayana R.

This was a fun run organized by the HPRC. It was from Espresso a Mano on Butler Street. With Steel City Road Runners going through some re-organization, HPRC picked up a number of new runners that morning. It didn’t hurt to be from a popular coffee shop. I ran easy with no intention of doing huge miles or a lightning fast pace. Spoiler alert; I was successful on both counts.

I ran with the 9:30-10 mile/min pace group, pretty much the same people I run with on Wednesday. We crossed the 31st Street Bridge, did the loop around Washington’s landing and had a photo op on the Southwest corner of the island, from which you can see downtown. We came back on the 40th Street Bridge, which is emblazoned with coats of arms every twenty or thirty feet. All of this part of the run was a standard route. Then, coming back to Lawrenceville, the planned route diverged from the normal. Sasha and Dayana busily crisscrossed streets to snatch low-hanging mulberries. We passed by one of the remaining Busy Beaver stores in the area and headed back to Espresso a Mano. Dayana wanted a few more miles and I wanted to cover a few more streets, so we ran together.

Lawrenceville is a neighborhood along the Allegheny River. The area closer to the river is dominated by warehouses, railroad tracks and other artifacts of its manufacturing and distribution history. Many of these warehouses are still in use, either by older businesses (olive oil, construction supply, tires) or by newer industries (restaurant distributors, Uber testing, auto garages). As the streets rise in elevation, newer Lawrenceville emerges. This area has yoga studios, bars, coffee shops, and at least one candle making store. The residential housing is being transformed from tall narrow row houses to large condo complexes, with gleaming glass facades.

Dayana and I ran in the older, warehousing section. Even though we did another four miles, we didn’t go far. We ran alleys like Mulberry Way, and down long broad streets like 36th Street, which are heavily rutted and end at railroad trestles. We ran past the place where I interviewed to be an Uber Test Driver and the fenced area where they keep their fleet of self-driving vehicles. We ran up to the railroad trestle, rising fifteen feet above the road. Dayana was a good sport, taking pictures and insisting on completing even the smallest alley. We covered many new streets that day.

Afterwards, the group gathered in the coffee shop. Corbin insisted that we all sit together which was a nice touch and helped welcome the newer HPRC runners.

A Strava map of the route through lower Lawrenceville, across the Allegheny River and back, winding through some alleys at the end.
HPRC Coffee Run: RATS 0063