Steps of the West

RATS #00241 – Westwood and Crafton Heights

This was another early evening run in Westwood and Crafton Heights. My primary goal was to finish the grid of streets west of Stratmore towards the city line. In these parts, the city abuts Crafton on the west and Ingram on the north.

The border of the City of Pittsburgh with Crafton and Ingram

First, I had to ascend some steps from Noblestown to Code Way. Another excellent street name by the city naming department, I must say. Would there be a spy ring up there? Covert CIA antenna? Hmm, nope. There was a fire ring with old-folks conversing with their children and grandchildren. There were a couple of flagpoles flying the Stars and Stripes. It looked like a bustling, tight neighborhood. People moving furniture from a UHaul, others gardening. Moving on, I came upon Milnor street, which presented a cool view across into Crafton Heights. It also had quite an impressive set of sidewalk steps.

Milnor wound to Clearview, right above Crafton Boulevard. There’s a convenient set of steps down from Clearview.

Earlier I had done the streets on the right of Stratmore going north. Today I did the streets on the left. Booming big houses perched on big hills were my main memories.

A uniquely named street, “Clairtonic”, reached up the hill and dead-ended. In spite of being a dead-end, it was lively; residents were hosting a pandemic porch party; young dudes were in the street messing with their sports car, playing rap music loudly. Trudging up the hill past them I was surprised how far Clairtonic went. I crossed a house with a fence and a beautiful, big, dark Collie. Saying hi to the old guy working on his car and to the lively Collie which trotted out the open gate, I quickened my pace. This was an opportune time to take the Irvona Street Steps. Alas, they only went to someone’s backyard and I had to sheepishly come down.

Irvona Street Steps

Moving on, I came to Ridenour Avenue, which beckoned with these extensive wooden steps. I hoped they would go all the way to Steuben. Looking at the map later, they might have, but I stopped where they flattened out into a trail.

I wound my way back to the car. I achieved most of my goals, but missed going all the way down Ridenour as well as Enderlin Way. Oh well, there’s only so much you can do in five miles.

Noble way to Crafton Heights
RATS #00238 – Into Crafton Heights from Noblestown Road

This was a pretty well-planned run in Crafton Heights. Instead of approaching Crafton Heights from Steuben Street, I approached it from Noblestown Road. Honestly, a big draw was the availability of parking at the Shop ‘N Save on Noblestown Road. I wasn’t familiar with the area and didn’t know what to expect. I must say, I was very pleasantly surprised and look forward to running more in this area.

To get to my designated parking spot at the Shop N Save, I actually went out of the city on the Parkway West, exiting at Greentree. A few minutes and a few turns later, there I was, pulling into a rather empty parking lot. Social distancing and Covid19 fears has certainly made traffic lighter!

Noblestown Road, at this point, is a broad avenue crossing street after street of modest two and three bedroom houses built in the 1950’s. It sweeps down to Crafton Boulevard, where I took a left and caught Stratmore Street as it climbed steeply. I turned around at Steuben Street, which is the border between Pittsburgh and Ingram. From there, I went back and forth on the grid of streets between Stratmore and Arnold. Much of the area resembled Hollywood Street shown above.

Round Top Street dives down a particularly steep hill. It also has one of the newest set of steps I’ve seen in the city.

Round Top Street Steps

Eventually, I got to Clairhaven Street. For cars, that’s where you have to turn left onto Norwalk Street, but people can take steps from Clairhaven Street to Arnold Street. These stairs are a little wonky. The wooden top section is a work-around. Older concrete stairs, having fallen into disrepair, were simply bypassed. There are two “orphan houses” here. An “orphan house” only has entrances on the stairs.

Crossing Crafton Boulevard again, I came across this, the busiest front yard in the ‘Burgh. They had at least a dozen shiny mannequin heads on stakes.

How many lawn decorations can you count?

Making my way back to the car, I was happy with this nice run in the sun in a pleasant part of Pittsburgh. I’ll be back.