Thanksgiving is the start of the end of the year. I like to take a look at where I am and where I want to go. For this project, in particular, while I have been ticking off a few streets recently, this blog has been very neglected. The last one was way back in March 2023!
OK, so here’s my current status.
CityStrides shows there are 4,753 streets in the City of Pittsburgh. Since it uses OpenStreetMap, that number fluctuates, as people, sometimes mistakenly, add street names to driveways and trails. Apparently there are some editors who also take streets away as well. I’ll leave that to the urban planners and historians.
Anyway, I have about eight more to do. There’s also a “secret” street, with a nice blue street sign and everything, which has remained unnoticed. That will be my last street. Stay tuned!
As for blogs, I have 17 more runs to blog about, stretching back to early 2022. This blog, for instance, will cover two cold runs in January 2022. Without further ado, let’s go!
RATS #495 – Back to one of the hilliest sections of Pittsburgh
So, for this run, I had a couple of small streets targeted. West Blaine off of West Liberty Avenue and the end of Hillgrove, entangled in the hills of Beechview. I don’t really recall the weather, but Strava tells me that it was a chilly 41 degrees. Pics show a cloudy day with splotches of snow leftover from an earlier storm.
After running up Blaine, I returned to West Liberty and cruised along Wenzell Avenue to Boustead Street. I turned right and quickly made the left onto Hillgrove. This time, I stayed to the left of a Y intersection and made it to the end of Hillgrove. On another run, I had made a right at the Y; just showing that the Right decision is sometimes wrong. With that word play behind me, I trudged up Boustead, up nearly 100 feet in a tenth of a mile. Whew!
I took the Rutherford Street steps as a shortcut to Hampshire Avenue. My intention was to get to the very end of Canton Avenue. Everyone knows Canton is the steepest public street in the United States, from Coast to Hampshire. But, do they know where it ends? It doesn’t end at the jersey barriers, but rather a tenth of a mile into the woods.
With that, I trundled back to my parking spot along Brookline Boulevard’s business district.
RATS #496 – Eastern Hills of Pittsburgh
My next RATS run, a week later, was on the other side of Pittsburgh. I wanted to clean up some small streets in Lincoln-Lemington as well as tackle terrifying Allegheny River Boulevard. This day was significantly colder than the previous run, with afternoon temps in the low 20’s.
I parked in North Point Breeze, took North Lang across the pedestrian bridge and straight up to Apple Street. I popped up the steps to Arbor Street and boldly continued all the way down Hedge Street through the back alley, Owasso Way.
Continuing past Paulson Playground, I sought the end of Olivant Street. I had been in the area on an earlier run, but thought perhaps I could slide along a fence to the last node on Olivant. However, it wasn’t to be. There’s a Duquesne Light substation at the end of Olivant. A secured fence completely blocked the way.
Generally, this area has some nice homes, especially compared to the row-houses on Paulson Street. but it is pervaded by a high level of down-home security; fences, gates, dogs and signs. I find that unnerving.
From here I took Lemington Avenue down to Highland Drive and Washington Boulevard. I wasn’t sure about doing Allegheny River Boulevard (ARB), but I thought I’d see how busy it was. The intersection of ARB and Washington Road wasn’t too bad, so I set out along ARB.
Umm, not my best decision. Quickly, I lost the sidewalk and just ran along the road’s small shoulder. Every now and then, icy seepage jutted out into the road, forcing me to skate along. Eventually I made it to the border of Penn Hills and Pittsburgh. A small white “Penn Hills” sign was overshadowed by grinning Gus the Groundhog . I returned on slightly different route, along an old railroad below, the Brilliant Branch. Closer to the ARB, Washington Blvd intersection, there’s a cool train trestle which crosses the Allegheny. Recently, that railroad spur was transferred from Allegheny Valley Railroad to Aspinwall Riverfront Park. It will be converted to a bike trail, as described in this article in “Next Pittsburgh”.
Back at the intersection of Allegheny River Boulevard and Washington Road, I took a “shortcut” though Highland Park to try to find a small alley in Upper Lawrenceville. I cut down Stanton Avenue and one of my favorite streets, Christopher Street. I like the way it emerges from Stanton Heights onto a dramatic downhill with views of the Allegheny River far below. It has a hidden, Sleepy Hollow feel. From Christopher, I dodged over to Duncan Street in search of Joy Way. All I found was steps alongside a house with a car in front. Street? Maybe on OpenStreetMap, but not on Google and not in reality.
A little sad with no Joy, I scurried through Stanton Heights, emerging at the top of North Aiken Avenue. Plunging down into Garfield, I “ran” a tiny alley off of Fairmont Street, Armitage Way. It is pretty much a wide driveway hovering above Negley Avenue.
From there, it was a few more miles back to the strategic parking spot on North Lang, a few streets done and fourteen miles covered.