That’s a Stetson on Sheriff

RATS Run #00481 – Marshall Shadeland and Brighton Heights

RATS #00481 was a little four miler last December when the skies were clear and the weather cool. Honestly, just a little cooler than it is today, about six months later. Anyway, I started up in Brighton Heights, parked at the Legion Park parklet. I thought I did a pretty good parking job, much better than the dude or dudess who crashed there earlier. After examining the crime scene for a few minutes, I trotted down Brighton Road.

I needed to find the end of Ribb Way. Oh? Never heard of it? Me neither. It’s off of Harbison Road and Rigel Street; basically a driveway overlooking Brighton Road far below. Be careful of parking here too, as the trees will drop a heavy ticket on you.

I continued down Brighton on my way to find Sheriff Street. That’s one of those I had missed several times before. Duh, I had kept going down obvious paths. Finally, I found it tucked behind the Circle K and leading to a loading dock. A loading dock for a company called “Stetson”. I think it’s totally appropriate for there to be a Stetson on the Sheriff, but it’s neither a hat nor a law-enforcement agent, just Cosmic Humor. This, apparently, is Stetson’s national headquarters. They’re in the “Convention Services” business.

Moving on, I revisited a little triad of streets; Plough, Tumbo and Toberg tucked off of Woodland and above Superior. Once upon a time, steps came off of Toberg and provided a short-cut to Woodland. With this run, I verified those steps are cut-off at the top. Tumbo just stops at some woods and Plough digs into a driveway. They do have cute views, though.

From here I made my way down to California Avenue on my way to Fenway. The cold air had its benefits as the vegetation had died back, giving me great views of industrial Pittsburgh.

I had been on Fenway before, but apparently hadn’t run the whole thing. Today I did. It wasn’t a walk in the park, more like a trot through trash. What a shame, it could be a beautiful spot.

From here, I made my way back to Legion Park. I did Hertzog Street on the way. December 2021 was relatively warm and this was the first of many runs that month.

November Skies 2021

Here are three runs to close out November 2021. RATS run #00478 was a little three miler in Arlington, Mt. Oliver and St. Clair, while #00479 was a seven miler in Crafton Heights and Elliott and #00480 was a four miler in Lincoln Place. All were designed to fill in ends of roads and alleys missed.


RATS run #00478 in Arlington and St. Clair

For RATS run #00478, I started high on the hill next to Arlington Playground. There is a small water park here and a ball field. A good batter might be forgiven if they think they could hit the ball downtown, it seems so close. Leaving the dreams of the field behind, I bounded down Mountain Avenue then made a sharp right onto Parkwood Road.

This section of Parkwood Road ascends a steep hill going into Pittsburgh’s Mt. Oliver. The left side has steep lots speckled with houses. The right side, where the sidewalk is, passes medium and small houses whose back yards drop off quickly. Once I got to Otilla, Parkwood had leveled off, 120 feet above its Mountain Avenue intersection.

Making the left onto Otilla Street, I sought out my first goal, Poco Way. This small alley goes behind five houses on St. Joseph Street and ends. Returning to Otilla, I made a left onto Walde Way en route to Farina Way. Like many of these later “streets”, Farina Way looked like a driveway at first. However, I was pleasantly surprised when it hooked up with Ignatious Way behind leaf-strewn yards. Ignatious intersects with Rectanwald Street and I took Rectanwald’s short flight of broad steps back to Walde.

From here, I scampered down to McManus as it travels behind an elementary school. Steps down, steps up and I was back on Mountain. I went up to Henger to complete a section I had missed. A Jersey barrier blocks the road, but residents have sprayed a message for drug dealers: “Go elsewhere…We Are Watching!”

They must have been listening, because there was no one there. I scampered over the barrier and continued on Henger to the fences. The fences enclose what was once St. Clair Village. From what I’ve read, it became a festering spot for crime and drugs and was subsequently torn down. That was years ago. It is still vacant. Some sections are now used by the Urban Hilltop Farm, but none of the housing has been rebuilt.

From here, I returned to Arlington Playground via Mountain Avenue. It was a rather satisfying run, what with the unexpected passage on Ignatious, clarifying Henger and Poco. Henger even gave me some souvenirs; seedlings stuck to my tights.


RATS Run #00479 in Elliott, Crafton Heights and the West End

RATS run #00479 was a romp in the West. I started at Herschel Park, one of my favorites. I think it’s the unexpected view and the easy access, both getting to Herschel Park and running the western neighborhoods from it. Anyway, for this day, I had more dead-ends to explore. My first one was Coey Way off of Arnold. Coey Way is a rather tame alley which goes directly uphill, behind brick suburban houses to a parking spot.

Then it was off to Corso Way, less than a quarter mile away. However Corso Way seems to be in a different world. To get there, I took Obey Street as it steeply falls off toward Noblestown Road. Just past “Grimes Signs”, Magnus Way on the left, snakes uphill past a couple of houses. When it turns, Corso Way begins. Corso Way, goes about 1/4 mile into the woods. I ran down it, splashing through muddy ruts, six inches deep. At the end, a low slung house or trailer stood, with “Beware of dogs” signs, and a couple of cars parked in front.

I was happy to return out of that alley. I worked my way up Obey Street to Albia Way, just off of Steuban. That was an uneventful alley, mainly for garage access. Now, once I made it to Steuban, I made a left and continued down Middletown Road, looking for a cross-street, Woodlow. Alas, I had made a left when I should have gone right and I had to retrace my steps to find Woodlow.

Woodlow cuts from Steuban Street to Crucible Street through a large housing development in Carnegie Heights. It’s hard to tell if it is one big complex, or several smaller apartment complexes adjacent to each other. Now, rather than one house on the end of a muddy alley, like Corso Way, there were twenty or so multi-unit apartment buildings, where hundreds of people live.

I wrapped around Crucible to Dickens then made the right onto Meadowbrook Way. Much like Poco Way in the previous run, this just curved behind some houses and ended. I took a driveway at the back of Pittsburgh Classical Academy which put me out on Chartiers Avenue.

On an earlier run, later at night, I touched on little Elf Street, off of Chartiers. Today, I wanted to do the whole Elf, so again I tromped down Chartiers, past the grimy Marathon Gas, past Inner City Towing’s junk yard and past the muraled retaining wall. The right onto Nittany took me uphill. Large yards from adjacent streets converge on Nittany. They were kids playing and backyard picnic tables along the high-side of Nittany, where it curves and intersects Elf. Elf, itself, is very small; maybe twenty yards. At its end, a nice, large house sits.

Returning to Corliss Street, I now began my ascent of the back-end of the West End. Just before the Corliss Tunnel, Rupp Street on the right takes you to Danley. A two-hundred foot hill climb later and I came out on Mark Way. The road up, Lakewood Street, had nice views across Corliss Street to houses in Sheraden. There were also several house ruins along the way. From Mark Way I could make out the McKees Rocks Bridge through a break in the trees.

Now I kept to the high road; Lakewood to Lorenz to Valonia. I needed to finish off Lander Street. This section of Pittsburgh never ceases to amaze me, with the views and the houses stuck at crazy angles on the hillsides.

Lander Street, itself, is falling off the hillside. Part is blocked off and the hillside is encroaching on the houses.

From Lander Street I went down the Planet Street steps toward the West End. From South Main, you can see Walbridge Street splitting off with sidewalk steps on the right and a cool flight on the left (which takes you to Kerr Street). I took the sidewalk steps.

Almost back at Herschel Park, I just had East Chestnut to do. Once I found it, running the fifty yards to the end wasn’t too hard. And that was that, seven hilly miles and a many alleys done.


RATS Run #00480 in Lincoln Place

In Lincoln Place, RATS Run #00480 took me.

Longer to picture than to run, was Plaport Way, with its non-intersecting ends.

Cooley Way took me coolly beyond the pavement onto a grassy strip behind large yards.

Cooley Way

But I earned it, a grand view of Lincoln Place from Commission Way.

So, in this abbreviated style, you’ll see that I started at McBride Park and did odds and ends of Lincoln Place. Please pray the Krampus doesn’t get me!


That’s all for November, 2021. Ten of my thirteen runs covered new streets on only 65 miles of running. Finishing these “streets” was becoming getting more and more tedious. Mostly, it is running to the ends of alleys or re-running street sections to make sure CityStrides picks it up. Nonetheless, I’m getting there.

Dornbush

Bakery Square to Dornbush: Run All The Streets 00061

Dornbush Ave officially has a 31.98% grade. That makes it the second steepest street in Pittsburgh, after Canton Avenue. However, Canton is only 460 feet long, while Dornbush is close to 1,330 feet. Dornbush is also tucked away in the East Hills of Pittsburgh. This area has a bad reputation for violence and drugs. At least that’s what you hear over and over on the evening news.

That stormy Tuesday night, me and three companions met at Bakery Square and made the two-mile trek to the base of Dornbush Ave. The worst thing we encountered was weeds overtaking the sidewalk on several occasions. Once we reached the base of the hill, we paused for a moment and the plunged up the hill. Dornbush is not like a playground slide. The steepness comes and goes as the ribbon of road lays on the hillside. On one side are stairs. Churn, churn, churn, I kept my legs moving, a 3/4 mile version of high-knees. About halfway up, my breathing grew ragged and my heart rate skyrocketed. Staggering over the lip of the hill, I came upon a neat little street with modest ranch houses and nice yards. There were a couple of kids riding bikes along the level top street. I made the left and went down Wilkinsburg Ave. This was pretty steep as well. The few people I saw sitting out on their porches were friendly. There was a man assiduously chopping at a downed tree in his big front yard. I ran up Dornbush four times, taking a new way down each time. One woman shouted out that I was so brave to run down that street. Another woman, taking the stairs said “Hi” and commented that she should run u[ the hill as well. The fourth time I passed the wood chopper he just paused and quizzically said,”Again?”

Finally, I finished. My knees and calves were aching. I waited a bit for Tom, while Amy and Carson had started their run back already. Tom went up five times. There was a sprinkle of rain and we zipped back towards Bakery Square.

Here’s a view going down Dornbush Ave from a driver’s perspective. I didn’t have the temerity to capture a video running up it. Anyway, on long steep streets like this, I typically look down and just keep going. Trying to see the top of a mountain you’re trying to overcome is a sure way to get overwhelmed.

February Catch-Up

It has been a few weeks or so since I last blogged. Sorry about that! As it is mid-way through March, I’ll just post all the February runs I’ve missed.

Run all the streets 0023

Run All The Streets 0023

This was a run with Pro Bike from Church Brews Works, which was unfortunately closed that Monday. Nice run with fun folks.

Run all the streets 0024

Run All The Streets 0024

Wednesday Night Run with Pro Bike

Run All The Streets 0029: Praying Mantis run

Map of South Squirrel Hill with running path traced on it.
Run All The Streets 0029: Praying Mantis Run

This was a short run in time and distance. I slugged up and down the broad hills of Beechwood Blvd, coming across a 25ft spruce snapped off a few feet from the ground by recent winds. It was still windy and on the cooler side. The itch to explore got the better of me and I finished off Phillips Avenue as it plunges toward Frick park, ending in a cul-de-sac. Then it was up to Beechwood and down into Forest Glen Road, another little hide-away making inroads into Frick Park. Both of these housing spurs had fairly nice houses, almost suburban, mid-70’s styles nestled down into the Park. As the trees and hills rise above you, it’s easy to believe you’re in the mountains somewhere.

Run All The streets 0030

Run All The Streets 0030

This was another Wednesday run with Pro-Bike. I was very slow at first, but eventually gathered steam and picked up speed.

That’s all for February, folks! Thankfully, temperatures will start to warm up and it will be light later.

Starting the Southside

Seal-shaped Southside Flats

The Southside Flats is busy, and so was I. I needed to run. I needed to go to the gym. I wanted to meet up with someone. Hmm, how to do all of this on a Monday night in January? The Southside was the perfect place! I could run some flat streets, go to Ascend and meet up there! Genius, if I say so myself.

I must say, it did work out well. Zipping along Harcum Way, Jane Street and Mary Street certainly fit the bill for flat running. It was a few blocks off of Carson Street, so I didn’t have to jocky for sidewalk space with young bar hoppers. I did start going up and down the numbered streets and came upon an amazing zig-zag set of stairs, the 15th Street Stairs. Up for the challenge, I ascended them, crossed over a set of railroads tracks and ascended more stairs. This brought me up to Clinton Street – a little hook off of Pius Street. (Looking at this, I thought someone had just misspelled “pious” – but no, it seems “Pius” is Latin for “pious” and is a masculine given name. How about that!) Anyway, with time for running running short, I descended the next set of stairs, 18th Street, and galloped to Ascend.

Run All The Streets 0007: Short run in Southside