Here are three short runs from December 30, 2021. The first was in the New Homestead neighborhood. The second was a hop, skip, and a jump (by car) to get to the end of Churchview Avenue and the last was in Hays, tromping the trails known as Schoenberger “Road”. All of these runs covered “streets” which are difficult to get to and generally involved starting outside the city limits.
RATS run #00492 started in West Homestead (outside of Pittsburgh), continued into New Homestead (in Pittsburgh), then out again through Munhall (outside of Pittsburgh), then back into the city for another little section of New Homestead.
The streets I finished on this run aren’t well known. Armorhill runs roughly parallel to the Mon and overlooks Sandcastle. Once upon a time, some developer must have laid out Bronze Street to go straight from Armorhill to Bench Way. However, there’s a deep ravine between the two, so it would’ve been a very steep street. As it is, there’s a piece of Bronze Street on the hill at Armorhill and another small section in the subdivision below, two disjoint pieces.
The next small streets I needed were the end of Mapledale Drive and a little offshoot, Cooper Way, probably less than a quarter-mile for both. Unfortunately, to get there, I had to wind down the hills of Cascade Drive and Pinewood Drive in West Homestead and along terrifying West Run Road in Munhall. I took a shortcut along York Road, a much more peaceful street. Mapledale Drive was less than exciting, but hinted at New Homestead Trails beyond while Cooper Way was merely a brick driveway.
Returning along York, I saw this, a young runner high-tailing it from a ‘fierce’ dog. A little over five miles for the first run of the day.
RATS run #00493 was very straightforward. I just ran down Churchview Street to its end in Pittsburgh. It was a lot of effort for 50 yards of Pittsburgh.
Nonetheless, it wasn’t too bad. I found a convenient place to park in Baldwin’s Elm Leaf Park. It’s a large park and I only saw the top portion, with a baseball field and basketball courts. From there, I hopped onto Churchview and went to it’s Pittsburgh end, passing Churhview Farms along the way.
At it’s muddy end, Churchview hangs over Baldwin Road, far below. I briefly thought about seeing how far the trail would go, but thought better of it and turned around.
I did not actually get a view of any church, but did tack on another 2.6 miles (and a street).
My last run of the day, RATS #00494, was in Hays Woods. I parked at the end of Agnew Road and headed past the gate. My goal was to complete “Schoenberger Road”. “Schoenberger Road” is an artifact of an earlier time. Now it is just a path through woods with a bit of asphalt pavement showing through here and there. I had run here earlier and missed the right turnoff.
This time, I took the first right past the cell tower and I thought I had it. However, again I was wrong and had to backtrack. I could tell because the “road”disappeared. Going further along the top trail, I took the next right and found the remains of Shoenberger.
This led me all the way down to Glass Run Road. At GRR (which is my feeling about Glass Run Road), there’s a little turnoff. A rusting yellow gate marks the intersection of Glass Run and Schoenberger. While accessible on foot, its a scramble.
And that was it, another “street” done and another three miles completed, giving me over eleven miles for the day. Time to go inside and take a hot shower!
Here are three runs from December 29, 2021. I had taken off work and had the day free to run, so I covered streets in Oakland, Westwood and Mount Washington.
I started on Frew Street in Oakland. I was hoping that the construction on Hamerschlag was open enough for me to slip by. Alas, it wasn’t to be. The area under a giant crane was well-blocked off.
Grudgingly, I moved on to Skibo Street. It is a small street and soon devolved into sidewalks between apartments.
Covering that little bit, I moved onto a rather new “street”, Staley Family Plaza. It was behind Central Catholic High School. Honestly, it shoudn’t have been listed as a street by City Strides since it just a small plaza behind a building on Central’s campus. That campus is really getting squeezed by new CMU construction. I wonder if footballs ever hit the windows of the new Tepper building? Oh look, a balcony! Seems like a kicking target to me.
I finished back at Frew, two streets done.
My second run of the day took me further afield, to Westwood. Prior to doing this project, I wasn’t aware of Westwood. Westwood is tucked against another forgotten Pittsburgh neighborhood, Ridgemont and abuts Crafton Heights and Greentree. It’s a decent little area. There might be a hill or two, but it’s filled with well-kept houses and conveniently close to the Parkway West. AND, I saw Elmo, apparently waiting for the school bus while keeping an eye out for something. Eagles maybe? Giant squirrels? I didn’t ask.
Moving on, I crossed Noblestown Road (carefully, looking in both directions) en route to Milnor Street. Milnor Street is one of those fractured Pittsburgh streets, a section here, a section there. The section I was trying to finish could be an alley, or maybe didn’t exist. I wasn’t sure.
It was an alley, some paved and some just a grassy path. I wonder who mows it? After documenting Milnor Way, I continued down Harris and up Mueller. That little section of Mueller was the steepest section of the run, with grades from 9% to 36%, but generally around 18%. For comparison, the Negley Hill Strava segment averages 15%.
From here, I went up Cumberland Avenue then scooted left on Steuban Street; a border between Pittsburgh and Crafton. The next left took me up Ridenour. Ridenour dead ends for cars but becomes a footpath which connects to steps and pops up on another segment of Ridenour. The wooden steps were passable, but not in great shape.
Finishing up Ridenour, I trekked back to my start. I don’t remember seeing Elmo, so maybe his bus came. Or he was carried away by an eagle.
From Westwood, I went directly to Mount Washington. I intended to finish up Wyola and then catch a couple of streets at the bottom of Beltzhoover. I parked on Bigham and turned down Piermont. Piermont, like most of Mount Washington, flow up and down the hills like waves. I turned on Wyola and followed it past new townhouses to the encircling Emerald View Park.
I retraced my path back to Bigham, where I made a left and headed to Grandview Avenue. I made my way to Bailey Avenue and thence to Estella. The top of Estella is rather nice, but literally and figuratively heads downhill as it enters Beltzhoover. Beltzhoover is a large area and improves slightly as you get away from East Warrington Avenue and Beltzhoover Avenues. However, it never really blossoms.
The two streets of my desire sat at the bottom of the Beltzhoover, near the T-lines. The first, Buffington Avenue, is a dead-end street at the end of an alley. It was blocked off for cars, but there were no “No Trespassing” signs, so I continued on the grassy street. At the end was a communication tower, bristling with antennas.
Emboldened with my success on Buffington, I went a couple blocks over and went down Schuck Street. It should have been called “Oh Schucks, My Garbage Blew Around and No One has Picked It Up Street”. But that would be silly, that’s way too long for a street sign.
From here, I climbed back to Mount Washington. Over six miles and my third run in a day!
Hi Folks! So, I’ve been neglecting this blog for a bit. My last post, back in September of 2022, brought you up-to-date on my 487th RATS run, which I ran on December 28, 2021. (Ouch, that was a long time ago!) Today is February 7, 2023.
What have I been up to? I did a flurry of streets in the last week of 2021 but really changed focus in 2022. Instead of concentrating on streets, I concentrated on marathon training runs with City of Bridges Run Club. I ended up running four marathons in 2022. I also had the opportunity to do a 50 mile hike on the North Country Trail in Allegheny Forest and the popular 36 mile Rachel Carson Challenge.
I did finish about ten streets in 2022 and there are only a handful more that I’ll complete. Without more ado, I’ll catch you up on my streets runs, starting with RATS #00488.
December. Pittsburgh. The best I could hope for was misty streets and mild temps. That’s what I got on another journey into Sheraden. I parked down in Sheraden Park, down in the hollow. There’s a city pool here, long closed. I don’t think it was open in summer, either. The playground looked cool, though.
From the low park, I made a foray up into Sheraden on the left. I tried to reach a street by bushwhacking, but it didn’t seem promising so I went back to the pavement. I took Ashlyn around to Motor and Menges. Strava has two Menges’ streets, while Google calls them Menges and Slope. Only the blue signs know for sure, so we’ll see.
And the winner is…. Slope! Claps all around for Google! Good job labeling streets with the right names. So, in the above pic with the cinderblock; that’s the end of Slope, regardless of how far into the woods City Strides thinks the street goes.
This area is such a crazy quilt of hills and streets; and streets falling off the hills. In this picture, my cell-phone camera was actually level.
Moving on, I finished up Krewson Way, did the little knob of “West” Paudling Avenue and decided to run to the end of Sacramento. In previous runs, I had stopped short on Sacramento, thinking that it was just a driveway.
Much to my delight, Sacramento Street continued along the lip of the hill, past a mossy shed and around to the far end of Stadium Street. I had been to this end of Stadium Street before, but in the summer couldn’t get through the thick vegetation.
Now I found my way back to Chartiers Avenue, en route to finishing alleys like Alora Way, Cream Way and Condor “Road”.
Right now, the sunny September days are getting shorter and Steeler season is kicking off. Puffy cumulus clouds are punctured by fighter jets in formation screaming over the stadium. But last December, I had extra vacation days and took them off to run. This run, RATS #00487, was on Monday afternoon, December 27th. For late December, the weather was pretty good, around 40 and humid.
I parked in the Allegheny Cleanways parking lot on North Charles and proceeded to knock off McIntyre Place, a little hook of a road at the end of West McIntyre, filled with small brick houses, neat and tidy. Kenwood Avenue intersects McIntyre and continues up the hill as steps. I had already completed them, so it was back to North Charles.
Making a right onto North Charles, I had the pleasure of tromping over the Swinburne Bridge. It is high over I-279 and looks down into the city. Yeah, that’s early afternoon in December. It looks more like a gray morning.
Circling around a cluster of horribly named streets, Sunset Avenue, South Side Avenue and Entrance Street, I came to Hobbs Street. I’d been here before, but somehow missed the cross-street at the top, Norris Street. This time, I made sure to do it. On the way down, I was greeted once again by the spectacular views.
I took a left at the bottom and proceeded up to Marathon Street. It would really be cool if the Pittsburgh Marathon came up here, but I’m guessing runners would not be too happy about climbing 500 feet from the Point.
Climbing down from the Marathon high, I passed the ballfields on Romanhoff. I needed to revisit Beckfield Street and Zell Way. These are all tiny streets which don’t have the will to live. Instead they simper out under vigorous weeds and broken asphalt, making liars of old maps.
However, it is a cute neighborhood with breathtaking views.
From here, I climbed and fell to Frontier Street, a boldly named swath of grass off of Hunnel Street. Why it has a new brilliant blue street sign is beyond me.
I started back and scooted through St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery as a shortcut to Lappe Lane (the upper section). This was quite a billy-goat run.
Here are two runs I did last December, as the daylight was approaching its minimum. Here in early September 2022, I seem to be stuck in eternal summer.
RATS #00485 was on a rainy, cool Saturday afternoon. My main goals were to finish off Plummet Way, Alcove Way, and Lacona Street. Plummet and Alcove are non-contiguous alleys; ones that keep the same name but are interrupted, typically by houses, garages or hills. I also wanted to double check how far West Cherryhill went.
It wasn’t particularly cold, high forties, but was rather dreary. I was apprehensive about going all the way down Plummet but shouldn’t have been. A woman was out decorating her house and chatted amiably. Apparently, some of the trails down here used to go all the way to Beck’s Run Road. The last pic above was from the end of Plummet Way, just past her house.
From here, I made my back to Amanda Street and Alcove Way, going until the going was gone. Again, garages and vegetation crowded out the alley before too long. Then it was on to a low-point, Lacona Street. Lacona looked like a slightly newer development than the rest of Carrick, but, also ended in vegetation high above Beck’s Run Road.
From here I crossed Brownsville Road, such a fitting name for that drab street. I traversed West Cherryhill as it plummeted down the ridge. Maybe once upon a time, it continued to the ball field below, but these days it just ends at that fence. I must say, there was no end to the decorations in this neighborhood, which brightened up the afternoon.
The next day, Sunday, December 19, 2021, I ran in Brookline. Brookline and Carrick have a lot of similarities. There are just across Saw Mill Run from each other and have hills upon hills, and lots of alleys. It was a little colder that day, in the mid-30’s, but otherwise fine. My first street target was Adara Street. Never heard of it? Well, it COULD be because it is just a little turn-around at the end of Denise Street. If you’re a South Hill’s T-Commuter, you might recognize the Denise Street Station. Anyway, I traipsed from Brookline Park down to Adara. After about twenty feet, the pavement ended. A far way to go for such a small street.
I crossed Saw Mill Run at Whited Street and took a hilly detour on the right, ending up on Lynbrook. That’s a rather pleasant street for running, very suburban. That route also got me off of Whited Street, which has only intermittent sidewalks and a small shoulder. Made the left onto Marloff and scooted down Marloff Place. It just goes into a big parking area at the bottom of a hill. I got a kick out of these decorations. It looks like Bumble deflated the other creatures and looks a little abashed.
From here, I made my way to find Pinegrove Drive. I usually write out my runs on a small piece of paper. The last time I tried Pinegrove, I was befuddled because I didn’t see a street where it was supposed to be. This time, I knew to be a little more observant and watched for a metal barrier. I hopped it ran a bit down “Pinegrove Drive”, which really is just a path along a fence into the woods. No wonder I missed it before.
From here, I traveled back to the heart of Brookline, those long hilly streets off of the Brookline Boulevard. Crossed off Oleantha Way, and danced down the Belle Isle Steps on Route to Pardee Way in route to the far end of Ingomar Street. OK, maybe I didn’t actually dance, but how many ways can I say “moved from one place to another”?
And that was it, nearly eight miles in the book and several streets done.
This run, RATS run #00482 took place last December, on a cool and misty Saturday morning. As I’m writing this, it’s mid-July, 2022, and another heat wave is predicted to brown the grass and sear the lungs. Between then and now, I’ve run two road marathons, done an unsupported 52 mile hike and completed the 36 mile, Rachel Carson Trail Challenge, so my running has been much more active than my street exploration.
Nonetheless, on December 11, I drove up to Riverview Park to start another exploration of Perry North and Ivory Avenue. I had several goals; finish Groyne Street, climb Mike Wolff Drive, explore Zane Place to the Zth degree, tool around Adna Place, and pick my way down Bluebelle until I found Peacock. With my phone in a ziplock bag to protect from the rain and mist, the pics all came out blurry.
Groyne was just a little drive between two houses going down Venture Street. But Mike Wolff Drive could be located by the TV tower in the distance. It’s quite a hilly drive. I made sure to go all the way to the end, where a dozen satellite dishes looked this way and that, gathering signals from all over. The TV tower has barnacle antennas all the way up its length. On the edges of the lot, steel guy wires keep the tower in place.
Next on the agenda was Zane Place. My maps showed it as two disjointed segments off of Nelson Run Road, so I was pleasantly surprised to find a footpath connecting the two sections. I had been dreading backtracking down Zane Place, but didn’t have to!
From here, I found my way to Adna Street. This is another driveway-like street. I surprisingly came across a friend of mine who I know as an awesome trail runner, up in these northern streets.
Now I scampered back to Perrysville Avenue. I pursued Phipps Street to it’s end at a large house overlooking I-279. (Strava has the name as “Philips”, but that’s probably wrong.) Then I took the Bluebelle steps, those rickety, slick wooden treads up to Peacock Way. Again, Strava says it is “Bluebelle Street”, but Google and the street-sign agree on Peacock. Past the garages, Peacock peters out into a grassy hilltop.
Returning down Peacock, where it becomes Amos Street, I was greeted by an amazing view. I’ve seen this view before, but I still think it’s cool that I could see the Observatory at Riverview Park from here. I made my way past Fiasco Art’s wild murals to Perrysville Avenue again.
Instead of going directly back to my car, I took Vinceton to Dornestic Street. My goal was Festoria Street, off of Oakdale. A few twists and turns and a large set of steps got me down to Oakdale, passing a horse pasture along the way.
I briefly went up Festoria, but, alas, no pics. Oakdale Street seems very remote. In reality, it is only a half-mile from neighborhoods packed with houses, lawns and cars. I followed Oakdale to Mairdale and went up into the park. Unfortunately, there was some construction and I ended up bushwhacking my way up to the road I was parked on.
And that was it, six miles on a cool late Autumn day.
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.
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.
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 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.
In Lincoln Place, RATS Run #00480 took me.
Longer to picture than to run, was Plaport Way, with its non-intersecting ends.