Map of the South Oakland Neighborhood of Pittsburgh
South Oakland, Pittsburgh

If yesterday’s run was LSD, this was speed. The sidewalks were finally dry of snow and ice. It was warmer. I had a plan and only a limited time to do it. Zoom! Zoom!

I sped down Beacon Street’s wide windings, only momentarily detouring into little drive to apartments, as shown with a little red hook on the map. Beacon arcs onto Hobart, just inside Schenley Park. I caught the lights and blitzed down Panther Hollow Road as it schimmied and twisted through the park. In the summer, Vintage Grand Prix speedsters tear up the track. In the winter, only runners do. I hit the bridge over Panther Hollow, pushing hard on the accelerator. It felt good.

Now into South Oakland, I made the hard right onto Parkview Avenue; shoes squealing just a little. My plan was to hit a little alley; Collinson Place and take the next street, Edgehill. Well, they were both small alleys. Edgehill was really a driveway along the back of the houses on Parkview. The occasional barking dog and sounds of toenails scraping the high fence only made me put the gas on more. I blew down Edgehill Street, rocketing over Swineburne all the way to Childs Street. Childs is no-outlet, ending in a cliff above Swineburne. I reversed gears, backtracking till I could take the next turn onto Orpwood, a car mecca. One lean scruffy dude in jeans checking the engine on his 1972 Chryler New Yorker with the hood up. A portly middle aged man waxing his 1988 red Ford F-150. An official Ferrari repair shop with a Maserati parked in the back.

It all made sense now. I don’t think it would have been proper to come here slowly. At the end of the road, in the setting sun, I put it in park for a moment, taking in the views. Then, I slowly backed out and cruised home.

Run All The Streets 0022

Picturesque Frozen Wanderings

Run All The Streets 0021

It was cold, even on a sunny Saturday afternoon. Starting in Squirrel Hill, as I often do, I ran toward Schenley Park. It’s a beautiful, heavily wooded park with winding roads, hills, playgrounds, a golf-course and a lake.

After a couple of miles, I emerged into Central Oakland. This part of Oakland is dominated by student housing of all sorts. There are upscale condo/townhouses and street after street of apartment buildings and houses re-muddled into apartments. The area is pretty flat and the streets are relatively long, straight and in a grid. The area was busy with students. I remembered that as a student, I was always worried about money, classes, jobs, homework, girls and family (not necessarily in that order). As a father with college age children, I want to say to them “Don’t worry too much, do your best and you’ll be fine”. However, I do know that their lives are opaque to me, I don’t know their struggles and that they will have to find their own way. So, I just run past, nodding a silent greeting. Who knows if they gave any thought to the old guy lumbering past them?

Typical Residential Oakland Street

And lumber past I did, cutting down Neville Street as it plunged into Panther Hollow. I ran under Schenley Drive and Forbes, eventually emerging in North Oakland, with its large institutional buildings, museums, churches. I found my way back along Ellsworth Avenue in Shadyside before turning up Negley Avenue back home.

Central Oakland neighborhood of Pittsburgh