Skinny Southside Sarah

Map Highlighting the Southside Flats Neighborhood of Pittsburgh
Southside Flats Neighborhood of Pittsburgh

One of the cute things about the Southside Flats are the street names. They are not the aboreal type. They are not formal last names like “Wilkins”, or “Forbes”, but friendly first names; “Mary”, “Jane”, “Sarah”. I think this fits the Southside Flats in character. If they were people, all of these sister streets would be wearing skinny jeans with fashionable rips in them. As it is, they are narrow, relatively straight and have copious “fashionable” potholes. So on a rather chilly January, I felt compelled to run around Sarah Street, all the way to the end.

Much of the Southside Flats is a mixture of narrow houses, newer condos, warehouses, corner bars and a coffee shop or two. This is the area between Carson Street and the rising mountain of the Southside Slopes. Sarah Street threads her way though these streets, making a little jog right when she hits 10th Street and finally ending at the 9th Street side of George K. Cupples Stadium, which is an 8,000 seat football field used mainly for high-school games. At any rate, Sarah comes to a screeching halt there. Not having enough of a snowy, dark, run, I decided to cross over Carson Street and continue.

Thus, I ended up on Cabot way. Cabot Way was narrower and long. This section of the Southside flats looks less friendly. The warehouses look bigger. Carson Street on the right seems to get higher and higher. The dark river is closer.

Lights of downtown Pittsburgh on a foggy night as seen from the Terminal Building across the Monongahela River.
Light of downtown Pittsburgh from the Terminal Building on the Southside

But the potential creepiness is tempered by the lights of downtown across the river and the general emptiness of the area. I saw nothing too scary, beyond a young guy coming out of his apartment clearly drunk. Quiet, beyond the padding of my feet and the occasional car. Cabot Way continues all the way to the parking lots at Station Square where I passed a young couple strolling home. Turning around, I went up and down a few of the steep, cobblestone streets which go up to Carson Street. Then, I ran on Terminal Street, which has the feature that it becomes an elevated walkway between buildings. It has an interesting history.

Snowy railroad buildings at night.
Snowy Railroad Tracks

I made my way toward Sarah Street, along Bingham Street, Wright’s Way, and Carey Way. When I finally met up with Sarah again, I was tired and getting cold. So, I got in my car, revved up the heat and went home. See ya later, Sarah!

Run All The Streets 0013

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