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Monday, March 28, 2011

Southside Works 2011 Bike Trail

3/28/11 #237
27.8 miles 34F

Had an excellent ride today. Started in South Oakland, road the Jail Trail to the Penitentiary Trail, out along the Riverside Trail to Millvale. At the end of the trail in Millvale I had planned on stopping for a snack at Pamela's Pancakes, because every great ride needs a great food stop. Unfortunately, I got there at 4.30 and Pamela's closes at 4pm, so that foodventure will have to wait for another day and another blog post.

Back along the Riverside Trail, out on Herr's Island, back to the Ft. Duquesne Bridge, Ft. Pitt bridge, and the Station Square and Southside Trails.

The transition from the Southside Trail to the Baldwin Borough Trail, and specifically the section between Southside Works and the Hot Metal Bridge, has always puzzled me. Here's a picture from Google Maps, with a few key landmarks - The HofbrauHaus, REI, and the American Eagle building marked for orientation.

The trail designers have done so well in so many ways, but the current "Tunnel Park" segment seems non-intuitive and somewhat neglected. From the ground-level perspective, even the name Tunnel Park hasn't made sense, at least until I learned there's a train tunnel under there. This picture shows the path of the train tracks at either end of Tunnel Park.

This picture depicts the bicycle trails as routed in 2010, which really do leave bicyclists to fend for themselves. I've commented before that I don't know how an itinerant bicyclist manages to find their way through there, and it doesn't surprise me that the folks at American Eagle's corporate campus are finding bicycles riding on their sidewalks.

Today's Discovery

Today on my ride, I happened to ride to the back of the HofbrauHaus plaza just to see what the river looked like from there. Below the HofbrauHaus is a busy construction scene, building what looks like a magnificent trail section. It's breathtaking, quite dramatic. It seems like this will be the trail route from the Hot Metal Bridge along the Monongahela, past American Eagle and HofbrauHaus. This picture shows the apparent route of the future trail:

I have thought that the new Millvale connector trail might be the most elegant trail design in the area, and I have looked forward to what promises to be a very sophisticated design on the Mon Wharf Trail, connecting the Smithfield Street Bridge to Point State Park. The trail design along the river at Southside Works beats them hands down, it's very impressive.

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