Type 2 Diabetic. Cyclist Flâneur.   Coffeeneur.    Errandoneur
A bike / map geek with a gadget obsession and a high-viz fetish.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Gentrify Pittsburgh: Bike Lane in the Fruit Loop

3/10/2014 219# 26m 50F
A great day for a bike ride. Started off at the Bastille with several Errands to accomplish, what with this being Errandonnee Season.

Errandonnee 2014-Three was a Work Assignment, taking photographs of a mural in Frick Park. So I travelled from the Bastille and the Jail Trail, Junction Hollow, Fifth Avenue to Beechwood Blvd, to the Frick Park Environmental Center at 2205 Beechwood.

In 1992, this building boasted a photovoltaic array that adjusted position to track the sun, which was probably pretty cool for it's day, and a cool mural on the back of the building. The facility burned down; unknown if the fire was due to the photovoltaic equipment. There has been an RFP/RFQ to rebuild the place in 2014.

Had a serendiptious meeting on the edge of the park. Saw a pickup with a sticker for PedeGoPittsburgh.com, stopped to talk with the driver - very nice - said they're just about to about an E-bike dealership on the outskirts of Frick. Way cool.

Departed Frick Park, intent on seeing the Unintended Consequences of Gentrification Version 17,452: Bike Lanes on the Fruit Loop. There are at least three very disparate narratives that end up sharing the same geography, and in the end - as in all gentrification stories - the marginalized existing population will be quietly, implicitly forced out by the invisible hand of Nobody.

  • Narrative One is: the Fruit Loop is the pejorative Yinzer-Pittsburgh name for an isolated section of a dead-end road called Prospect Drive, which has for decades been a meeting place for some gay men. Calling this street the Fruit Loop is how Pittsburgh does diversity. It's been a quiet, out of the way rendezvous.
  • Narrative Two is: Bicycles! Pittsburgh is having a Bike Renaissance. We're about to have Bike Share. We're looking for Bike Victories. And Pittsburgh cyclists are always looking for good shortcuts between neighborhoods that don't involve climbing cliffs.
  • Narrative Three is: Entropy. The undeveloped end of an old road, perched on a hilltop, became structurally unsound for cars and trucks. Pocusset Street really didn't justify rebuilding the hill and the road.
And what happened is: Life gives you lemons, Pittsburgh makes lemonade, and Pittsburgh got great press for turning a substandard roadway into a bikeway. Huzzah! It really is a great bike route, and today I rode it for the first time.

Riding down Prospect this afternoon, there was about ten cars, each about 100 feet apart, parked on the outside of the street. Most had a solo man in the driver's seat; a few were empty. A few men were walking along the street, on a path, or having a smoke in the park shelter. It seems like a threadbare way to meet people.

I think that the new bike lanes are going to diminish and displace a lot of the prior activity, at least during nice weather, daylight hours. I don't think anybody intentionally planned the bike lanes to displace the Fruit Loop; the deterioration of Pocusset was serendipitous.

But I do think the noveau-niche cyclists will (to an extent) displace a long-standing prior use, and we won't think twice about it and some will call it progress, and that pretty much fits the gentrification pattern. And nobody asks, where will they go?

Descended Greenfield to the Jail Trail, Grant Street, Fifth Ave (salmon!), Centre Ave up to the Hill District, for Work Errand2: Photos of Murals at August Wilson's birthplace at 1727 Bedford.

I enjoyed the climb up there. It's awesome having a front derailleur that works. Reversing and descending out of the Hill, down to Seventh Ave, was an unexpected pleasure because the road is essentially a descending, banking highway ramp. Quite a bit of fun.

Stopped across from Heinz Hall to photograph a temporary mural outside a soon-to-be Tacquera:

Crossed the 7th Street Bridge, took Chateau Street northbound. Encountered the still-existing, slowly growing pothole that will someday eat Greater Manchester, located on Chateau Street at Hoffman:

Back to the car. 50F. 26 miles. Great ride. For those scoring Errandonee's, today included:

  • Errandonnee 2014-Three: 3/10/2014 Ride to Work1, photo session, mural Frick Park. 13 miles. Daylight.
    Learned: there was a moving photovoltaic array in 1992.

  • Errandonnee 2014-Four: 3/10/2014 OPEN1. Evaluate New Pocusset Bike Lanes. 4 Miles. Daylight.
    Learned: New bike route overlaps previous usage pattern.

  • Errandonnee 2014-Five: 3/10/2014 Ride to Work2, photo session, mural August Wilson BirthPlace. 4 miles. Daylight.
    Learned: tremendous descent coming out of Hill District to 7th Street.

  • Errandonnee 2014-Six: 3/10/2014 OPEN2. Check status of dangerous pothole. 4 miles. Daylight.
    Learned: multiple reports don't seem to get potholes fixed.
Previous Errandonnee's:
  • Errandonnee 2014-One: 3/7/2014 Coffee-Desert1.
    13 miles. Cranberry Starbucks, Freedom-Crider Road. Venti Skinny One-Pump Vanilla Latte; Cheese Danish. Observation: they heat your danish!
  • Errandonnee 2014-Two: 3/7/2014 Shopping1 or Health1, haven't decided. 20 miles. Nighttime. Used a DesignShine TailLight, a knockoff MagicShine Headlight, and a generic HeadLamp on my helmet. Learned: Yes, the manager will let you bring your bike into the store. Observation: Saw 1 roadie building miles, two commuting cyclists.

No comments:

Post a Comment