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March 11, 2009

Mon Wharf Bike Trail Pittsburgh

Imagine this: you're bicycling into Pittsburgh from DC on the Great Allegheny Passage. You're riding north on the Southside Trail in Baldwin Borough, you've tried to plan a bike route to get to the fountain at the Point but however you try it, once you get to the Smithfield Street bridge the trail ends and you have to ride in streets with urban traffic for the last five blocks of your traffic-free ride from DC to Pittsburgh. You've ridden 352 miles on trails, except for those last five blocks in downtown Pittsburgh. And you're not riding a messenger's nimble fixie, you're riding a touring bike with heavy panniers loaded with gear.

That would be a mostly true report* now, but it's about to get a lot better. From the Post Gazette: Work begins on Mon Wharf trail link.
(My compliments to the artists, very nicely done)

I really appreciate the switchback ramp. It's very difficult to get a loaded touring bike up a staircase - there's a bridge in Harper's Ferry where you need to do that, and it's not very good.

This is welcome news. *There's also a trail section from McKeesport to Baldwin Borough that needs to be completed. That section is planned, approved, budgeted, and under way, with the exception of the Sandcastle property. The Sandcastle section seems likely to succeed, it'll be a negotiation between the owners and the County, probably mostly about liability.

I ride Pittsburgh-to-DC every few years with two friends, and I really think that once the Pittsburgh end of this trail is complete, you're going to see a lot of bicycle tourism. Also, once the PIT Airport to Montour Trail connector is built, you'll see people flying into PIT and riding to DC.


Pittsburgh Conservative said...

Are there plans in the works for final connections of the Montour Trail in west Peters/Route 88? I know that there were some local groups pushing hard in the late 90's, but that seems to have faded out.

Vannevar said...

Hello PC, I'm not sure of my geography enough to be sure I've got this right, but if by W. Peters/Route 88 you mean what I think it means, there's a lot of new trail and you're going to like it.

Check out this map:, and also take a look at this blog entry. You still have to get off the trail at Morganza Rd (a busy intersection), but the newly opened trail segments are the prettiest on the Montour. There's been a lot accomplished. Cheers, Vannevar

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