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July 13, 2010

Great News for Pittsburgh Bike Trails

The last week has brought remarkably good news for Pittsburgh bike trails.

Two New Trail Bridges at Duquesne and Whitaker

By John Schmitz in the Post-Gazette on July 8th: County bridges all gaps but one in Pittsburgh-to-D.C. trail. Two new bike bridges have been placed across railroad tracks in Whitaker and Duquesne, PA.

The 170-foot bridge near Whitaker, which will have a 350-foot access ramp, will cross the tracks between Kennywood Park and the Rankin Bridge. The 137-foot bridge near Duquesne will have two 350-foot access ramps. The total cost of the bridge project is $3.5 million.

This will permit completion of the trail from the current terminus on Grant Street in Duguesne, beyond Kennywood, and connecting to the Waterfront Trail (which in turn leads to Sandcastle).

All that will remain incomplete on the Great Allegheny Passage after that is a one-mile stretch through Sandcastle Waterpark. Negotiations with the park owners have not produced an agreement that will allow the trail to go through.

"There's no solution just yet," Allegheny County spokesman Kevin Evanto said. "We're kind of at the same place we were a couple months ago."

Agreement Reached on Sandcastle Bike Trail

First seen at Pgh is a City, the Post Gazette's John Schmitz writes on July 13th:
Allegheny County and Sandcastle Waterpark are expected to announce an agreement within days that will allow completion of the last missing piece of a biking and hiking trail linking Pittsburgh and Washington, D.C.

"I really expect we'll have a formal announcement in the next couple days," said James Judy, vice president of operations for Palace Entertainment, owner of the park.

"I believe that is probably going to be the case," agreed county spokesman Kevin Evanto.

The combination of the two bridges and the Sandcastle agreement means that riding from downtown Pittsburgh to the main trail in Duquesne will no longer be a questionable, frightening act of courage along Route 837. It's going to be a ride you can take your children on and not be concerned about getting them killed. This is huge.

Amtrak Bike Service, Pittsburgh to DC, June '11

Posted in a message in the GAP Yahoo Group was an email message from Linda McKenna Boxx, President of the Allegheny Trail Alliance:
Yesterday at a meeting in Harrisburg, Amtrak officials announced that they would begin offering roll-on/roll-off bicycle service on the Capitol Limited by the end of June 2011!

This means that cyclists boarding at Pittsburgh, Connellsville, Cumberland, Harpers Ferry, Martinsburg, Rockville, or Washington, DC will be able to roll their bikes onto the train (reservations will be required; spaces will be limited at first), put them in a rack, and get off at any of these stops. Amtrak will be retrofitting several cars and needs to work out operational issues before the service can begin.

This is great news for all the towns along the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal towpath. This will add a great convenience and extra excitement to tourists who want to bike our great trail system.

This Amtrak announcement solves the logistical problem of making the round-trip without riding 700 miles; how do you get you, your bike, and your gear home after the bike ride? Now, if you're in Pittsburgh you can take the train to DC, disembark with your bike and start riding on the trail. Or, ride the trail from Pittsburgh to DC (my preferred direction), stay in the hostel and get on the next train to Pittsburgh.

My compliments to all involved.


Anonymous said...

Love the Amtrak decision -- should be great for ridership and tourism. Now for those of us who'd need to go toward New York from DC afterwards....

Anonymous said...

Love the Amtrak decision -- should be great for ridership and tourism. Now for those of us who'd need to go toward New York from DC afterwards....

Anonymous said...

How many more days until the Sandcastle trail access agreement is announced?? I'm having trouble remembering July 13, 2010 when this deal was being announced within days....silence. I thought the new park owners were on-board with this community project.

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