Unique Streets: 10
Miles Walked: 8.15
Street Names (italicized have been walked on another day, underlined are not in the city): Technology Drive, Middle Access Drive, 2nd Avenue, Hot Metal Bridge, S. Water Street, Becks Run Road, Fagel Street, Susquehanna Street, Becks Way, Bajo Street, Parkwood Road, Eisel Street, Eads Street, Mountain Avenue, Jonquil Street, Weber Way, Arlington Avenue, Cordell Place, Josephine Street, S. 30th Street, Mary Street, Handler Street, Jane Street, Steve Seventy Street, Sarah Street, E. Carson Street, S. 33rd Street, Sidney Street.
Is it just me or does that map above looks like it was traced by a meandering lunatic who can never say no to fresh pavement?
It was not intentional. I’d intended to walk over to the Birmingham Bridge and then go up into the Hill District/Crawford-Roberts before heading back down on the other side of Second Avenue where I’d parked. In fact, the plan I had went quickly over the side of the Hot Metal Bridge as soon as I got to dry land.
The GAP Trail , aka Great Allegheny Passage trail runs from Washington D.C. to Pittsburgh and soon beyond on top of repurposed railroad tracks. The section that runs in this area is called the Three Rivers Heritage Trail. This trail, running alongside the Mon, beckoned me and I gave in. Plus, there were two streets in that direction (S. Water and S. 33rd) that I’d somehow missed.
I set off on the trail keeping my eyes peeled for things washed up on shore.
While I didn’t find any treasures or corpses, I did spy an NFL football on the bank right outside the Steelers’ training facility.
Still watching the river bank, I was pleased when I found open access to a rusty orange pier that traversed the river to a large cement cell. (I asked my friend Chris, who works on a tugboat, what those cement pillars were called and she said the technical term is ‘mooring cell.’)
After my adventure on the pier, the growing realization that I might be stuck on this trail, grew stronger. I wanted to get back onto E. Carson Street because I still had the idea that I would walk to the Birmingham Bridge. Unfortunately, chain link fences and retaining walls under the railroad tracks continuously blocked my exit. I couldn’t possibly turn around and backtrack (I hate backtracking) so I would keep walking until I found a hole in a fence or I got to Washington D.C.
Salvation came in the form of deteriorating chain link fence. I found a way off the trail, over the tracks, and through a break in the fence and found myself at…
…Page Dairy Mart! This iconic ice cream stand sits on the border of South Side Flats, Arlington Heights, and Hays Woods. Now I had some deciding to do. Should I head all the way back down E. Carson Street or go up Becks Run Road and see if there were any new streets? I’d already walked two miles at this point but it had been mostly flat. Something about the shadows cast by the railroad bridge over Becks Run Road pulled me in that direction. I could see new streets and I was so close, let’s just go a little further. And further. And further.
I crossed Becks Run to walk a grouping of streets and to investigate, more closely, this bamboo forest.
I noticed that the street signs were green and that this side of the street was probably not Pittsburgh. A quick search of the Allegheny County Property Assessment page showed me that I was now walking in Baldwin, PA.
I carefully crossed the busy road again and walked towards Bajo until it intersected with the “road” known as Parkwood.
It was a hill. It was a hill that was certainly closed to vehicular traffic for some reason. It was a hill any sane person would not climb. I’ve never met a mysterious hill I wouldn’t climb.
Abandoned structures flanked the decaying roadway.
It was apparent that the neglected area was now a known dumping ground.
After what seemed like hours of vertical miles, I found myself in the streets of Arlington. I beelined my way to my favorite local oasis, Eggs & Moore on Arlington Avenue. A grilled cheese and soup later and I was ready for my descent into the flats.
Back at my car and both my feet and my watch tell me I walked 8.15 miles.