That First Ride

The best place for that glorious first bike ride is now open for cruising.

Nothing comes close to the thrill of the first ride. It could be the first time you wobbled along after the training wheels came off, or when the ice and snow finally melt so you could venture out for the first ride of the season. Whether you’re eight or 80, we very happily encourage you to take that first ride on Pocusset Street.

A ‘road shift’ of Pocusset connects Squirrel Hill to Greenfield via non-motorized roadway in Schenley Park

The first of its kind in the nation, Pocusset Street is a successful experiment in ‘road shift’, a term coined by Bike Pittsburgh. The project, spearheaded by Bike Pittsburgh and the City of Pittsburgh, was all about rethinking and resizing this paved surface, taking a structurally unsound and sharply curving through-street and creating a safe — and repaved! — avenue for bikers and walkers through Schenley Park. Linking Squirrel Hill to Greenfield, Pocusset Street has been shifted into a very sleek and safe thoroughfare with ‘lanes’ for bikers, wide shoulders for walkers, new LED street lighting, and reflective bollards that bar motorized traffic. Now, it’s a road for everyone.

Pocusset Street after the ‘road shift’. Photo courtesy Dan Yablonsky.

Officer Rose stops by the entrance to Pocusset in Squirrel Hill.

Signs and candlesticks keep the street clear for bikers and pedestrians.

The new design includes lanes and shoulders designed for bikers and walkers. Photo courtesy Bike Pittsburgh.

The recent installation of the bright yellow candlestick bollards are the final pegs in this redesign. The project is a real testament to committed community members; with the support of neighbors, a road that would have normally been shuttered has contributed tremendous value to the park. On a larger scale, Pocusset Street is another step for connected bikeways through Pittsburgh and is definitely something worth bragging about on a national level (did we mention the perfect timing?)

Jump on Pocusset Street as the weather breaks for a cruise with a sweeping vista to one side and the park to the other. Bring along your friends, your grandparents, your little one with the training wheels — anyone you want along for that first ride.

James, a recipient of an adaptive bike, and his sister Krissy. “I’m not sure that I’ll ever get used to the surge of joy that I feel when he’s on his bike,” says Mary, James’ mother.

 

 

Remember your first foray on two wheels? Roads like Pocusset make the parks bikeable and enjoyable for everyone. This spring, enable an awesome child to get out in the parks to ride a bike of their own through Variety the Children’s Charity “My Bike” program. Through this happy project, children with special needs are outfitted with a bike specially tailored to their disabilities. Currently, they have 150 souped-up bikes for eligible kids that fill out the application before April 1st. Spread the word!

 

 

Lauryn Stalter for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

9 thoughts on “That First Ride

  1. This is so exciting…Pittsburgh’s come a long way to being bike friendly over the years, helping to bring the community closer and allow those who were unable to ride in many areas, the opportunity to enjoy biking, and the confidence to be active in a safe environment. Thanks for a great article!

  2. As an avid cyclist and someone who has had somewhat scary drives along that stretch of road, I have no problem with this idea. But it is simply wrong to say both [a] automobile drivers are no longer permitted on it and [b] it is a road for everyone.

    • Hey James! Appreciate the feedback. The section of the road that runs through Schenley Park is officially closed to automobile traffic. The other portion of Pocusset, which runs through a residential neighborhood, is still open to cars. By open to everyone, we mean that now that this has been repaved and blocked off, anyone can enjoy a stroll or a bike ride here.

  3. Excited to see this new addition. Last piece they need is beautiful arching sign above each entrance that tell passerby what is going on. I have driven by multiple times and I was wondering when they were going to open the road to traffic – now with this info I understand it is for biking. If I’m bringing my little ones to learn how to bike is there a recommended place to park to unload their bikes? Also, will there be a naming contest for this new amenity? Calling it Pocusset street makes it sound like it is street for cars – there should be a fun name that kids can use and get behind so they can tell their parents where they would like to go riding. For examples – The Schenley Park Rabbit Run, or maybe call it the Bark and Ride -(for those people like to walk their dogs as well), or The Grape Vine Bike Path. Then add a bit of public art along the path and you will have created a world class amenity to get kids started on biking. Thanks to all who made this come together!

    • Michael, we couldn’t love your comments more and we’re passing them along (our personal favorite is the ‘Rabbit Run’). Regarding the question about the little ones, there are options. We don’t like recommending that people park on residential streets (such as at the end of Pocusset closest to Squirrel Hill) because of residential parking needs. There is, however, parking on Prospect Drive, which has a path (also closed to motorists, called Pocusset Drive Trail on Google Maps) that connects to the top of Pocusset Street. It’s also possible to find parking in Greenfield and walking across the bridge to the bottom of Pocusset.

      Thanks for the feedback!

  4. There’s another trail that connects with this one that goes up the hill into Schenley Park. It’s not shown on that park map, but if you go to Google Maps, search for {Pocusset Drive Trail, Pittsburgh, PA} and then click on bicycling, the trail will show in green. Like Pocusset Street, Pocusset Drive was a paved road that is now closed to cars but open to pedestrians and cyclists. It’s a safe and scenic way to get from the Greenfield Bridge (aka Beechwood Blvd Bridge) up the hill to Hobart Street, into the center of Squirrel Hill. I suggest we call it Pocusset Drive Trail. My friend Jon and I cleared fallen trees from this trail in December, to make it more passable.

    Also, see http://goo.gl/lT0LWO for a proposed “Naylor Trail” from Naylor St down along Four Mile Run to the Bridle Trail up in Schenley Park.

    A quibble with the article above. Pocusset St is not “the first of its kind in the nation”. Read about the Robert Moses Parkway, Niagara Falls, NY, for example.

    • Paul, big ups for volunteering to clear that trail and sharing information on bike connections. As a few of us are bike commuters from all over the city, it’s an added perk to be able to get where we’re going through the parks.

      Very cool to see the work done on Robert Moses Parkway! That must have slipped under the radar. We’re hoping to see more of these road upcycling projects in the future across the country!

  5. Pingback: Pittsburgh chosen for national Green Lane project and other bike news » NEXTpittsburgh

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