Pittsburgh Transportation

  • Monongahela Station on the River
    Monongahela Station on the River
    by atufft
  • Mon Incline Descending Mt Washington
    Mon Incline Descending Mt Washington
    by atufft
  • Mon Incline on Mt. Washington
    Mon Incline on Mt. Washington
    by atufft

Most Recent Transportation in Pittsburgh

  • The PAT buses

    by estargrl88 Updated Sep 7, 2013

    The PAT buses are not the most luxurious way to travel, however, during the day they are perfectly fine and shouldn't be dangerous (they might be a bit more sketchy late at night). Fares are 2.50 for one direction, and you need to have exact change. If you will be riding the bus several times, you might want to buy bus tickets, which come in packs of 10. I know they're available at Giant Eagle (the local grocery store), but I'm not sure where else. They will be pretty busy in rush hour and also around 3:00 in certain areas because the city high school students ride them instead of school buses. Buses have a route number, but many people also refer to them by the name of the route, like the 71A is often called the Negley. Downtown and Oakland are both areas with large concentrations of buses to different areas, and you can probably get most anywhere you need to with a bus. Some are also wheelchair accessible, though I'm not sure how many. So, buses are fairly convenient. They might make a slower trip, but realize that you don't really see cabs to catch on the street.

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    Walk the Smithfield Street Bridge

    by atufft Written Jun 4, 2013
    Smithfield Bridge
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    Most of the many spans across the rivers into Pittsburgh are relatively new and uninteresting concrete and arch steel structures. The most notable exception to this is the Smithfield Street Bridge, which has wooden pedestrian walks outside the lenticular trusses on each side. So, the beauty of the bridge is best seen on foot, although the entrance on the Pittsburgh side is quite impressive too.

    The Smithfield Street Bridge was designed by Gustav Lindenthal, who also designed the Hells Gate Bridge in New York. Opened in 1883, the bridge is composed of two 360 foot spans on concrete block piers. The bridge now has room for 4 lanes, although the primary purpose of the bridge was until 1985 conveyance of the old trolley line coming from Mt. Washington neighborhoods. Because of deterioration and low clearance above the water, PennDOT officials once wanted to remove and replace the bridge. The Pittsburgh Landmarks and History Foundation persuaded preservation instead. Wikipedia reports that this is the second oldest steel bridge in the USA.

    The Smithfield Street Bridge actually is the 3rd bridge on this crossing. On the Liberty Tunnel side of the river is a sign dedicated to an early wire rope suspension bridge built on this site by John A. Roebling, who built the Brooklyn Bridge.

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    Light Rail System

    by atufft Written Jun 4, 2013
    Pittsburgh Light Rail
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    There is a good working light rail system that is above ground outside of downtown, but goes underground in the city. I'd like to see this system speed up a bit, in frequency of trains, speed of transit between stops, and during stops at stations. Note the image of commuters lined up at a light near Liberty Tunnel. These folks could easily park on Mt Washington and take transit into the city, but the inclines and light rails system are not well coordinated.

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    Walk Along the Monongahela River Bank

    by atufft Written Jun 4, 2013
    Lincoln Expressway in Pittsburgh
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    Pittsburgh has a history of cancelled freeways, but unfortunately the Penn Lincoln Highway, US30/I-376 (as well as connecting freeways I-279, to Fort Duquesne Bridge, and I-579, to the Liberty and Veterans Bridges) was not one of them. Interestingly, the failure to complete the crosstown freeway and other elevated bridge systems was originally due to a financial shortfall and unwillingness of locals to tolerate another toll road. So, today all the bridges are free, but the completed Lincoln Highway remains a blight along the downtown shoreline of the Monongahela River. Pylon remnants of earlier bridges remain part of the waterscape. Below the elevated freeway is a patchwork of broken concrete that serves as pedestrian and angler access to the river, but much of this serves as commuter parking, known as the wharf parking lot. Concrete stairwells are hard to find, some of them are boxed off, and all of them stink of urine pissed there by the homeless who find shelter under the freeway.

    A heritage of old brick buildings have their views of the river blocked, but if the freeway were removed, Pittsburgh's waterfront would be spectacular. How traffic could be routed is certainly an engineering challenge, but since much of downtown Pittsburgh is composed of multi-story parking lots, one idea would be to close those down for relocation to the other side of the river. From there, free rapid rail transit would transport commuters to downtown.

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    Monongahela Incline

    by atufft Updated Jun 4, 2013
    Monongahela Station on the River
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    Walk across the venerable marine blue Smithfield Street Bridge, itself a relic of the iron age of Pittsburgh spanning the Monongahela River. Then, take caution to navigate past the heavily trafficked entrance to the Liberty Tunnel, which furnishes as a conduit from the river valley for both automobiles and the light rail train. The lower house of the incline has several steps where passengers wait ten or fifteen minutes for the stairstepped and angled antique incline vehicle to approach from above. The incline rides along a pair of rails, pulled by a system of cables and pulleys. The two track system is arranged so that as one incline descends, the other ascends from the river to the edge of an escarpment known as Mt. Washington. At the top is another weather sheltered station where tickets are collected.

    Originally opened in 1870, the two remaining and preserved inclines, Mon and Duquesne, were by 1960 at risk of closure for lack of management, but fortunately, like my home Cable Cars in San Francisco, were instead preserved. Originally, coal fired steam engines powered the system, but in 1935 the engines converted to electric motors. During the 1970's the electric system was more fully updated. Today, the cars travel at 6 miles per hour, which it seems to me, is about half the speed a commuter would want.

    The tourist cost is $3.50, but I used the bus transfer to make the trip (I had paid $2.50). I clutched Whitney tightly as my "service dog in-training", and got away with it. This was fortunate too because at the top, dog owners walked in numbers along the escarpment which is punctuated in places with promontories to view the expanse of the river and city of Pittsburgh.

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    Bridges and Tunnels and Rivers Oh My

    by riorich55 Written Jul 14, 2011

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    Entering Pittsburgh
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    The one thing really interesting about Pittsburgh are the number of bridges and tunnels there are in and around the city. In one article I read it said that Pittsburgh now beats out Venice, Italy as the city with the most bridges within the city limits. They claim to have 3 more then Venice. It was either in that article or another that I read that in fact they are not entirely sure how many bridges should be counted as it really doesn't include all the pedestrian and railroad bridges. Whatever the number is I concur that there are one heck of a lot of bridges in Pittsburgh.

    On the main Interstate road into town you first go through the Fort Pitt Tunnel (picture #2) and when exiting the tunnel have to make up your mind pretty quick where you want to go as there are 3 options: 1) one straight into downtown, 2) one to the Strip District and 3) one to the Cultural District. If you don't get off on the right exit you will find yourself backtracking a little bit to get where you really want to get to.

    Our first time coming into town from our hotel 11 miles away I made the right decision on a Friday night about 7:00 p.m. Fortunately, traffic was very light and even if I had selected the wrong lane I would have had a little time and distance to recover.

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    Pittsburgh Airport - A Shopping Mall with Planes

    by mikelisaanna Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    Pittsburgh's Airport is huge for a city of its size. At the center of the airport's terminal is a shopping mall, with plenty of shops and restaurants to occupy your time if you get stuck with a multi-hour layover. We actually have done some of our Christmas shopping their when we have flown to Pittsburgh to visit Mike's family.

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    Pittsburgh Busses

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Sep 25, 2010

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    In Pittsburgh, buses are free downtown within the Golden Triangle as far as Ross Street or 11th Street until 7 pm, then the fares range from $1.50 to $3.25 depending on how far you go. During special events the max fare goes up to over $5.

    On Pittsburgh buses, you pay as you board when you're going toward downtown and pay as you depart the bus on your way away from Downtown.

    The 28X bus runs an express route between the airport and downtown. The cost is just $2.75 and takes maybe 25 minutes to get downtown from the airport.

    WEEKLY PASS
    One Zone $20.00
    Two Zone $24.00
    Three Zone $30.00

    MONTHLY PASS
    One Zone $75.00
    Two Zone $90.00
    Three Zone $110.00

    ANNUAL PASS
    One Zone $825.00
    Two Zone $990.00
    Three Zone $1,210.00

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    have D will travel

    by richiecdisc Written Jan 1, 2010

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    The Church Brew Works had a few choices

    Pittsburgh is well served by mass transit but we were on the tail end of a six month trip traveling around the US National Park system and to get all our gear from place to place, our car was the best option.

    D was her ever sweet self driving from Great Lakes Brewing in Cleveland to our friends' place in Pittsburgh which took 2 hours and was about 125 miles.

    Our friend drove us to The Church Beer Works in town so D got a night off as the designated driver.

    I drove the leg from Pittsburgh to my brother's house in Delaware which was 350 miles and 5.5 hours. It was the end of the drive "back east" though we would explore the NE for a couple weeks, visiting friends and of course, visiting a few brewpubs.

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    Driving in Pittsburgh

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jun 17, 2009

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    With a plethora of one-way streets, bridges, exits ramps, steep roads, rivers, tunnels, hills, and drivers making Pittsburgh lefts, the city can be difficult to drive around. To make matters worse, my Garmin Nuvi can't hardly talk fast enough to tell me when and where to turn when taking the bridges and parkways around downtown. Add sporting events at the downtown stadiums and arenas and soon casino traffic, and rush hours get interesting. What happens when there's a sports championship parade blocking all streets downtown?

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    Parking in Pittsburgh

    by Ewingjr98 Updated Jun 17, 2009

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    Lots of parking around the igloo
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    The general rule when parking downtown is the closer to the US Steel Tower you get, the more expensive parking will be. For example, the Mon Wharf costs just $8 per day while the Mellon Square Garage will run you $14 per day. If you park in the private lot under the Steel Tower, expect to pay closer to $22 per day. Some downtown hotels charge upwards and above $26 for valet parking. The Omni for example, charges $26 for valet parking, but they park your car in the Mellon Square garage across the street, where you'd pay just $14 to park on your own.

    The Pittsburgh Parking Authority runs the public garages, lots, and on-street parking while various private companies also offer parking to the general public.

    Some of the best parking bargains in the Burgh are at Station Square, the Strip and Mellon Arena where parking is under $8 per day.

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    Taxi

    by jls274 Updated Jun 14, 2009

    Lots of cab companies, but be sure to find which you want and have the number on hand, because taxi's don't drive around Pittsburgh looking for people, you have to call them.

    Also, be aware that the taxi drivers are essentially contractors. When you call, the taxi company will tell the taxi drivers that they have contact with that there is someone looking for a ride. A taxi driver MAY OR MAY NOT EVER SHOW UP since each of them can decide whether or not they are interested.

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    The Trolly

    by jls274 Updated Jun 14, 2009

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    The trolley or "T" is Pittsburgh's Subway system moving around downtown and the south hills.

    It is priced the same as the buses.

    http://www.portauthority.org/PAAC/CustomerInfo/BuswaysandT/LightRailTransitSystem/TQuickFacts/tabid/187/Default.aspx

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    Parking

    by cjg1 Written Apr 2, 2009

    Parking in Pittsburgh was relatively easy. Our hotel had valet parking as well as a parking garage for public use. Around the city there was plenty of street parking and metered parking available. We were quite surprised at how easy it was to find parking and how cheap it was.

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    Driving

    by cjg1 Updated Apr 1, 2009
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    On my most recent trip we drove to Pitsburg from Michigan. The drive wasn't too bad but the roads were rather bad and in need of repair. Our drive home was a bit hairy; it was pouring rain with thunder and lightning. I drove slow and took my time in the rain; no need to speed in such bad weather. We arrived home a little later than planned but we arrived safe.

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Pittsburgh Transportation

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