We drove to and from Pittsburgh in less than a day and a half. The trip there wasn't all that bad, but oh my gosh the drive home was awful. It poured which made for bad visibility and very slippery roads. My travel partner actually pulled over for about an hour because the roads were so bad.
Taxi service in Pittsburgh is hit or miss. We were able to get one to get back to the hotel the other night but at other times have been unable to find a taxi. Hopefully with the light rail and buses and a few improvements Pittsburgh will become more friendly and helpful to the visitor. The town needs the money influx.
The T is a great way to get into, out of, and around Pittsburgh. If you need to enter or leave Pittsburgh from one of its suburbs, The T is definitely your best bet. A two zone trip costs $2.60 on normal fare rates, $3.10 on peak fare rates. The best part is, The T is free if you ride it within the city (the "Free Zone").
People with disabilities, people with children, and senior citizen get special fares on the T. Children (ages 6-11) and people with disabilities get Half Fare trips. Senior citizens always ride free.
Im my experience, I find that the T is rarely crowded, and often a fun way to travel. Living in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, sometimes driving into town is the LAST thing I want to do. On the T, there aren't any traffic jams, road rage, construction detours, or potholes. I've never traveled on the T alone, but I've always felt safe.
One of the most amazing views of the city is seen when entering from the south via the Fort Pitt Tunnel and Fort Pitt Bridge. As soon as you leave the tunnel you are greeted by an impressive view of the large buildings of downtown Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle. Passing over the Monongahela River, you'll see the stadiums on the left and Station Square on the right.
With three major rivers and numerous other creeks, streams, and brooks, Pittsburgh truly is a city of bridges. Research by the Carnegie Library counted 2,139 bridges (not including those under 8 feet long) in Allegheny County, covering almost every possible variety of construction types. This same study shows that the city of Pittsburgh maintains 130 bridges. Pittsburgh's oldest bridge is the Smithfield Street Bridge built in 1881, while some of its most famous are along the North Shore such as the Clemente Bridge (1928), the Warhol Bridge (1926), and the Rachel Carson Bridge (1926).
When George Washington traveled this area with the British army, he noted "instead of pushing on with vigor...they were halting to level every mole-hill and to erect bridges over every brook, by which means we were four days in getting twelve miles."
A quick bit of research shows that numerous cities claim the title "City of Bridges" including New York City with 2,027 bridges; Amsterdam with 72 historic bridges and over 400 total spans; Erfurt, Germany with 216 bridges; Chicago with 180 bridges; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada even has rights to www.cityofbridges.ca but can claim only about 26 bridges; Cleveland which claims 22; Porto, Portugal whose website lists 6 bridges; Ottumwa, Iowa claims the title despite officially having just 3 bridges; Portland, Oregon; Lucerne, Switzerland; Brugge, Belgium; Oulu, Finland; Lisbon, Portugal; Glendale, CA; Berlin, Germany; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; and others.
The new Pittsburgh International Airport was completed in 1992 and is located 7 miles west of downtown. It was an innovative design featuring the first midfield "hub-and-spoke" terminal in the world. One of its selling points when first opened was the Airmall which offered prices equal to the stores in town and was a draw for shoppers as well as travelers, but it must've taken a hit with increased security after 2001. Pittsburgh is US Airways' main US hub, though with the America West merger, the headquarters moved to Phoenix.
Free wireless internet access is available throughout the terminal.
From downtown Pittsburgh take the Fort Pitt Bridge to Interstate 279 South then follow signs to the airport.
Conde Nast Traveler has called the Pittsburgh International Airport #1 in the country. Twenty million passengers are served from this airport, which is sixteen miles Northwest of the city of Pittsburgh. U.S. Airways has its hub here and many other major airlines provide service such as Southwest Airlines, Northwest Airlines, American, United and Delta. The airport opened in 1992.
The Airport Mall makes delays more bearable, as many upscale shops are located here with no problem finding restaurants or eateries, souvenirs or miscellaneous items. Shop until you drop, then shop some more!
The airport is located in Coraopolis, Pennsylvania off Rt. 60, Exit 6.
Pittsburgh has a great light rail that is free to use within the downtown city limits. Outside of the city (Station square, sports field, etc) the fee is quite nominal.
The T is clean and runs frequently. The longest we've had to wait has been about 5-7 minutes when we had just missed the last train.
The structure of the fares can be found on the port authority's website: http://www.portauthority.org/PAAC/FaresPasses/Fares/Zones/tabid/107/Default.aspx
The "T" is Pittsburgh's light rail which runs from the area around Point State Park through downtown, then across the Mon to Station Square. From Station Square, the T splits, but the lines all run to the south. Between the 5 downtown stations, the T is free all day, every day. You pay upon exiting at Station Square. There is a fee for riding further, but I've never ridden beyond, so I'm not sure how it works! The cars are modern and clean...I saw no graffiti anywhere!
The existing rail lines stretch 25 miles and the initial phases were complete in 1985. Plans are in the works for the North Shore Connector project which will provide service to Heinz Field, PNC Park and beyond. This line could be complete in 2010.
The Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers converge in Pittsburgh to form the Ohio River. The Allegheny River begins in northern Pennsylvania, enters New York and returns to Pennsylvania to drain almost 12,000 square miles of the Allegheny Plateau. The Monongahela River watershed covers over 7,000 miles of Maryland, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania and is one of the most industrialized areas of the US. The Ohio River begins in Pittsburgh and runs 981 miles to Cairo, Illinois.
Built in 1870, the Monongahela Incline is a major commuter route for workers on Mt Washington to get to downtown. It rises 369 feet in elevation, giving superb views of the city, making the incline a favorite of visitors as well. Once at the top, you can walk along Grandview Ave where there are numerous overlooks high above the river. Continue walking and you'll hit the Duquesne Incline.
The fare is $1.75 one way or $2.25 round trip. You pay at the top going either direction...just ask the attendant for a round trip pass when you pay. The incline runs on Mon-Sat from 5:30 a.m. to 12:45 a.m and Sunday/holidays from 8:45 a.m. to Midnight. The lower terminus of the Mon Incline is at Station Square.
On Pirates game days, the Clemente Bridge (6th Street) just north of the stadium is closed to cars and reserved for pedestrians only. This is a great way to get from downtown to the stadium after a nice pre-game dinner in town.
Want to catch a Pirates or Steelers game and don't want to fight traffic? Try parking across the Mon River at Station Square and taking the Gateway Clipper ships. It's easy and inexpensive -- on game nights, they drop off and pick up right at the stadiums. There are also several good places to eat before a night game at Station Square where the Clipper docks.
We took the train into Pittsburgh and used the public transportation to get around. It was very easy to use and very cost effective. I highly recommend using the trains, subways and buses while visiting Pittsburgh.
The Monongalea Incline is located across the river from the huge skyscrapers of Pittsburgh. It gives you a beautiful view of the city. My daughter and I fully enjoyed the experience, but my niece was slightly scared of the whole ride.
It was very reasonable. The ride up was very short, about 5 minutes and then once your up top, you take your time and walk around and enjoy the overhang viewing areas. Then you go back down at your leisure. You can buy one way tickets or roundtrip.. I recommend the roundtrip tickets.
The Monongahela Incline was built at a cost of $50,000 and opened on May 28, 1870. Since then, it has transported millions of passengers. The incline opened up Mt. Washington to development, enabling people to live 600 feet above the city and still have easy access to factories and businesses along the river.
The Monongahela Incline was consolidated into Port Authority operations in 1964 and declared a historic structure by the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation in 1970.
In 1982, Port Authority made improvements to the incline with the replacement of car bodies, improved access and renovated stations. The trestle supporting the road bed was changed to a new steel structure on concrete piers.
Length: 635 feet
Elevation: 369.39 feet
Grade: 35 degrees, 35 minutes
Speed: 6 miles per hour
Passenger: Capacity 23 per car
Opened: May 28, 1870
Renovated: 1882 (with steel structure)
Renovated: 1982-83 new track structure, cars and stations
Renovated: 1994 upper, lower stations, restored cars, replaced electric motors and controls
Cash fares, passes and tickets are accepted as payment on the Monongahela incline.
$1.75 cash fare each way (roundtrip $2.25, ask for transfer)
$0.85 Child (age 6-11) or Disabled, cash fare each way (roundtrip $1.10, ask for transfer)
Monday through Saturday 5:30 a.m. to 12:45 a.m.
Sundays and Holidays 8:45 a.m. to Midnight