Via Bike Pittsburgh, another piece about PA joining the US Bicycle Route System, which was announced by the Adventure Cycling Association a month ago.
Ironically, though there’s multiple points in these pieces about riding to and through beautiful Pittsburgh on your way across PA, if you do so you’ll actually have to turn around and ride 20 miles back to McKeesport before continuing—that’s how bad the infrastructure is west of the city. There’s no safe way to get from the Point to the Panhandle on a bike, so the USBR 50 turn-by-turn directions (PDF) don’t even try.
How many USBR 50 riders will simply skip Pittsburgh, recognising that the route switches from the GAP to the Montour at McKeesport?
Campaigners have been working for many years toward a trail extending the Great Allegheny Passage along the Ohio River, from Pittsburgh up to Beaver and beyond to Ohio and West Virginia. As trails are extended toward the City along Turtle Creek, the Allegheny River, and elsewhere, there is potential for Pittsburgh to become a great nexus of trails stretching in every direction–not just to Washington, but to Altoona, to Butler and Erie, to Cleveland, and to Columbus. Towns like West Newton, Connellsville, and more have written of their revitalization on the strength of tourism brought by the completed GAP trail through their towns. When will McKees Rocks, Monaca, Midland, and the many river towns in between get to see such benefits?
For a great many reasons, it is long past time for safe, accessible infrastructure for all west of Pittsburgh.