The 1.9-mile pedestrian & bicycle connection.
Multi-Use Path: A 10-foot wide permeable asphalt trail runs the length of Blair Street to connect to the Hot Metal Bridge to the north, and Hazelwood Avenue and Gloster Street to the south.
…with a bicycle and pedestrian detour
The Hazelwood Trail
As a former industrial site that was not open to the general public for decades, the railroads and riverfront infrastructure operated within private property in an industrial context. The future for Hazelwood Green and the restoration of public access is a significant change of use from the days of J&L and LTV Steel. This trail is a wonderful amenity not only for the site and Hazelwood residents, but for all of Pittsburgh.
This 1.9-mile trail connection – the Hazelwood Trail – connects Hazelwood to the Eliza Furnace, Three Rivers Heritage, and Great Allegheny Passage trails. This connection marks not only a major expansion of Pittsburgh’s trail network, but also a new opportunity for Greater Hazelwood residents, and future tenants and residents on Hazelwood Green to move freely and easily via non-motorized transportation. The little over a mile-long segment along Blair Street is the first of its kind in Pittsburgh, a continuous, protected multi-modal path built in tandem with a roadway.
Accessing the Hazelwood Trail.
The Hazelwood Trail can be accessed from the north via the southwest corner of the intersection at Hot Metal Bridge and Second Avenue, and at Blair Street and Second Avenue. A bicycle ramp was added in 2019 to the northern end of the cycle track segment along Blair Street. This is intended to facilitate bicyclist movement onto the trail when entering Blair Street from Second Avenue. On the southern end, the Hazelwood Trail can be accessed from Gloster Street at Tecumseh Street or Hazelwood Avenue. Another 2019 enhancement to the original street design was the addition of a protective island at the intersection of Blair Street and Hazelwood Avenue to shorten the crossing of Blair Street for pedestrians and prevent the bicyclists “right hook.” Find out more about the right hook at Vox and City Lab.
Pedestrian & Cyclist Detour.
The opening of the streets and trail is contingent on the public abiding the bicycle and pedestrian detour to pass under the completed east canopy until the west canopy is complete. The protective canopies are being installed to protect pedestrians, cyclists, and others that are not sheltered by a vehicle from any material that might fall from the overhead railroad line. As this railroad bridge was designed and built when the entire site was a steel mill, there was less concern for public and pedestrian safety. The railroad bridge’s decking was left open (i.e. permeable), unlike others in the city (for example, the railroad bridge at Greenfield & Second Avenues) that have a solid decking. PLEASE BE RESPECTFUL OF THIS SAFETY ISSUE AND FOLLOW THE DETOUR UNTIL THE WEST CANOPY IS COMPLETE.
The two stretches of crushed limestone on either end of the trail are not intended to be the long-term condition of those segment of trail, but rather an interim until the long-term plan/design for those areas is known. As development continues, Gloster Street will need to be rebuilt. The plans for the Hazelwood Trail shift its alignment between Hazelwood Avenue & Tecumseh Street from Gloster Street tot future Lytle Street that will then connect to the existing Lytle Street below the tracks, which is a better alignment for continuing the trail further south. The northern stretch of the trail is within Hazelwood Green’s future riverfront park, and should be planned more comprehensively within the open space system on the site, but also within the region. The riverfront park planning process is expected to begin late Summer 2019.
HISTORY OF THE TRAIL
In late 2012, a trail easement was established with Friends of the Riverfront along the Monongahela River to connect Hazelwood Green and Greater Hazelwood to the Hot Metal Bridge and Pittsburgh's city-wide trail network. However, consultation with the railroad and consideration of public safety underneath an open rail overpass did not take place prior to opening the trail to the public. As a result the trail was closed six months later to determine appropriate safety measures for pedestrians and bicyclists at the crossing under the railroad.
Since then, the plan and construction for the permanent trail occurred from 2013 to 2016 in coordination with the new Blair Street and Hazelwood Avenue, while discussions with the railroad took place on how to best and safely create a pedestrian crossing. Through 2016 and 2017 negotiations and design were underway for a protective canopy to be built over the trail and sidewalk areas as a safety measure for the public from the overhead railroad use.
On July 31, 2018, Almono LP and CSX signed an Agreement on the design and conditions for public access under the railroad bridge. With the Agreement signed, Almono LLC was able to proceed with the construction of the two canopies and completion of the street, utilities, sidewalk, and trail under the railroad bridge. The following Spring, the street was publicly dedicated and the trail was able to open with one of two canopies complete.