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Posts tagged “steps

Shortcut to Pius Street

municipal steps

Shortcut to Pius Street

The other way is all uphill too.

Like many hilly cities, Pittsburgh is full of municipal steps that were established decades, even a century, ago when most people walked. These steps are quite a production, and despite their precipitous nature they are somewhat safer than trying to walk along the street. I’d been trying to find a place to stop to be able to photograph them at a slightly better angle. I’m photographing through my windshield, and the railroad line that runs past Edwards Way is right over my head where I am on the street in this photo. The street obviously takes a sharp curve to the left, and there is always someone right behind me. But parking is at a premium in this tightly populated place; even on Edwards where it appears there is only one car, it is illegally parked. So I got the best I could with one hand while only slowing down a bit while driving.

Getting Around in Pittsburgh

Photo of wooden steps next to arched bridge.
Photo of wooden steps next to arched bridge.

Pittsburgh Steps and Bridges

Wooden steps down into a ravine and a suspension bridge above it, that’s how you deal with the landscape around here. The bridge shown is the Charles Anderson Memorial Bridge over Junction Hollow, adjacent to Panther Hollow, and is one of the bridges connecting Oakland to Schenley Park, near where all the colleges are. It’s almost 800 feet long and is about 120 ft. high above the trail below. Dedicated in 1940 it’s a relative newcomer to the landscape though it replaced a 1907 bridge, using the original limestone abutments, and has a relatively rare type of bridge construction. Charles Anderson served on Pittsburgh’s city council, was a local and state labor leader and served labor in the federal government during WWI. The road this bridge connects is the Boulevard of the Allies, so named in honor and memory of WWI.

I always like the shade of turquoise used on bridges when the landscape is the warm brown of late autumn and early winter, you always know it’s a bridge up ahead, whether it’s a one-lane over a stream on a country road or a six-lane over a river on a highway. The rails, usually painted this gold, are often in this art-deco pattern from this era when most of our current bridges were built.

The wooden steps are quite new, though, built to allow access to both a few homes partway down the hillside to the ravine, and to Junction Hollow Trail which you can see way down at the bottom through the railing on the steps. There is also an access road to get the the trail and the houses, but it’s miles away around neighborhoods and through Oakland to get there. On these hills, you’ll find plenty of streets marked on maps that will turn out to be a long, steep set of steps when you get there.

Grand Entrance

two persons walking up steps
two persons walking up steps

Grand Entrance, Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh

The the shallow angles of the staircase to the second floor of the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh, colorful in the late afternoon sun streaming in the window wall out of view to the right. The geometry of the steps and color blocks appealed to me with the two non-geometric figures in the foreground, lots of symbolism about goals and climbing  and achievement as we went to see the Impressionist exhibit. You’re not supposed to photograph in the museum, but how can I visit a place that awakens my creative self without taking it in and expressing it creatively? I caught a few photos, though not of the art, just of the space.