Beechview Bridges

Beechview is a neighborhood built on the crest of a hill and spilling down all the sides of the ravines and runs. It claims the steepest paved car “accessible” street in the US, if not the world. Traveling in almost any direction around or through the neighborhood includes an uphill portion. It is a place where anyone driving without chains ought to call in sick or request to work from home after a snow or ice storm to avoid sliding back down the hill when attempting to leave the neighborhood.

Bridges are used to create more level routes, spanning hillsides, runs, and dips. However, none of the two and a half bridges in the neighborhood are for cars. (The half bridge crosses the city boundary into the neighboring borough of Dormont.) The bridges are for the “T”, the local light rail system. Cars are left to manage the ups and downs as best they can. Pedestrians have access to one of the bridges, but otherwise, they are also left to manage the slopes as best they can.

The bridge with pedestrian access was constructed in the era of cages (see post). I am noticing a theme of completely enclosed pedestrian walkways found in association with major transit lines (ex. Beechview’s bridge, Graham Street Bridge, and the former pedestrian bridges over the East Liberty busway) while partially enclosed cages are found in association with roads and rivers (ex. Highland Park Bridge and the pedestrian bridge over Bigelow Blvd).

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