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City Neighborhoods
Riverfront trail grows by another two miles

Saturday, October 26, 2002

By Bob Batz Jr., Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Mayor Tom Murphy praised city public works employees for weaving while they built the newest segment of riverfront trail.

"It makes for a much better trail," Murphy said yesterday from the South Side Trail, thanking crews for artfully wending it around existing trees.

Murphy, an avid trail user, drove a massive machine to cover some of the trail with smooth asphalt during a "paving party" to mark the near-completion of this newest extension -- a stretch of just more than 2 miles from the UPMC Sports Performance Complex almost to the Glenwood Bridge.

Baldwin Borough Mayor Alexander "Sandy" Bennett was on hand because most of this new stretch is through his town. He joined Murphy in praising two businesses near the bridge, asphalt company Peter J. Caruso & Sons Inc. and Keystone Iron and Metal Co., for cooperating in building the trail past their properties.

The plan is to establish the trail to and through Sandcastle water park and The Waterfront retail complex and continue it to McKeesport (as the Steel Valley Trail, parts of which already share roads along the Monongahela River). Then, bikers, Rollerbladers and other users can roll on it from Pittsburgh all the way to the Laurel Highlands and, eventually, to Washington, D.C.

The South Side Trail, part of the Three Rivers Heritage Trail System, is now nearly 6 miles long. A yet-uncompleted section between Ninth and First streets will link it to trail being finished at Station Square. The city also is working to connect it to the Eliza Furnace Trail -- the heavily used "Jail Trail" -- on the other side of the Monongahela River by way of a new lane for nonmotorized traffic on the Hot Metal Bridge.

This brings to about 16 the number of trail miles completed in the Three Rivers Heritage system, which is tied to the Great Allegheny Passage. That 152-mile Pittsburgh-to-Cumberland, Md., passage now is open for 100 continuous miles between McKeesport and Meyersdale, Somerset County.

This new section celebrated yesterday -- originally acquired by the nonprofit Friends of the Riverfront -- will be maintained by that group, the city and Baldwin Borough. It is to be top-coated by the end of the month, but won't open to users until officials erect fencing to separate the trail from adjacent railroad tracks.

Nonetheless, a few walkers and one bicyclist moved along the right of way yesterday morning, even before the asphalt had stopped steaming.

Bob Batz Jr. can be reached at bbatz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1930.

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