This three-year-old Bike Pittsburgh initiative
jumped a river for the first time — not just one river, actually, but two.
OpenStreets, which closes a few miles of streets to motorized traffic for a few Sunday hours, was previously confined to Downtown and the Strip District, mostly along Penn Avenue. But yesterday, the route took the Clemente Bridge to the North Side, wound through West Park, then crossed the Ohio on the West End Bridge for a terminus in the West End's business district.
And Bike Pittsburgh
's preliminary estimate is that 17,500 to 20,000 folks took advantage of the car-free streets. Most were on bicycles, but there were also pedestrians and at least one troop of determined unicyclists.
Three "activity hubs," one in each neighborhood, included exercise classes and more for a festival atmosphere. Members of Squonk Opera paraded, playing music on the giant tricycles they used in their new show Cycle Sonic
; at one point, Squonk jammed with ambulatory members of the percussion group Timbeleza
, marching past Gus & Yia Yia's
water-ice cart. Celebrities spotted included that shameless scenester Rick Sebak.
Still, the highlight for many was a chance to cross the West End Bridge in in the lanes usually reserved for an endless procession of cars (and endless traffic jams). Organizers had set up a photo stop for people to insert themselves into the bridge's iconic perspective on the Point and the Downtown skyline.
Yesterday's Open Streets was the last of three for this summer. Look for it to return next May, route TBD.