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GAP to the Point Nears Completion, Connects Downtown to Washington, D.C. by Bike

Sunday, August 9, 2020

Starting in late June, PENNDOT and the City of Pittsburgh’s Department of Mobility & Infrastructure (DOMI) announced the beginning of construction of the second and final phase of the “GAP to the Point” project, the last leg of a 334.5 mile trail connecting Downtown Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. Read more about the importance of this iconic trail, along with what it means for the neighborhood, below.

🚧🚲 GAP to the Point Quick Facts
– Project expected to be completed in October 2020
– Construction to occur weekdays between 9 AM and 3 PM
– Single-lane restrictions along Stanwix Street will occur on occasion
– More than 900,000 visitors are estimated to ride the GAP annually

Photo shows a group of visitors on bicycles at Point State Park, with the fountain and city skyline in the background

About the Great Allegheny Passage

For many living in the Appalachian Region, the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) trail is highly recognizable by both the most avid and adventurous cyclists and the residents of the towns it runs through. Starting in Pittsburgh and connecting to the C&O Canal Path for a total length of 334.5-miles from Pittsburgh to Washington D.C, the GAP not only represents a major regional trail network that is used for recreational purposes by regional visitors, but has also played a critical role in economically and socially transforming nearly 15 post-industrial communities across the region by becoming a major tourist destination and attracting nearly one million visits and bringing in tens of millions of dollars each year.

A 2018 trail-use study found that the GAP is used by cyclists and hikers from all 50 states and serves as a destination for the international market, with 34 different countries represented. Here in Pittsburgh, the GAP continues to help to stimulate the local economy and grow small businesses, including the Golden Triangle Bike Rentals in Downtown.

Photo shows three bikers wearing face masks posing in front of Golden Triangle Bike Rentals
Visitors get their photo taken in front of Golden Triangle Bike Rentals, often a key starting point to a journey along the GAP. 📷: GAPTrail on Facebook

Tom Demagall, owner of the popular bike shop, has watched his business grow exponentially over the last 14 years and now sees 90 percent of his business focused on trip planning services after originally being a small-scale rental service with under 20 rental bikes. Ultimately, the “GAP to the Point” project is a way to directly invest in Pittsburgh’s core economic engine and help strive towards a more complete, protected bike network across Downtown to encourage cyclists of all levels to feel more comfortable and confident biking in an urban environment.

GAP to the Point

Despite this all, over the last few decades, the final two segments of the trail have been missing in Downtown Pittsburgh. Phase Two of the project, currently underway and expected to wrap up in October 2020, will connect the Golden Triangle with the South Side, Oakland, and beyond through the implementation of a two-way cycle track on Stanwix Street, Penn Avenue Extension, and Liberty Avenue to Point State Park.

Map showing the Great Allegheny Passage, with Stanwix Street and Penn Avenue Extension highlighted
Improvements will be occurring along Stanwix Street and Penn Avenue Extension, marked by the yellow dashed line above.

Additional project features include bus stop enhancements, bituminous milling and resurfacing, concrete pavement restoration, new curb ramps, curb and sidewalk repairs, signing and pavement markings, associated signal upgrades, and additional improvements. Not only will the range of infrastructure upgrades improve street operations for multiple transportation modes, but the “GAP to the Point” project will also increase the safety and ease of access for nearly 1,100 bike commuters and additional recreational cyclists who travel to and from Downtown each day.

Read the project one-sheet here (PDF).

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