Spring Road, the only route between Vassar Road and the Galleria / South Hills malls, had fallen into poor repair over the last few years, to the point where we rode to the end of Vassar Rd, crossed all seven lanes of Rt 9, low-geared up the southern access road to South Hills, then traversed the two-lane ring road. We had high hopes for the recently completed reconstruction project that closed Spring Rd for several weeks.
Although the paving is much better and the reconstruction removed a blind curve over a hill, the “rideable” shoulder now spans every single drain grate along both sides of the road. You encounter the first pair at speed in the turn from southbound Vassar Rd onto Spring Rd:
Don’t cross either grate at full speed or you’ll flip over the high side into traffic.
A gallery of some of the other fine grates on offer along Spring Road:
They’re not nearly as smooth-and-level-at-grade as you might expect from the pictures; some are recessed two inches into the pavement. I rode over some that looked passable and they’re definitely not the sort of obstacle you want to cross without thinking. Forsooth: steel bars and bike tires do not a stable encounter have.
I’m also certain, based on past experience, that motorists won’t understand why we’re (still) riding in the lane, rather than using the new, most-wonderful shoulder.
Like, for example, when Mary elected to jounce over a grate and I rode the fog line along the abrupt slope down to the concrete box:
The rear view shows why bicycle-friendly design matters:
FWIW, I generally ride slightly to Mary’s left, because I figure that way they’ll almost certainly miss her.
Oh, well. The new Spring Road is about as good as road design and paving gets around here…