Except on foot. This is Louisa Street in Oakland, a typical Pittsburgh street interrupted by a stairway.
You Can’t Get There from Here
Stairway to the Slopes
This stairway at the end of 15th Street, South Side, takes pedestrians up to a bridge over the railroad, and then to a stairway up into the South Side Slopes.
Street Interrupted, Part 1
Beechview’s streets are laid out in a grid. The topography rebels against grids, so streets are often interrupted for a block by stairways—as we see here on Andick Way. This is a very common phenomenon in Pittsburgh neighborhoods. The stairways appeared on published maps as streets, and in the early days of GPS that made navigation hazardous. Today most GPS systems have figured out which blocks are impassible to motor vehicles.
Stairway in Schenley Farms
A Street on Mount Washington
Like many hilltop neighborhoods, Mount Washington is full of streets that appear as streets on maps but turn out to be stairways. They made driving perilous in the early days of GPS navigation, but most navigation systems have learned to distinguish the stairways by now. Mann Street is three blocks long, and two of the three are stairways like this.
Eleanor Street, South Side Slopes
One of Pittsburgh’s distinctive features is the huge number of public stairways. Many streets that appear on maps are actually stairways, like Eleanor Street here. In the early days of GPS navigation, trip instructions would often send drivers up or down these streets; but most GPS systems have now learned to recognize the streets that can accommodate pedestrians only.
And bicycle cops. To be a Pittsburgh bicycle cop, you have to be able to ride down one of these stairways. If you are still alive at the bottom of it, you’re qualified.
Open Street Map does a good job of showing the public stairways on the South Side Slopes. All the denser red dotted lines are stairways. The narrower, sparser dotted lines are walkways.