Archive

Pittsburgh to christen Canton Avenue in Beechview as steepest in U.S. | TribLIVE.com
Allegheny

Pittsburgh to christen Canton Avenue in Beechview as steepest in U.S.

Bob Bauder
151921cantonavenue01
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Bike race on Canton Avenue in Beechview.
151921cantonavenue02
Andrew Russell | Tribune-Review
Bike race on Canton Avenue in Beechview.

Canton Avenue in Pittsburgh’s Beechview neighborhood has been described for years as the steepest street in the nation.

The street is virtually impassable in winter when covered with snow and ice. It’s the piece de resistance for bicyclists competing in the annual Dirty Dozen race. The Hell on Hills race starts at its base, climbs it and claims to be the world’s steepest 5K.

Pittsburgh City Councilman Anthony Coghill, a Beechview native, intends to make it official.

Coghill at the urging of residents and local organizations is having the Pittsburgh Public Works Department erect signs at the top and bottom of Canton designating the street as the steepest in the continental United States. Coghill said he hopes the signs will encourage visitors to stop and look at the street linking Coast and Hampshire avenues and maybe dine in the neighborhood business district afterward.

“I’ve had people who live around there that tell me they see people constantly stop and get out of their car just to check out the hill,” he said. “It’s like a tourist site. We thought it would be cool and good for the neighborhood to get some signs in there.”

Coghill intends to unveil the signs Saturday during a short ceremony starting at 11 a.m. The signs note that Canton’s 37 percent grade tops all others in the country and list Beechview’s other steep streets, including Boustead, Hampshire, Fallowfield, Belasco and Dagmar avenues.

“Pittsburgh is famous for its Steel-Producing Heritage; it’s infamous for its hills,” the signs read. “Beechview is not for the faint of heart, but that’s part of the charm. You don’t just stroll through this neighborhood. You have to conquer it.”

Coghill noted that major news outlets have christened Canton as the steepest in the United States. The list includes the Huffington Post, worldatlas.com, Fox News and many online outlets.

Audi in 2016 filmed a TV ad on the hill, demonstrating that it’s Quattro A4 car could make up without a problem despite driving over sand, mud and snow. In addition to its car, Audi’s commercial featured a world-renown skier, snowboarder and downhill mountain biker traversing the hill.

“It’s something everybody in Beechview knows about,” said Moira Kaleida, a lifelong Beechview resident, who lives near Canton. “It just never got the recognition it deserves.

North Siders might argue that Rialto Street in Troy Hill is the city’s steepest street, but its 24 percent grade comes in at No. 5. Dornbush Street in East Hills (31.98 percent grade), Boustead Avenue (29 percent) and East Woodford Avenue in Carrick (27.7 percent) are steeper than Rialto but not as steep as Canton.

A street gradient is a measure of rise over distance. A 0 percent grade is flat; 100 percent grade is straight up and down.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.