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Tue Dec 20, 2011, 05:32 PM


Has anyone heard any details on restoring a Pittsburgh incline in the Strip District?

Last edited Tue Dec 20, 2011, 06:21 PM - Edit history (1)

I first read about in the Pittsburgh Business new web site:


Actual City "Request for QUALIFICATIONS" on a new Incline for the Strip district, this is just a request to do the study on the strip district includes the Incline as a transportation option but that is all:

Another city site where the option is mentioned, and that is all:

From what I have read, the actual study will not start til April 2012 and be a six month study on all transportation options, including bike trails, a commuter railway and the Incline (among other transportation options).

We need to get input into the study. The old Penn Incline, which till 1952 ran between the Hill District and the Strip District was a massive incline, designed to haul wagons, in addition to passengers, from the Strip district to the Hill District. The horse draw wagons would then only have to go down hill to Oakland, Shadyside and the rest of Pittsburgh between the Monongahela and Allegheny Rivers.

Such an incline would be a big boom to bicyclists. it would be a lot easier to bike to the Strip district, take the incline up to the Hill District and then peddle home, then peddling up Center Street or Fifth Avenue.

My fear is the incline the City will opt for would be a variation of the one the National Park Service did at horseshoe curve in Altoona. That incline is nothing but an elevator car, for that is how large it is inside, the size of a medium size elevator. Such an incline could take, at best two to three bicyles along with its "normal" passenger load.

I would prefer a larger, Vehicular incline (like the surviving Johnstown Incline) as opposed to a small passenger incline as at Horseshoe curve and even the much larger passenger inclines in Pittsburgh (The Monongahela and Duquesne Incline).

Now, the incline does NOT have to be a re-build of the old Penn Incline that was torn down in the early 1950s. Given that the upper base of the old Penn Incline is a home in the Hill District and the lower base a business on Liberty Avenue, it would be better to move the incline to another location. I propose the parking lot opposite Wholley and behind St Patrick's church. You could build it to go over the Church and thus no need tear the old stone church down.

As to the actual design, I see no reason to go with the actual Penn incline original design, the Swiss have rebuild several of their incline, some with quite modern design. Given the tight room in the Strip District, an option may be to have one track till the point the two incline cars meet, and then have two tracks as their pass each other. This design would permit SIDE DOORS on BOTH SIDES of the car for people to enter and exit. A little more complex is actual design and maintenance but given the ability to use BOTH sides a huge advantage. I would also permit front and rear doors, but only use the door that does NOT open to the incline track. If you use modern glass sliding doors you can have a very modern look. With Air Conditioning (With the electrical power via a hidden access line) no need for any open windows, such as are on the Pittsburgh Incline that survive to this day OR the completely open design of Johnstown Incline (and the old Vehicular inclines of Pittsburgh).

Here is the Johnstown Incline, notice how open it is, the old Penn Incline was the same design:



Monongahela incline:


Horseshoe Curve incline:

Here is a modern Swiss incline, rebuilt in 2009:


Cite for more on such inclines, called Funiculars:


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