Wednesday, December 14, 2005

car-free in pittsburgh, seeking advice

Thanks for stopping by. At this critical juncture, we're starting our New Year's resolutions early. No more car. No more gas. No more insurance payments. No more repairs. Our '93 Honda has engine trouble and we're not going to repair it anymore, since it's been absorbing much money at a steady but unpredictable rate since we got it 4 years ago. We're actually really excited about this . . . we lived without a car in Philly, but the challenges there were very different. And it was flat.

That said, we're a little inexperienced with the busses here. We live at the very south end of Squirrel Hill, south of Forward Ave, just off Beechwood and we both take the 61C or D to Oakland regularly, or we walk to Forbes and take a 61A or B, which is just as fast, if we haven't checked the 61D schedule and don't want to wait.

But futher than that we have not explored. I know we can always check the PAT website to plan a route, but I was looking for advice from experience, particularly quick and easy routes you've found around town. Or new bike riding routes for the summer, since we won't be able to get to the Yough trail (unless we take the bikes on a bus to McKeesport, anyone tried this?). Or good resources on Murray, Forbes and in Oakland that would make travelling further afield unneccesary.

For example, is there anywhere to get long, tube fluorescent lights, like for a kitchen? 'Cause we're cooking in the dark, which is kind of fun, but not for long.

Does Giant Eagle sell parmigiano reggiano? And at what price?

And thanks again. If you see me, hauling 5 ft fluorescent lights through the snow, give a friendly wave.

Categories: ,

8 Comments:

Blogger sepoy said...

i know that i will get a reputation for non-sequiter commenting on your blog....YET....any recommendations for a cool bar/restaurant within walking distance of the convention center in philly? Off the beaten track, no less?

12:32 AM  
Blogger zp said...

No, I don't use a laptop to take notes on film. Do you? I find the presence of two lighted screens distracting.

Just kidding. The convention center is sort of in the middle of Philadelphia's China Town. Our favorite neighborhood place closed, I think, at least we couldn't find it when we were in Philly last summer. We knew it only as Phil's Vietnamese. A lot of my friends (vegans and omnivores both) like Rangoon Burmese on 9th St, but I've never loved it. It's a low key type place, too.

We haven't lived in Philly in almost 4 years. As we were leaving, the China Town area was getting a little chi-chi; someone was opening a trendy looking bar with a communist Russia theme (wha?) - you know, big red flags and super huge images of Lenin's face. And now there are condo lofts, or so I've read . . .

9:04 AM  
Anonymous Julie said...

Hey! I didn't know you lived in Squirrel Hill too. I am a pretty seasoned bus-rider, so I can offer up some advice, but I don't know if I have specific tips without being asked something. I know that there are about a million buses I can take home from work in Oakland - the 61A, B, C, D, or F, the 501, the 69A, the 59U, and the 56U. I get off at Murray and Hobart when taking the 61C, D, F or 59U, and the rest I get off at Forbes and Wightman. Both stops are about an equal distance to my apartment. The 61C and 59U both go to the Waterfront, where you could possibly buy big lighting devices at Loews?

The only annoying thing (well not the ONLY, I am always on the prowl for annoying things) about Squirrel Hill is that it isn't all that convenient to get to say, the South Side or the Strip District. As far as I know, the easiest way to get there is to take a bus to Oakland and get the 54C. Also, getting to Shadyside could be annoying. I think there is one bus that goes directly from Squirrel Hill to Shadyside, but it is one of "those buses" that only goes like 4 times a day and stops running at 4pm or something. Unless I am mistaken. But if you didn't know, if you get into Oakland, the 71A will get you near-ish to Whole Foods and the fancy Giant Eagle. Plus, they are building that bridge over to Ellsworth by Whole Foods now, so that may or may not make busing options easier (aka, you could also take the 71C from Oakland over to Ellsworth, get off, and walk across the bridge to Whole Foods).

Good luck with the no-car thing. I didn't have a car here the whole time I was in college, and it really makes grocery shopping a pain in the butt, especially if you are me and like to spend a million dollars everytime you go to the store. I guess you could always make several, shorter trips during the week. I am not a huge fan of the Squirrel Hill Giant Eagle though. I guess I should actually be clear - I still don't have a car and have no plans to buy one. My boyfriend has a car though, so that's how we get to places quickly (aka not spending an entire day on a trip to the Waterfront).

If you need more bus tips, let me know! I love talking about the bus.

11:04 AM  
Anonymous lindy said...

zp: To completely bore your non- Pittsburgh readers (and prob yr Pgh readers too):The 53F bus runs along Beechwood, hops on the Parkway, and gets you downtown in 10 minutes.

The 64F bus will take you to Shadyside and East Liberty, via Forbes and Murray.You must walk over to Murray to get that one- it stops at all the same stops as the 61C, until F and M, when it goes its own way.

The 59U, which also runs along Murray, will take you to Oakland in one direction, and out to the Waterfront Mall, if you can bear it. I think that one only runs on weekends.

www.ridegold.com, the Port Authority website, is not too bad for trip planning. From downtown, you can go anywhere on the bus, as I found out when the guy who's been cutting my hair for 10 years deserted downtown, and moved to Sewickley. The cad.

Food shopping is the only thing that's really tricky without a car around here.

11:16 AM  
Anonymous lindy said...

PS the Greenfield Eagle is a much friendlier spot than the one in Squirrel Hill proper.It's at Murray and Loretta- very near you.

11:19 AM  
Blogger zp said...

I like the Greenfield Giant Eagle a lot, actually. Sometimes I find the produce a little depressing, though, and it is definately walking distance. And its easy to stop at the Murray Ave store when we are to and from Oakland.

The Waterfront is daunting, even with the car. I just can't see spending hours on a Waterfront trip without having a personal crisis. I actually just ordered the lightbulbs from Staples on the internet . . . I'll probably attempt multiple-bus adventures to Whole Foods and the Strip when the weather gets better and I finish my chapter - thanks so for the route suggestions!!

I don't know if you knit, julie and lindy, but if you DON'T (I don't) Irene's on Murray does beautiful sweater repairs. As thanks, I offer you my favorite Murray Ave secret.

12:21 PM  
Anonymous Julie said...

I definitely do not knit but I do have a lot of sweaters, so thanks for the hot sweater tip!

12:30 PM  
Anonymous lindy(the person) said...

Only one bus to Whole Foods- the 64-takes you right there.

2:02 PM  

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