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Reply to Parking a Car around Pittsburgh

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Reply to Parking a Car around Pittsburgh
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Jason from Toronto, Ontario on 2/6/2019 4:25:04 PM:
I'm planning to ride the GAP out and back from Pittsburgh this year. I'm going to drive from Toronto (about 5 hours), leaving early in the morning so I can ride 80km or so day 1. I'll ride to end of the GAP (or just beyond) and back, staying in B&B's (etc). I've done some reading on this topic but wanted to ask in this forum - where can I "safely" park a car close to the start of the trail (or even 5 miles or so along the trail), where I'm allowed to leave the car for 4 days or so? What are my options, which ones are free, or paid...both are fine to consider in my planning? Dropping off the car and picking it up will be done during the day.

LS Biker from Missouri on 2/7/2019 10:18:02 AM:
Thanks for posting this as I have the same question. I do not know the safe areas to park and if I pay, what would be a reasonable amount to pay.

Paul from Pittsburgh on 2/11/2019 10:24:44 AM:
According to their site, the First Ave Garage now advertises itself as long-term parking for GAP rides. They encourage you to notify the garage manager for multi-day stays and download the extended stay form. It's not cheap ($13 a day on weekdays, $6 a day on weekends), but it has 24 hour security and is probably one of the safest options. http://www.pittsburghparking.com/first-avenue-garage-and-station As for free? I did the trip in 2013 and my friend decided to park his truck in an unmetered spot next to the Cork Factory in the Strip District. The truck was still there when we got back and was not ticketed. Not sure I would I would be comfortable leaving MY car there though.

John from Pittsburgh on 2/15/2019 5:06:15 PM:
Besides the excellent advice for the others have given on this thread, you could also check out the parking lots across the street from PNC Park on General Robinson Way. I do not know their overnight policy but I have heard people have parked there for multiple nights. I would check with someone there to confirm. Anyways it’s right across the river, a quick hop over the bridge, and you are at the Medallion indicating the beginning of the GAP at Point State Park. Good luck!

Pat from Greencastle. IN on 2/16/2019 3:27:42 PM:
Hi, My husband and are taking 8 days to ride the entire length of the GAP and C&O from Pittsburgh to DC in late June. Not sure if you were planning at least 1 hotel night or not, but the Hampton Inn, downtown Pittsburgh allows you to leave your car for extended days if you stay there and let them know. Maybe consider coming down the night before, and staying there? That would give you a safe, secure place for your car while gone. Just a thought!

LS Biker from Missouri on 2/18/2019 3:11:37 PM:
Thanks for all of the great suggestions. I really like the Hampton Inn and it's location to the trail. Also, I have to spend the night somewhere. Enjoying the pre-planning during the cold and snowy winter.

Ted from Munhall, PA on 2/23/2019 10:02:33 PM:
Another option might be to travel and stay a little further out of town in Homestead, PA which is right n the trail. There are two or three hotels in the large shopping area right along the trail and ample, free parking. It's about 8 miles from downtown. You could stay or park there and ride back into town if you wanted to see the city and the origin of the GAP Trail at the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers where the Ohio River begins.

DRM from Wisconsin on 3/4/2019 10:03:37 PM:
Could you be more specific about the hotels and shopping area in Homestead where one might park? Thank you!

Ted from Homestead, PA on 3/5/2019 7:56:26 AM:
There are three hotels in the Waterfront shopping area through which the trail passes. They are: Courtyard by Mariott, Hampton Inn and Holiday Inn Express. I suspect you would be able to park a car in any of their parking lots simply by asking as there is ample parking at each. Aside from the hotel parking lots, there are acres and acres of free parking including covered parking adjacent to the now closed Macy's Department Store and Dave and Busters which are a couple of blocks from the hotel. This shopping area (formerly the largest steel mill in the world) has virtually anything you might need EXCEPT for a bike shop. There are grocery stores (Costco and Giant Eagle), clothing/department stores (Target, Ross, Marshall's), specialty retail shops, restaurants (Burgatory, Bravo, Mitchell's, Red Robin,PF Chang, Primanti Bros, McDonalds, Chick Fil A), hardware (Lowes), etc. There is also a large multi screen AMC theater facility across the street from the Mariott and the Hampton hotels. I hope this provides the info you were looking for. If not, let me know.

DRM from Wisconsin on 3/5/2019 8:16:29 PM:
Thank you! You have been very helpful!. I am very happy to have found this forum. Like another writer, I, too, am spending these frigid winter weeks (which is lasting waaay too long in Wisconsin), dreaming about and planning for my summer GAP trip. We are introducing our 14 year old son (who is not as highly enthusiastic about touring as his parents are) to bike touring on this trip. Any suggestions from anyone on how to make this more interesting/ fun for a young teen would be appreciated. I am researching away! (Have found all of the scary /spooky stories associated with Dead Man's Hollow!, We'll spend some extra time in Ohiopyle and raft and zip line as well)...

Ted from Homestead, PA on 3/6/2019 9:11:26 PM:
It's been several years since I've tried to keep a 14-year old happy on a vacation trip but here are some thoughts. There is a large waterslide park (Sandcastle) at the west end of the Waterfront shopping area. There is also a large amusement park (Kennywood) between Homestead and Duquesne. Both would require the better part of a day and you may not wish to spend that much time. The GAP and C&O trails are all about the history that spawned their existence and use. If you read about the history of the P&LE railroad and the industries along it as well as the history and design of the C&O Canal and the historical events along the way before you make the trip, you'll appreciate the trip much more. History may not be something he cares for but he certainly could write a lengthy paper on "How I spent my summer vacation" having studied, ridden and photographed the trip. My last suggestion would be to make ample use of the locals in each community through which you pass or spend an overnight or those other trail riders that have already been where you are headed. They can provide more insight as to "what is down the trail" as you proceed. Inquire about quaint/unusual places to eat or visit.

DRM from Wisconsin on 3/6/2019 11:49:25 PM:
Thanks! We are planning day #1 at either kennywood OR sandcastle ( he gets to choose) then will start biking the following day. I haven’t done much research into the railroad history yet, but will do wth your suggestion. He loves people and to make friends so will seek out some of that “trail magic” in the people we meet. We’re planning mostly B and B stays so that will help! Thanks again. Happy trails!

Roy from Glens Falls, NY on 4/19/2019 4:51:27 PM:
I came to this forum with the exact same parking questions. Just want to thank everyone who responded. The suggestions have been very helpful.