Steep Streets

Pittsburgh has some steep streets. I plan to find them and photograph them when winter’s gone.

carrick streetA friend posted an info-graphic  Steepest Streets in America.  The top ten.  Two are in Pittsburgh.

Dornbush Street and Canton Avenue.

This street headed up to Brownsville Road is a steep one.  It is also a one way so I didn’t drive up it.

On the way to school the other morning…

The sidewalk turns into stairs and has a railing the whole way up.  It isn’t on the info graphic but you know I’m on a mission to find the two steepest Pittsburgh streets listed and photograph them for the blog.

In the early ’90s we used to drive down a street in Mt. Washington that  looked like you were driving off  the end of the world. Three kids strapped in seat belts in back. We’d go around again, they’d lose their stomachs and we’d pretend we were on a roller coaster.

The list of the top five steepest streets in Pittsburgh -and one is in the Carrick neighborhood where I was driving.

Excerpt from  below-

  • Canton Avenue is a 37% grade, and is in the Beechview neighborhood. It is the steepest street in Pittsburgh.
  • Dornbush Street is a 32% grade, and is in the East Hills neighborhood.
  • Boustead Street is a 29% grade, and is in the Beechview neighborhood.
  • East Woodford Avenue is a 27% grade, and is in the Carrick neighborhood.
  • Rialto Street is a 25% grade, and is in the Troy Hills neighborhood.


I went and looked up the info about Steve McQueen driving in Bullitt and what street that was in San Francisco.

Taylor Street is not in the top ten but here is an interesting post about the making of that famous driving scene.

8 thoughts on “Steep Streets

  1. You know of course that on Thanksgiving weekend bicycle riders do what they call the “dirty dozen” – they try to ride up 12 of Pittsburgh’s steepest hills. I’ve seen many of those hills and there is beauty in them.

  2. You are in for a wonderful photo shoot. Just remember to have your breaks checked. 🙂 I live on a steep cobblestone street that is one way. When you come down it, you think you are at the top of a roller coaster ready to make its plunge.


  3. Rialto Street :: Sometimes known as “Pig Alley” from the past when swine and other livestock were driven (as in Rawhide style cattle drives) from the farms above Troy Hill and beyond to the stockyards and rendering facilities on Herr’s Island. Prior to the redevelopment of Herr’s Island for commercial and residential use it was very foul and especially in summer a unique stench eminated from the ground there as you passed on Rt. 28. Not bad these days. 50 years ago, my older brother and I would join our grandfather and go to Herr’s Island to shoot rats. Huge rats. Grandpap Halli worked as a scale man weighing trucks for Inland Products on Herr’s Island. They would take in the bones, etc. from the stockyards and produce tallow and render bones into soap. Thus the rats. When any exotic dead animals was brought in Grandpap Halli would call and all the kids were loaded in the car to go to the plant to check them out. Most interesting was the dead lion left by the traveling circus.

    • My Dad worked at Inland Products from the early 60’s untill well after they moved to Neville Island. I used to kill those rats on Herrs Island, and some of them were the size of possums. Never saw a lion, but did see an elephant that they couldn’t grind up, and buried at the north end of the island (they found it when they were reclaiming the land for Washington’s landing), and a really big snake one time.

  4. That will make some gallery, Ruth. I can’t say we have many steep streets here at all, living on the edge of The Plains. If we did, you wouldn’t be able to drive them in the Winter. People with skis would clog the lanes.

  5. The steepest street I have ever been on is in San Francisco – but it’s no match for the Washington roller-coaster street you described. I’d love to see your steep PA streets! (But shooting them when it is warmer is a good idea; so, August?) 😉

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