Some 30,000 marathon runners, about 30,000 baseball fans and upward of 20,000 hockey fans will make their way into Downtown Pittsburgh on Sunday. Toss in marathon spectators and those attending cultural events, and the crowds will approach the size of the weekday workforce.
Streets will close, parking will be a challenge and buses will be detoured as the city hosts the Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon, a Pirates game and Game 2 of the National Hockey League playoff series between the Penguins and New York Rangers.
The marathon begins at 7 a.m. but street closures will begin before midnight and continue into mid-afternoon. The Pirates face the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:35 p.m. at PNC Park. The NHL did the city a crowd-control favor by scheduling the hockey game at 7:30 p.m. at Consol Energy Center.
Take a quick tour of the Pittsburgh Marathon course
Mara Spisso, charity coordinator, offers a runner's perspective of the 26.2-mile course for this year's Dick's Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon. (Video by Steve Mellon; 4/28/2014)
Port Authority will start Light Rail Transit service at 4 a.m. and both inclines will open at 5 a.m. Early-morning trips will be added to routes that use the East and West busways.
More than 50 bus routes will be detoured throughout the city during the marathon, beginning at the start of service Sunday and continuing until about 3 p.m. In Downtown, buses will be rerouted to serve stops near Steel Plaza Station, where riders may transfer to the T for free.
Port Authority advises riders to expect delays and allow for extra travel time during the race.
Liberty Avenue will close from Commonwealth Place to Seventh Street and Stanwix Street will close from Penn Avenue to the Boulevard of the Allies at 11:30 p.m. Saturday for starting line setup; Liberty from Seventh to 30th streets will close at 6 a.m.
Rolling closures will occur along the 26.2-mile marathon course throughout the morning and early afternoon. Closures will generally start at 5:30 a.m. Downtown and in the Strip District; 6 a.m. on the North Side; 6:15 a.m. in the West End and South Side; 6:30 a.m. in Oakland, Shadyside and Point Breeze; 7 a.m. in Homewood, East Liberty and Highland Park; and 7:30 a.m. in Bloomfield.
Street reopenings are timed to accommodate the slowest runners and will occur from 8:30 a.m. to about 2:30 p.m.
Vehicles will not be permitted to cross the marathon route. The best way to enter or leave the area encircled by the course while streets are closed is to use Bigelow Boulevard, which will be accessible from the Grant Street exit of the Parkway East by turning right at First Avenue and left at Ross Street.
On Saturday, a 5-kilometer run that starts at 8 a.m. and a kids' marathon at 10 a.m. will cause street closures around Allegheny Center on the North Side and in Downtown.
Street closures will complicate parking in the Golden Triangle. One option recommended by marathon organizers is the lots on the North Shore, which will open at 4 a.m. with a special $5 race rate. At 7 a.m., after marathon attendees have arrived, the lots will switch to baseball event rates, said Merrill Stabile, president of Alco Parking.
Rides on the T from the North Side Station into Downtown are free.
An interactive map that displays parking options is available at www.pittsburghmarathon.com/RaceWeekend.
Real-time information about availability of spaces at many Downtown and North Shore parking facilities is available at parkpgh.org.
Jon Schmitz: email@example.com or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG's transportation blog, The Roundabout, at www.post-gazette.com/Roundabout. Twitter: @pgtraffic.