These are the 10 steepest grades in the city. The percentage expresses the steepness of the hill as the rise over run expressed as a percentage. A 0% grade is perfectly flat and a 100% grade is 45 degrees from the horizontal. The angle is the arctan of this number (37% = 20 degrees)
In general, Beechview has the steepest streets in the city. If you look at a topo map you'll see why. They force-fit a manhattan grid on Western PA terrain!
From Pgh Post-Gazette, Oct 5, 1984: 1. Canton Beechview 37% 2. Flowers Hazelwood 28% 3. East Woodford Carrick 27.6% 4. Cutler Northside 26% 5. Rialto (Pig Hill) Troy Hill 24% 6. Tesla Hazelwood 24% 7. Newitt Carrick 23% 8. N. Winebiddle Garfield 23% 9. Hampshire Beechview 23% 10. Potomac Banksville 22% Outside of the city: 1 Logan Millvale 25% 2. Winsdor Forest Hills 25% 3. Decatur Forest Hills 24% 4. Seavy-High Etna 22% 5. Marion Forest Hills 19%This next list is from the Pittsburgh Press on Jan 11, 1987 and was compiled by the Surveys Division and the Snow and Ice Control Program, Dept of Public Works. It is a sampling of streets and not the definitive list of steepest streets. The list has been re-arranged to be in order of steepness. It was originally in alphabetical order.
Canton Avenue Beechview 37% Dornbush Street Homewood 31.98% Boustead Street Beechview 29% East Woodford Avenue Carrick 27.6% Rialto Street Troy Hill 24% Hampshire Avenue Beechview 23% Capital Avenue Brookline 22.35% Flatbush Avenue Brookline 21.33% Fallowfield Avenue Beechview 22% Potomac Avenue Banksville 22% Belasco Avenue Beechview 21% Walbridge Street Elliot 20% Dagmar Avenue Beechview 20% Greenleaf Street Mt. Washington 19.6% Schimmer Street North Side 19.6% Tokay Street Homewood 19.25% Coast Avenue Beechview 17.65% Cuthbert Street Mt. Washington 16% South Negley Avenue Squirrel Hill 15.81% (about 9 degrees!) Glenbury Street East Brookline 14.96% Shaler Street West End 14.5% Brosville Street Allentown 14.35% Federal Street North Side 13.70% Buena Vista North Side 12.5% Quarry Street Southside 12.5% Antrim Street North Side 12.35% Eleanor Street South Side 12.2% Baytree Street North Side 11.12% Yoder Street Greenfield 9.52%With all that, steepness is but one way to rate the hill. If you combine steepness with cobblestones or slick brick or bad repairs this can make a given hill more difficult than one that is steeper.
Most people overestimate steepness. The best way to measure a hill other than a topo map or surveying it is to use an inclinometer. Or some bicycle computers measure changes in elevation. The angle is then the arcsin of (change_in_elevation / distance).
In rating a hill there is also length to consider. For example, Cutler on the North Side is very steep and cobblestoned but is only a couple of hundred feet long. For a given power output, length as well as steepness must be considered. Thus a a short steep hill compared to a longer hill of the same elevation change might be less work.