Pittsburgh Hills

Being located in the foothills of the Alleghenies, Pittsburgh has more hills than most metropolitan areas. That combined with road conditions that include no shoulders in many areas, cobblestone and brick roads, as well as potholes and road debris makes the area quite a challenge.

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.