SLE 2015
Sun 25 - Tue 27 October 2015 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
co-located with SPLASH 2015

1. Location

SPLASH 2015 will be held at the Sheraton Pittsburgh Hotel at Station Square, on Pittsburgh’s South Side. 300 W Station Square Dr, Pittsburgh, PA 15219, USA.


2. Airport

Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT), 1000 Airport Blvd, Pittsburgh, PA 15231

Approximately 20 miles NW of the venue.

Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/L0vZU


3. Travel to the Venue from the Airport

Car:

Approximately 25 minutes, depending on the traffic

General directions:

  1. Follow signs out of airport to I­376 E, towards Pittsburgh.
  2. After approximately 15 miles, take exit 69B
  3. Merge onto PA 51/US­19 Truck S/Saw Mill Run Blvd
  4. Keep right to continue toward and then onto Woodruff St
  5. Slight right into Wabash Tunnel. Stay in the right lane; the tunnel ends in a T at West Carson street.
  6. Take a left onto W Carson Street, then your first right onto Commerce Dr (if you miss it, the next right, Station Square, will also work). Commerce Drive ends at the Sheraton Pittsburgh.

Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/mcNnY

Pittsburgh Super Shuttle:

The Pittsburgh Super Shuttle can be reserved online and offers multiple options from shared vans to private vehicle pickup at prices starting from approximately $20. Reservations can be made online in advance, and riders should check in with a uniformed representative at the airport. The airport also has a self-serve kiosk for printing boarding passes and reserving rides, though you’re better off reserving online to guarantee a timely pickup.

The shuttle ticket counter is located at the “Ground Transportation / Car Rental area” in the center of the baggage claim level.

Link: http://www.supershuttle.com/Locations/PittsburghPIT

Taxi:

The airport is probably the only place in Pittsburgh where one can reliably and quickly catch a regular cab. Expect to pay approximately $40-50 to the Sheraton, including tip. Pittsburgh cabs usually accept credit cards.

Within Pittsburgh especially, ride sharing services Lyft and Uber are much better options than traditional cabs and as of July 2015 are permitted to pick passengers up at the airport; see our section on travel within the city for more info.

Public Transit:

Public transit from the airport is not especially convenient, nor fast, but if you’re feeling adventurous…

Expect to take between 1 and 1.5 hours to get from the airport to the hotel via public transit.

The 28X airport flyer bus runs every 30 minutes and leaves from the PIT airport lower level, Door 6. Take it 15 stops (approximately 40 minutes) to Liberty Ave at Wood Street, and then your options include:

1 Walk to Wood St at 6th ave to catch the 51 bus inbound; 5 stops to East Carson St at Station Square Station. Map link: https://goo.gl/maps/d6b7f

2 Walk to the Wood Street T station, and take the BLLB outbound Blue Line 3 stops to Station Square Station. Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/MW2Jb

Station Square Station is very convenient to the hotel, approximately 0.2 miles away. See below (Traveling within Pittsburgh) for more information.

Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/8QSKM

Other options are available and may be a few minutes faster, depending on when you arrive; we encourage you to consult Google Maps or the Port Authority’s Trip Planner.

The 28X from the airport is $3.75, and require either cash or a Connect Card. Drivers do not make change. Always pay on entry to the 28X. If you plan to transfer to the metro, ask for a transfer before you pay. Transfers from the 28X to the lines that will take you to Station Square may cost $1.00, depending on your route.

For other bus lines, see the Pittsburgh Transit Authority’s website for the rather arcane rules for how and when to pay (sometimes on entry, sometimes on exit). Fares vary by zone (usually $2.50, more to/from the airport, free within Downtown).

Bicycle (from DC)

We’re mostly kidding, though we personally know CS faculty who have done it.

The Great Allegheny Passage (150 miles, http://www.atatrail.org/tmi/about.cfm) is considered one of the most beautiful rail trails in the world and, in combination with the C&O Canal Towpath (beginning in Cumberland, MD) creates a 334.5-mile route between Pittsburgh, PA and Washington, DC, entirely free from traffic and other motorized vehicles.


4. Travel Within the City

Orienting Yourself

Downtown Pittsburgh sits on a point between two rivers (Alleghany to the North, Monongahela to the South) that come together to form a third river (the Ohio), which then flows West away from the city. The city is composed of a number of neighborhoods that grew together, in many cases organically, leading to a somewhat-less-than-gridlike street grid (a situation that is not helped by the quantity and grade of the hills). Directions are thus often given with reference to rivers, bridges, or neighborhoods. We do not list all of the neighborhoods in this guide, but provide a few points of reference.

The SPLASH venue is on the “South Side”, in Station Square. Points north of the Alleghany, including the football/baseball stadiums, are on the “North Side.” The North/South “Hills” typically refer to the suburbs beyond the Sides.

The “East End” refers to neighborhoods East of downtown, between the rivers (past the Hill district), including Oakland, Squirrel Hill, Shadyside, and East Liberty. These neighborhoods host the main Pitt, CMU, and Chatham campuses, several major museums, and the Google office, among many other points of interest.

Sheraton Shuttle

The Sheraton runs a hotel shuttle within a 3-mile radius on a first-come, first-serve basis (pickup and drop-off). The last shuttle runs at 10:30 pm.

Taxis/Ride sharing

Ride sharing: Lyft and Uber are often cheaper (watch for surge pricing) and, more importantly, significantly more reliable than most taxi services in Pittsburgh. Despite the controversy associated with such services, they really are typically a better choice than the alternatives (“Everyone has their own stories about not being able to get a cab in Pittsburgh.” —Bill Peduto, mayor of Pittsburgh). These services require the use of a smartphone, with the associated apps installed, and a credit card. Note that such they can also take you to and from the airport, though they cannot be reserved in advance.

Taxis do not typically roam the streets of Pittsburgh; the underlying dispatching systems are somewhat mysterious. When called by a hotel concierge, they usually arrive in a reasonable amount of time; when called otherwise, they will probably show up eventually.

Light Rail and Bus

The Pittsburgh subway/light rail system is commonly referred to as the T. The Sheraton is located very near to the Station Square T station:

Map Link: https://goo.gl/maps/8QSKM

From Station Square, the T provides convenient and regular light rail access to downtown (several stops) as well as two stops on the North side (near several sites of interest, including the stadiums and the Warhol museum). Map Link: http://www.portauthority.org/paac/apps/maps/TLines.pdf

During the day, it runs every 8-10 minutes from Station Square to downtown.

Rides within downtown on bus or light rail are free; fares beyond that depend on zone and method of payment, see Fare Information. If you intend to transfer, ask for the transfer before paying your fare.

The Pittsburgh Port Authority also runs a number of bus lines. Consult their website (http://www.portauthority.org/) for scheduling, trip planning, route, and fare information (when and how much to pay can get a bit complicated if you’re traveling between more than 1 zone, which is usually only true if you’re coming from/going to the airport).

Note that the stated bus schedules (including those referenced by google maps transit directions, which are otherwise very useful for navigating the system) should not be considered accurate except in terms of approximately how frequently one can expect a stop to be serviced. However, the Port Authority is in the process rolling out real-time tracking on the bus system, and a number of lines are currently covered (http://truetime.portauthority.org/bustime/home.jsp). This tracking system is largely accurate.

Note that the inclines (Duquesne Incline and Monongahela, right behind Station Square) are considered part of the public transit system and thus standard fares apply. See our Pittsburgh Guide for more information.

Common Destinations and Neighborhoods via Public Transit

Downtown (get off at Wood St at 6th Ave stop) (10 minutes total from the Sheraton, depending on time of day): by light rail, any train inbound (approximately every 10 minutes); Wood Street is the third stop from Station Sq. By Bus: any of the 40, 43, 44, 48, 51, Y46, Y47, or Y49, inbound to downtown, approximately 4 stops.

South Side/E. Carson Street (approximately 15 minutes from the Sheraton, depending on when you catch the bus): From E Carson St at Station Square Station, the 48 Bus Outbound-Arlington Southside Works to South Hills Junction, makes several stops along E. Carson Street depending on where you’re going (16-21 stops from Station Square).

Oakland/Cathedral of Learning/University of Pittsburgh/CMU: Get to downtown (6th ave at wood st, via light rail, bus, or on foot), and then any of the 61s or 71s outbound (A,B,C,D on either)

Carnegie Museum of Natural History (an estimated 30 minutes from the Sheraton, accounting for transfers): same as Cathedral of Learning, but try to be on a 61. If you end up on a 71 instead, get off at 5th and Bellefield and walk a block towards Forbes Ave.

Strip District: From Wood St at Sixth Ave, walk ¼ a block to Liberty ave at Wood St and take the 86, 88, or 91 bus approximately 5-9 stops (getting off at or around Liberty Ave Opp 21st or 25th st). (estimated about a half hour from the Sheraton, accounting for transfers)

North Side (stadiums, Andy Warhol Museum, Casino, Children’s Museum and Science Center): Any of the inbound light rail trains from Station Square to North Side Station (5 stops).

Walking

To get from the venue to downtown, your best bet is to cross the Smithfield Street Bridge and use Forbes Ave to get to Market Square. Google estimates 20 min. The other downtown streets also work. We don’t recommend the Fort Pitt bridge, as the sidewalk is narrow, the traffic heavy, and the pedestrian onramp hard to find, but it will take you directly to the point, if that’s your goal. The West End bridge is similarly not the most comfortable walking experience.

From the venue, The Three Rivers Heritage Trail moves eastward is nice for walking and jogging; it eventually leads to Carson Street, with many restaurants and some shopping, and the Southside Works. Heading that way to the Hot Metal Bridge (approximately 2.7 miles one way) and coming back to the venue from the other side of the river can be a nice loop for runners.

All four downtown bridges that crossing the Allegheny (the river to the North) are very walkable.

Bicycle

Bike Pittsburgh provides helmets and locks with bike rentals, as well as information on self-guided tours and pleasant cycling locations in and around downtown, and is conveniently located across the river (not far!) from the conference venue. It is easily accessible either on foot, or via T:

On foot:

Via subway:

Healthy Ride PGH provides bike sharing services and stations around Pittsburgh, allowing pickup/dropoff from different sites. Its website can show you the nearest site to your current location with available bikes; new sites are being added regularly. Note that as of August 2015, helmets are not provided.

Driving in Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh drivers are usually friendly, though it’s worth being aware of certain city-specific conventions:

  1. Intersections of more than 2/4 roads. 5- and 6- ways are common where neighborhood boundaries have run together. This can render directions somewhat confusing, as they may include comments like “don’t take the leftest left, it’s the second-leftest-left.”
  2. The “Pittsburgh Left.” Many intersections lack protected left-hand turns. Natives wanting to turn left at busy intersections without protected arrows have a convention of pulling ahead slightly during the red light and performing a very quick left turn when it turns green; only the first such car will do so, and usually only after establishing eye contact with the first driver in oncoming traffic. However, it’s good to be aware of the practice so as to avoid accidents.
  3. Driving lanes that unexpectedly turn into parking lanes. If it feels as though the cars ahead of you are parked, rather than stopped at the light, they probably are.