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The measure of a city's livability, is often related to how well it is tied together, and unified. This is generally a function of it's transit system, roadways, and communication. Pittsburgh has a truly great transit system. There is the road system, the bus system, and the tunnels, as well as the over 700 bridges which join the hills, span the rivers, and connect the various levels of the city. There is also the light rail system, which starts downtown as a subway, and ends up riding the ridges of the outlying hills.

The entrance to the underground platform, and toe the Pittsburgh light rail system.

A view down the street from the subway entrance.

At street level, this is a high ceilinged, granite foyer, with a number of information kiosks, and escalators to the platform levels below.

We are one level below street level, and still not at the platforms, which are a level farther down. This is a sort of an intermediate staging area, for the busy times of rush hour.

At the platform level, and awaiting our train. This is quite a different experience from that of the Chicago or New York subway platforms.

The light at the end of the tunnel indicates that a train is coming. This photo was taken at mid morning, when the system is only casually traveled. Things will be different in another six hours or so.

A train pulls in, going in the other direction. Ours will, doubtless, arrive soon.

All aboard! The train to South Village arrives. We have no idea where this train is going; but we wanted to take a subway, and see some of the outlying districts of the metro area.

As with most subway systems, once we are out of the downtown area, the trains emerge form their tunnels and run above ground. This is one of the above ground platforms, across the river from downtown Pittsburgh.

Inside, the trains are clean, comfortable, and well maintained. Outside we are treated to views of the hills surrounding Pittsburgh.

One of the suburban platforms, which keeps all of these areas connected to the city proper. Above, is a large parking lot, filled with cars, which would otherwise be clogging the streets of downtown Pittsburgh.

Though we are only a few miles outside of town, and had been on the train for only ten or fifteen minutes, it is as if we are far away from any city. It is the mountains that give this effect. Once across them, the countryside comes up amazingly fast. The city is all but invisible, over the mountains just a few miles away.

In addition to hiding the city, the hills, and mountains prevent it from spilling over into the countryside. It is not easy to build out here, and construction of high-rise buildings would be prohibitively expensive, if not impossible.

A look out at the constant hills, which fill the area. They provide for privacy, a partitioning of the various communities, and prevent the urban sprawl, which has proven so destructive to the cities that were so afflicted.

This is the end of the line at Library, south of Pittsburgh. It is a pleasant enough little place; but there is not much here for the tourist to see.

After a few moments of rest, and of looking around, it is back to Pittsburgh.

This is the platform at South Hills Village, an alternate rout of the south train. This stop is adjacent to the South Hills shopping mall.

The Liberty Tunnels are a sort of a front door into the city. As with the trains, the transition is startlingly quick. These tunnels were blasted through the mountains, which contain the city of Pittsburgh. Coming through, in a car or a bus, there is no sign of a city anywhere, and you are essentially traveling through a hilly countryside. You then pass through the tunnel. At the other side of the tunnel, you are deposited in the midst of one of the world's great cities, transported there as if by magic.

Just across the river from downtown, stands the site of the old railroad station. This is now a huge commuter train stop. Directly across the street, is the Station Square shopping center.

A look up the ramp, towards a train coming over from downtown.

A look up the street, past one of the local trains. A drive down this street soon takes the traveler to the Carson Street shopping area.

Heading for the hills, a commuter train enters one of the tunnels leading to the outlying areas on the other side of the surrounding mountains.

A train emerges from a long tunnel through the mountain.

The trains line up, awaiting the multitudes of passengers who work downtown, and live in the hills. It is now rush hour, and these trains are all full.

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