Blue Belt Sign



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The Blue Belt skirts the perimeter of Pittsburgh’s city limits and crosses all three rivers at different points. A drive around it makes for a fun afternoon activity through many different neighborhoods. The route is signed pretty well – on a recent trip around it took me about two hours, including a couple missed turns that I had to back track for. Page’s Dairy at the corner of E Carson St and Becks Run Road makes for a perfect pit stop along the way during warmer months. This 2″ mini sign is available as a vinyl sticker or magnet.

The Allegheny County Belt System was developed in the late 1940s by Joseph White, an engineer with the Allegheny County Department of Public Works. By adding signage to existing state and municipal roads, drivers were given alternate routes throughout the county which did not lead to downtown Pittsburgh’s congested Golden Triangle. Five color-coded loops surround Pittsburgh and link various towns, highways, and important sites such as the two airports. (A sixth loop was added in 1995, the Purple Belt. It is part of the Pittsburgh Wayfinder System.)

The colors of the Belt Route system are ordered like the rainbow. The outermost belt is Red (33.5mi), followed by Orange (91.7mi), Yellow (77.6mi), Green (38.6mi), Blue (38.1mi), and Purple (2.03mi). So if you happen to cross one, you have some idea of how close you are to downtown Pittsburgh, or whether you are traveling toward or away from downtown.

The Red Belt and Orange Belt do not form complete loops because they meet the outside edge of Allegheny County. The Green Belt is also an open ended path since the Blue and Yellow Belts pass so close to each other as they trace around the southwestern part of Allegheny County.

Because this region is so hilly and cut by rivers, the roadways tend to twist and turn, following the ridges and valleys. Navigation can be tricky, especially when compared to towns which are laid out in a rigid grid system. Street systems in those towns are more forgiving if you miss a turn — in Pittsburgh if you miss a turn, you may end up far from where you expected. (And we all know, no one likes to just turn around.)

blue belt sticker on green felt background
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