Police have a plan to keep South Side safe on St. Paddy's
Pittsburgh celebrates St. Patrick's Day like few other cities in the country: with one of the biggest parades in the country and with one of the biggest parties.
Plans for the parade on Saturday, March 13, are complete with the route beginning at Liberty and 26th streets and continuing down Liberty Avenue to Grant Street where it will turn right on the Blvd. of the Allies ending at the viewing stand on Stanwix Street and the Blvd. of the Allies. Parking along the route will be prohibited after 7 a.m. on Saturday.
The city will also close many of the roads along the parade route from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. To maintain order along the route, 64 additional police officers have been assigned to the parade detail.
The police are warning those coming into the city to celebrate that Pittsburgh's open container law will be enforced. Penalties for violating the open container law include fines of up to $300 per violation or imprisonment for default of payment of up to 72 hours.
With the ability to celebrate in Market Square limited by construction, city officials expect many revelers to come to South Side to have fun. Having learned from recent Super Bowl, Stanley Cup celebrations and last year's St. Patrick's Day partying in the neighborhood, city and police officials have put into place a plan they think will keep residents and visitors safe.
South Side will have 52 additional police officers patrolling the area as well as officers working details at numerous bars in the neighborhood. There will also be 20 Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement officers in South Side and Station Square detailed to cite under age drinkers and/or establishments in violation of serving minors.
"We're not treating this like any other day," said Lt. Shirley Sloan, from the Zone 3 station. "We're going to make sure the security is down there."
Lt. Sloan said that because several East Carson Street businesses are offering "keggs and eggs" for breakfast on the day of the parade, an increased police presence will be in the neighborhood in the morning. A sergeant and four additional patrol officers will be stationed beginning at 8 a.m.
The police will also establish a "command center" at the old Zone 3 station on Mary Street near 18th Street.
Beginning about noon, police will ramp up security with the full contingent in place about 5 p.m. and remaining as long as they are needed.
Lt. Sloan said they are anticipating at least 20 officers on foot, 10 officers on motorcycles and an additional six cars in the neighborhood.
District 3 Councilman Bruce Kraus, in anticipation of St. Patrick's Day celebrations, sent out a letter to more than 130 liquor license holders in the 15203 zip code asking owners to make an effort to make it a "safe, respectful and enjoyable celebration for all of those involved."
The councilman asked the liquor serving establishments to refrain from serving visibly intoxicated patrons, limit irresponsible over-consumption and refrain from offering reduced prices on drinks or drink specials for the day.
Mr. Kraus also asked that liquor serving establishments clean up around their places of business to limit the amount of liter generated during the celebration.
Cab stands will be located on Carson Street at 12th, 18th and 23rd streets on the night of the parade. The councilman urged revelers to find alternative transportation to driving, by bringing along a designated driver, by taking public transportation or by taking a cab.