Residential permit parking
May be coming to a street in your neighborhood
Permit parking is a sign of the times with several zones already in South Pittsburgh and interest in creating several more to help alleviate parking problems for residents.
Will “Permit Parking Only” signs be coming to your neighborhood this year?
If you live in South Side or Mount Washington, they very well could be, as requests for permit parking designations for streets in these areas have recently been submitted to the Department of City Planning.
According to Ashley Holloway, Neighborhood Planner with the Department of City Planning, South Side residents have put forward requests for permit parking south of E. Carson Street (on the slopes side) between S. 20th and S.29th streets, and have appealed for the expansion of existing permit parking area DD.
Permit parking area DD spans S. 17th and S. 20th streets, stretching from Jane Street to Edwards Way. Requests from residents north of Jane Street present the possibility of expanding DD to include the area from Jane Street to E. Carson Street.
One South Side section where impending permit parking is not just a possibility but a reality is south of E. Carson Street between S. 10th and S. 16th streets, where City Council approved, and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl signed off on, designated permit parking area CC.
Signs in this neck of the woods are slated to pop up some time in February.
Putting up signs is the end result of a long, careful process which begins when resident requests—or, in some cases, a resident’s request—are delivered to Mr. Holloway’s desk.
“Permit parking,” said Mr. Holloway, “is an entirely resident-based program.”
“All it takes is one request to get the ball rolling.”
Such was the case in Mount Washington, where a single request was received from a Grace Street resident who’d like her street to be designated for permit parking and whose request is about to move to the next step in the permit parking process—a community meeting hosted by Mr. Holloway.
This step, Mr. Holloway noted, is not meant to collect community support or disapproval, though these sentiments invariably arise. It is meant to be informational only, a chance for him to present the steps in the process to members of the community, prepare them for what is to come and answer any questions they may have.
Pertaining to Grace Street, Mr. Holloway will make his presentation and answer resident questions at the Mt. Washington Senior Center at 7 p.m. on Thursday, January 31. Interested parties are strongly encouraged to attend.
After the informational meeting is held, responsibility temporarily shifts to the residents, who are tasked to hit the streets and petition their neighbors. An official petition form is provided by the Department of City Planning, requiring those who sign to indicate their full name, address and phone number and to check off whether or not they support the proposition.
When neighbors’ signatures and information are obtained, the forms are delivered back to Mr. Holloway for his review. Crunching numbers, he determines the percentage of those in support of permit parking in the area. If at least 70 percent of occupied households are in favor of permit parking, he moves on to the next step—verification.
Assisted by two interns, Mr. Holloway calls everyone who signed the petition and verifies they actually signed, provided the correct address and checked the right box.
To ensure nothing was falsified, Mr. Holloway and/or his interns go out to the street or area and confirm provided household address exist and appear to be occupied.
Once everything is in order, Mr. Holloway performs a parking survey, where he goes around the streets that have obtained 70 percent interest once an hour for three hours and writes down the license plate numbers of all parked vehicles.
This information is compiled and sent to the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, to process and return to Mr. Holloway a list of registered addresses for the license plates on the list.
Reviewing the registered addresses, Mr. Holloway makes his determination according to the terms of the Municipal Code, which stipulates that at least 15 percent of parked vehicles must be from nonresidents and commuters in order for an area to be deemed to have a recognized “parking problem.”
A nonresident vehicle, Mr. Holloway explained, is a vehicle registered to an address on a street or grid other than where permit parking has been requested. For example, looking at Grace Street, a vehicle that would come back registered to an address on any street other than Grace Street would be considered a nonresident vehicle.
Plates from different states are automatically considered commuter vehicles, regardless of whether the vehicle owner may live on the street in question. Mr. Holloway said he frequently receives complaints about this, such as those received from out-of-state college students with local leases.
On this point, Mr. Holloway made clear: “As mandated by the Municipal Code, we’re just looking at the vehicle itself, not the person who owns it.”
If it is concluded the street/area has a parking problem, Mr. Holloway gives his report to the City Planning Commission, which reviews it and makes its recommendation for it to go before City Council. If approved by council, it is then sent to the mayor for his review and signature.
If the mayor signs the legislation, the designation becomes official, and the Department of Public Works will then post signs according to its prioritized project schedule.
Time will tell if signage will appear on Grace Street, depending on what happens following Thursday night’s meeting. No meetings have been scheduled yet for the South Side requests, but Mr. Holloway assured they will occur in the near future, after he takes care of some legwork in Mount Washington.
Pick up a copy of next week’s South Pittsburgh Reporter for coverage of Mr. Holloway’s presentation at the Mt. Washington Senior Center.