South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

So. Side a mayhem zone


I dined at a South Side restaurant Saturday evening, February 22, the first time I have done so in years.

I am not anxious to return any time soon and do not expect to.

I have long been well aware of the extent to which the neighborhood is commandeered on weekend nights by those who drink to excess and of the negative consequences of large numbers of such individuals cramming into a relatively small area, yet I was unprepared for all that I saw and encountered on this evening.

Hordes of loud, exuberant young people, many of them under the influence of alcohol, roam the streets with no concern for anyone else. Profanity and clouds of cigarette smoke infest block after block of East Carson Street.

One must allow extra time to reach their destination and to park due to traffic which is either gridlocked or moving at a snail’s pace. The valet parking lot of the restaurant I visited was overflowing with cars, adding to the backup onto East Carson as lot attendants scrambled to take cars in and deliver others to patrons.

My group agreed we would not live on the South Side for anything. The genie is out of the bottle; the government, even if it wished to, cannot force the closure of businesses that acquired licenses to operate through a legitimate process.

The fact there can be one South Side liquor license after another, one every few feet, is one of the greatest failures of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board, which purports to protect us from precisely what it has created. The problem is major because on the South Side, residential housing is in very close proximity to the war zone of the liquor-serving establishments.

Even if there were police officers within every block of the “mayhem zone” of the once-wonderful South Side, even if liquor purveyors truly wished to encourage responsible behavior on the part of their patrons, it would be unlikely tax-paying residents and visitors would enjoy their right to a modicum of peace.

The South Side has become “hell with the lid off.”

Oren Spiegler

Upper Saint Clair


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