By Tom Smith
South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor 

Residents learn what it takes to get the next South Side RPPP zone


In the continuing discussion of permit parking in South Side, City of Pittsburgh neighborhood planner Ashley Holloway called a meeting at the Market House for residents to learn more about the city’s Residential Permit Parking Program (RPPP).

Residents in the area between 4th Street and portions of 16th Street between East Carson Street and the Monongahela River were invited to come and learn more about the permit parking program. Mr. Holloway, who also administers the RPPP for the city, noted he had multiple requests from residents in the area requesting the program.

“This program is resident driven, so you residents will decide whether or not to have this program. This will not be forced on you by the city whatsoever,” he said.

The informational meeting was intended to inform residents in the area about the process for establishing a permit parking zone. Currently, most of the South Side Flats except the area being discussed that evening and several “donut hole” areas already in one of four permit parking zones. If another zone is established, it would be South Side’s fifth.

Mr. Holloway said the purpose of the program is to help decrease the number of commuter cars in a neighborhood and increase the likelihood a resident will find a place to park closer to their home.

To be considered for a RPPP, those in favor will have to get petitions signed by at least 70 percent of residents in at least five continuous street blocks. If the petition drive is successful, Mr. Holloway undertakes a three-hour survey in the proposed zone where he records all the license plate numbers of all the parked cars.

The license plate information is sent to the state Department of Motor Vehicles to learn where the vehicles are registered. If 15 percent of the parking spaces are taken by non-residents for two or more hours and 75 percent of the spaces are occupied, it is deemed the area has a parking problem and is eligible for a RPPP.

While businesses within a RPPP are eligible for one parking permit and one visitor’s permit, they aren’t permitted to sign petitions for or against the program.

Residents are responsible for circulating the petitions, building consensus on the boundaries of the zone and establishing the hours of enforcement and grace periods. Hours of enforcement are a maximum of between 7 a.m. and midnight, grace periods can be from zero to two hours.

Currently the four zones in South Side in the RPPP all have enforcement hours between noon and midnight with a two-hour grace period.

Mr. Holloway said all related persons living in a household are eligible to get parking permits for every vehicle they have registered to their address. However, only three unrelated persons living at an address are able to buy permits.

He said the zoning code only permits three unrelated persons to live in one residence. If there are four unrelated people all living at one address with cars, only the first three applying for permits will be able to get them.

Only one visitor’s pass is permitted per household or business. The visitor’s pass can’t be used for more than three consecutive days in a month by the same vehicle.

However, Mr. Holloway explained, it is possible to get a variance from the Parking Authority for visiting nurses making regular visits, parties with a large number of guests or other reasons. Residents should call the Parking Authority to make the arrangements for the variance.

There is no permit parking enforcement during holidays.

Mr. Holloway also warned residents the Parking Authority will enforce all parking laws within a permit parking zone. He said he’s received calls from people complaining about being ticketed for parking facing the wrong direction on a street and being too close to a fire hydrant or cross walk.

While the RPPP makes it more likely a resident will find a place to park closer to their home, it doesn’t guarantee a spot. It also can’t make more spots available if the area is already oversaturated with residents’ cars.

The timeline for getting the program begins with the first community meeting. Residents who would like the program in their neighborhood, or portion of the neighborhood, then contact Mr. Holloway for the petitions.

A time is set for the drive to begin and residents have 90 days to circulate the petitions. Those opposed to the permit parking zone are also permitted to circulate petitions, there’s a place on the petitions for yes and no votes.

The assessment of designation criteria, including the parking survey and petition verification, takes five to six weeks after which a community management plan meeting is held to determine enforcement and grace period times. Next, the plan is presented and needs approved by the City Planning Commission, City Council and finally the mayor.

Following all the approvals, notification of residents and the opportunity to buy permits takes another two to four weeks.

RPPP zones aren’t permanent and have to be recertified every four years. During the recertification process, residents have an opportunity to change enforcement times and grace periods.

If residents decide they don’t want an RPPP any more, they can petition to have it removed with a 70 percent majority needed to end the program.

The meeting was contentious at times with some residents and business owners questioning the need and the restrictions on the program. Others were adamant in their support.

When asked why South Side couldn’t be just one big RPPP zone, Mr. Holloway said it was too big and defeats the intent of making it easier for residents to park closer to their homes. If South Side was one zone, residents from one side of South Side could park many blocks away, taking up spaces and making it difficult for those residents to park.

He said “cross parking” became a problem in Lawrenceville when they established one giant zone.

Those interested in circulating petitions should contact Mr. Holloway at 412-393-0162 or


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