South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Planning Forum hears from the new Zone 3 police commander


Last updated 10/19/2015 at 6:18pm

The October 13 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum featured new Zone 3 commander Karen Dixon, who introduced herself and answered questions while providing updates on the zone.

The commander said she began on the city force in 1988. She has since worked in operations, investigations, and administration.

She was assigned to Zone 5 before becoming Zone 3 commander in July.

“It’s promising to be a fascinating area,” she said.

The commander has observed the East Carson St. nightlife firsthand, and met with the city’s new nighttime manager, Allison Harnden, of the Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI).

Commander Dixon said she will work on making the East Carson St. corridor safe for residents and patrons alike.

Forum member Thom Barry, of the South Side Chamber of Commerce, said he liked what the commander was saying about nightlife, and volunteered his services, as well as that of the chamber, to assist in any capacity.

To a question from forum member Wanda Jankoski about gunfire she heard near her home over two recent weekends at 1 a.m. and 4 a.m., respectively, the commander said two arrests were made in one of the instances.

She also said Liquor Control Board (LCB) officials paid a visit to the bar which was involved. Agencies like building inspection and the Health Department found violations.

While the bar will not be forced to close if those violations are corrected, it will have to close if there are liquor violations.

Adam DeSimone, of the South Side Bar and Restaurant Association (SSB&RA), said the organization wrote a letter asking that the bar in question be held to the same standards as the other establishments. He said he believed it was sent to the district attorney’s office.

Mr. DeSimone said the SSB&RA wants good business practices in the area.

To a question of what residents can do to help with policing efforts, Commander Dixon said she needs crimes to be reported -- not simply posted on social media -- by calling 911 for a police response, and to create a paper trail.

She also asked that valuables not be left in cars. Once spotted, break-ins occur.

To a question of how intoxicated one must be to be removed from the street by a police officer, the commander said when a person cannot walk and is lying on the ground.

To a question about numerous unpaid parking tickets, she said the police can pursue a person for summary warrants.

The commander said she is very concerned about not being able to get ambulances and fire trucks through 17th to 12th streets at times. It is a public safety issue, she said.

To a question about the system police are using to detect gunshots, called ShotSpotter, she said it can pinpoint the location of gunfire to aid police in getting to events while happening, thereby saving lives and enhancing the safety of neighborhoods. But people should continue to call 911 when they hear gunshots.

Next, in the report of the Development Review Committee (DRC), Peter Kreuthmeier said there was no meeting this month.

The only news was that a Marty’s Market is planned for the ground floor of the new City Apartments complex at SouthSide Works.

The apartment building with garage will be located west of REI and McCormick & Schmick’s.

In the neighborhood plan update, Tracy Myers said she charged herself with reviewing past parking practices/studies.

The conclusion is that the issues are the same since 1983.

The issue arose a few months ago in response to a forum member’s request to convene a neighborhood planning process to address parking issues.

Ms. Myers responded that the development of a comprehensive parking strategy should take place under the umbrella of the neighborhood plan.

She said for the next meeting they will invite the city Parking Authority, Public Works, and other city departments to help identify the issues.

She said real data needs to be obtained, and not simply anecdotal, and then ask the city how to proceed.

Ms. Myers said some things will need city and/or legislative action.

Next, Ashley Holloway, City Planning’s neighborhood planner, said signs have begun to be erected for the residential permit parking area north of East Carson St. between 16th and 25th streets.

Once all signs are erected, enforcement will begin two weeks later.

He also said no one signed up for a petition for South 4th to South 16th streets along the river, so there will be no residential parking there.

His department is interested in compiling all city neighborhood plans, and is looking at best practices nationwide.

Mr. Holloway said if the city decides to require community groups to register, what benefits does the forum want to see? He asked members to think about it and report back to him.

In announcements, Mary Ellen Solomon, Duquesne University’s director of government relations, said a South Side Social designed for students and neighbors to meet will be held at the Welcome Center, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., on Oct. 28.

Pies are being sold by the South Side Community Council as a fundraiser. Flavors include apple, cherry, peach, pumpkin, and more. Price is $11. Pre-paid orders are due by Nov. 2, with pick-up Nov. 20-21. Order at, or call 412-554-1870.

The Brashear Association will hold its 98th Annual Awards luncheon at the LeMont Restaurant at noon on Oct. 22. The cost is $50.

The next forum meeting will be on Nov. 10.


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