By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Planning Forum updated on business, PED, pull-over lane on E. Carson St.


The first presentation at the March 14 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum was by Sandeepa Kaleida, founder and chief executive officer of Sigma Resources.

The certified minority and women-owned technology and IT business develops software and solutions for companies, produces analytics and automation solutions, and more.

Their main objective is “workforce development.”

She plans to move the company, which she founded in 1998, to a building she just bought at 2026 East Carson St. There are 12 employees. The plan is to renovate the third floor for their offices.

She was seeking a letter of support for the variance being sought to not have to provide five on-site parking spaces.

The company’s human resources director said the employees plan to get parking leases, take busses, or utilize a park ‘n ride. She said they will not cause a hindrance to parking by residents.

Next, Councilman Bruce Kraus and John Fournier, the Parking Authority’s director of enforcement and residential permit parking, said South Side parking meters will be enforced until midnight on weekends, beginning March 17.

However, there will be a 28-day grace period from 6 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, ending April 14.

During the grace period, instead of a ticket for violators, they will receive an “Oops Card.”

The Oops Card outlines the new hours, costs, and a free option for parking: The Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s Second Ave. lot and free shuttle service.

The Friday shuttle will run from 6 p.m. to 4 a.m., and on Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Mr. Kraus is seeking contributions to undercut the cost of the shuttle.

“Our job for the first month is education, not punishment,” Mr. Fournier said.

“We want this to be customer-service oriented,” Mr. Kraus said.

The Flats will be the first neighborhood to be designated a Parking Enforcement District (PED) in the city.

The increased revenue from the South Side PED will go to public safety and public works improvements in the neighborhood.

The two men said they will return to the planning forum’s April 11 meeting to give an update on the Oops Card and the PED.

In other public safety news, Mr. Kraus said the Bureau of Public Safety requested a pullover lane between 12th and 17th streets on East Carson St. The reason is that congestion there makes it difficult, if not impossible, for police and public safety vehicles to make quick passage if an emergency arises.

Mr. Fournier said when public safety vehicles need to get by, motorists are supposed to pull into the pullover lane until the emergency vehicle passes.

In the report of the Development Review Committee (DRC), a Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) hearing was scheduled for March 2 on a proposed fast food restaurant with drive-thru at 2417 E. Carson St. But the hearing never occurred.

The property owner is the Veterans Leadership Program of Western PA Inc.

A fast food restaurant is not permitted in the local neighborhood commercial (LNC) zoning district. Drive-thru use in an LNC district is a special exception. Other concerns include headlights shining in nearby homes, and curb cuts.

When told by the DRC there was no interest in a fast food restaurant, the applicant cancelled the ZBA hearing. Residents had begun a petition, and planned to speak against the restaurant at the hearing.

“Hopefully, they are rethinking their plans,” Forum Chair Hugh Brannan said.

He also reported that a neighborhood plan meeting will be scheduled, and that membership papers were submitted by Duquesne University to become a forum board member.

The latter was spurred by the South Side Neighborhood Plan, ninth update, which included recommendations that Duquesne University and the South Side Bar & Restaurant Association (SSB&RA) become members of the planning forum. Duquesne would be non-voting, while the SSB&RA would be a voting member.

Next, forum members agreed to write a letter of support for City Theatre’s efforts to secure grant funds for its proposed canopy project. The plan entails taking down its canopy to create one continuous lot, which would also make the space safer with the beams removed.

In other news, Thom Barry of the South Side Chamber of Commerce said the annual South Side Soup Contest on Feb. 18 was a big success, with 1250 general admission and 70 VIP tickets sold.

Proceeds support the South Side community programs and initiatives of the Brashear Association and the South Side Welcome Center.

In other news, during January-February, the Welcome Center had 87 volunteers for 649 volunteer hours worked, and 794 visitors.

The St. Patrick’s post-parade day celebration on the South Side had only 18 physical arrests and 70 citations, which are good numbers for a bigger crowd than usual. “It was very very calm,” Mr. Barry said.

A Chamber happy hour will take place from 5-7 p.m. on March 22, hosted by the SouthSide Works City Apartments, 2626 S. Tunnel Blvd.

Next, Barbara Rudiak reported the first South Watch meeting was recently held, and that the focus at this point is trash collection.

South Watch works to improve the quality of life on the South Side by bringing people and institutions together to identify code violations, advocate for their remediation, and monitor the outcomes. It is patterned after Oakwatch in Oakland.

 She also reported April 8 is Duquesne University service day.

 April 17 is Dyngus Day at the Polish Falcons of America on the South Side. The traditional day-after-Easter celebration begins at 2 p.m.

 The next forum meeting will be on April 11.


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