South Pittsburgh Reporter - Serving South Pittsburgh Since 1939

By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

South Side PED income steady, banners to replace holiday lights


Last updated 10/16/2019 at 8:11pm

Examples of the 10 banners that will decorate E. Carson Street in the10th to 25th blocks this holiday season.

The October meeting of the South Side Planning Forum included updates on the South Side Parking Enhancement District (PED), holiday banners, and tree plantings as part of the city's streetscape project.

The meeting began with Harry Johnson II introducing himself. He is the director of Sen. Robert Casey's Southwest Regional Office, 310 Grant St. For questions or concerns, email him at

If he cannot help, he will direct residents to the appropriate contact.

Next, city Councilman Bruce Kraus and city nighttime economy coordinator Allison Harnden delivered updates on the South Side Parking Enhancement District (PED), or the enforcement of South Side Flats parking meters from 6 p.m. to midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

The revenue from the PED must be invested back in the neighborhood for public safety, cleanliness, and infrastructure improvements.

For the four weekends in September, the gross meter revenue was $18,182.34.

The average Friday-Saturday weekend take is $4,100 to $4,500.

The gross meter revenue year-to-date is $160,114.27. The gross meter revenue since April, 2017 is $538,339.90.

The expenditures for Block by Block, or the two-person Clean Team retained with PED funds, was $11,662.88. The two men work 64 combined hours Monday-Thursday, keeping the E. Carson St. corridor maintained.

One of the men also works eight hours on Friday, while the other works eight hours on Sunday, for a total of 80 weekly hours.

In September, the team removed 16,024 pounds of trash, and 84 graffiti/stickers.

They lent hospitality assistance 23 times.

The main daily focus has been East Carson St. between 10th and 25th streets, and the side streets about one block in both directions.

Ms. Harnden also reported that Holiday Inn Express Pgh South Side will be receiving a liquor license.

Mr. Kraus said he had a meeting with Mayor Peduto, Police Chief Scott Schubert, Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich, and other officials on city night life. How to grow, and how to best use available resources, were among the many focus points.

In nighttime economy data compiled by Ms. Harnden, South Side has 96 liquor licenses with six pending. Citywide there are 1,102 liquor licenses.

There are 64 downtown businesses open after midnight compared to 76 in the South Side. There are also 136 citywide extended hours food permits.

"A lot more people are living on an alternative schedule rather than nine to five," Ms. Harnden said.

She also said it is interesting to note the number of late-night extended food permits and businesses open after midnight.

311 data is now being collected to prioritize what people are experiencing so it can be better addressed.

Mr. Kraus said the city is in the beginning stages of revisiting opening sub-stations around the city in an effort to provide better city services. Maybe a new Zone 7? he asked.

In the city's streetscape project news, all lighting is up and running, and all the old lighting has been removed as planned. The intersections will be dealt with as PennDOT works on their project.

At May's forum meeting, the problem of "puddling," or rainwater covering a surface, outside Bruegger's at 18th and Carson streets was raised. It will be addressed.

PennDOT's $12 million East Carson St. safety improvement project will extend from the Smithfield St. Bridge to 33rd St., and include resurfacing, upgrading intersections, ADA ramps, and more.

It should begin in 2020 when the weather breaks.

Regarding the largely federally-funded 18th St. pedestrian safety project, the anticipated project schedule is for construction to begin in Spring, 2021.

Mr. Kraus next reported 77 street trees will be planted next month instead of waiting for the PennDOT project to complete. Volunteers are sought to help with the planting on Nov. 20 and 23, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Residents are sought. Chatham and Duquesne University students might also help out.

Regarding holiday lighting, Mr. Kraus said the plan was to enhance the streets at the holidays, but it is super expensive. Instead, Landesberg Design in South Side agreed to design holiday banners for free.

The theme will be "South Side Celebrates" with silver and gold colors.

"I think it's a really clever idea," he said.

The banners will be 36-inches by 40-inches, and vinyl.

There will be 99 banners from 10th to 25th streets, or the streetscape project scope. They will be erected on the new poles.

To a question about what happens after the holidays, Mr. Kraus said that is the issue with banners if anyone wants to advertise on them. It is city property so it is up to the Law Department to decide, he said.

"It's uncharted territory. We haven't done it before," he said.

The PED will pay for the banners and the cost to put them up.

In Old Business, the Development Review Committee (DRC) did not meet in September.

In member reports, the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA)'s annual StepTrek, the non-competitive, self-guided walking tour of the Slopes on Oct. 5 drew about 450 participants.

Candice Gonzalez, of the South Side Chamber of Commerce, reported that Small Business Saturday will be held on Nov. 23 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The 9th Annual Mittens & Mingles will be held on Dec. 4 from 6 to 10 p.m. at J. Verno Studios. The fundraiser benefits the South Side Welcome Center and raises funds for the Brashear Association's holiday toys and initiatives in South Pittsburgh.

The annual South Side Soup Contest will be held on Feb. 22.

Next, a representative from the office of state Rep. Jake Wheatley, Jr., reported a Youth Summit will be held on Oct. 22.

She also said Rep. Wheatley launched an online petition in support of his House Bill 50 to legalize marijuana for adult recreational use. Revenue would benefit after-school programs.

He also supports driver license amnesty in that suspensions for minor infractions would have the fines reduced or eliminated.

In the final news, Ernest Rajakone, of the city's Office of Community Affairs, reported city residents may drop off old TVs and computers at 3001 Railroad St. in the Strip District.

Drop-off appointments must be scheduled in advance at, or calling 814-425-7773. Fees apply for most items.

The next Planning Forum meeting will be on Nov. 12.


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