By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Short forum meeting highlights proposed changes, PED update


Last updated 12/19/2019 at 9:38am

The brief Dec. 10 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum began with updates on the South Side Parking Enhancement District (PED).

While neither city Councilman Bruce Kraus nor city nighttime economy coordinator Allison Harnden could be present, they sent the November updates on the PED, which is 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 five weekends in November, the gross meter revenue was $15,868.65. No money was collected over the weekend following Thanksgiving as parking was free.

The gross meter revenue year-to-date is $192,820.39. The gross meter revenue since April, 2017, when the PED began, is $571,046.05.

Expenditures for the month included $4,844.73 for holiday banners and $1,567.50 for installation.

The banners are 36-inches by 40-inches, and are erected from 10th to 25th streets on the new poles.

There is currently $207,428.39 in the PED account. That amount will go down as funding for the Clean Team is paid as a contract has been signed.

Block by Block, or the two-person Clean Team retained with PED funds to keep the E. Carson St. corridor maintained, removed 17,302 pounds of trash, and 24 graffiti/stickers in November.

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

Last year, funds were saved by reducing weekly service hours for the Clean Team in January and February. This year, service will again be reduced to one 20-hour week for winter trash maintenance.

There will be one Clean Team ambassador in the South Side from Wednesdays to Sundays, 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

In February, funds collected by the Parking Authority will be turned over to the PED account, as this is done annually in February.

The November update also featured news that the Colombian Spot at 2019 E. Carson St. now has a liquor license. Prior, it was a BYOB establishment.

In the report of the neighborhood plan committee, Matt Brungo said there will be continuing discussion of what the Planning Forum will look like moving forward, like transitioning into group coordination. 

It also looks like the Planning Forum will give up oversight of the Development Review Committee (DRC), which currently is a committee of the Planning Forum.

But more discussion will follow in January.

Tom Smith said the Planning Forum will not operate as it had – instead of a “planning forum” it will be more of a “neighborhood forum.”

He said the Planning Forum is losing its effectiveness as a community-wide organization as member groups, like the South Side Community Council (SSCC) and the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA), become Registered Community Organization (RCO)s.

The designation gives formal status to community organizations that register with the City of Pittsburgh, and provides benefits to those organizations.

The benefits include notification of public hearings, guaranteed meetings with developers/applicants, placement on official brochures, and more.

There is discussion within the Neighborhood Plan Committee for the Planning Forum to include more sector representatives, such as arts and entertainment, Bar and Restaurant Association, library, and more.

Mr. Smith said while the Planning Forum has always worked on a consensus basis, a member group may vote “no” and couldn’t support a proposal.

Today, community groups are becoming empowered and don’t want organizations from other neighborhoods making decisions for them, he said.

Next, regarding the DRC, Mr. Smith said the neighborhood plan committee requested that DRC chair Tracy Myers send them the names of DRC members and their contacts.

The DRC has not met in a few months. Mr. Smith said they would like to see it continue as it is important.

In member reports, Mr. Brungo said the SSCC submitted an RCO application that day to the city. He also reported the SSCC is looking for a location for its spring social.

In the report of the South Side Chamber of Commerce, the annual South Side Soup Contest will be held on Feb. 22. A railroad study on noise complaints is going on.

Blake McLaren reported the SSSNA would be holding its annual holiday party on Dec. 12 at the Zenith restaurant. The SSSNA will submit its RCO application later this month, he said.

Next, Hersh Merenstein, community liaison in the Office of Community Affairs, announced the city is in need of volunteers for its Snow Angels programs, in which snow shovelers help elderly residents and others with disabilities.

To be a volunteer, or to sign-up for volunteers to remove snow from your sidewalk and/or driveway, call 311. Incentives for volunteers are being offered, like raffles for lunch with Mayor Peduto and movie tickets.

He also announced that a South Side site has been added to the list of live Christmas tree drop-off locations for turning the trees into mulch.

From Dec. 26 to Jan. 26, trees may be dropped off in the lower parking lot of South Side Riverfront Park. The hours are 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. seven days a week.

All decorations, plastic bags, and tree stands should be removed. Christmas trees set at the curb will be sent to the landfill.

For more information, call 311 or visit:

Last year, 4,000 trees were dropped off for recycling.

The next Planning Forum meeting will be on Jan. 14.


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