By Margaret L. Smykla
Contributing Writer 

Sunday enforcement of parking meters in South Side postponed


Last updated 12/22/2021 at 6:31pm

The November report of the Parking Enhancement District (PED), or the enforcement of South Side Flats parking meters from 6 p.m. to midnight, kicked off the Dec. 14 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum.

Currently, the PED operates on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The expansion of PED hours to include Thursdays began this summer, and have resulted in an additional $3600 a month.

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

Nighttime economy coordinator Allison Harnden reported November revenue totaled $10,833.57. That is lower than the October revenue, which she attributed to colder weather and four holidays in November which were not enforced.

The 2021 revenue to date is $140,685.92. The PED trust fund totals $159,088.12.

The total revenue since the PED began in April, 2017, is $819,484.59.

South Side alcohol license changes include the transfer of current licensee McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood & Steaks, which closed earlier this year, to new applicant Canadev Ventures SSW LLC, 445 S. 27th St.

There was a return to safekeeping of its alcohol license for Dunbar’s Place, 1109 E. Carson St. That is required by the LCB if not used for a period of time.

Last month, a fire broke out in the same building as Dunbar’s Place.

In her report of the Clean Team, or Block by Block which maintains the E. Carson St. corridor and is funded by PED, Ms. Harnden said trash collection for November totaled 11,222 pounds. Three graffiti/stickers were removed.

Falling leaves continue to be the focus, and takes much time to remove.

City Councilman Bruce Kraus said there are plans to add Sundays to the PED beginning in March-April, 2022.

For the first month on Sundays there will be a grace period in which an Oops Card on the windshield will gave a break to violators. After that, fines will be issued.

The delay in starting on Sundays is that a new position needs to be filled for Sunday enforcement.

Barbara Rudiak, president of the South Side Community Council (SSCC), said the Sunday PED will have an impact on the residential area as motorists will park on those streets.

Residents who have guests over on Sundays because they do not need to pay to park will be affected by the change. Signage will also need to be changed on the streets, she said.

Mr. Kraus also reported trash is down 500 pounds, which is probably due to the holidays and less traffic, especially with students being away during Thanksgiving.

The brick wall in the 1700 block of East Carson St., which is frequently graffitied, was cleaned by the Clean Team and sealed. There has only been one hit lately.

“So far, so good,” he said.

With the Clean Team, services have been cut back in previous winters. But he met with the two-member Clean Team, and the team will be kept through February without layoffs, which the members requested. 

Mr. Kraus also said that with construction on-going their services will be needed over the upcoming months.

There is also planning for a third full-time worker to the Clean Team, who would start in the spring and focus on the side streets. 

The additional cost would be covered by the extra revenue generated with the addition of Thursdays and Sundays to the PED.

He also reported there are no holiday decorations on South Side streets as the area is under construction and in a state of disrepair.

Next year at this time, the holiday decorations will return as construction will be completed.

The PennDOT safety improvement project extends from the Smithfield St. Bridge to 33rd St., and includes milling and resurfacing; signage and signal updates; sidewalk improvements; ADA ramp and guiderail installations; high visibility crosswalks; and more.

“Things are going to be okay,” he said referencing the current inconveniences.

 Mr. Kraus also reported there was vandalism to the trees near City Theatre, and which will be replaced. None of the 77 trees on East Carson St. were lost, and have taken root nicely.

He said city forester Lisa Ceoffe would make sure the trees are properly cared for.

A city budget vote the next day includes a $50,000 study for Ormsby Park to make it more of a campus for family activity: playground, ballfield, swimming pool, and Carnegie Library. Armstrong Park is included in this study.

Next, Planning Forum chair Tom Smith reported letters were sent in support of Port Authority Transit (PAT)’s application for a federal grant to increase transportation safety around Station Square.

Besides a letter from the Planning Forum, letters of support were also sent by member organizations.

Next, in Old Business, Ms. Rudiak reported a Development Activities Meeting (DAM) was not held by the SSCC in November or December. An agenda for January is being worked on.

A DAM provides an opportunity for citizens, property owners, business owners, and stakeholders to learn about the proposals that affect them and to resolve concerns at an early stage of the application process.

Besides 75,000-square-feet office space, plans for the former South Side Works Cinema include the addition of duck pin bowling, bocce ball, ping pong, pinball, and more. Pins Mechanical Co. will present at a DAM.

There may be five potential developments at the January SSCC DAM.

In the South Side Slopes Neighborhood Association (SSSNA) report, board members are sought. If interested, contact Blake McLaren at 412-721-1745.

In organization reports, Mr. Smith said meetings on the Neighborhood Plan will resume in January, and with likely new members.

Candice Gonzalez, executive director of the South Side Chamber of Commerce, reported that at its November meeting the following officers were elected: Tim Eggert, president; Richard Ernsberger, vice president; Don Carlson, treasurer; and Amber N. Lynch, secretary.

Next, state Rep. Jessica Benham, 36th District, reported she would be co-hosting the next evening a discussion on the state health insurance system.

She also said her chief of staff Moira Kaleida left for another position.

Rep. Benham reported that earlier this month she hosted a panel with state LCB officials and others on what the state is doing with liquor enforcement, and options for nuisance bars. It was held at the City Theatre.

 Ms. Rudiak said she watched the video on YouTube, and that it was very informational. It is a good reference for those interested in learning the liquor control laws, she said.

Mr. Kraus said the focus continues to be enforcement as opposed to substantive policy change. But the goal of the latter will decrease the need for enforcement, he said.

It would go a long way if we can show that effective alcohol policy will increase revenue if establishments are perceived as safe and clean, he said. Rep. Benham agreed.

She explained the House Liquor Control Committee controls policy, and that its chairman is in charge, even deciding if a vote will occur on an issue.

The LCB does not have the ability to go to the chair and say what it wants, but rather it goes in the other direction, she said.

Ms. Harnden reported Philadelphia is creating an office of nighttime economy and that maybe Pittsburgh can work with them on issues common to both.

Ms. Harnden said there is a market that is not being addressed as there is not a bar or nightclub category. Speakeasies are popping up and creating problems and can be dangerous, she said.

Restaurants are the only category, she said, which does not address the essential impact of alcohol-focused establishments.

Every establishment is not the same, and they have different operations, Mr. Kraus said.

The next Planning Forum Zoom meeting will be on January 11.


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