Sunday enforcement of South Side meters delayed temporarily
February 22, 2022
The February 8 meeting of the South Side Planning Forum began with the January report of the Parking Enhancement District (PED), or the enforcement of South Side Flats parking meters from 6 p.m. to midnight.
The PED is in effect on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. PED funds must be invested back in the neighborhood for public safety, cleanliness, and infrastructure improvements.
Nighttime economy manager Allison Harnden delivered the report.
January PED revenue totaled $11,009.37. The enforcement costs were $2,441.85. The total revenue since the PED began in April, 2017, is $843,631.13.
The December expenditures for the Clean Team, or Block by Block which maintains the E. Carson St. corridor, and including its manager, were $11,993.20.
The 2021 PED revenue to date is $153,823.09. The PED trust fund totals $131,731.16.
The projected balance after the transfer of 2021 revenue from the Pittsburgh Parking Authority (PPA) is $272,403.42.
In her report of the Clean Team, Ms. Harnden said trash collection for January totaled 3,950 pounds.
The focus for February will be sweeping beneath trash receptacles. There will also be continued emphasis on last month’s focus, curb lines, due to trash that was buried under the snow from last month’s winter storm.
The Clean Team removes trash and graffiti/stickers, lends hospitality assistance, and more.
City Councilman Bruce Kraus said he has struggled with enforcement issues the past few months. The problem is the PPA being unable to get police escorts on many weekends.
As PPA agents are frequently accosted, the plan was for police officers to accompany them. Officers are not signing up to do so which would be in addition to their regular shifts.
The end result is that while agents are on the scene, paid from PED funds, tickets are not being given out.
“We are paying for something we are not getting,” he said.
An attendee asked if PPA could train someone to deal with these issues.
Mr. Kraus said when alcohol and possibly guns are involved it creates a dangerous situation.
Ms. Harnden said PPA had assaults on their enforcement officers when this began. Police officers were then asked to sign up for another shift after working their regular shifts.
The system is dependent on volunteers to sign up at a time when Commander Fisher needs them elsewhere, she said.
To an attendee’s question about using technology instead of placing tickets on windshields, Mr. Kraus said the issue becomes whether it is required to place tickets on windshields.
State Rep. Jessica Benham said she would look into the role of cameras, and whether tickets may be mailed.
Barbara Rudiak, president of the South Side Community Council (SSCC), suggested discussion with Commander Fisher and PPA officials about this.
Mr. Kraus said he will research further about the requirement to put tickets on windshields.
An attendee said cars parked in “no-parking” areas should be towed.
To a question if meter revenue is down, Mr. Kraus said yes, and for a number of reasons.
Construction at the Goodwill building closed off meters that would have been available to the PED. Ms. Harnden said parking revenue decreased following reduced occupancy counts required during the pandemic.
There is also talk about business being down, she said, and agreed a conversation is called for.
Updating the PennDOT safety improvement project, Mr. Kraus said many signal poles have been installed. The hope is to have it all completed by mid-summer.
Then, the 18th street signals upgrade project for pedestrian safety will begin.
Regarding the old 18th and Mary streets police station, Mr. Kraus said it is 80 percent completed. The police will be able to use the Zone 3 substation space for breaks, paperwork, and to respond more efficiently to calls.
The Clean Team will also be housed there with a break room, bathroom, and to keep warm in cold weather.
Mr. Kraus next reported that the Responsible Hospitality Institute (RHI), which works to come up with recommendations on improving a city’s nightlife, will be holding a conference in April in Washington, DC.
He would like for himself, Bob Charland from his office, Ms. Harnden, and nighttime economy coordinator Rachel Webber to attend. He would pay for himself and Mr. Charland from his office account.
He asked attendees if paying for Ms. Harnden’s registration fee and travel from PED funds was an appropriate use.
Ms. Rudiak said she has attended three RHI conferences, and it has been very useful.
“It is a very, very good conference,” she said.
Next, Planning Forum chair Tom Smith said the Neighborhood Plan committee met last week. There was discussion with Aaron Sukenik, executive director of the Hilltop Alliance, about what it would take to have a Main Street manager for South Side.
The cost for a quality person and the program would be about six figures.
The next committee meeting will be on March 1.
In her report of the South Side Chamber of Commerce, executive director Candice Gonzalez recalled that it had been one year since a fire devastated the 1100 East Carson St. historic building that housed Chamber offices and more.
She said the organization is currently focused on its support of Community Options’ Cupid’s Chase 5K fundraiser on Feb. 12 at 10 a.m. at PNC Park. Community Options’ mission is to develop housing and employment supports for persons with disabilities.
She also reported COVID continues to impact the Chamber as event planning is ever mindful of what can be staged in light of the pandemic.
One event which will be held is the annual South Side Summer Golf Classic in August.
In her report of the SSSNA, Ms. Jette said its annual meeting, with board elections, will be held via Zoom on March 8.
In the SSCC report, Ms. Rudiak said the organization is focusing on zoning issues with DAM. Members also met with developers who did not meet the criteria for a DAM.
She also reported that South Watch, an initiative of the SSCC and SSSNA to address community issues and work toward solutions, was scheduled to meet the next day
She also reported there will be a blood drive at the IBEW building on South Side from 12:30 to 6:30 p.m. on March 2.
The next Planning Forum Zoom meeting will be on March 8. Plans for St. Patrick’s Day will be discussed.