South Siders ask for easing of parking restrictions on Carson
Last updated 11/15/2022 at 5:33pm
A decrease in crime in the East Carson Street business corridor has area businesses calling for easing of parking restrictions in the 1700 block of the main street.
Speaking at the November meeting of the South Side Planning Forum, City of Pittsburgh Nighttime Economy Manager Allison Harnden said the decrease in the number of empty alcohol bottles the Clean Team has been picking up indicates there are fewer people coming to the neighborhood and drinking on the street at their vehicles. She said it could be attributed to several factors including the weather getting colder and Zone 3 Commander Christopher Ragland’s approach to officer education and training.
South Side Community Council President Barbara Rudiak said a new restaurant owner in the 1700 block of East Carson Street has asked if the sawhorses restricting parking could be placed in the street later in the evening.
Ms. Harnden said the placement of the sawhorses was also discussed at a recent meeting of the bar owners and Commander Ragland.
District 3 Councilman Bruce Kraus added that last month he asked the Zone 3 commander to consider removing or placing the sawhorses out in the parking lane later in the evening in the 1700 block. He said the area has calmed down and the Parking Enhancement District (PED) has seen a decrease in revenue with the elimination of those parking spaces.
Revenue from the PED, which comes from the parking meters from 6 p.m. until midnight Thursdays through Sundays, is used to pay for the Clean Team, holiday banners and other initiatives in South Side. This month, the PED will reach the $1 million mark since its inception.
Councilman Kraus said Commander Ragland is considering making the change in hours in the 1700 block. The councilman added that block wasn’t originally included in the “safety lane” in the narrower part of East Carson Street from 12th Street to 17th Street.
Mr. Kraus would later lament the parking enforcement in the PED is “beyond abysmal,” particularly on Sunday nights.
“Sunday night is one of the most impactful nights of the weekend and when the street is at its busiest,” he said. Meter collections on Sundays is typically in the $300 to $400 range while the other nights average over $1,000 per night.
He attributed the difference to the lack of enforcement on Sundays by the Pittsburgh Parking Authority.
Ms. Rudiak also said there is a lack of enforcement at night in the permit parking areas of South Side.
“We’re not getting what we’ve been told what we are to get with parking enforcement,” she said.
The councilman also said the holiday banners, using the same design as in the past but using more traditional colors of red and green, should be going up on the poles on Carson Street shortly. The banners are paid for using PED funding along with a contribution from the councilman’s office.
There was also some discussion at the Planning Forum meeting about the need to make the median strips more visible to motorists, particularly when there is snow on the ground. There are concerns people will be driving over them if they are obscured by snow on the ground.
“People are doing it already where they want to make a left-hand turn or a right-hand turn where they can’t,” Ms. Rudiak said.
She said one proposal the community council has heard is to use art, similar to the flowers on poles outside of the Brew House, instead of planters on the median strips.
Jackie Kaiser from the community council said they are incorporating using some kind of median artwork in the branding proposal they are seeking funding for from the state.