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By Tom Smith
South Pittsburgh Reporter Editor 

Parking enforcement, revenue discussed at forum


Last updated 12/20/2022 at 12:10pm

Parking, the availability of on-street parking in South Side and the cost and manner of enforcement dominated discussion at the Zoom meeting of the South Side Planning Forum on December 13.

Allison Harnden, City of Pittsburgh Nighttime Economy manager, said with November's meter collections in the South Side Parking Enhancement District (PED) total revenue has topped $1 million since its inception on March 17, 2017. Revenue for 2022 is $172,603.04 and total revenue since the beginning is $1,005,400.75.

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority collects the money from the meters and sequesters it until it is turned over to city's PED trust fund each March. PED funds must be invested back in the neighborhood for public safety, cleanliness, and infrastructure improvements.

In the South Side PED, meter revenue after 6 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and now on Sundays.

The balance trust fund balance is $153,864.27. However, there are outstanding invoices in the amount of $44,483.17.

Ms. Harnden said she has been hearing a lot of concerns from businesses concerning the sawhorses stored on the sidewalk from 12th to 17th Street used for blocking off no parking areas on the weekend nights. The sawhorses were said to be a deterrent to people trying to get to neighborhood businesses and not just the nighttime economy businesses, but such as retail stores.

She noted the sawhorses were removed from the 1700 block of East Carson Street already.

Candice Gonzalez, executive director of the South Side Chamber of Commerce, said she talked to a business owner in the 1700 block and they reported an "incredible, positive increase in their business" with the removal of the sawhorses from the parking spaces.

Ms. Gonzalez said other businesses in the safety zone between 12th and 17th streets reported the "worst business" in 20 or 30 years, attributing it to the sawhorses blocking access to the sidewalks from vehicles. She has been calling the councilman's office and "whoever else will listen to me" to have the barriers removed from the sidewalk when not in use "to help our daytime businesses."

She said some businesses in the narrow part of Carson Street have been taking it upon themselves to take the sawhorses down, placing them on a side street during the day.

Regarding enforcement in the Parking Enhancement District, Councilman Bruce Kraus reported he and Ms. Harnden met with officials from the Parking Authority, Public Safety and the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, who provide the South Side Clean Team through Block by Block. The meeting concerned better coordination concerning the PED, the revenue it generates and enforcement of the meters.

Mr. Kraus said they discussed better coordination of enforcing the meters on the street and those in the Parking Authority lots. The PED only receives money from the on-street meters, while the parking lot money goes to the Parking Authority.

The request to the Parking Authority was to have the parking lots at 19th and Carson, 19th and Sidney, both 18th Street lots, and the lot in the 1300 block to have coordinated times for collection and enforcement with the on-street meters. The hours of enforcement, coordinated with the police, was to be 6 p.m. to 3 a.m. as it relates to the PED district.

Cost of the meters, on-street and in the parking lots was to be set at $3 an hour for those times.

To make sure people are paying the meters on Sundays in South Side, they discussed enforcement options. Mr. Kraus said the Parking Authority was having trouble hiring people to do enforcement. It was noted that Block by Block does parking enforcement in other cities and may be able to take on that responsibility in South Side.

The Parking Authority was going to investigate the possibly of extending a contract to Block by Block for a parttime position to do enforcement on Sundays. Mr. Kraus said if it works out, they could look at possibly extending the contract to do the PED enforcement on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

Barbara Rudiak, president of the South Side Community Council, noted enforcement should also be stressed in the permit parking areas of South Side. She said there has been an increase in enforcement recently, but that people coming into the business districts are still looking for free parking in the neighborhood on the weekends.

Mr. Kraus said there are separate enforcement budgets for the PED and the residential permit parking areas, complicating the problem. The PED is enforced by the Parking Authority through PED revenue. While the Parking Authority also enforces the permit parking zones, the cost comes out of the authority's budget.


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