Safety, fun paramount for Pittsburgh's Light Up Night
Light Up Night presents a great opportunity to attract customers for new restaurants such as Sal's City Deli.
“It's the busiest night of the year. We are new and are struggling to let people know we are here,” said Kathi Steve, manager of the restaurant, which opened about two weeks ago in the Clark Building at the corner of Liberty Avenue and Seventh Street.
But the Downtown restaurant, which like many others has extended hours Friday night, also will have extra security and will close if problems in the street get out of hand — as they did for a time last year and in 2010.
“It got pretty ugly last year, which is a concern for people,” said Steve, who has worked Downtown for years.
Last year, police arrested four people for fighting during the festival's two days of activities.
In 2010, one man was shot and fights broke out near the end of the first day of festivities. Police arrested at least six people.
Most of the disturbances took place along Liberty Avenue — not at any of the dozens of Light Up Night activities and concerts around Downtown. Event organizers and Pittsburgh police say the arrests were isolated.
“We do not want these few little incidents to be blown out of proportion. We want the public to be safe,” said police spokeswoman Diane Richard.
Arrests at Light Up Night are a fraction of those during the annual St. Patrick's Day parade, when police typically issue dozens of citations for alcohol violations, she said.
Richard said the police presence at this year's events will be about the same as it was last year, when about 100 officers — including K-9 units — were on patrol.
The Wood Street T station, a major transfer depot, is of particular concern, said Jim Ritchie, a Port Authority spokesman. Several arrests were made near there last year.
“This is a large crowd with lots of people coming in from all over for a major event. Many people prefer using public transportation to attend Light Up Night. With events like this, we have as many of our officers out as possible,” he said.
Attendance at Light Up Night has jumped dramatically in just four years, said Ida D'Errico, who is producing the event for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.
Last year, half a million people attended Light Up Night on Friday, and more than 250,000 visited the next day. In 2008, 100,000 people attended.
Last year's celebration generated $21 million in spending at Downtown hotels, restaurants, bars and stores, D'Errico said.
“Light Up Night was reprogrammed in 2009. It is designed to be the marketing catalyst for downtown Pittsburgh and to get people interested in returning Downtown,” she said.
Rick Faust, manager of Original Oyster House in Market Square, said Light Up Night is one of the busiest nights of the year at the restaurant, which opened in 1870.
“It's great for business. Light Up Night, St. Patrick's Day and Fridays during Lent are our busiest days,” he said.
Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7944 or at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Comeau’s hat trick leads Penguins; Crosby reaches career points
- Pitt routs Kansas State to finish 3rd at Maui Invitational
- Fewer adults smoking, U.S. survey finds
- Steelers’ backups Archer, Harris ready to run
- PIT wants non-passengers allowed past security to shop
- Starkey: Rutherford will add when timing’s right
- Pregnant woman struck by van in North Side dies; doctors save baby
- Defying the odds makes this Thanksgiving particularly poignant
- Steelers notebook: Roethlisberger says Saints game is ‘must win’
- Trib kicks off annual effort to help feed families for Christmas
- Liberal Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg has stent placed in heart artery