Dormont tries to keep up with parking demand
Six months after Dormont and Cochran Automotive traded parking lots off busy West Liberty Avenue, more changes in parking spaces could occur in the new year.
Borough officials and business owners hope that stricter meter enforcement in 2014 will ease a parking crunch near the borough's southern border.
The Cochran dealership group could stop leasing another borough lot in late February or March, if it finishes building a parking deck around its Nissan showroom by then.
“The parking lot next to us is too small ... It hurts a lot of businesses,” said Mandy Lin, manager at Katana Sushi Hibachi & Chinese. “During business times, a lot of working people will park here and take the T.”
Dormont traded ownership of its 75-space “junction lot” at West Liberty Avenue and McFarland Road for a pair of Cochran's lots on either side of West Liberty, around Biltmore Avenue. One of those used car lots became a borough-owned lot with 36 spaces. The dealership is leasing the other lot, above Port Authority's Park-and-Ride, to continue storing cars during the construction of a parking deck and a showroom.
The borough and its businesses lost about 39 parking spaces in the swap. But Dormont and Cochran offered complimentary valet parking for shops in the 3200 block of West Liberty, and rented 30 parking spaces at a nearby church for Thursday through Saturday nights.
Joe D'Amico, owner of Franco's Trattoria, said he's had to quash rumors that parking problems are driving him out of Dormont. But he admitted the situation is difficult.
“We've been here 13 years, and the restaurant is still very viable, but I didn't think (parking) would be as bad as it was,” D'Amico said. “I knew it would be a challenge. It's not worth closing or moving over.”
With fewer spaces available, D'Amico found his customers competing with tenants of nearby apartments for metered spaces along West Liberty on weekends and evenings.
He and Lin hope that will improve this year, as the borough steps up meter enforcement to between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Weekday enforcement hours had been trimmed due to lack of manpower, borough Manager Jeff Naftal said.
The longer hours technically took effect Wednesday, he said, but they might not be fully enforced until the borough hires a new police officer to handle the additional work.
Better meter enforcement could encourage turnover, and push renters out of business district spaces until later in the day, officials said.
Joe DeMarco, owner of Cain's Saloon, said he's more optimistic about the current parking situation than some merchants, and cited the valet parking paid for by Cochran as a boon to restaurants in the block. More meter enforcement might cost him some happy-hour customers, he said, if patrons no longer can park for free after 4 p.m.
D'Amico said he's considering changes to Franco's upscale, “white-tablecloth” atmosphere that might encourage more casual customers, and more people who could walk in.
Naftal said the valet service and rented spaces at the church appear to be a success, and might continue if businesses agree to support them even after Cochran turns over the lot between Biltmore Avenue and Park Boulevard for more parking.
Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-380-5625 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Add Matthew Santoni to your Google+ circles.
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.
- Castle Shannon parish plans special Masses for 125th anniversary
- Public’s interest in space endures, Western Pa., national groups say
- Placement of public car chargers needs to be revved up, experts say
- Cell tower plan puts South Park residents on edge
- Family’s reunion an opportunity to learn history of Pittsburgh Botanic Garden’s land, official say
- Wal-Mart plans worry McCandless center’s tenants
- Mt. Lebanon School District moves $2M from reserve fund to capital budget