Pittsburgh councilman calls for scrapping extended hours for meter enforcement
Keeping free parking on evenings at meters in most city neighborhoods won't substantially hurt the city's finances, Pittsburgh Councilman Corey O'Connor said Monday.
“We can afford to make the decision to go to 6 p.m.,” said O'Connor, who introduced an ordinance to keep enforcement until that hour rather than extending it to 10 p.m.
The legislation will come before City Council for a preliminary vote on Wednesday and final vote on June 25. It would keep nighttime meter enforcement from kicking in on June 30, a deadline council set in December when some business owners lobbied against the later enforcement.
“It's not fair for businesses trying to compete with the malls where there is free parking,” O'Connor said of neighborhood establishments.
His legislation would allow evening meter enforcement Downtown, in the South Side and on the North Shore — neighborhoods with busy commercial or entertainment districts.
“I'm keeping an open mind about it,” said Councilman Bruce Kraus, whose district includes the South Side. “It's a thriving business district, so it's not unreasonable to think parking meters could go until 10 p.m.”
Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle, who represents Downtown and a portion of the North Side, could not be reached.
The issue dates to 2010, when council avoided state takeover of employee pension plans by committing $735 million in parking taxes to them over 30 years.
O'Connor said new parking meters and increased rates are generating money that makes fewer hours for meter enforcement possible.
Mayoral spokeswoman Stephanie Sikora said the city received $2.6 million from the Pittsburgh Parking Authority last year, including meter revenue. The city expects to receive $416,566 from meter revenue in 2013, she said, but she couldn't speculate on how the proposed change might alter that number.
“The city budgets conservatively,” Sikora said. “There are revenue and expenditure fluctuations through the year. They're addressed on a case-by-case basis.”
Revenue went up an estimated 15 to 20 percent in areas where the city installed electronic meters that accept credit cards, said David Onorato, executive director of the parking authority.
The authority installed 550 of those meters by the end of December and ordered 340 that should arrive by the end of this month, Onorato said.
“I think (revenue) will stay up,” Onorato said.
“It's giving customers another form of payment, and they're able to park more cars per block space. I think, before, people were willing to pay but didn't have enough quarters or the meters were broken.”
Two Carnegie Mellon University professors who conducted a parking meter study are scheduled to address council on Wednesday, along with Onorato, Finance Director Scott Kunka, council Budget Director Bill Urbanic and Jeff Cohen, owner of Smallman Street Deli. He could not be reached, but O'Connor said he opposes expanded enforcement.
Margaret Harding is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.
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.
- High school football roundup: No. 13 Riverside upsets Beth-Center in 1st round
- Highlands quarterback Thimons ‘wills’ his team to victory over New Brighton
- Quarantine fears jeopardize volunteer work in Ebola-stricken West Africa
- Shenango thumps Springdale for 1st playoff win in 12 years
- Jeannette rallies past Brentwood in 1st-round rout
- Plum upsets Penn Hills, 17-6, in 1st-round playoff game
- Coastal Division lead within reach for Panthers
- Mars rides Rinaman’s 6 TDs to win
- McKeesport rewarded for risk taken at end of 1st half, beats Mt. Lebanon, 35-10
- Evaporating cap on Pa. gasoline taxes to offset drops at pump
- Nude photos of Penn Hills High School students spur investigation