Taxi block, more police headed to South Side in time for St. Patrick's Day
By Bob Bauder and Aaron Aupperlee
Published: Wednesday, Feb. 19, 2014, 12:06 p.m.
Pittsburgh officials hope rowdy behavior in the South Side will subside in the spring when the nightlife hub gets a taxi and valet-only block, and more police officers.
City Council on Wednesday preliminarily approved retaining Santa Cruz, Calif.-based Responsible Hospitality Institute for a third year as a consultant working to make the South Side safer for revelers. The city would pay RHI $100,000.
“It's a very strong effort to lessen negative impact,” said Mayor Bill Peduto. “We're not just trying to address it with SWAT or police blitz-type efforts.”
The city paid RHI $200,000 during the past two years to work with police, universities, city administrators and business owners to improve public safety and the quality of life in several neighborhoods. South Side residents reported bargoers using sidewalks and yards as toilets.
Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith said her initial reservations about hiring RHI have not changed.
“I think the most successful thing they've done is bring a large group of people together who should have been cooperating anyway,” she said.
Councilman Bruce Kraus, who lobbied for the consultant two years ago and whose district includes the South Side, said the third year will be one of implementing ideas.
By St. Patrick's Day, cabs will queue on one side of the 1700 block of E. Carson Street as valet services operate on the other side, said RHI President Jim Peters.
By April, bars and restaurants will chip in as much as $250,000 to offset the cost of police patrols, Peters said. The plan pairs off-duty officers paid by bars and restaurants with on-duty officers. Public Safety Director Mike Huss nixed the plan when it was proposed last April but later agreed to let it move forward.
“We're more than happy to see that progress is being made in terms of security, safety and transportation,” said Mike Papariella, president of the South Side Bar and Restaurant Association.
About 160 establishments in the South Side are licensed to serve alcohol.
The institute hopes to start training the city's nighttime economy manager, a new $51,000 position in the mayor's office, by May. The job is unfilled.
Civic leaders in Shadyside, Bloomfield, Downtown and Lawrenceville have worked with RHI.
“We have looked at the South Side and have talked to business owners there to see how can we grow our nighttime economy while standing in front of some of the issues the South Side has had,” said Lauren Byrne, executive director of Lawrenceville United.
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.
- Steelers to release LaMarr Woodley; Taylor apparently staying
- NHL notebook: GMs discuss possible changes to overtime
- Harper hires another attorney to handle request to reduce sentence
- Kovacevic: Big Ben’s contract clock ticking
- Pirates notebook: Martin finding power stroke
- Talented center Sutter is proving to be ‘pretty important’ for Penguins
- Fear of building collapse closes Tarentum road
- Spring training breakdown: Orioles 7, Pirates 6
- NFL notebook: Jets cut former Super Bowl MVP Santonio Holmes
- Penn State’s Franklin cherishes memories of time spent in Pittsburgh
- Primanti’s manager admits stealing $30,000 from restaurants