| News

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Pittsburgh council proposes licenses for valets

- A “No Parking” sign in Market Square used by Tri State Valet.
A “No Parking” sign in Market Square used by Tri State Valet.
- Traffic cones placed by valets working in Market Square block access to Graeme Street from Fifth Avenue.
Traffic cones placed by valets working in Market Square block access to Graeme Street from Fifth Avenue.
- Orange traffic cones block off a section of Market Square for valet parking company Tri State Valet.
Orange traffic cones block off a section of Market Square for valet parking company Tri State Valet.

Email Newsletters

Click here to sign up for one of our email newsletters.

'American Coyotes' Series

Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

Thursday, May 2, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

Valet parking operators for the first time would have to be licensed under legislation Pittsburgh City Council is considering because of concerns about aggressive tactics in Market Square.

Councilman Daniel Lavelle, who sponsored the ordinance, said it stems from complaints that Tri State Valet Inc. employees tried to force Market Square customers to use the service, parked cars in on-street spaces instead of in a designated garage and used a private lot without permission.

“Pittsburgh has never had a valet parking ordinance,” Lavelle said. “It was pretty much just a handshake agreement with (valet operators).”

A Market Square business association is considering replacing the politically-connected Green Tree company with a different operator, a board member said on Wednesday.

“The rest of the board wanted to look elsewhere after the negative publicity was received to see if there were other operators who could operate more professionally,” said Pete Landis, managing partner of Perle restaurant and a member of the Market Square Merchants Association board.

Tri State owner Robert Gigliotti, 46, of Banksville did not return a call.

“We welcome the competition, and we're confident in the professionalism of our organization,” said Lou Blauth, Gigliotti's attorney.

The Tribune-Review reported last month that the city police bureau consistently awarded Tri State more parking spots than competitors, giving the company an unfair advantage.

Gigliotti, whose wife is a city police detective, is a friend of former Chief Nate Harper and is well connected among politicians, including Mayor Luke Ravenstahl. Gigliotti is a member of the 20th Ward Democratic Committee and served on one of Ravenstahl's re-election fundraising committees in 2011.

City police ramped up spot inspections of valet stands as a result of the complaints in Market Square and limited the number of parking spots to four, with the exception of special events. Assistant Chief Maurita Bryant, who instituted the changes, was not available for comment.

Under the ordinance, operators would have to apply each year for a license at a cost of $100 per location. There is no fee now.

Operators would be prohibited from parking cars on streets, be permitted a maximum of four spaces for drop-off and delivery, and be required to provide proof of insurance. The ordinance requires a secure lot for storing vehicles and city-issued signs clearly designating valet stands and spots.

City Council is scheduled to take a final vote on the bill next week. It received unanimous preliminary approval Wednesday.

“It seems like pretty reasonable stuff to me,” said Blauth, noting that Tri State spoke with Lavelle about the ordinance.

Other operators said they had no objection to the ordinance as long as it's uniform.

“I think it can only be good,” said James Tramonte, 36, of North Huntingdon, the owner of In and Out Valet with locations in Downtown and the South Side. “I just hope it goes far enough so it holds everybody accountable.

“If you're doing what you're supposed to be doing and you're serving the needs of the people in Pittsburgh, everybody's going to win.”

Bob Bauder is a Trib Total Media staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312 or

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.




Show commenting policy

Most-Read Allegheny

  1. Peduto blasts Wolf’s plan to borrow $3B to shore up pensions
  2. Pittsburgh is planning to add network of bike lanes through Oakland
  3. Woman crashes car at Pittsburgh federal building after high-speed chase
  4. Fugitive arrested at Plum motel on drug, gun charges
  5. School credit ratings a problem for several in Western Pennsylvania
  6. Public Utility Commission will consider fare hikes
  7. Judge adds 2 years to sentence of Baldwin Borough man acquitted of murder
  8. Western Pa.’s ties to 2016 White House race extend beyond Santorum
  9. 2 firefighters injured in Millvale house fire
  10. Thief’s attorney blames Rivers Casino; judge isn’t swayed
  11. W.Va. authorities charge 87 with drug trafficking