Traffic moves smoothly as fans converge on North Shore for doubleheader
In the end, the Pirates played the Reds and the Steelers played the Bears and the North Shore was left standing.
There was the usual crowded racket on the streets and in the parking lots that precedes every Steelers home game. There were frayed nerves and short tempers, too, resulting from the first time a Steelers regular-season night game at Heinz Field followed an afternoon Pirates game at PNC Park.
Both were sellouts, so the combined attendance exceeded 100,000. But dire predictions of apocalyptic traffic and parking chaos were proven wrong.
“It was unprecedented, and I think most people understood that,” said Chris Retenauer, a supervisor with Alco Parking, which owns or controls 19 lots near the stadiums. “For the most part, it went pretty well. There were some speed bumps along the way, but we were trying to prevent the perfect storm and I think we succeeded.”
As if there were a hurricane bearing down, the public was kept informed all week and advised to take precautions. But instead of boarding up windows and evacuating the area, the messages were to park elsewhere — the farther away, the better — and for Steelers fans to stay away from the North Shore until 6 p.m., or more than 2½ hours before kickoff.
For some hardy tailgaters, that was not nearly enough time. But many dutifully obeyed. Some showed up later than usual, others not at all. As game time approached, some of the lots remained strangely devoid of cars.
“I think people held off,” said Pittsburgh police officer George DeVault, who is responsible for police staffing on Steelers game days. “That was a huge thing, not trying to force your way in.”
DeVault said an added police presence helped. So did the Pirates' dispiriting 11-3 loss. Because of the blowout, it was unnecessary to heed fliers and roadside signs urging fans to leave as quickly as possible after the game. Many left during the game and several lots opened sooner than advertised. Even the blocked access to the North Shore, which was supposed to last from 4 to 6 p.m., ended 30 minutes early.
“We've got the Pirates (fans) out, we're workin' on gettin' the Steelers (fans) in. Everything's runnin' smooth,” DeVault said about 5:30 p.m. from his perch on Mt. Washington,
The day wasn't entirely smooth for some of the fans who expected to park in a certain lot but were told to come back later. One fan had a spirited discussion with an attendant about not getting into his assigned lot because it was for Pirates' pass-holders only. He noted more than once that he is a 10-year season-ticket holder and called the situation “a joke.”
Grant Duncan, a Bears fan who drove 6½ hours from Valparaiso, Ind., said the Steelers parking pass he bought online turned out to be for a Pirates-only lot.
“What are we supposed to do, drive in circles?” he asked before finding a place to park until he could move his car at 6 p.m. to his assigned location.
Some lots stayed closed longer than expected. At 9:30 a.m., Greensburg resident Ken Goblinger was lined up in his “Steelers Emergency Tailgate Response Unit” — a converted ambulance — expecting quick entry to his lot. But it would not open for a few more hours while other lots were being filled.
“We're going to hang out until they let us in,” he said. “It is what it is.”
“I learned one thing in the Army,” said Larry Flowers, an Alco manager. “You adapt, you adjust, you overcome.”
But, he noted, “I hope this doesn't happen again.”
Bob Cohn and Tory N. Parrish are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Cohn can be reached at 412-320-7810, firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter@BCohn_Trib. Parrish can be reached at 412-380-5662 or 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.
- School credit ratings a problem for several in Western Pennsylvania
- Boy Scouts’ end to ban on gay leaders unnerves religious groups
- Projects advance through Pittsburgh planning commission despite opposition
- City, ex-manager of Pittsburgh police Office of Personnel and Finance reach settlement
- ‘Turf battle’ blamed in fights that canceled Carrick church festival
- Newsmaker: Megan Cicconi
- Service restored following water main break in Baldwin Borough
- Pittsburgh man jailed on theft, assault and drug charges
- W.Va. authorities charge 87 with drug trafficking
- Western Pa.’s ties to 2016 White House race extend beyond Santorum