Peduto searches for towing improvements after Shadyside ‘pandemonium’ |

Peduto searches for towing improvements after Shadyside ‘pandemonium’

Bob Bauder
Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto speaks to reporters following a news conference to sign an executive order outlining guidelines for the testing of autonomous vehicles in the city at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center on Monday, March 4, 2019. Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto.

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto is looking for ways to avoid another tow truck incident like the “pandemonium” that erupted Saturday night in Shadyside when police and trucks arrived to remove vehicles on Walnut Street in preparation for the marathon.

Peduto and the city’s public works department announced repeatedly on social media that McGann and Chester Towing & Recovery would begin towing vehicles at midnight, but signs posted in streets said it would start at 11 p.m. He attributed the error to a miscommunication.

The mayor said Tuesday he got “heated” when the first tow truck driver drove within a foot of him in a “massive truck.” Peduto, who was in his favorite watering hole — Cappy’s Cafe on Walnut — said people rushed out in confusion to move their vehicles.

About 10 vehicles in that immediate area were towed. Peduto said the city would waive parking fines, but McGann and Chester refused to waive the towing fee.

“That first tow truck, he had no desire whatsoever to wait,” Peduto said. “That’s exactly when I got heated. He came within less than a foot of hitting me in a massive truck. My car wasn’t there. I wasn’t trying to get my car off of a tow truck. I was trying to get people who were upset the ability to keep their cars there while we made a decision.”

He said he yelled at the driver and slapped the fender of the truck with his palm. The driver, he said, yelled back and honked his horn.

“I thought we could just have the tow trucks wait until midnight and then start picking them up, but instead we had pandemonium with people running out, people running into cars trying to get their cars out of there, when we could have just taken a breath and waited,” he said.

Peduto said he intends to meet with McGann and Chester and others involved to work out a uniform plan and schedule for removing cars from streets during large events such as the Pittsburgh Marathon.

“Whatever that schedule is we should have the least impact on those that would be most affected, in other words the areas of the city where we have a nighttime economy,” he said. “Those should be the last pickups, not the first, and we should be able to say within an hour what time those trucks will be there. I want to see that on the marathon’s website, and I want to see it on our website and I want us to be consistent with it.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter .

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.