Peduto searches for towing improvements after Shadyside ‘pandemonium’
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 .