President Trump visit spurs road, school closures in Downtown Pittsburgh |

President Trump visit spurs road, school closures in Downtown Pittsburgh

Tom Davidson
President Donald Trump speaks Oct. 21 during a Cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House.
Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Police Commander Eric Holmes on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, at the City-County Building.
Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich on Monday, Oct. 21, 2019, at the City-County Building.

President Trump’s planned visit Wednesday to Pittsburgh spurred public safety officials to offer this advice to people: Avoid Downtown if possible.

“Leave early,” police Chief Scott Schubert said to Downtown workers. “If you can work from home, that’s fine as well. The traffic’s going to be heavier than normal.”

Additionally, 12 Pittsburgh Public Schools will close for the day because of transportation disruptions resulting from the presidential visit.

Trump is set to give the keynote remarks Wednesday afternoon at the Shale Insight conference at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, Downtown.

Streets will be closed, traffic will be bad and protests are expected, according to city Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich.

“I must stress to anyone coming Downtown on Wednesday: Please be patient and understand that there is going to be traffic congestion,” Hissrich said.

Those who need to get to or from the airport Wednesday afternoon should expect delays because of the visit, he said.

Downtown businesses have been asked to dismiss early and/or to allow employees to work away from the area, Hissrich said.

The 12 city schools are closing because more than 2,000 students attend school Downtown or travel through Downtown on Port Authority buses, Superintendent Anthony Hamlet said in a news release.

“We believe we can never do enough to ensure student safety,” Hamlet said. Because the degree of Downtown disruption is unknown, “as an additional precaution, we will close 12 schools to ensure students are not traveling through Downtown during the president’s visit.”

Classes are canceled at the following PPS schools: Pittsburgh CAPA 6-12, Obama 6-12, Perry, Westinghouse 6-12, Allderdice, Carrick, Brashear, Milliones 6-12, Oliver Citywide Academy, Student Achievement Center 6-12, Pittsburgh Science and Technology Academy 6-12 and the Pittsburgh Online Academy drop-in center.

All athletic events in the city schools are canceled for Wednesday. All early childhood centers and Headstart programs will remain open.

Trump is expected to arrive at the convention center at about 2:30 p.m., although that time could change. The Secret Service controls the route the presidential motorcade will take and does not release that information for security reasons, Hissrich said.

Starting at midnight Tuesday, 10th Street — the road that bisects the convention center — will be closed.

At 4 a.m. Wednesday, these closures will go into effect:

  • No pedestrian traffic on Fort Duquesne Boulevard from Garrison Place to 11th Street.
  • No pedestrian traffic on 11th Street from Fort Duquesne Boulevard to Smallman Street.

These road closures will start at 9 a.m. Wednesday:

  • 10th Street Bypass from Fort Pitt and Fort Duquesne bridge ramps to Fort Duquesne Boulevard.
  • Fort Duquesne Boulevard from 10th Street Bypass to 11th Street.
  • 11th Street from Fort Duquesne Boulevard to Smallman Street.
  • 10th Street from Fort Duquesne Boulevard to French Street.
  • Fort Duquesne Boulevard from the Rachel Carson Bridge to the 10th Street Bypass.

Some secondary streets around the convention center will also be affected.

Once the president leaves, the streets will be reopened in a staggered fashion that was not detailed Monday.

Schubert said police are prepared for protests. He asked that protesters remain peaceful.

The visit also will affect some Port Authority bus routes, and it is expected to have a residual effect on traffic throughout the area, officials said.

The visit will be costly to the city. In 2016, Trump’s visits in April and September cost a total of $164,000 in police overtime, according to Mayor Bill Peduto’s spokesman, Tim McNulty.

Hissrich said the department includes such costs in its budget and expects more to be incurred until the 2020 election as candidates visit the area.

Although the city has tried to bill entities like the Trump campaign for reimbursement, the city has yet to receive payment.

Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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