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Commuters hope Bruce doesn't bring bottleneck

| Wednesday, Aug. 6, 2003, 12:00 p.m.

As the Boss likes to sing, "It's hard to be a saint in the city."

Today, it will be even harder to be a commuter on the North Shore.

The city will re-route traffic patterns and change parking policies on the North Side starting 10 hours before Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band hit the stage for their 7:30 p.m. concert to accommodate the biggest crowd in the short history of PNC Park.

"We expect traffic to be worse (today) than any Pirates or Steelers game because regular fans who come to games know the best way in and out," Pittsburgh police Cmdr. Ed Kelly said. "For the fans showing up for the concert, they may not know their way around, so it could be bad."

Extra police units will join off-duty officers hired by the Pirates and parking companies to help guide fans and commuters through the mess. But police and organizers hope everyone will heed a few warnings to keep a "Glory Day" from becoming a "Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out."

Commuters can enter the parking lots surrounding PNC Park and Heinz Field until 9:30 a.m. After that, event price rates go into effect, according to Pittsburgh Pirates spokeswoman Patty Paytas.

At 10 a.m., officials will shut down the Clemente Bridge and the first block of Federal Street beside PNC Park to motorists, and they will remain closed until the last of the estimated 48,000 concertgoers are gone.

Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Paytas said fans should bring only the basics with them to the front doors -- no bags (other than ladies' handbags, which will be inspected) and no cameras, taping equipment, umbrellas, coolers or food. All the regular concession stands will be open inside the stadium.

Concertgoers with tickets for seating on the field can enter at any gate, but they can access the field only along the first- and third-base lines and from the outfield. Staff will distribute special wristbands to field seat ticket holders.

And for the crafty music lovers without tickets who plan to park their boats on the Allegheny River outside the stadium, the city is adding an extra River Rescue boat for patrols.

"We're not sure how many people will do that, but just in case, we'll have extra people on the rivers so nobody gets hurt," city traffic Lt. Michael Piasecki said.

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