PittsburghJack's Place: Pittsburgh is just so welcoming

PittsburghJack's Place

an outlet for political animals to share news, views and expose truths.

Pittsburgh is just so welcoming

The Allegheny Institute for Public Policy on Thursday issued a report outlining how the Pittsburgh Parking Authority, through unnecessary rate hikes is actually proving to be a disservice to this city and is actually serving to dissuade visitors from enjoying what the City of Pittsburgh has to offer -- or at least what's left of it. Perhaps this authority has long outlived it's welcome. Or perhaps, closer to the truth, they were never really welcome but just something that we all were forced to put up with. Whatever the case may be, I think those empowered to do so would listen hard and finally do the right thing by disbanding this useless agency. If, as the city states, their concern is that private parking companies would not build parking garages and the authority is needed to get this done, then fine -- build the garages, step aside and let the parking professionals lease, manage and control the costs of the garages. I somehow think this line of reasoning to be a bit far-fetched seeing the amounts of cash that Alco, for instance, is willing to pump into development for casinos, that they'd not jump at the chance to build and own a parking facility in the heart of the city. And, on the subject of parking, it's time the city takes a serious look at their longstanding practice of towing the vehicles of legally parked vehicles. It's clear that the no parking between 7 - 9 and 4 - 6 spots only serve for a way for the city to pocket $120 for each car towed from these spots. And to make matters even worse, many meters lack the proper warning signage. The practice is rude, ridiculous and tells visitors that they're not welcome in our downtown area. Don't be fooled into believing that the streets have to be clear of parked vehicles to open up a line of traffic during rush hour. That's simply not the case, as if you'll notice, those curb lanes do not serve as regular lanes of traffic during rush hour or any other time of the day. Having vehicles parked along the curbs does not block, slow-down, increase or otherwise affect the moving lanes of traffic in any way. That is something that I have noticed for years and have become embroiled each time I see some poor sap's car towed. And if that's not enough, the rudeness of the traffic cops and the tow truck operators towards citizens and visitors speaks wonders and is reason enough for may not to return to the city. Is this the kind of reputation the City of Pittsburgh wants to have? The city should be doing everything it can to welcome visitors to our downtown. Unfortunately, our backwards city is doing just the opposite. Instead of making more parking available, especially during games and special events, Pittsburgh posts no-parking signs or bags over the meters rendering those spots unusable. Why? So the opportunity exists to ticket and tow as many vehicles as possible when they know downtown will be jam packed with visitors. Boy, that's a great idea -- punish the people that come to enjoy the city's offerings. Is it any wonder that our downtown and the businesses within it are suffering?

I'd like to say my piece on the novel idea of maybe making available to the taxpayers and visitors the hundreds of parking spaces normally used by the well-paid city and county government workers for free ... but I have to cut this short and run out to feed the meter. I only get 7 1/2 minutes per quarter, you know.

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At 9:26 AM, Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

Nice blog.

At 3:46 PM, Blogger Mark Stroup said...

My only argument against private leasing or selling Pittsburgh parking lots is an empirical one -- most private lots charge twice as much as public lots.

If people going downtown don't find a public garage -- the ones with the blue and red diamonds -- they're bound to get burned. Every month or so I see a letter in the P-G about someone who came downtown for an event, got hit with a whopping parking fee, and then vowed never to come downtown again. What happens when the blue and red diamonds aren't there anymore?

At 9:06 PM, Blogger Jonathan Potts said...

I'm guessing that if people don't park Downtown in the private lots, then prices will fall. It's how the market works. It's not always perfect, but perhaps it is better than the status quo.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger PittsburghJack said...

That's absolutely correct, just like anything else in the free market without the government's hands all over it. But, let's not forget that the City of Pittsburgh has the highest parking tax in the country -- a ridiculous 50%. In fact, we had the highest in the country when the tax was at 31% until it was raised to 50% this year. That is a major reason why the parking rates are higher than they should be also.

At 3:12 PM, Blogger Dawn said...

Excellent blog. Totally agree with the parking situation. When I lived in Pgh a few years ago, I got a parking ticket because my lease card wasn't hanging from my window but was in fact sitting on my passenger seat. And I parked in the same spot every day for two years! I was lucky the damn thing wasn't towed. In any event, what happens to the proceeds from tickets and tows? You'd think the city would be prospering with all the revenue it gets that way!

At 8:36 PM, Blogger PittsburghJack said...

The parking/ticketing/towing problem is one of the most complained about issues in this city. It certainly doesn't make Pittsburgh a destination of choice if there is an alternative, like a mall, perhaps. If the governmental officials of this city really cared about the future of our dying downtown area, this system of legal robbery which they have in place must be changed.

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At 10:07 AM, Blogger Meaghen said...

So true. My boyfriends car was towed on Labor Day, and we had to wait over 4hrs and pay $120 to get it back at the impound lot. (we're from cleveland, visiting my sister for the weekend.) And I don't know if we're getting one pulled over on us, but we got a municipal ticket in the mail for $93 from that same day. Can we really get charged over $200 for parking ticket??


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