Sunday, December 5, 2010

City cracks down in South Side

Published in: The Globe 
Originally published: October 19, 2010
By Kalea Hall 
Emily Levier thinks the new enforcement of parking in the South Side is ridiculous.
Tony Moux agrees with Levier and believes money is the reason why the crackdown is happening now.
Lt. Shirley Sloan, commander of Zone 3(South Side), believes the enforcement is positive because it shows consideration of the people that live there.
On the weekend of Oct. 8, Pittsburgh Police made the official crackdown on parking in the South Side by issuing a total of 243 parking citations, towing 84 cars for parking illegally and giving one moving violation. This past weekend, 165 parking citations were issued, 30 cars were towed and three moving citations were given.
"For the rest of the remaining weekends for the month of October, it will continue," Sloan said in a phone interview. "Along with assistance of plain clothes squads that will also be addressing some of the issues that we have in complaints because of the previous crimes reported…There has been a few robberies, the urination that goes on, the disorderly conduct and the fights."

The reasons why car owners received citations and had their cars towed away is due to "complaints of community residents and safety issues," according to Sloan.  Safety issues occur when the police, firemen or medics are trying to respond to a residence and because of the parking they are unable to.
"If you happen to live down one of those alleys, you're thinking ‘wow you know if my house catches fire, how could [firemen] possibly get down here to me?," Sloan said.
Handicap people crossings along intersections were also being blocked by cars, according to Sloan, preventing anyone in a wheelchair from being able to cross the street. There were also reported incidents of hit-and-runs to vehicles, which police are most concerned about preventing.
"Because it's late at night and people don't stop, they continue driving and do not exchange the information or put the information on the vehicles for whoever owns the vehicle that was struck," Sloan said.
The Pittsburgh Police follow the state laws on parking, when issuing citations and towing away cars. "Everyone" should know that it is illegal to block a fire hydrate and it is illegal to block the handicap crosses, according to Sloan. She said that "most people should learn [parking laws]when obtaining their driver's license."
Levier, a freshman sport, art, and entertainment major, parks on the South Side and commutes to Point Park University from there. She believes the parking crackdown is "unreasonable" since so many people use the area to park.
"There's probably another way to control drunk people besides towing away cars," Levier argued. "Also, what about the people that are actually using that for legitimate parking and aren't a part of that drunken mess of the South Side?"
Moux, a sophomore acting major, thinks the city police are "abusing their power," and their intentions behind the crackdown are wrong.
"The whole situation it's very interesting because I feel like the government is just trying to get more money," Moux explained. "It's just about getting more money for the city and more money on their paychecks as well."
Sloan felt the crackdown will be positive for the South Side because the residents of that area are now being taken into consideration by parkers.
"I just hope that it reduces numbers, so it shows that these people are paying attention and considering the community people that reside there and that some how everyone works hand-in-hand," Sloan said.
She was not surprised by the negative reactions people had about their cars being towed, but she was surprised that people did not take into consideration the warnings the police gave about the crackdown.
"We did a lot of announcing that this would occur, and [I was surprised] that people would still be that blatant with violating the parking code, and put themselves at risk," she said.
Since the police will be cracking down on parking for the remainder of October, Commander Sloan said there has been discussion among business owners in the South Side about parking needs for their customers.
"Things like [parking lots] are being looked at, and possibly the bars may look into shuttling people from [Giant Eagle's parking lot] to Carson Street, where most of the entertainment is occurring," Sloan said.
To avoid tows and citations, there are four different parking garages in the South Side Works: Hot Metal, Furnace, Ingot and Ladle, according to The Parking Authority offers four different parking lots located at, 18th St. and Sidney St. with 45 spaces, 12th St. and Carson  St.with 35 spaces, 1800 East Carson St. with 44 spaces and 1916 Carson St. with 27 spaces.  Daily rates begin at $3 per hour. The price to park in each lot varies, according to the Pittsburgh Parking Authority's website.
Levier said it is ridiculous that it takes "45 minutes to find a parking spot on Friday or Saturday," so a parking garage provided by the business owners in the South Side would make parking much simpler.
"I definitely think a parking lot in the South Side would be such a good decision because then you wouldn't have to deal with everyone parking on the street, and it would all just be more confined and it would be so much easier," Levier said.
Jack Dawso, co-owner of Jack's Bar, said there has been talk about opening up a parking garage or lot for customers, but he has not been a part of that talk.
"We certainly aren't of the stature to come up with those funds," Dawso said.
Dawso said "as a citizen," he understands that rules are rules and residents should abide by them, but the wishes there was an answer to the parking problem that has been ailing the South Side for some time. He believes if the parking issue continues, not just the bars and restaurants will be affected, but the art galleries, flower shops and bookstores, too.
As a citizen, I don't know I can be upset about it," Dawso said. "If I am parked illegally, my car could be towed. Apparently, we have a parking problem in the South Side. It is a serious problem for the whole economy on the South Side."
Sloan feels the parking crackdown in the South Side will allow for Carson Street to be a "very vibrant venue" that everyone, residents and visitors alike, can be proud of.
"I don't think the community wants everybody thrown out, they just want some respect and consideration that they reside there, and [she hopes] somehow it works out that everybody gets along," Sloan said.

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