City officials hope to address perennial traffic problems caused by St. Patrick’s Day revelry on Pittsburgh’s South Side, by introducing special rules for drivers and partiers this weekend.
City Council President Bruce Kraus, who represents the neighborhood, announced several temporary changes for Saturday's bash. Those changes include free parking just across the Monongahela River, parking restrictions along East Carson Street, a ride-share zone on the street’s 1700 block and a free circulator bus.
The rules take effect 7 a.m. Saturday and end Sunday at noon.
Kraus said he expects most people to arrive on the South Side in the early afternoon Saturday, after the conclusion of the 10 a.m. parade downtown. (Here's what to know before heading downtown).
“We want you to come out and enjoy the day, but we also want to provide you a responsible way to transport during that process,” Kraus said.
Pittsburgh Police Lt. Ed Cunningham said the ride-share space in the slopes of Carson Street’s 1700 block is meant for organized companies like Uber, Lyft and Yellow Cab, but also for friends and family to pick up merrymakers.
“The street is wider there. There will be space available that they can pull over and not hinder the flow of traffic, and it’s also a safe, lighted area for the patrons to wait for their rides,” Cunningham said.
Police will put up signs early on Friday, notifying drivers of a temporary no-parking zone along the southern side of Carson Street between 12th and 17th streets. Cars must be cleared out by 7 a.m. Saturday, when the normal curbside parking lane will become the route of the free circulator service.
Three shuttle buses will ferry passengers from free parking spots in the former Greyhound station lot along the riverfront side of Second Avenue at 10th Street, to stops along Carson Street up to 17th Street, and vice versa.
The buses, operating under a $2,500 city contract, will circulate about four times every hour from 7 a.m. Saturday to 4 a.m. Sunday. Vehicles parked at the old Greyhound lot have to be moved by noon Sunday.
Kraus said the lot has the capacity for about 900 cars. He said shuttle buses already uses the same model to transport commuters to their downtown workplaces on weekdays, and he’d eventually like to have the circulator buses run from the Second Avenue lot to sites on the South Side every weekend night.