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Pittsburgh to offer free parking during holiday season |

Pittsburgh to offer free parking during holiday season

Pittsburgh will offer free parking at publicly owned facilities to boost business during the year’s busiest two shopping days — Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving.

The Pittsburgh Parking Authority’s board of directors Thursday unanimously voted to waive fees at authority-owned lots throughout the city at the request of Mayor Bill Peduto. Board members also passed a 2015 budget of $54.7 million. The board previously approved free parking at 11 garages in Downtown, Oakland and Shadyside on Saturdays beginning this week and continuing through Dec. 20. Parking also is free on the day after Thanksgiving, better known as Black Friday.

City Council next week is expected to approve free meter parking during Thanksgiving weekend as it has in past years, council President Bruce Kraus said.

“It’s an important tradition deserving of continuation,” he said.

Parking Authority Executive Director David Onorato estimated the authority will lose about $350,000 in all.

The 2015 spending plan includes about $30 million in operating expenses and about $25 million in payments to the city, Onorato said. Board members increased payments by about $6 million over last year, $4 million short of what Peduto requested to balance the city’s $508 million budget.

City Council and the mayor’s office have said they are considering other ways to plug the budget gap, including raising rates on street meters.

In separate action, the authority’s board approved a three-year, $5 million contract with Milwaukee-based Duncan Solutions Inc. to operate Pittsburgh Parking Court, which hears challenges to traffic tickets and oversees collections. The company has run the court since its inception in 2005 and provides ticket-tracking software.

Bob Bauder is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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