Police: South Side blitz ceases
Pittsburgh police Friday announced an end to increased parking enforcement on the South Side after handing out more than 800 parking citations and towing nearly 300 vehicles last month.
The crackdown began the weekend of Oct. 8 and 9, when police issued 243 citations and towed 84 vehicles. It continued the next three weekends as police wrote a total of 837 parking citations and ordered 288 tows.
The officers patrolled on and around East Carson Street between 10th Street and the SouthSide Works on Friday and Saturday nights between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m. Police said the enforcement was prompted by neighbor complaints and public safety concerns.
Spokeswoman Diane Richard said police Chief Nate Harper will “evaluate the effectiveness of the detail and will reinitiate it on as-needed bases.” Through Richard, Harper declined to elaborate.
“Right now the success of the detail cannot be measured” and there are no plans at this time to do a saturation in another part of the city, Richard said.
Rick Belloli, executive director of South Side Local Development Co., said he thinks the action made a positive impact on parking habits.
“People are more conscious and conscientious in where they’re parking,” Belloli said. “You can notice that people are parking farther from hydrants and corners. You can see that happening, even during the day.”
Belloli said the nonprofit community group knew the saturation of police activity couldn’t continue indefinitely.
“While we would like to see it continue, we know there are plenty of things we can work with as well,” Belloli said.
Penny Folino, owner of Tom’s Diner on East Carson Street, said she thinks the crackdown brought negative attention to the area and little else.
“The police need to focus their time on something a little more important than tagging and towing people on Friday and Saturday nights,” Folino said. “I would much rather have the officers out there protecting people, rather than worrying about who’s illegally parking.”
Officers on the special assignment assisted with other problems in the neighborhood, police said. Last Saturday, police issued 104 non-traffic citations and arrested three people on aggravated assault and drug charges.
Carson City Saloon manager Tracy Konieczny said she doesn’t think the crackdown hurt business at the bar.
“It’s hard to say how it affected our business,” Konieczny said. “South Side is busy no matter what — rain, sleet, snow, people will come.”
The real issue is lack of parking in the area, Folino said.
“That falls on the government officials,” she said. “They need to figure out this problem. They’re not going to solve anything by tagging people.”