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T'is the Season for Free Parking in Pittsburgh

With the holiday season approaching, the Pittsburgh Parking Authority has voted to give the gift of free parking again.

During a board meeting Thursday, the Parking Authority board voted unanimously in favor to expand free parking to their surface lots on Saturday, November 29th

“We…are joining the city and their efforts to promote Small Business Saturday with free parking at all the meter(s) on both the street – the city has done – and the Parking Authority is going to do free parking at surface lots,” David Onorato, Executive Director, said.

Though Loralyn Fabian, Parking Authority Secretary, voted in favor of free surface lot parking that Saturday, she also requested an analysis of how much the small businesses profit from the offer.

“One of the board members has asked for that information, so we’re going to work with the PDP (Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership),” Onorato said. “It’s their program on the Holiday Free Parking at the garages, and we’ll see if they have statistics from the retailers and that – if it’s good for business”

A statement from Mayor Bill Peduto’s office encouraged the Parking Authority to vote in favor of free parking on Black Friday, also, but Onorato said the lots and garages have been free both Thanksgiving and the day after for years.

“They’re holidays for us, they’re always free,” Onorato said. “That’s nothing new, they’ve been free in the past, also, because they’re negotiated holidays in our contract.”

Parking in the city’s garages is also free every Saturday leading up to Christmas starting this week.

Onorato said the Parking Authority’s revenues take a hit each year from the free parking program.

“We haven’t determined a number for Small Business Saturdays,” Onorato said. “But for the Holiday Free Parking program, it’s been in place now for several years, I’d probably say it’s approximately $250,000, $300,000.”

He said the Authority lost between $45,000 and $50,000 last year from the waiver of on-street meters.

“It’s kind of gone revenue – lost revenue – but it’s a perception for the residents that promote the city and the neighborhoods,” Onorato said.

Jess is from Elizabeth Borough, PA and is a junior at Duquesne University with a double major in journalism and public relations. She was named as a fellow in the WESA newsroom in May 2013.
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