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Public Safety Officials Postpone South Side Traffic Restrictions Due To Building Demolition

Allyson Ruggieri
90.5 WESA

The Pittsburgh Department of Public Safety has suspended its traffic-calming initiative in the South Side this weekend due to the partial collapse of a building in the 1600 block of East Carson Street during heavy storms Thursday night.

Public Safety officials had planned to start the traffic restrictions in the neighborhood at 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday in response to feedback from business owners concerned about access to restaurants and retail stores in the early evening hours.

The restrictions, which have converted a portion of East Carson Street into an outbound-only roadway, initially began at 7 p.m. when Public Safety officials put them into place July 30.

But city officials said they changed those plans altogether after the storms Thursday inflicted so much damage to the upper level of a two-story building at 1604 E. Carson St. that engineers feared its structural integrity and that of adjacent buildings had been compromised.

Public Safety officials said Friday afternoon that they would close East Carson Street between South 16th and 17th streets to begin demolishing the building, using a large crane erected in the street. Traffic will be diverted around the block, and tractor-trailer trucks and longer industrial-type vehicles must divert via the 10th Street Bridge or the Birmingham Bridge.

Officials offered no timeline for completion of demolition or reopening the street, saying the situation is evolving and that some businesses on the block will be affected by the street closing. They said they would provide more information when it is available.

Public Safety officials introduced the pilot traffic-calming program with the intent to curb violence and overcrowding through the busy portion of East Carson Street.

Officials pointed to an uptick in shootings, fights and pedestrians being hit by vehicles in the neighborhood, and they said the project has been successful in preventing congestion and violence on East Carson Street.

Police also have installed large lights near 18th Street where crowds tend to gather. Additional police officers have been assigned to patrol the area during the busiest times on weekends.

* Updated at 9 p.m.

Kiley Koscinski covers city government, policy and how Pittsburghers engage with city services. She also works as a fill-in host for All Things Considered. Kiley has previously served as a producer on The Confluence and Morning Edition.
Cindi Lash joined Pittsburgh Community Broadcasting in 2021 from Missouri Lawyers Media, a subsidiary of BridgeTower Media, where she began her tenure as editor and regional editor in 2018. Before joining BridgeTower, she served as editor-in-chief at Pittsburgh Magazine for four years, and as regional editor of local news startup She previously spent 20 years as a reporter and editor at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.