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Politics & Government

Council Votes to Retain 6:00 Parking Meter Cutoff

After a long and rather heated debate, the Pittsburgh City Council has given preliminary approval to another six months of free parking after 6:00pm. 

Under a deal reached two years ago, the city was to have extended meter enforcement from 6:00pm until 10:00pm in seven neighborhoods.  It did extend enforcement for a short period of time, but council rolled back the hours midway through 2012.  That roll back was to have expired Dec 31st, however council today once again extended the roll back until June 30th

Councilman Ricky Burgess argued strongly against the shorter enforcement hours calling at a “giveaway to the wealthiest businesses in the city of Pittsburgh.” In fact, Burgess puts the cost at $1.2 million.

It has been estimated that increased enforcement will create $200,000 from additional meter revenue, which will go to the Pittsburgh Parking Authority.   

“And then I suggest we will see a $1 million increase in parking fines which goes directly to the city,” said Burgess.

Burgess went on to say the unbudgeted income from tickets should be sent to the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program. “I’m going to suggest that is one of the highest and best uses of investment for the future,” said Burgess.

City Councilman Bill Peduto was the lead sponsor of the bill extending the enforcement roll back.  He argued that enforcing meters until10:00pm would have a negative impact on the small businesses in the city and he worried that the cost of keeping parking enforcement officers on the street could also be high. 

Peduto said there's also the impact of the extension of enforcement hours on residential permit parking—visitors not parking in the business district but instead on nearby residential streets.

"I know there's a lot of people especially in the South Side that want to see the enforcement go to 10 p.m. but at the same time the unintentional cost of that is that you end up seeing people park in front of your house.”

A final vote is expected next week.