Traffic to be heavy on Light Up Night

New 'Bridge Party' to feature music, food, children's entertainment

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Downtown buildings and holiday decorations won't be the only things aglow during this evening's celebration of Light Up Night. So will the brake lights of drivers trying to navigate the Golden Triangle.

With the typical Light Up crowd being about 200,000, and the prospect of pleasant weather possibly adding to that total, "people should really plan it out in advance," said Hollie Geitner, spokeswoman for the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.

She also suggested early arrival. Crowds begin to build significantly around 5 p.m.

Several street closings and transit detours will be part of this year's event.

The Roberto Clemente Bridge will close at 10 a.m. to install a stage and set up for the Light Up Night Bridge Party, a new event that starts at 5 p.m. and includes live music, food and children's entertainment on the bridge. The bridge will reopen at midnight.

The Andy Warhol Bridge will have a lane closed facing the Clemente Bridge starting at 10 a.m. for fireworks installation. The entire bridge will close at 8 p.m. and reopen at midnight.

The following streets will be closed: Fourth Avenue from Wood Street to Stanwix Street from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Penn Avenue from Fifth Avenue Extension to Stanwix Street from 6 to 7:30 p.m.; Smithfield Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues, partial closure 4:30 p.m., full closure 6 p.m., reopening at 8:30 p.m.

Liberty Avenue from Delray Street to Stanwix Street is closed for North Shore Connector construction, as is the Gateway Center subway station.

"We always recommend that people consider using public transportation," Ms. Geitner said. The Wood Street station, where all Light Rail Transit service ends, "is right in the middle of a lot of things," she said.

Other options are parking in the Strip District or on the North Shore, where shuttles will operate to and from Downtown until 10 p.m. (price $3), or the Grant Street Transportation Center at Penn Avenue and 12th Street, which has nearly 1,000 spaces.

The Allegheny River will be closed to watercraft near the fireworks display from 9:10 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Rolling closures will occur for the Light Up Night March, featuring the Mt. Lebanon and Franklin Regional high school marching bands. It will begin after the 6:15 p.m. unveiling of the Macy's department store windows on Smithfield Street, turn down Forbes Avenue, left onto Wood Street and right onto Fourth Avenue into the closure barricade for a performance at PPG Place.

It will then turn around and turn left onto Wood Street, left onto Sixth Avenue, left onto Liberty Avenue, right onto Sixth Street and cross Fort Duquesne Boulevard. Traffic will be halted for up to 10 minutes as the parade passes.

The McKees Rocks Bridge will close for the weekend in both directions at midnight, with traffic detoured to the West End Bridge.

Nearly 75 Port Authority bus routes will be detoured in the Downtown area, spokesman Jim Ritchie said.

Extra bus and light rail service will be offered following the afternoon rush hour. The added service will be focused on the busways and T. A bus shuttle will serve both Monongahela Incline stations in the evening.

For more information about Port Authority service, visit www.portauthority.org.


Jon Schmitz can be reached at jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868.


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