South Side outlines methods to control St. Patrick's Day crowds

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South Side will have expanded taxi service, valet parking, pedicabs and off-site parking available to accommodate St. Patrick's Day revelers on March 15.

The neighborhood's Chamber of Commerce and Bar and Restaurant Association will hold a news conference today to outline specific steps to handle the throng in the city's busiest entertainment area, where crowds often spill over after the parade Downtown.

In addition to free parking and shuttle service from a lot across the Allegheny River on Second Avenue, there will be a stand for licensed taxis at East Carson and 17th streets and a valet parking stand at East Carson and 18th streets. Pedicabs and portable toilets also will be available.

The shuttle buses will circulate throughout the neighborhood to carry drivers to and from the Second Avenue lot. The lot will be open from 6 a.m. March 15 until noon the next day.

The groups hope patrons will use the shuttles and taxis instead of trying to park on crowded residential streets that adjoin the entertainment area.

The special holiday arrangements are part of the continuing strategy to improve the relationships among residents, the entertainment industry and the business community, said Jim Peters, president of consultant Responsible Hospitality Institute. The institute has been working with the city to improve its management of entertainment districts and will help the city hire an employee as a full-time manager to oversee the nighttime economy this year.

The neighborhood tried the off-site parking during last year's holiday celebration with the goal of setting up a regular service but that never happened. Mr. Peters said the Second Avenue site works for huge crowds like St. Patrick's Day, but patrons aren't as likely to use it on regular weekends because they think it is too far away.

Instead, the neighborhood is working with the city and Port Authority with a goal of setting up shuttle service from the entertainment district to garages at SouthSide Works at one end and Station Square at the other end of East Carson Street.

Ed Blazina: or 412-263-1470.

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