It’s not the music. It’s the mess.
Mayor Bill Peduto and the Pirates said the more than 38,000 fans expected to attend Saturday’s country concert at PNC Park will face curtailed tailgating hours, extra police and security and other rules that the city intends to make part of its “standard operating procedure” for large events. The concert will feature country heavyweights Jason Aldean, Florida Georgia Line and Miranda Lambert.
“I don’t think it’s about any one music genre. I just think it’s about not having proper rules in place in order to make sure that people know that rules will be enforced,” Mr. Peduto said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference. “We want country music concerts to come to Pittsburgh. We want a lot of concerts to come to Pittsburgh. But we want people to behave in a responsible manner.”
The June 21 Luke Bryan concert at Heinz Field spawned hours of extended tailgating, fights, arrests and mounds of trash in North Shore parking lots. In response, the mayor assembled representatives from city and county government, Pittsburgh’s three major professional sports teams, parking lot operators, stadium and exhibition authorities, and other entities to craft new policies to handle similar events, including, possibly, Steelers games.
The city has claimed Mr. Bryan’s fans cost the city “tens of thousands” in cleanup, policing and paramedic response, though it has yet to release a detailed accounting of the expenses related to the show. Tim McNulty, Mr. Peduto’s spokesman, said the city did not send the promoter or event organizer a bill — an idea floated in the aftermath of the concert — or require a cleanup deposit for future events.
“The city has had fruitful discussions with the teams over these large events, and is not billing — or asking for [a] deposit — as a show of good faith,” Mr. McNulty said. “The city is in the midst of reviewing the handling of other large events, including Steelers games, and could implement some of the rules if deemed appropriate.”
For Saturday’s show, parking lots will not open until 2 p.m., 3½ hours before PNC Park opens for the concert. No tailgating will be permitted in parking garages and, where it is allowed, fans will have to observe a “parking lot code of conduct” that bans alcohol and food sales, glass containers, tents, personal portable toilets, furniture other than folding lawn chairs and tables, and large vehicles such as RVs, limousines and motor homes.
Police also will conduct a check of all North Shore parking lots shortly after the first act, Tyler Farr, takes the stage about 6:45 p.m., and those with tickets will be ushered into the show, while hangers-on will be told to leave. Tailgating will not be permitted during the show, and fans who exit PNC Park during the concert will not be allowed to return.
Mr. Peduto and Stephen Bucar, acting public safety director, said police will enforce alcohol and littering rules, including open-container laws, if early birds try to move tailgating away from parking lots into city neighborhoods.
“It would not be advisable to look for other areas to begin earlier tailgating,” Mr. Peduto said.
Mr. Bucar would not say how many additional police will be on hand for the event, citing security concerns. However, the mayor said the Pirates and parking lot operators are picking up the tab for some off-duty officers and cleanup.
“For the public, there will be a cost involved, but it won’t be any more than what we spent before,” Mr. Peduto said. “The additional costs will be borne by those that will be involved in the promotion of the event and those that will be profiting from it.”
The city officials said they are weighing introducing legislation that would ban overnight boat docking along the river for special events as well as “rafting,” whereby boaters tie up in long rows, usually with only one vessel connected to shore. For now, however, it’s still allowed, though not advised for safety reasons.
Guy Costa, the city’s chief operations officer, said the Pirates will take responsibility for cleaning up the Roberto Clemente Bridge, Federal Street and park areas around the stadium and along the Allegheny River.
North Shore Drive also will be closed from Tony Dorsett Drive to Mazeroski Way and Mazeroski from North Shore Drive to West General Robinson, in front of PNC Park, following the Pirates’ 7 p.m. game today. The roads will not reopen until 11 p.m. Monday as a result of the large amount of equipment trucked in for the concert, Mr. Costa said.
The Clemente Bridge and Federal Street will be closed Saturday at 4 a.m. for the concert, and Allegheny Avenue south of Reedsdale Street may be closed by police prior to 2 p.m. and at various other times as dictated by traffic congestion.
Alco Parking, which operates many of the lots and garages on the North Shore, will hand out trash and recycling bags as tailgaters arrive and conduct a preliminary trash pickup during the concert, followed by an overnight cleanup in advance of the Manchester City-AC Milan soccer game at Heinz Field on Sunday. Mr. Costa said city inspectors will write citations for lots and garages not cleaned up by daybreak.
Steve Kovac, director of visitor services at the Carnegie Science Center, said the center will use the same rules at its 900-space lot adjacent to Heinz Field, which was thoroughly trashed after the Bryan show.
“We were not happy with how messy it got and we didn’t get it cleaned up as quickly as we would like,” Mr. Kovac said. “You wish people would be more respectful and you wish they wouldn’t make such a mess, but it’s on us to facilitate the cleanup as much as possible.”
In addition to the other changes, there will be more portable restrooms and Dumpsters available. The Science Center also will keep about half of its spaces reserved for its own patrons until the center closes at 4 p.m., he added.
Robert Zullo: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-3909 or on Twitter @rczullo. First Published July 22, 2014 12:00 AM