Pittsburgh will have a 24-hour shuttle service for St. Patrick's Parade Day
March 8, 2017 12:00 AM
Zak Shuster, 36, of Smithton, Pa, juggles during last year'sSt. Patrick’s Day Parade.
City councilman Corey O'Connor, left, proclaims the St. Patrick’s Week in Pittsburgh while the representatives of St. Patrick's Day parade committee look on at the City-County Building on Tuesday.
Miss Irish Eyes Colleen Bench, left, 18, addresses the gathering at the City-County Building on Tuesday. Sydney Diulus, 21, and Megan Rohde, right, 18, are the other two Miss Irish Eyes.
Last year's St. Patrick's Day parade.
By Adam Smeltz / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
A St. Patrick’s Day Parade parking shuttle will offer longer hours and a new route Saturday, in a bid to keep more South Side revelers and workers from driving in the congested Carson Street area.
“For the very first year, we are going to run the shuttle for 24 hours straight,” said Bruce Kraus, the Pittsburgh City Council president, at a news conference Tuesday. “We want to make certain that we capture the earliest employees arriving, and deliver safely back to their vehicles the latest employees that might be leaving.”
The free shuttle will run from 5 a.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Sunday, carrying passengers on a loop between the Second Avenue Parking Plaza and East Carson Street. Stops are planned at Muriel and South 12th streets, at Sidney and South 18th streets and at South 21st Street and East Carson.
That route avoids a Carson Street bottleneck that slowed service last year, when an estimated 600 people used the shuttle, Mr. Kraus said. He would like the passenger tally to triple this year, pointing to a documented link between efficient transportation and calmer behavior.
City officials also hope the service will prevent drunken driving during the celebration, when tens of thousands of people pour into the South Side. The Pittsburgh Parking Authority pays for the shuttle and will offer free parking Saturday into Sunday at the Second Avenue plaza, near South 10th Street and at Second Avenue, Downtown. People should remove their cars there by Sunday afternoon to avoid penalties, Mr. Kraus said.
Pittsburgh Transportation Group will provide the shuttle vehicles, said David Onorato, executive director of the parking authority.
The shuttle vehicles can carry up to 25 people apiece and will sport shamrocks, said Juan Hernandez, a PTG manager. A second shuttle vehicle will run during peak hours — 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. — and round-trips should take 10 to 20 minutes, Mr. Kraus said.
Ideally, he said, visitors will leave their cars at home and rely on public transit, ride-sharing services or taxis. Other provisions for Saturday feature reduced street parking on East Carson between 12th and 18th streets to accommodate pedestrians and public safety vehicles.
State liquor control officers and Pittsburgh police in plain clothes will be among those on patrol, said Guy Costa, the city’s chief operations officer. The city announced roving DUI patrols.
“We can’t tell you how many officers we’re going to have, but there will be a large police presence in Market Square, as well as on the South Side and along the parade route,” Mr. Costa said.
The parade itself, set for 10 a.m. Saturday in the Golden Triangle, will bring Downtown street closures beginning at 7:30 a.m. Closures will last until about 1 p.m. and stretch along the parade route. It winds along Liberty Avenue, Grant Street and the Boulevard of the Allies, ending at Stanwix Street.
Adam Smeltz: 412-263-2625, email@example.com, @asmeltz.
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