Police presence calms St. Patrick festivities in Pittsburgh

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The St. Patrick's Day celebration on the South Side was rocking but not as raucous as those in years past, as an apparent result of expanded law-enforcement presence, pre-holiday planning and new services to help keep the revelers under control with more ways to get them home safely.

The Department of Public Safety reported that 23,000 people lined the streets Downtown for the St. Patrick's Day parade, which typically overflows to the South Side afterward.

"No major incidents were reported during the parade or the neighborhood celebrations," a department news release stated. Still, the celebration led to a sizable number of arrests.

"The early reports show there were 29 'one-view' arrests, including 21 on the South Side, with five summonses issued and 37 non-traffic arrests," the department stated.

The State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement also proved to be busy Saturday night and early Sunday with one arrest for public drunkenness and the arrest of nine people, 18 to 20 years of age, and two juveniles, for underage drinking. The bureau arrested another person for false identification.

Five establishments were cited for "loudspeaker violations," mostly in the South Side, including Rowdy Duck, Villa and the Tiki Lounge, all on East Carson Street, along with Claddagh at SouthSide Works. M&J Restaurant of Pittsburgh, also received the same citation.

Administrative charges are pending against The Library on East Carson Street for displaying an improper license and Rusty Dory of Avalon for failure to vacate, the city reports.

By mid-morning Sunday, South Side streets were cleared of litter, with garbage bins overflowing. In years past, the morning-after streets and sidewalks were heavily littered with beer cans and bottles and other debris.

On Sunday, city Public Safety Director Mike Huss said everything "turned out well for what has become the nation's second largest St. Patrick's Day celebration," due to the professionalism of law enforcement and cooperation from "the thousands of citizens who did their part in making this a safe and family-friendly day."

Other factors include the South Side Chamber of Commerce decision to expand taxi service, valet parking, pedicabs and off-site parking to accommodate revelers and control the partying throngs.

Free parking and shuttle services were available to public parking at Station Square and the SouthSide Works, while more portable toilets were available this year.

Such holiday arrangements are designed to improve relationships among residents, the entertainment industry and business community, which have been strained in the past. The Responsible Hospitality Institute also is working with the city to improve its management of entertainment districts with plans for a full-time manager to oversee the city's nighttime economy.

Allegheny County police and the county sheriff's office also participated in efforts to keep order during the holiday celebration.

David Templeton: dtempleton@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1578.

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