If you’re considering a trip to the North Shore this afternoon, save yourself the headache and just don’t. Unless of course you have a prepaid parking “hang tag” issued by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Without such a hang tag, in fact, drivers will not even be allowed to enter the North Shore after 2 p.m., when Pittsburgh police will close streets into the area. And only those hang-tag owners will be allowed to park in the prepaid lots and garages around PNC Park, according to team president Frank Coonelly. No cash accepted in the North Shore parking lots today, folks.
The decision to limit parking in and access to the North Shore wasn’t anyone’s first choice, Mr. Coonelly said. But with the University of Pittsburgh football team’s home opener at noon, followed closely by the sold-out, nationally televised Pirates game against the Cincinnati Reds at 4:05 p.m., it was the only way to maintain some sanity for the 39,000 fans expected at the Buccos game, Mr. Coonelly said.
Oh, and then there’s Rib Fest all day, with a concert scheduled for 3:30 p.m., just in case two back-to-back games weren’t chaotic enough.
“We wanted to make sure we did everything we could to avoid aggravating our fans coming to the game,” Mr. Coonelly said.
Fans without prepaid hang tags should park Downtown or in the Strip District, he said, and either walk or take the free “T” service offered at the four stations in the Golden Triangle, and at Allegheny Station, to the North Side Station just outside PNC Park. Fans can also ride the “T” for free from the South Hills “T” lots, or take a Gateway Clipper Shuttle boat, the Pirates president said.
“If you are a cash-paying parker, you will not have access to the North Shore,” he said.
Fans with hang tags who do plan to park on the North Side would be wise to arrive early, optimally between 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m., to avoid running into the hordes of Pitt fans who will begin leaving about 3 to 3:30 p.m., he said.
Early birds will find food trucks, portable bars and activities on Federal Street beginning at 1 p.m. Any fan with a Pirates ticket can enjoy beer, wine and appetizer specials at the Rivertowne Brewing Hall of Fame Club -- the former Outback Steakhouse -- beginning at 2 p.m., with other clubs for season-ticket holders offering similar deals from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., he said.
“So there will be plenty of activity for fans who come down early, and we encourage them to come early to avoid the aggravation of trying to get onto the North Shore” during the busiest part of the afternoon, Mr. Coonelly said.
The following streets will be closed to traffic at 2 p.m.: southbound Allegheny Avenue at Ridge and Reedsdale Streets and at Casino Drive; Reedsdale eastbound and westbound to Casino Drive; westbound Lacock Street at Federal; southbound Mazeroski Way at Lacock, southbound Tony Dorsett Drive at Reedsdale; and southbound Merchant Street at Western Avenue.
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