Pittsburgh may cut parking rate in Oakland near Phipps

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As Pittsburgh City Council gave preliminary approval Wednesday to a pilot program that would lower parking rates in part of Oakland, Councilwoman Natalia Rudiak raised the possibility of additional rate cuts in that neighborhood.

Under the pilot program, up for a final vote Monday, the hourly rate for on-street parking would drop to $1 in January on Margaret Morrison Street and part of Schenley Drive in the area of Carnegie Mellon University and Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens. The hourly rate there now is $2.

Councilman Bill Peduto introduced legislation for the program after consulting with two CMU professors who noticed a sharp drop-off in use of the on-street spaces this year when rates jumped to $2, up from $1 last year. The pilot program would drop the rate to $1 in January and allow for monthly adjustments thereafter in the hope of achieving a consistent 80 percent utilization of spaces on those streets.

In addition, the program calls for monitoring the use of metered spaces on Tech and Frew streets and part of Panther Hollow Road to see whether the $2 rate should be adjusted there.

The increase that took effect in that part of Oakland in January was part of a five-year package of rate increases that council passed in December 2010 as an indirect part of a pension bailout. The legislation increased rates by varying amounts throughout Oakland and included rate changes in other neighborhoods, too.

In addition to the pilot project, Ms. Rudiak said Wednesday, council should consider lowering the rates on other Oakland streets that have attracted fewer parkers as the cost increased. She said more drivers seem to be using parking garages instead.

neigh_city - Transportation

Joe Smydo: jsmydo@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1548.


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