Pittsburgh Pirates debut puts parking at premium

Bucs officials urging fans to use transit

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Commuters who park on the North Shore will need to make alternate arrangements as lots and garages are reserved for fans attending today's Pirates opener.

Parking facilities in the area of PNC Park will open at 9:30 a.m. with game-day rates. The Roberto Clemente Bridge will be closed to vehicles after 10 a.m.

Stadium gates will open at 11:30 a.m., and pregame festivities are scheduled to begin around 12:40 p.m. Game time is 1:35 p.m.

Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen will be presented the Rawlings Gold Glove and Louisville Silver Slugger awards he won for 2012. Retiring PNC Bank CEO Jim Rohr will toss the ceremonial first pitch. The national anthem will be performed by Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra violinist and concertmaster Noah Bendix-Balgley.

The Pirates are expecting a sellout crowd and are urging fans to consider public transportation. The North Side stop on the Light Rail Transit system serves the ballpark, and trips from the Downtown stations -- First Avenue, Steel Plaza, Wood Street and Gateway Center -- are free.

The one-way fare to Downtown from Station Square and other stops in Zone 1 is $2.50; for stops beyond Washington Junction, the Zone 2 fare is $3.75. A 75-cent surcharge for those paying with cash is in effect from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Those who drive can expect stadium-area lots and garages to fill quickly. Parking may be scarce Downtown, as well, with commuters occupying much of the capacity, although some workers will have the day off for Easter Monday. Real-time information about parking availability can be viewed at parkpgh.org.

The Pirates recommended these alternate parking options:

Consol Energy Center -- Parking is available for $6 and $7 and patrons can board the T at Steel Plaza for a free ride to the ballpark.

Grant Street Transportation Center -- The 991-space facility near the David L. Lawrence Convention Center usually has available spaces even when other Downtown garages have filled. Parking is $8 for up to six hours; $13 for more than six hours.

Station Square -- Gateway Clipper will operate boat shuttles to the stadium starting two hours before game time. Return trips begin at the bottom of the seventh inning and continue 30 minutes after the game ends. Round trip is $10; children 6 and under ride free.

Rivers Casino -- The 3,800-space garage is available for baseball parking with a fee of $20 that can be reimbursed to those who visit the casino to gamble or dine. All occupants of any vehicle entering the garage must be at least 21 years old. Patrons can walk to PNC Park or board the T at Allegheny Station for the one-stop ride to North Side, which is free.

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Jon Schmitz: jschmitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1868. Visit the PG's transportation blog, The Roundabout, at www.post-gazette.com/Roundabout. Twitter: @pgtraffic. First Published April 1, 2013 4:00 AM


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