Parking perks: Peduto ends a policy of free passes run amok

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Looking for a simple difference between the administration of Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto and his predecessor, Luke Ravenstahl? Numbers tell the tale.

Under the former mayor, passes for free parking were a popular perk, spread around to 271 employees and officials — everyone from Mr. Ravenstahl’s chief of staff to unpaid appointees to various city boards and commissions. The passes entitled 192 individuals to free parking any time, anywhere, at meters and city lots all over Pittsburgh. Another 79 passes gave the holders access to free parking Downtown and in Uptown during certain business hours.

Now, under Mr. Peduto, the number is 29.

Permanent passes will go to the nine members of city council, Controller Michael Lamb and the Law Department’s attorney who is assigned to magistrate’s court. The mayor’s office, which had nine before, won’t have any.

The other 18 passes will be controlled by department heads who will issue them to employees who need them for work on a daily basis — 10 in the city’s Finance Department and four in the controller’s office, both divisions where workers travel to collect payments or conduct inspections; two in the Planning Department; and one each in public works and building inspection.

Individuals using marked city vehicles also will be able to park in legal spaces Downtown without paying during the daytime, when they’re on city business.

The tighter policy may not save much in dollars, but it speaks volumes about the culture that Mr. Peduto intends to nurture as mayor. A related issue is 24-hour access to city-owned vehicles, and the administration is examining the use of take-home cars. It is telling that Mr. Peduto does not have one.

Little things say a lot.


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