Holiday lights illuminate the tunnel to Point State Park during Light Up Night downtown on Nov. 22, 2013.
For several years now, one of the city’s prized annual traditions has become more and more of an inconvenience — Light Up Night. Please, don’t take me wrong, I love Light Up Night and love the idea of “launching” the holiday season with a night of festivity and performance. However …
For the roughly 50,000 people who work Downtown and simply want to go home, myself included, it is almost impossible to get out of town through the crowds that come in. There are many thousands more who have to come into Downtown to change buses to head out of town; they too are heavily inconvenienced by the festival.
I would like to suggest a fix:
First, move Light Up Night from the Friday before Thanksgiving to that Saturday. People can still come in to enjoy the festivities, and those who work Downtown and don’t want to be there for the crowds and all, don’t have to deal with it.
Second, move the Christmas parade (which is no longer going to be sponsored by Macy’s) to that same Saturday, giving us an all-day Holiday Spectacular Celebration.
Third, open the Holiday Market in Market Square that Saturday, rather than a couple of days after Light Up Night, as it has been the last two years.
Making these few, relatively minor changes will give Pittsburgh one of the great festival days; make it easier for people to come into town for it, since they won’t have to deal with rush-hour traffic trying to get out of town; and make it much easier for those of us who do work down here, and don’t want to deal with the crowds. Finally, consider the significant savings in police coverage if events are consolidated on Saturday.
It is nine months until Light Up Night and the start of the holiday season. We have time — let’s get this done.
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