Post Your Problems/Lawrence Walsh: Permit parking delights North Point Breeze residents
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The residents of North Point Breeze had a problem with commuters monopolizing the parking spaces in front of their homes all day long.
They banded together, signed petitions for the right to be able to park within a reasonable distance from their homes and attended numerous meetings to make their case.
They were awarded permit-parking status late last year because commuters working at Bakery Square and "nearby offshoots" of Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham College and others left them with few, if any, nearby parking spaces.
Among other things, the residents pointed out that the city allowed developers to build apartment and commercial buildings with insufficient on-site parking.
As a result, their tenants/employees usurp the spaces in front of single-family homes and force residents to find parking elsewhere.
One resident said an employee told her that parking in front of the resident's home enabled the employee to get home five to 10 minutes earlier than if she rode a shuttle bus to take her to a more distant parking area.
"The employees turn up their noses at the shuttles," she said.
The new permit-parking signs were to be installed March 1. When they weren't, and when no explanation for the delay was forthcoming from calls to the city's 311 line and City Council, a neighbor contacted me.
It turned out the delay was only temporary - five days. The signs were installed March 6. The residents were delighted.
"Just doing our job," said city Public Works director Rob Kaczorowski, whose employees put up the signs.
Mr. Kaczorowski said the signs will be enforced by Pittsburgh Parking Authority employees and city police officers. They will be monitoring the following streets:
North Linden Avenue - from McPherson Boulevard to Penn Avenue.
Thomas Boulevard - from Fifth Avenue to North Linden Avenue.
Fifth Avenue - from Beechwood Boulevard to Penn Avenue.
Hastings Street - from Fifth Avenue to Selwyn Street.
Elysian Street - from Fifth Avenue to Selwyn Street.
Conover Road - from Hastings Street to Juniata Place.
Note to scofflaw parkers: Don't say you weren't warned, don't say you didn't see the signs and don't say the residents ganged up on you. You brought this on yourselves.
Make the switch
Recipients of Social Security and other federal benefits were to make the change from receiving a paper check to an electronic payment or a prepaid debit card by March 1, but several million failed to do so.
Although the recipients will receive their paper checks this month, they might be contacted by someone in the treasury department about making the switch to receive a "paperless" benefit. They are, however, encouraged to do so on their own by calling 1-800-333-1795 or online at www.GoDirect.org.
Go Direct, a cost-cutting program the federal government started two years ago, is designed to eliminate paper checks distributed for Social Security, Veteran Affairs, Supplemental Security Income and other government programs, said Lynn Oldshue at www.LowCards.com.
"More than 90 percent of these payments are being made electronically," she said.
"Treasury officials said a mailed check costs the government 92 cents more than a payment made by electronic transfer. In addition to the cost savings, officials say the direct deposit or debit cards are more secure for the consumer."
Although electronic payments have eliminated the problem of thieves stealing paper checks from the mail boxes of elderly recipients, the crooks will continue to do so until last of the paper checks are no more.
First Published March 14, 2013 12:00 am