Downtown traffic severely restricted during summit
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The Downtown business district will be closed to most vehicular traffic during the G-20 Summit, city officials announced today.
There will be exceptions for Downtown residents, business deliveries, hotel visitors and taxis. And Port Authority buses and light rail will have access, with restrictions.
Pedestrians and bicyclists will be able to move about as usual Downtown outside the security perimeter around the David L. Lawrence Convention Center, where the summit will be held.
In the plan released by the mayor's office this morning, permitted vehicles such as business delivery trucks will have to access Downtown via only three entrances: the Smithfield Street Bridge, Fifth Avenue at Ross Street and the Roberto Clemente Bridge.
Downtown residents who have their Downtown address on driver's licenses will be allowed in. Taxis, hotel shuttles, ACCESS vans and mail trucks will be accommodated.
The T light-rail service will be available as far as the First Avenue station, but the three subway stations will be closed.
Buses will have Downtown access but will be detoured around the convention center. The Port Authority said today that routes have been reconfigured and are available to view on its Web site. The runs will start on their regular schedule, but the agency cautioned that delays, some of them lengthy, could be expected.
The restrictions will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Sept. 24 and will end as soon as possible on Friday evening.
Downtown workers and shoppers are urged to park in surface lots on the fringes of Downtown, including Uptown, Station Square and the North Side.
The announcement of the plan on the city's Web site explained the rationale for the closings:
"When you're transporting dignitaries into Downtown Pittsburgh, there are only a few ingress options for motorcades. When you think about the challenge of bringing more than 20 high-level dignitaries into the convention center, you can imagine the gridlock that will occur if we allow all traffic to come in and out," said City Police Motorcycle Lt. Joseph Tersak. "While it seems alarming that Downtown streets will be closed to most vehicular traffic, the bigger picture is that we are doing this to keep our interstate ramps free from gridlock so that traffic will flow in all areas of the city."
Restrictions will be announced later around the Warhol museum, Phipps Conservatory and the Heinz farm, where G-20 events will be held.
First Published September 15, 2009 11:35 am