Parking plan could free up East Liberty curb spaces
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The Pittsburgh Parking Authority today is expected to vote on a pilot program that would encourage motorists to rethink their parking habits in part of East Liberty.
Neighborhood leaders in some parts of the city long have called for changes in parking culture and a policy change that ties parking rates to demand. The pilot program could be a first step in that direction.
The authority today will vote on reducing hourly rates at its 99-space Sheridan/Kirkwood lot and 41-space Sheridan/Harvard lot from $1 to 50 cents. The rate for on-street meters will remain 75 cents per hour.
Officials and neighborhood leaders hope to drive long-term parkers to off-street lots, leaving on-street spaces in the business district for motorists planning shorter visits, said Darren Belajac, a program manager with East Liberty Development Inc., which helped to plan the pilot program.
With on-street rates higher than off-street rates, motorists have little incentive to use the former, even though on-street spaces are supposed to generate turnover for merchants, Mr. Belajac said.
"There's ample parking in East Liberty -- plenty of it -- but nobody can ever find a spot," he said.
The pilot program was welcomed by Chris Sandvig, regional policy manager for Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group, who previously has said that the city doesn't treat parking as the asset it can be.
East Liberty Development previously suggested that rates fluctuate by time of day and day of the week, while Mr. Sandvig has suggested giving neighborhood groups a say in parking policy, management and some revenue.
The parking authority would operate the pilot program for four to six months. If revenue in the lots falls below pre-program averages, East Liberty Development would pay the authority the difference.
First Published June 21, 2012 12:00 am