PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It sounds absurd: tickets and warning letters for parking in your own driveway.
But Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor says it’s happened on two city streets – one in the West End and one in Squirrel Hill. And he fears, it could happen elsewhere.
“This could happen tomorrow to any resident of the city of Pittsburgh,” said O’Connor.
“This is where I’ve been parking for over 18 years,” said Eileen Freedman, as she pointed at the driveway to her home on Hobart Street in Squirrel Hill.
She says she recently got a warning letter from the Pittsburgh’s Bureau of Building Inspection.
“We’re no longer allowed to use our driveway to park, because of a law that says you have to park at least 30 feet away from the street,” said Freedman.
She says there wouldn’t be space to park 30 feet back between her home and the neighboring one because it’s just too narrow.
A pregnant mother of seven who lives across the street is trying to follow the rule, but can’t get out of the driver’s side of her van anymore. She has to crawl out of the passenger’s side when she parks the vehicle between her home and her neighbor’s.
“It’s a pretty ridiculous problem, actually,” said O’Connor.
The councilman says there’s actually two parts to the problem. First, the little-known 30-foot back law, which he says originated in the ‘50s or ‘60s.
“If you’re a couple feet into your own personal driveway, there shouldn’t be a problem,” said O’Connor.
But he also says that technically you can be ticketed, “because you have to have what is called an occupancy permit. The funny thing about that is, we don’t tell you need an occupancy permit.”
O’Connor says the tickets and warning letters are issued by the Bureau of Building Inspection. KDKA was unable to reach anyone from that office Wednesday night.
He says one family ended up paying a $2,400 fine.
O’Connor wants get the recent tickets voided, and he wants City Council to look at getting rid of the occupancy permit rule for existing driveways, and at changing the 30-foot rule to a much smaller distance.
For now, Freedman is parking on the street and taking up spaces she says visitors to Squirrel Hill’s business district would normally be able to use.