By Jon Delano

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — On behalf of a majority of Pittsburgh city council members, Councilman Bill Peduto introduced a bill to suspend until January the enforcement of city parking meter charges after 6 p.m.

“What we’re seeing is in our business districts, in our neighborhoods, the parking situation has become very burdensome,” Peduto told KDKA-TV Political Editor Jon Delano.

“We can take a temporary leave of that while we solve the things that should have been solved by June and then be able to readdress that by the end of the year.”

If approved, this would reverse council’s earlier action that imposed meter fees until 10 p.m. in seven busy neighborhoods – Downtown, Oakland, Shadyside, the Strip District, North Shore, South Side, and Squirrel Hill.

But some council members are not convinced.

“We should not be suspending enforcement at this time,” noted Councilman Patrick Dowd. “We should be waiting to see what the state says and we should be considering the long term needs of the system.”

The loss of meter revenues worries some if it means a state takeover of the city pension system.

“That’s my principal concern is to make sure that we are not forcing the city into a state takeover which is what we worked so hard to avoid,” added Councilwoman Theresa Kail Smith.

But Mayor Ravenstahl favors the suspension, says Parking Authority chair Scott Kunka.

And on the issue of one hour limits in Market Square and elsewhere, Kunka says he is already acting unilaterally.

“The mayor has also heard that and as of Friday afternoon he has directed me to direct the Authority to change all one hour meter time limits in the city to two hours,” says Kunka.

“In some areas, they are three hours, four hours or more. But in the areas where are one hour presently, they are being changed, starting today, being changed from one hour to two hours.”

That relief takes effect, says Kunka, when new signs are posted.

An initial vote on this bill is expected next week, along with some debate. Final passage is expected in about two weeks.

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