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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – They’re tearing down an old garage and creating a new one with more spaces.
But where are all the people going to park in the meantime?
First, the bad news.
Just when parking downtown seems harder than ever to find, another 586 spots will disappear in May when the Pittsburgh Public Authority garage at Ninth Street and Penn Avenue is demolished.
“It’s old. It’s aged. It’s served its useful life,” Parking Authority executive director Dave Onorato told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Tuesday.
Onorato and architect Michael App appeared before the Pittsburgh Planning Commission on Tuesday afternoon.
“The parking structure was built in 1958 and has frankly met the end of its life cycle,” App told the Commission.
The garage shows its age, and demolishing it has been planned for some time.
The good news?
A new garage will be constructed by the end of 2020 with even more spaces.
“Roughly a hundred spaces to the existing garage once the new one’s built,” said Onorato.
The design of the new garage has not been finalized, as the Authority works with the Pittsburgh Cultural District, which owns the open parking lot and buildings surrounding the garage.
There’s talk of moving the garage back from the edge of Penn Avenue, creating a little park and allowing for more retail shops.
“We’re working with the Cultural Trust,” says Onorato.
“We’re trying to pull it back off Penn Avenue and maybe swap lands off with the Cultural Trust.”
“Let them have the sidewalk scape, and put the garage in the middle of the block.”
For the time being, the Trust-owned buildings on the corner remain, although master violinmaker Phillip Injeian has concerns with demolition next door.
“We’ll be on alert every day, obviously,” noted Injeian.
“As soon as I start to feel some rumblings, I’m obviously going to be right here by my violins.”
The Parking Authority hopes the demolition will not really affect the neighbors, but it’s quite possible that the two-lane Penn Avenue will be reduced to one lane for some time during the construction.
Of course, the bike lane will still remain.
And during the construction, Downtown parking will be squeezed for everyone.
“Are they all getting into the central business district? No,” says Onorato. “But on the outskirts, there’s availability at Second Avenue, Grant Street, North Shore, South Side, Strip District.”
“Are you getting right next to your building? No,” says the Parking Authority director.