PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Whether you’re parking in the busy Cultural District or heading across the Ninth Street Bridge to the stadiums, you’re going to notice a parking deficit downtown.
By midnight Friday, demolition will begin on the Ninth and Penn Street garage.
“I come here every day. I make an effort to make sure I know them,” said George Wellinger. For 11 years, Wellinger has run and owned Ninth and Penn News Numbers inside the garage. He gets about a thousand customers per day. And he knows what they need.
“The coffee in the morning. We had a coffee counter in the back, and rolls,” Wellinger said.
The 586-spot garage was built in the late 1950s. After six decades of use, it’s beginning to show its age.
“It looks like it’s about to fall down, so it gotta go,” said Dominic Herrera, who parks at the Ninth and Penn Garage.
Herrera says the garage is convenient while working as an electrician across the street. But since the Pittsburgh Parking Authority announced the garage would be razed, users are looking ahead — not behind.
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“Anything to better the area,” said Frank Reese, who also parks at the Ninth and Penn garage. “It was rough coming out of them. Everything backed up, all the cars had one way to go, and it would back clear to the roof. You’d be in there for like an hour trying to get out.”
The Parking Authority says the replacement for the old garage is part of a $25 million capital campaign to improve five garages over the next 5 to 10 years.
Even leaseholders say the Parking Authority made the process of moving to a new garage straightforward.
“Just swapped out the lease,” explained Bob King. He held a lease at the old garage. “Plenty of notice, 90 days or more even,” he said.
Wellinger hopes to reopen his store inside the new garage in the future.
The new facility will be a green Parksmart structure with 700 spaces. It will be a while before it’s done: about two years in all before Downtown has these additional spaces and then some.