PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As restrictions start to lift on businesses and people head back to the office, does that mean downtown is making a comeback?
“Hopefully in the next couple months we start seeing the places that have been closed down finally open back up,” said Matthew King, who works downtown.READ MORE: Pine-Richland Head Football Coach Eric Kasperowicz And Entire Coaching Staff Will Not Return In Fall
King, like many others, are hopefully optimistic to see life back in the city center this year.
“Not many people are going out at night, going out on the town spending money, so hopefully that comes back,” King said.
But the question from King is when will that happen?
“We are bringing back our Market Square farmer markets in May and Saturday night markets in June,” said Caitlin Fadgen with the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership.
The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership believes in the coming months we will see more people and events, but the organization is tracking occupancy, transportation and visitor districts for a better statistical answer.READ MORE: Johnson & Johnson Vaccine To Remain In Limbo While Officials Seek More Evidence
“We are able to look back at estimated visitor activity pre-pandemic and compare it to what we are seeing currently to get a sense of activation,” Fadgen said.
Those numbers already show an increase. Downtown building occupancy is up to 9% compared to 8% the prior two months. Bus ridership is up 3% while parking garages are staying about 33% full.
“This information has been especially critical for our downtown restaurants and retail shops. It’s helpful for them to know how many workers are downtown during the day so they can plan and staff accordingly,” Fadgen said.
The reactivation may be a slow process, but it is happening. The Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership hopes to see a big increase in numbers as restrictions lift, vaccinations increase and warmer weather arrives.
“Right now, I can think of about 10 new businesses that are in the pipeline so there is going to be a lot of opportunity here to see a gradual reemergence of people starting to come back,” Fadgen said.MORE NEWS: Multiple Ballot Questions Face Voters In This Year's Primary
That data is released in the middle of each month. You can sign up to get an alert in your inbox with that information at https://downtownpittsburgh.com/research/