Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Steelers Slam Barden's Traffic Studies...

... while some in the community bite the Steelers right back.

We attended PITG Gaming's presentation of its master development plan to the city planning commission. We arrived just as PITG was wrapping up its end, and just before the public comment period.

Two attorneys spoke for the Steelers: classic good cop and bad cop. They questioned the very seriousness of PITG's traffic and parking data, and presented their own forecasts, based on 30 years of experience and deep study in the area. They conclude that additional volume will create nightmare scenarios for events patrons -- think eight mile traffic jams.

However, both Mark Fatla of the North Side / North Shore Leadership Conference, and John De Santis, resident of West Allegheny and Home & Garden Show director, testified to PITG's great demonstrations of cooperation. Both the Steelers and the Penguins were chided for failing to be so open and collaborative during their own developments, and it was suggested that PITG can not be held responsible for the Steeler's own problems.

Don Barden himself briefly took the mic to point out that while looking forward to working with stakeholders, he at least is building a massive parking garage, and he is already getting "taxed" for the new hockey facility. On this point, several of his entourage were heard to mutter, "Mmm-hmm!"

The Carnegie Science Center added some concerns about foot traffic and bus access; a surprising number of school buses cycle through every day. They also raised lighting concerns: the Heinz Field lights themselves, when lit, already ruin the Observatory.

Another meeting is scheduled in about a month. The commission strongly urged all parties to collaborate over that interval, and work out as much as possible in advance. Responsibility for facilitating this negotiation appears to reside with the Mayor, and with the new city task force.

1 comment:

  1. I find it ironic that the Steelers are so concerned about traffic from the casino, given that the land the new casino will sit on was earmarked for a casino by the Connelly/Wirginis intests long before there was a "Plan 'B'" to build Heinz Field -- back at a time when there were rumblings about the Steelers moving to Washington County. The Steelers knew it was a distinct possibility when they so effectively lobbied for a new stadium, but now they seem to oppose every aspect of having a casino in their neighborhood. Let's be candid: the Steelers perform about a dozen dates out of 365, and the rest of the year that publicly funded monstrosity sits idle with the exception of Pitt games and a few other events. The unvarnished truth is that if you want to revitalize the North Shore, the Steelers don't really contribute much to that effort.