The other day, we got a few complaints from residents on Melwood Avenue whose cars were ticketed for being parked on the sidewalk. Of course, you see cars on the sidewalk all over Polish Hill, on Melwood in particular. Many of our streets are very narrow, and parked vehicles are regularly hit and damaged by speeding cars.
Unfortunately, it’s actually illegal to park on the sidewalk in the City of Pittsburgh. Speaking at a community meeting in February, Zone 2 Community Relations Officer Marlease Porter told us that police don’t generally issue tickets for sidewalk parking unless they get a complaint. But if someone does call the police, the responding officer may ticket every vehicle on that block that has wheels on the sidewalk.
It’s understandable that residents would want to park where their car will be out of harm’s way, but this does not override other concerns. Sidewalks are intended to create a safe space for pedestrians. We heard today from another resident who reported that she was walking on the sidewalk on Melwood Avenue and narrowly missed being hit by a car as the driver swerved up onto the sidewalk to park.
Another issue is that over time, the weight of vehicles parking on a sidewalk causes damage — and property owners are legally responsible for the maintenance and repair of any sidewalks adjoining their property. If there are cracked, sunken or raised areas, Building Inspection can issue a citation ordering that the sidewalk be repaired or replaced — work that would be done at the homeowner’s expense, and which can easily run into the thousands of dollars.
Everyone can agree that residents should be able to park their cars without worrying about getting hit — or ticketed. The solution is to slow and reduce traffic on Melwood, not to allow vehicles to take over the sidewalks. The PHCA is working on getting traffic calming and traffic reduction measures into place and to do that, we need residents to add their voices to ours. If you want traffic reduction and traffic calming, please tell the City directly, thru their 311 system. This is the sort of thing 311 is there for. And if there’s a particular solution that you support, tell them that too. Here’s the 311 online form.
(We didn’t want to target anyone, so this photo of sidewalk parking is not from Polish Hill — it’s from this blog)