Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Downtown's Residential Growth Tied to Parking

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Downtown's Residential Growth Tied to Parking

Article excerpt

Downtown's residential scene is rocking, with big surges in population, high occupancy rates and lots of units in the pipeline.

It doesn't appear as if anything can slow it, except perhaps parking -- or the lack of it.

That's the concern of the Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership, whose 2014 Downtown scoreboard detailed the residential renaissance taking place in the Golden Triangle but also warned of a tightening parking situation that could impact future growth.

The report, released Thursday, stated that residential developers and managers are "experiencing hesitation from potential renters based on the lack of available parking for tenants Downtown."

It constituted a rare sour note in an otherwise glowing State of Downtown report about the Golden Triangle's transformation over the last decade, from residential growth to filled offices and hotels.

Jeremy Waldrup, the partnership's president and CEO, said he thought it was important to raise the issue.

"I think it's a problem we need to deal with. We wanted to put it in the report," he said. "The purpose of the report is to highlight things we should be thinking about before they become problems."

The partnership, he said, recently began hearing from developers for the first time about parking being a big concern. "This is not a concern they were voicing to us three years ago," he noted.

While there has been a huge growth in the number of apartment and condominium units that have been built in or near Downtown over the last decade, "we're not seeing a lot of new parking developed" because it's expensive to do so, Mr. Waldrup said.

"I think it's something we need to begin serious discussions about," he added.

While a 2012 Downtown resident survey found that 45.5 percent of tenants walked to work, another 42.1 percent still used a personal vehicle for commuting or business purposes. Furthermore, 59 percent of residents have a parking lease in a Downtown garage.

The concerns come at a time when the number of people moving Downtown and the number of residential units have been soaring.

Between 2000 and 2010, the residential population Downtown grew by 1,053 people, or 40.9 percent, according to the report. In greater Downtown, which includes the north and south shores, the Strip District, Uptown and the lower Hill District, the population has jumped by 14.7 percent to 7,538 people.

In addition, the partnership estimates that another 1,176 people have moved into greater Downtown between 2010 and 2013 as 824 new units have opened up. The report also counted another 2,229 units in the pipeline.

Although some of the Downtown apartment and condo developments such as Piatt Place, Market Square Place, River Vue and 151 First Side have integral parking, others, such as the former Verizon building on Stanwix Street and the Clark Building on Liberty Avenue, do not. …

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