G-20 summit forces Pittsburghers to park like regular people, and other consequences of living in a city that isn't used to hosting big global events


The stepped-up state of police alert for the G-20  summit has meant that vehicle owners need to be very careful.  On Monday, we received this report, from a concerned neighbor on Gold Way, just outside of Polish Hill:

“The cops came by my street last night and proceeded to tow away ANY vehicle (including motorcycles) that were not facing the flow of traffic.  Now some of you may not have to deal with this, either because you don’t park like you live in Pittsburgh, or you don’t have a car, but please inform friends who do that the police are acting on a policy of ZERO tolerance (for anything that usually would fly just fine).”

A school bus owned by Seeds of Peace, a national group who travel around the country providing food for nonviolent protests, parked on Melwood Avenue, was impounded by the police, and some of the group were held for a few hours.

The police have also started impounding bikes that do not have the correct array of lights (a white one in front, and a red blinky one in back).  Here from the PA State Bike Laws, is the law on bike lights (information c/o Erok, of BikePGH):

Section 3507. Lamps or other equipment on pedalcycles.
(a) Lamps and reflectors. — Every pedalcycle when in use between sunset and sunrise shall be equipped on the front with a lamp which emits a beam of white light intended to illuminate the pedalcycle operator’s path and visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front, a red reflector facing to the rear which shall be visible at least 500 feet to the rear, and an amber reflector on each side. Operators of pedalcycles may supplement the required front lamp with a white flashing lamp, light-emitting diode or similar device to enhance their visibility to other traffic and with a lamp emitting a red flashing lamp, light emitting diode or similar device visible from a distance of 500 feet to the rear. A lamp or lamps worn by the operator of a pedalcycle shall comply with the requirements of this subsection if the lamp or lamps can be seen at the distances specified.

Erok says: “Many car-bike crashes occur at night and involve a poorly illuminated bicyclist. Bicyclists should understand that headlamps serve two purposes: a) primarily, they advise other road users of their presence (vitally important to prevent unsuspecting motorists from cutting across the paths of cyclists they cannot even detect), b) secondarily, illuminate the bicyclist’s path.”

What Pittsburgh-style parking or insufficiently equipped bicyclists have to do with the summit isn’t entirely clear, but that’s the way the police are rocking it right now.  So make sure you’re compliant and don’t look suspicious, or do anything suspicious.  And if you absolutely have to go out, maybe it’d be good to wear a Steelers jersey.