It’s about to become more expensive to park in Bridgeville.
And it could be be a lot more expensive if you’re only parking for a few minutes.
Beginning this month, the Bridgeville Parking Authority’s curbside kiosks will charge cash-paying customers $1 per hour—that’s the same rate that you would pay to park in Sewickley, Mt. Lebanon or Pittsburgh’s Lawrenceville neighborhood.
For drivers paying by credit card, however, there will be a minimum $2.50 charge, which gives you 2.5 hours of parking. So whether you’re planning to be in Bridgeville for five minutes, 90 minutes, or two hours, you will be required to pay for 2.5 hours of parking.
In addition, the parking authority is shifting its meter enforcement window to later in the day to better collect revenue during the hours when the parking lots are busiest. The new meter schedule is 10 AM to 8 PM.
Some people might question the wisdom of raising parking rates—by 150% in some cases—at the tail end of a pandemic, just as bars and restaurants are getting close to resuming business as usual.
On the other hand, the Bridgeville Parking Authority might have some very good reasons for raising rates now.
Did the pandemic put the parking authority in a dire financial position? Are the authority’s lots in need of costly repairs? Did the authority conclude that actual dollar cost of the new rates will have minimal to zero impact on local business? Is there data proving as much?
The find out, we emailed parking authority manager Joe Solomon asking for insight about the decisionmaking that went into the rate hike, as well as clarification of some details.
Borough parking lots are owned and operated by the Parking Authority!!!-Joe Solomon, Bridgeville Parking Authority manager
All changes have been voted on and approved at the April 2021 Parking Authority Meeting!
Thanks for your interest,
He has a point—the borough parking lots are owned and operated by the parking authority(!!!) and the authority did approve the rate increases in April(!).
That’s why some borough councilmembers were caught off guard when they only recently learned about all of this.
Councilman Joe Verduci found out about the parking changes while reviewing the parking authority’s old meeting minutes.
“I was a little disturbed with the reports for this past month,” he said. “I’m curious if our restaurants know about this. “We didn’t have a public discussion about this… did anybody know, other than getting this report? I think that we need to have a major conversation with the parking authority. We should go to the parking authority’s meeting and listen to their reasoning.”
Councilwoman Virginia Schneider called the timing of the rate hike “inconsiderate,” especially given the pandemic and the new threat of an I-79 toll bridge.
Many restaurants are already operated at reduced hours, and now it just got more expensive to visit those businesses, said councilman Nicholas Ciesielski.
Council president Bill Henderson said the the parking authority’s communication with council has been sub-optimal.
“We have invited them to this meeting every month,” Henderson said. “For the last several months, we have been asked to submit any questions we have for them prior [to ourmeeting]. We need to get face-to-face with the authority and have some discussions about the impact of [the parking rate increase].”
Although council appoints the parking authority’s board members, the authority operates as an independent entity.
Councilman Nino Petrocelli wondered whether there was something functionally wrong with the parking authority.
“You’ve heard the phrase ‘there is something rotten in Denmark?'” he said. “I don’t know what it is. Is it a management problem? The payroll is high—it’s over $140,000 per year.”
Recent parking authority meeting minutes indicates that the agency has been losing money for at least the past several months.
“I don’t know how bad off they are,” said councilman Joe Colosimo. “Are they in trouble? I mean, there’s another way to do this rather than just drop it on people’s heads.”
Several councilmembers said that they plan to attend the next parking authority meeting, which is scheduled for Monday, June 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bridgeville municipal building.