By Julian Routh | News Editor
Pittsburgh officials have called on a California-based hospitality company to help take back control of nightlife in areas including South Side.
In a plan outlined by the Responsible Hospitality Institute called the Pittsburgh Sociable City Plan, the city intends to implement a number of changes to nightlife procedures in South Side, Lawrenceville, Market Square and Oakland.
In these neighborhoods, a new Social Host Ordinance will assist police in cracking down on house parties, according to RHI president Jim Peters. The ordinance allows the city to cite owners who host house parties where underage people are served, or if the party gets out of control.
There will also be increased police presence in the coming months to enforce house parties, Peters said.
“Students are going to have to manage these parties,” Peters said.
Similar ordinances in communities across the country successfully reduced underage drinking and associated crimes or property destruction, according to the ordinance.
Other changes, which will be overseen by the RHI and an alliance of local businesses and organizations, include improvements to traffic control and safety in South Side, which will make the streets safer at night.
Peters said the city will implement a taxi stand on the 1700 block of East Carson Street that will allow people to line up and call a cab.
On St. Patrick’s Day, a popular time for drinking in South Side, there will be a shuttle service set up from a Second Avenue parking lot that will take people to East Carson Street. This will prevent people from having to find a parking space, which could congest the area.
A new position will also be created to work with bars and restaurants in the neighborhood to develop an action plan, mayoral spokeswoman Sonya Toler said. The “night-time economy manager” will address issues such as lighting, parking needs and transportation.
“There’s a variety of things to confront with night-life, and it’s not always about people drinking too much,” Toler said.
In a statement released by Pittsburgh City Council, which approved RHI’s plan Wednesday, “the Sociable City Plan is a project that we are incredibly excited about. It provides us the opportunity to take a holistic approach in analyzing where we can work to improve night life for Pittsburgh’s residents.”
“The program developed includes a comprehensive strategy and implementation plan focused on public safety, transportation, hospitality and overall quality of life in the city of Pittsburgh,” the statement said.
Plans for change in South Side come just days after a man who was stabbed at Levelz Sports Lounge on East Carson Street filed a lawsuit against the owners for negligence. The bar was closed for one year by the District Attorney’s Office in early August in response to liquor law violations and crimes in the bar.