Petitioning Pittsburgh

When I moved into my apartment in September, I had a number of problems. One of them was finding a spot for my car. This problem was mostly the fault of my landlord, but I can't absolve the city of some blame for ridiculously not providing permit parking for my apartment, even though the nearby buildings all have permit parking. Instead, we have about 40 parking meters that are almost always unoccupied. While I was on the waiting list for a parking spot, I realized that it would be very simple. Since I have had 3 breakins into cars *not* parked in front of my building and instead in shady areas, I became a lot more conscious of the parking spots right outside my building. My observations were that almost every car outside was a resident of my building and these people weren't using the parking meters. Also, they were mostly competing for 4 spots with no meters on them. They have since fixed those.

I started my quest to open the eyes of the Parking Authority to this problem by getting in touch with Anthony Boule, the director of administration, who I had a long conversation with about the problem, and he gave me the impression that if I wrote something up, he would forward it to the relevant parties. So I wrote this PDF up, and sent it to him a few days later.

From: rkelly@cs.cmu.edu
Subject: Parking request
Date: June 22, 2004 1:42:51 PM EDT
To: aboule@pittsburghparking.com

This is Ryan, I called on Friday to talk about my parking problem/solution. I couldn't find your email anywhere on the PPA website, but i tried "aboule@pittsburghparking.com" on google and did find one link, so I hope this is the correct email address.

I'm attaching a PDF with images, and description of the problem and my proposal. If there is anything else I can do to help it work, please let me know. I appreciate your help!

Thanks,
Ryan

And I got the following response:
From: ABoule@pittsburghparking.com
Subject: RE: Parking request
Date: June 22, 2004 3:54:47 PM EDT
To: rkelly@cs.cmu.edu

I forwarded your information to the meter and enforcement division for review.

Thanks and we will get back to U.

Then I waited a month with no word. So I sent another one:
From: rkelly@cs.cmu.edu
Subject: Re: Parking request
Date: July 22, 2004 5:36:46 PM EDT
To: ABoule@pittsburghparking.com

Any word on my request? Nothing has changed on Bigelow....

Thanks,
Ryan

Waited another month...
From: rkelly@cs.cmu.edu
Subject: Parking request
Date: August 16, 2004 4:48:44 PM EDT
To: aboule@pittsburghparking.com

I still have not heard anything about allowing permit parking on Bigelow Blvd. near the corner of Centre. Can you please let me know what the status is of my request? Thanks,
Ryan

Finally, a response:

From: JWilson@pittsburghparking.com
Subject: FW: Parking request
Date: August 17, 2004 2:33:22 PM EDT
To: rkelly@cs.cmu.edu

-----Original Message-----
From: James Wilson
Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2004 2:21 PM
To: Anthony Boule; ':rkelly@cs.cmu.edu'
Cc: Judi Devito
Subject: RE: Parking request

Bigelow Blvd. is not in permit parking area. However, Center Avenue addresses 4100 thru 4360 are.

-----Original Message-----
From: Anthony Boule
Sent: Tuesday, August 17, 2004 2:17 PM
To: James Wilson
Cc: Judi Devito
Subject: FW: Parking request

Please respond to: rkelly@cs.cmu.edu
Thanks.

-----Original Message-----
From: Ryan Kelly [mailto:rkelly@cs.cmu.edu]
Sent: Monday, August 16, 2004 4:49 PM
To: Anthony Boule
Subject: Parking request

I still have not heard anything about allowing permit parking on Bigelow Blvd. near the corner of Centre. Can you please let me know what the status is of my request? Thanks,
Ryan

Now a few things about this email bothered me. One, James Wilson appeared to have no grammar. The other was that his entire email's content, given my request, was pretty pointless. I decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and overlook the grammar problem. Maybe he didn't get my PDF...

From: rkelly@cs.cmu.edu
Subject: Re: Parking request
Date: August 17, 2004 4:44:35 PM EDT
To: JWilson@pittsburghparking.com

Yes I am very aware of that. My request was to add permit parking to the section of Bigelow near the corner, and I have laid out the reasons why this would be beneficial to many people and not harmful to the street or other people. I send the information to Anthony, and I thought you had gotten it. I will reattach it.

I am convinced after living in this location for 2 years that the parking authority should address this issue, and I have many people behind me on it. Please either consider the change I suggest, or direct me to someone who could make it happen. The permit parking system was designed to help residents who need cars to get around where it can, in a safe and organized manner. It has left this building and its residents out, and needs to be fixed.

Please let me know how to proceed.
Thank you,
Ryan Kelly

With another unparseable response:

From: JWilson@pittsburghparking.com
Subject: RE: Parking request
Date: August 18, 2004 9:51:17 AM EDT
To: rkelly@cs.cmu.edu
Cc: JDevito@pittsburghparking.com, ABoule@pittsburghparking.com

To add and delete streetsityn the RPP program, is Richard Meritzer, city planning, responsibility. His e-mail address is Richard.Meritzer@city.pittsburgh.pa.us

At this point I realized that there might not be anyone in charge of anything at the parking authority. I imagined one person with many email addresses just toying with me.

From: rkelly@cs.cmu.edu
Subject:
Date: August 18, 2004 10:16:52 AM EDT
To: Richard.Meritzer@city.pittsburgh.pa.us

My name is Ryan Kelly, and I have a suggestion for a small change in the permit parking program that will benefit many people. I have laid out the argument for it in an attached pdf. I appreciate your time and consideration and anticipate your response.
Thank you,
Ryan Kelly

I figured, if anyone could help make this happen, this guy could.

From: Richard.Meritzer@city.pittsburgh.pa.us
Subject: RE: Permit Parking for the Schenley Arms
Date: August 18, 2004 4:46:12 PM EDT
To: rkelly@cs.cmu.edu
Cc: JWilson@pittsburghparking.com

Thank you for your information. Unfortunately, the City can not provide Permit Parking at meters. The meters are controlled by the Parking Authority. I have forwarded this Email to them.

But apparently, I was wrong. I still have a plan though.

From: rkelly@cs.cmu.edu
Subject: Fwd: Parking request
Date: August 19, 2004 10:39:33 AM EDT
To: Richard.Meritzer@city.pittsburgh.pa.us

James Wilson already forwarded me to you. I have at least two questions. Why can't the city provide permit parking at metered spots? Other cities do it, and it is very successful. Also, what would it take for the metered spots to be converted to permit only spots?
Thank you,
Ryan

Begin forwarded message:

From: "James Wilson"
Date: August 18, 2004 9:51:17 AM EDT
To: "Ryan Kelly"
Cc: "Judi Devito" , "Anthony Boule"
Subject: RE: Parking request

To add and delete streetsityn the RPP program, is Richard Meritzer, city planning, responsibility. His e-mail address is Richard.Meritzer@city.pittsburgh.pa.us

From: Richard.Meritzer@city.pittsburgh.pa.us
Subject: RE: Parking request
Date: August 19, 2004 11:48:31 AM EDT
To: rkelly@cs.cmu.edu
Cc: ABoule@pittsburghparking.com, Pat.Hassett@city.pittsburgh.pa.us

I just spoke to Anthony Boule of the Pittsburgh Parking Authority. He said the meters are not an issue if we can get you into a permit zone. We have three options. We can either put you in Residential Parking Permit Area J, which is already very dense, in Residential Parking Permit Area S, which I tried three years ago and met with substantial opposition from the residents, or create a new district, which requires and area of 10 block faces or 100 parking spaces.

I will set up a meeting for early September with all the interested parties to see if we can come to some resolution to this problem. Please let me know if there are any other tenants who would be interested in such a meeting.
Thanks!

But Anthony came through. And then there was the parking meeting.