Pittsburgh Mayor Ed Gainey and other city leaders will meet with South Side residents on Tuesday to discuss public safety issues along the neighborhood’s East Carson Street.
The meeting comes after some business owners raised concerns about recent violence along a busy stretch of East Carson, the main thoroughfare through the bustling business and entertainment district.
Gainey over the weekend toured the area with Councilman Bruce Kraus, who represents the South Side, and other local leaders. Several visitors and business owners in the hallway on Saturday evening said they felt more comfortable as authorities increased police presence in the area, although some still expressed concerns.
Kraus said it was helpful for the mayor to witness activity along East Carson first hand.
“You can’t fully understand the complexity of what’s happening on Carson Street unless you’re physically there,” he said. “You need to be immersed in the activity that is taking place and see it first hand.”
During the walk with Gainey, Kraus said officials witnessed public intoxication, fights and open use of marijuana.
Kraus said the crowds appeared to be smaller than on a typical weekend night. He suspected it might have been due to media coverage and talk of violence in the area, which left some people wary of patronizing South Side businesses.
While Kraus acknowledged the immediate need to address the issues occurring on East Carson, he also said it was also important to note that the issue is not a widespread issue affecting the entire South Side. Only a small number of businesses are contributing to the problems in the region, he said, although many legitimate businesses nearby are feeling the ill effects.
“We have a 33-block business district here,” Kraus said. “We have six businesses in a neighborhood six blocks from the street that define the entirety of this whole historic neighborhood.”
Kraus said he walked with Gainey between 12th and 20th Streets. All of the crowds were between the blocks of 12th and 17th streets, he said.
“The idea that South Side is imploding is a misrepresentation of what’s going on,” Kraus said.
Kraus said he and the mayor discussed potential solutions to ongoing issues, though he declined to elaborate.
“The real challenge ahead of us is how systemically this needs to change,” he said, explaining that nightlife should not be associated with underage attendees, illegal marijuana use or to violence.
Tuesday’s meeting will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the South Side Market House on Bedford Avenue, as well as via the Zoom online platform. People can RSVP in person by contacting [email protected] or calling 412-431-3360. People can Register online to participate via Zoom.
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