PITTSBURGH – The mayor and officials who control parking at the city’s sports stadium lots are limiting tailgating hours in hopes of avoiding rowdy behavior and mountains of trash when country music star Jason Aldean performs at PNC Park Saturday.
Tailgating will be limited to five hours before the 7 p.m. show, meaning stadium lots won’t open until 2 p.m.
That move and others come in response to heaps of trash and scores of emergency calls at last month’s Luke Bryan concert at Heinz Field.
The aftermath of that show disappointed city officials who had hoped additional trash receptacles and other improvements would prevent the same kind of debacle that followed a Kenny Chesney concert, also at Heinz Field, last year.
Crews cleaned up more than 45,000 pounds of garbage, some of it containing human waste, after the Chesney concert. While there was less trash after the Luke Bryan concert, there was still more than anticipated in stadium lots, surrounding neighborhoods and the Allegheny River, prompting Mayor Bill Peduto to issue a statement, “The continued trashing of our city has to stop.”
The city will also use more police and Alco Parking Corp., which controls most lots in the area, said it will supply more portable restrooms – 200 – in hopes of keeping the lots clean.
The Luke Bryan show last month was also marred by 19 arrests, more than 30 ambulance calls, and some 250 calls to 911. Parking lots opened at 10 a.m. that day for a 6 p.m. show.
The Heinz Field concerts each drew about 50,000 fans. PNC Park, the smaller stadium home to baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates, is expected to draw about 39,000 fans for the Jason Aldean show.
Officials said the pre-event changes will be reviewed and may impact how the city polices tailgating before Pirates, Steelers and Penguins games and other major events in the future.
Some fans predict the parking lot limits could spawn traffic problems. Motorists will not be allowed to line up outside the stadium lots before they open, which some fans believe could create traffic jams.
“If you’re sitting on the parkway for two hours, that’s going to be a problem,” said Joe Merz, 50, of North Huntington, who plans to attend the show.
Peduto won’t be there, though he may drop by the parking lots to check out the scene.
“I may go down in a baseball cap and sunglasses and walk around to make sure everything is being done,” Peduto said.