No more walk-ins at gravel lot

By Stephen Caruso / Staff Writer

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Fans looking for a place to party before the Pitt-Penn State game shouldn’t expect to find booming bass and shotgunning students at the gravel lot Saturday — or during any other game for the rest of the season.

PPG Public Parking, owner of the popular student tailgating haven at the corner of Western Avenue and Fulton Street, told arriving students Saturday at the Villanova game that walk-in revelers will not be allowed in the lot starting with the Pitt-Penn State game, and continuing on through the season. Only cars with four people or fewer will be allowed in.

PPG Parking is also raising the price from $40 to $60 to park in its lots for Saturday’s much-hyped rivalry matchup between the two Pennsylvania universities. All other games will still be $40.

The lot is one of six that PPG Public Parking owns near Heinz Field. Access to all of the lots will be limited to fans arriving by car.

Manager Glenn Porter cited “neighborhood complaints, city complaints [and] alumni complaints” for the change.

“We run a parking lot, not a party lot,” Porter said, mentioning issues like public drunkenness, fights and rock throwing by rowdy tailgaters.

Porter was also concerned that the mess left by the student parties cut into the company’s bottom line.

“My cleanup costs are more than my revenue,” he said.

To enforce the new rule, Porter said PPG Public Parking will fence off the lots, as well as bring in Pittsburgh city police. The police could not be reached in time for publication.

Porter was quick to clarify that bringing a grill and a few beers was still allowed. He also said if a driver felt he or she could not drive after the game due to intoxication, that person could leave a car at the lot and pick it up later.

The change has been a long time coming for Porter, who said he noticed the problem for the first time four years ago, and it has only escalated in the past two.

“Perhaps it’s been going on too long,” Porter said. “[But] the thousands of kids who come up the sidewalk are not welcome.”

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