With the final G-20 summit security restrictions on traffic in place, it is still possible to get there from here, but with many businesses and organizations closing for the Sept. 24-25 meetings, there may be no there, there.
Still, for those who have to go Downtown, or around town, there are ways to do so. First, drivers cannot use any of the Downtown exits from the parkway. These restrictions will go into effect Sept. 24, at 12:01 a.m. through at least 8 p.m. Sept. 25.
The only drivers permitted within the security zone are those who live there, delivery drivers, taxis and hotel shuttles. For everyone else, traveling in Downtown will be via shoe-leather express. However, the Secret Service will also enforce a second, pedestrian-only perimeter around the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Checkpoints to enter that zone will be placed at Liberty Avenue and 10th Street, and at Penn Avenue and 9th Street. Entrants must pass through metal detectors.
Downtown parking will also not be permitted. However, nearly 20,000 spaces in the lower Hill District, Uptown, Station Square, Strip District and on the North Shore are available.
Commuters using Port Authority Transit, will be able to reach Downtown, but by way of longer, altered routes that avoid the Secret Service zone around the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. Most bus routes will use or stop along the Boulevard of the Allies. The T will reach the First Avenue Station, but all other Downtown T stations will be closed. To see a particular route visit the PAT interactive website map at www.portauthority.org/g20map.
As for getting across town, some destinations are easier to reach than others. And though G20 safety information notes, for example, that those using the Liberty Bridge will not be able to exit to Oakland via the Boulevard of the Allies ramp, or to Shadyside via Bigelow Boulevard because both ramps are closed, the interactive map at www.g20safety.org/map.htm appears to indicate that this is not the case.
Calls to Pittsburgh police for clarification were not returned by New Pittsburgh Courier deadline.
Then of course, there is another set of restrictions limiting where the expected 5,000 protesters may assemble, rally and march. Three demonstration sites have been set aside “within view” of the convention center where the world leaders are meeting. However, two of the so called “access zones” are across the Allegheny River. The third is in the Buncher parking lot across Fort Duquesne Boulevard from the convention center at the end of the Strip District.
A list of all 11 of the demonstrations that received city permits, and their times and locations is also available at www.g20safety.org/demonstration_permits.htm. However, as some protesters look on such permits with contempt and have previously shown a willingness to vigorously oppose restrictions on their ability to denounce the G20 agenda, it is likely that non-permitted demonstrations will occur throughout the two-day summit.