Tailgating changes at Aldean concert make positive impact

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PITTSBURGH - New changes to tailgating on the North Shore were implemented Saturday as country singer Jason Aldean brought his “Burn it Down” tour to PNC Park.

Pittsburgh officials made the changes in hopes of avoiding the mess made before and after the Luke Bryan concert at Heinz Field in June.

Cyndi Barlow said, “I know I pick up my garbage. We put it in our vehicles. But when I come out of there and see the mess, I’m like, what happened?”

The changes made a positive impact, but a release from the mayor’s office said improvements can still be made.

“I want to thank the Pirates, private parking lot owners, Pittsburgh police, medics and refuse crews for executing the plans we made together,” Mayor William Peduto said in a statement. "Most of all I need to thank the concertgoers. All along we wanted to make an atmosphere for the fans that was enjoyable, but also safe and respectful. Working together we were able to make things better, though there is still work to do.”

Peduto held a press conference last week to discuss the changes, which included the opening of parking lots at 2 p.m. rather than 11 a.m.

Traffic clogged streets on the North Shore before parking lots opened, but when they did open tailgaters were quick to set up their pre-concert parties.

Trash bags were handed out to tailgaters and ALCO provided 200 portable toilets -- 40 more than the Luke Bryan Concert.

“It seems to be a little bit better. I've seen a lot more port-a-johns, and dumpsters and garbage cans than I did at Luke Bryan,” said Brad Malenich.

Fans were asked to leave the lots when the concert began. Tailgating during the show was not permitted.

The mayor said the parking lot owners and PNC Park will cover any extra costs. He said it’s the “new standard policy.”

“I think we helped to enable part of the problem by opening the lots early by allowing trashing,” said Peduto.

The mayor’s office said City Public Works and Public Safety officials reported activity was much improved from the Luke Bryan concert.

There were, however, 32 paramedic transports, most of them for intoxication, the mayor’s office said.

State police told Channel 11 that they issued 56 citations for underage drinking near PNC Park.

The mayor’s office said refuse and safety statistics from the concert will be compiled and studied to see what changes are needed for future events.