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Is this why we're broke? Massive parking garage sits half-empty



PITTSBURGH - A decade after one of the largest parking garages in our area was built with taxpayer money, half of the massive structure sits empty.

Target 11’s Rick Earle looked into the garage to decide if the project was worth it, or if it was a waste of tax dollars.

The Port Authority’s South Hills parking garage, which opened in 2004, cost taxpayers more than $25 million.

Now, Earle said, the top three floors haven’t been used much -- if at all.

“It’s awfully big, so it’s kind of surprising how large it is for the number of people,” Steve Roth said.

Earle reported that about 1,000 drivers park in the garage daily. While that may sound like a lot, the garage has room for twice that amount, Earle said.

Port Authority spokesman Jim Ritchie defended the garage and said it’s the most-used parking facility in the Port Authority.

“It’s taken a long time,” Ritchie said. “We’re now making more off the garage than we are spending to manage it. That’s a good thing.”

Ritchie said the garage was built with plans to use the old park-and-ride lot next door for a development, but two proposals for that have already fallen through,

"In an ideal world, the development would have come together sooner, and we wouldn't have had that space just sitting there, and the garage would have more cars in it today," Ritchie said.

Port Authority officials said they're close to finalizing a deal to use the park-and-ride lot for condos. If that happens, it will take up about 150 spaces in the garage.