Dozens of empty storefronts on Pittsburgh’s South Side

PITTSBURGH — Businesses on Pittsburgh’s South Side are shutting down left and right, and we’re finding out what’s driving them away.

We talked to business owners, employees and people on the street about why there are dozens of empty storefronts on Carson Street.

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They named a list of reasons: Parking is a big one, rent is high and fears of violence also were high on the list.

Business owners say the empty storefronts scare them because they don’t want to be next.

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According to the Chamber of Commerce, between 40 and 50 stores are vacant right now in South Side, but that’s out of about 600 stores in the area -- which is fairly normal for an urban area.

Councilman Bruce Kraus sent us a statement about the parking and safety concerns within the East Carson Street corridor:

"Our Parking Enhancement District funding is able to provide $100,000 per year to have a full time cleaning service in place for the first time in a number of years. As of date we have collected over $600,000 that must be reinvested in Carson Street safety, cleaning and infrastructure.

PED funding has also provided for numerous additional public safety cameras placed along the Carson Street corridor.

Parking spaces between 12th and 17th streets have been opened to provide for better traffic flow and ride-share pick up and drop off, easing congestion and reducing the potential for DUI.

The mayor, public safety director, chief of police and Commander Dixon have implemented a dedicated unit of six full time police officers and Sargent to patrol the corridor from 8 pm to 4 am five nights a week. This is on addition to our regular policing schedule and saturation patrols.

The mayor, public safety director, chief of police and myself as councilman have committed to the opening of a satellite sub police station in the SS flats.

Recently completed was an approximately $3 million dollar lighting project where 100 new street lights were added to the Carson Street corridor to visually enhance and provide for a safer environment.

In the coming days PennDot will be announcing a multimillion dollar project coming to the corridor beginning this spring making road improvements, new traffic signaling, intersection bump-outs, wayfair signage and pedestrian improvements all designed to enhance public safety beginning at Station Square and continuing on to 33rd Street. This investment is estimated somewhere around $20 million dollars.

Also included here is the Carson Street Strategy report which includes all that is being developed to assist with a continuously strong and vibrant East Carson Street corridor.

Sending in addition to this information in the next text is the Carson Street Strategy plan being developed between the city and the URA.”

Watch the full story in the video above.