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83-Steelers-43
04-23-2007, 12:06 PM
Steelers fear casino traffic on game days
Monday, April 23, 2007

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers want to see a more detailed study of the traffic impact of the proposed Majestic Star casino, particularly as it relates to game days and other big events on the North Shore.

Steelers President Art Rooney said today the study done by PITG Gaming LLC, the casino operator, did not analyze the impact the slots palace would have on game day traffic at Heinz Field or PNC Park. He viewed that as a serious flaw, given the difficulties the Steelers experience moving traffic during home games.

During a meeting with the Post-Gazette editorial board, Mr. Rooney said the Steelers would object to the approval of the casino master plan by the city planning commission until the issue had been addressed. The planning commission is scheduled to vote on the master plan May 1.

"There's a whole different picture on the North Shore that needs to be looked at," he said.

Mr. Rooney also said there's a need to analyze the impact the casino will have on the regional highway system, including ramps and bridges leading to the West End and the North Shore. He said the Majestic Star study was more localized and did not look at the interstate system.

"We are prepared to go and object to an approval [by the planning commission] at this point," he said. "We don't think it should be approved without a much more thorough study of the traffic and, obviously, an analysis of what it's going to take to fix the problem."

He estimated that it could cost "tens of millions of dollars" to make the improvements necessary to mitigate the impact. The Steelers also believe there's a need to form a working group similar to one convened before Heinz Field and PNC Park opened to address traffic issues. Handling that through the 39-member gaming implementation task force formed by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato could be unwieldly, he said, although he added it is conceivable that a subcommittee could address such issues.

Mr. Rooney said the Steelers are willing to work with businessman Don Barden, who heads PITG Gaming, to resolve traffic-related issues. The team has hired its own consultant, Parsons Brinckerhoff, to assist on traffic-related issues.

While the mix of traffic "might be a workable situation" when Steeler games start at 1 p.m. Sunday, Mr. Rooney said that is becoming less common. The Steelers will play five night home games this year, two during the preseason and three during the regular season. He said he was also concerned about the impact on Saturday Pitt games.

PITG Gaming spokesman Bob Oltmanns said the casino's traffic study did take into account the impact on the regional highway system, including the West End Bridge. He wasn't sure whether it analyzed game day traffic. However, he pointed out that Mr. Barden has committed to making about $10 million in improvements to intersections and roads near the casino.

He added he didn't hear anything from Mr. Rooney's remarks "that already hasn't been discussed in great detail before the gaming control board. We have acknowledged the need for some highway and roadway improvements that Mr. Barden has since day one been willing to pay for at no cost to taxpayers," he said.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07113/780313-100.stm

Atlanta Dan
04-23-2007, 12:15 PM
The Steelers have their shorts in a bunch because they wanted the land surrounding Heinz and PNC Park to be developed as they saw fit.

After nothing happened for 5 years someone has stepped up and proposed how the land should be used. The Steelers missed their lengthy chance to be players in Northside development but have lost that chance and need to deal with it.

Given the hours I would spend in gridlocked parking lots after games at TRS, the Steelers purported concerns about traffic congestion are laughable. They play in a taxpayer funded facility and will need to grin and bear it as others control how the slots palace (casinos involve a lot more glitz and gambling) next to that facility operates.

Stlrs4Life
04-23-2007, 05:19 PM
The Steelers have their shorts in a bunch because they wanted the land surrounding Heinz and PNC Park to be developed as they saw fit.

After nothing happened for 5 years someone has stepped up and proposed how the land should be used. The Steelers missed their lengthy chance to be players in Northside development but have lost that chance and need to deal with it.

Given the hours I would spend in gridlocked parking lots after games at TRS, the Steelers purported concerns about traffic congestion are laughable. They play in a taxpayer funded facility and will need to grin and bear it as others control how the slots palace (casinos involve a lot more glitz and gambling) next to that facility operates.




Exactly Atlanta Dan. They want to develope between Heinz and PNC soo bad. There will be nowhere to park down there to go to any of these places! I laughed my butt off at this story!:flap: :sofunny:

SteelCityMan786
04-23-2007, 07:50 PM
Who can blame them. this also effects the science center to.

RoethlisBURGHer
04-23-2007, 08:39 PM
I see where the Steelers are coming from.Lots other than the Heinz Field/PNC Park parking lots cannot deny someone from parking there for things other than the games.The casino will bring people from Pennsylvania,Ohio,and West Virginia.They won't be coming for the Steelers or Pirates and will be taking up spots that the Steelers need for attendance.

Stlrs4Life
04-24-2007, 09:07 PM
Roethlisberger, the Steelers don't care about them lots either. They plan on developing those lots themselves in the future.

83-Steelers-43
04-25-2007, 08:17 AM
IMO, the Steelers have no ground to stand on when it comes to this situation. That land has been sitting vacant for a long time and the Steelers never took advantage of it. Intead they were building around the Heinz/PNC area while taking away much needed parking spots.

Plus, who are the Steelers? I love them, but who are they to say what can and cannot be built on property that they do not own? While I do not agree with building a casino in that area (congestion will be crazy), the Steelers blew their chance.

Man_Of_Steel
04-25-2007, 09:07 PM
Who can blame them. this also effects the science center to.

They said the Science Center is closed on game days and thats one of the suggestions Rooney is proposing to the casino owners.

What I don't get is why the Rooneys think everyone will be leaving the casino and the Steeler game at the same time. I'm sure there will be very little traffic leaving the casino the same time the game is over.

Stlrs4Life
04-26-2007, 04:49 PM
They said the Science Center is closed on game days and thats one of the suggestions Rooney is proposing to the casino owners.

What I don't get is why the Rooneys think everyone will be leaving the casino and the Steeler game at the same time. I'm sure there will be very little traffic leaving the casino the same time the game is over.


LOL! If I was the Casino owner, I tell Rooney to you know....off! And laugh in his face.

MasterOfPuppets
04-26-2007, 05:01 PM
LOL! If I was the Casino owner, I tell Rooney to you know....off! And laugh in his face.

yup...i'd tell dan to pay me what my average profit is for a day , and i'll close.:coffee:

onthebus36
04-27-2007, 01:38 PM
Another thing to consider is these places are seldom stand alone facilities. Wherever the slot palaces pop up, expect support facilities like restaurants, hotels, check cashing places, etc... to follow.

Seems like these casinos/slot palaces have caused trouble wherever they were discussed. When this one was initially discussed, the was also one being slotted (no pun intended) to go in near the Gettysburg Battlefield.

That one was stopped from going in for traffic issues, resistance from the town restaurants and hotels, and a big fight from folks who thought it would hurt the battlefield and tourism.

rbryan
04-27-2007, 09:16 PM
I'm pretty sure the casinos not worried about the overflow of traffic from a Steelers game. Sounds like they're afraid everybody will gamble away thier beer money before they get inside the stadium.

Sith Lord
04-28-2007, 05:39 PM
uhh, when will this casino open and will they have all table games, including poker? Where is it?

Stlrs4Life
04-28-2007, 11:01 PM
Not sure, but I think early as next year. No, no table games, just slots.

Sith Lord
04-29-2007, 08:43 AM
Thanks, too bad...slots are for old ladies who smoke.

stlrtruck
05-01-2007, 07:56 AM
The only thing I hope is that during games, I'm not losing parking places to casino visitors. Other than that, do whatever.

Stlrs4Life
05-01-2007, 07:43 PM
Well, nobody is going to lose parking spots, cause they are reserved lots.

83-Steelers-43
05-01-2007, 07:46 PM
Casino says added traffic not a big hit on Steelers
Tuesday, May 01, 2007

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The operator of the proposed North Shore slot machine casino will ask city planners to approve its master plan today, arguing that the impact on Steelers game day traffic will be "minuscule."

But the appeal by PITG Gaming LLC may not be enough to persuade the city planning commission to vote today to approve the casino master plan, given a multitude of worries about traffic and design.

Planning commission Chairwoman Wrenna Watson said yesterday there are still "quite a few major concerns" regarding the casino.

"My sense is there are too many concerns for a vote to happen [today]," she said.

Worried about the impact the casino will have on their customers, the Steelers are pushing for a delay in the master plan approval while a more detailed traffic study is conducted, particularly as it relates to game days.

Steelers President Art Rooney II said last week additional traffic could double the time it takes to empty out the North Shore after games.

Also seeking a delay is the Carnegie Science Center, which is worried about the impact the casino and the traffic will have on its operations.

But PITG Gaming spokesman Bob Oltmanns challenged the Steelers' dire predictions yesterday. At most, the casino will add 820 vehicles to the mix of traffic in the peak hour before a Sunday Steelers game, he said, based on PITG Gaming estimates.

That, he argued, is "minuscule" compared with an estimated 5,000 cars that flood the North Shore at the same hour for the football game. All casino patrons, he added, will be able to park in the 4,100-space garage PITG Gaming is planning as part of the casino development.

"It is not the disaster the Steelers purported it to be," he said.

He maintained there's no reason to delay a vote on the master plan. He said the planning commission could approve it while PITG Gaming continues to work with the Steelers, the science center and others to resolve concerns and to develop a traffic management plan.

Mr. Oltmanns said the Steelers did not complete a traffic management plan until Heinz Field was finished. He said he sees no reason the same can't happen with the casino.

"We don't believe there's any reason to hold up the project because of these outstanding issues," he said.

While Steelers officials fear that casino traffic will affect their fans, the casino argues that Steelers traffic will put a damper on its business.

Mr. Oltmanns said PITG Gaming estimates that about 24,000 people will visit the casino on a typical Sunday. Given that, it projects that about 1,175 vehicles -- with two people per vehicle -- will be coming to the North Shore from 11 a.m. to noon.

But it also believes that will drop substantially because patrons won't want to fight the game traffic. Based on a 30 percent reduction, an estimate it believes is conservative, that means 820 cars would be arriving at the casino between 11 a.m. and noon, Mr. Oltmanns said.

He said the $10 million in traffic improvements PITG Gaming plans for intersections and roads near the casino and Heinz Field will be more than adequate to handle the additional volume on game days.

Mark Hart, the Steelers director of business, said, however, the varying estimates and opinions regarding traffic impact are all the more reason for more detailed study.

"We just can't pull numbers out of a hat," he said.

While Mr. Oltmanns described an influx of an additional 820 cars at the peak time as minuscule, Mr. Hart thought otherwise.

"Eight hundred cars per hour over the course of a couple of hours is a heck of a problem," he said.

He added that if some accommodation can't be reached, one solution could be to close the casino during major events while a more in-depth traffic study is done. The science center now closes during Steelers game days.

The team isn't the only one calling for more study. Wilbur Smith Associates, a city planning consultant, also said there was a need for a more extensive traffic study, in part to address the various concerns. It said the initial study done for PITG Gaming was too limited.

While a delay in today's vote would be a setback for PITG Gaming and owner Don Barden, it may not have a big impact on the timetable for opening the casino in summer 2008.

That's because the two losing bidders in the casino competition have appealed the state's award of the license to PITG Gaming. The state Supreme Court won't hear arguments on the appeals until May 15 and a ruling may not follow for at least several weeks after that.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07121/782388-336.stm

83-Steelers-43
05-01-2007, 07:47 PM
will they have all table games, including poker?

The answer (as already stated) is no. But, West Virginia is pushing hard for table games and probably will receive them since we (Pa) received a slots license. IMO, we will eventually match West Virginia on the table games in a few years.

Stu Pidasso
05-01-2007, 09:23 PM
Who wants to bet the prices for the ferry skyrocket for those who park at Station Square?

83-Steelers-43
05-10-2007, 11:56 PM
Casino planning upsets Barden, Rooneys
New delay on vote, traffic study at issue
Friday, May 11, 2007

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The North Shore casino developer is upset about another delay in the master plan vote by the city planning commission, saying the company has done its best to address concerns, many of which involve traffic.

But PITG Gaming LLC isn't the only one upset about the planning for the Majestic Star casino. Steelers President Art Rooney II said yesterday he's unhappy the casino's impact on game day traffic at Heinz Field won't be analyzed as part of an expanded traffic study.

In an interview, he said the Steelers would consider a lawsuit if planners approve the casino master plan without studying the impact on events at Heinz Field.

He said the team has been told the casino's impact on Steelers traffic won't be analyzed until after the slots palace opens. The casino will be built between Carnegie Science Center and the West End Bridge.

"That means we could go through a couple of years of disaster, potential disaster, before we decide how to fix it. That doesn't make any sense to me," he said.

Planning commission members were expected to consider the master plan at their meeting Tuesday. They delayed a vote two weeks ago to await the results of an expanded traffic study. They now won't consider the master plan until May 29.

The delay angered PITG Gaming spokesman Bob Oltmanns, who said the casino has "moved heaven and earth" to comply with city requests.

"We frankly don't understand the reason for [the delay]," he said. "We have time and again delivered to city planning everything they have asked for from us. We demonstrated time and again our willingness to meet with and address any issues brought forward about the project and have repeatedly been pushed back in spite of all of that."

He said PITG Gaming, headed by Don Barden, wants to be in position to start construction once the state Supreme Court rules on appeals challenging the award of the Pittsburgh license. The court will hear arguments next week. Mr. Barden hopes to open the Majestic Star in summer 2008.

"The longer the city process is delayed, the more complex that whole scenario becomes," Mr. Oltmanns said.

City transportation planner Sidney Kaikai said he needed the extra time to review a revised traffic study submitted by PITG Gaming last Friday. He said it was "just physically impossible" to review the data and prepare reports for the planning commission by Tuesday.

He said he doesn't envision further delays, adding that Mayor Luke Ravenstahl wants to move the process along as quickly as possible.

"We have a road map we are following. My boss is keenly involved in what is going on. He wants us to do our due diligence and work as best we can to meet the stakeholders halfway to try to accommodate everyone's wishes," Mr. Kaikai said.

One stakeholder that doesn't feel accommodated is the Steelers. The team has repeatedly raised concerns about the casino's impact on traffic to and from Heinz Field and has been pushing for months for a comprehensive study to address that issue, to no avail.

Mr. Kaikai said there would be no comprehensive study of the game day situation as part of master plan approval.

Mr. Rooney said the team is growing increasingly frustrated by the lack of attention to the issue. He and Mark Hart, Steelers director of business, said it was unheard of that planners would wait until after the casino has opened to study such impacts.

"If we don't get some kind of breakthrough in terms of what's going to be studied or at least an acknowledgement that event day traffic has to be studied and planned for and improvements made where necessary ... obviously we've got to look at it from a legal point of view in terms of how we respond to the process," Mr. Rooney said.

Mr. Kaikai said there simply isn't enough time at this point to accommodate such a comprehensive study if the casino is to stay on track for a summer 2008 opening.

He said the original Majestic Star traffic impact study did have some information relating to game day events and that the revised study provided even more. He said the city's consultant, Wilbur Smith Associates, is comfortable with that work.

To address concerns, the city hopes to find ways to separate Majestic Star traffic from Steelers traffic on game days and better accommodate pedestrians, one of the issues raised by the Carnegie Science Center.

Mr. Kaikai said such a plan likely will be a condition of master plan approval. He added there will be numerous chances to fine-tune casino-related issues through the various project approvals needed before opening day.

"We've got a lot of opportunities to make things right if we don't get it completely right the first time," he said.

PITG Gaming officials have noted that the Steelers and Pirates received project development approvals from the planning commission for Heinz Field and PNC Park before traffic management plans were done.

Mr. Rooney said that was a "very different situation" because teams and planners had a pretty good idea of what to expect because Three Rivers Stadium was in the same general location.

"It wasn't like we were bringing a brand-new project into the area that people didn't understand what the potential impact could be," he said.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07131/785268-66.stm

ChronoCross
05-11-2007, 12:24 AM
Why should they worry;

http://www.medical-vip.de/Dienstleistungsangebote/Medical_Filmservice/CrashAutobahn.JPG

Atlanta Dan
05-11-2007, 07:15 AM
Sounds like Barden is not part of the Mario/Art Rooney cool kids club in Pittsburgh.

If the Rooneys wanted to control development around Heinz they should have lined up some development over the past 5 years. Based on the continuing financial issues relating to his other operations, I am beginning to question whether Barden's selection was drived by diversity concerns rather than being the best bid, but AJR II has nobody to blame but his own organization for letting the North Shore remaining open as a site for development the Steelers may not like.

83-Steelers-43
06-01-2007, 06:12 AM
Rooney: Resolve casino dispute without courts
Friday, June 01, 2007

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers aren't in a hurry to sue over traffic-related disputes involving the North Shore casino, but they say there must be a better way for the parties to resolve their differences.

Steelers President Art Rooney II said yesterday the team isn't happy with the city planning commission decision this week to approve the casino master plan and questioned whether the proper process was in place to work out problems short of legal action.

"I think we need to have a better process to try to work toward a real master plan that everyone can feel confident in and that will work for all the stakeholders over there. So far that's not what we have," he said.

Mr. Rooney also questioned whether a game day traffic study ordered as part of the conditions of master plan approval would be adequate. The Steelers and the Pirates had pressed for such a study to be done before master plan approval.

The commission rejected that idea, but ordered PITG Gaming and its owner, Don Barden, to have one completed by Sept. 30, along with proposed mitigating measures.

Despite the concern over the casino's impact on Steelers games at Heinz Field, Mr. Rooney said the team "would rather avoid going to court to solve these issues."

But if that is to happen, there's a need for a better process to handle and resolve disputes, not only relating to traffic but issues like design. He criticized the planning commission for allowing each speaker only three minutes to air their views at Tuesday's meeting.

He also said the 16 traffic-related conditions recommended as part of master plan approval were never presented to the traffic committee that is part of a gaming implementation task force set up by Mayor Luke Ravenstahl and Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato.

The committee is supposed to handle traffic-related issues.

"Our point is if the casino is going to be there, let's do it right. If we don't have a process to do it right, it's going to be a second-rate project and a project people are going to be unhappy with. It's going to be difficult to live with. Now is the time to do it right," he said.

PITG Gaming officials also expressed concern about being shut out of one of the traffic committee meetings.

Mr. Onorato said last night he plans to meet with the Steelers and Mr. Barden to try to work out the issues. He already has met with the Carnegie Science Center, which also has concerns.

"I think these issues can be resolved," he said.

In a short voice-mail message earlier this week, Dennis Davin, county economic development director and gaming task force co-chair, attributed some of the problems to task force "growing pains." He could not be reached for comment last night.

Planning commission members have said design-related issues and some involving the science center can be dealt with during a series of project development approvals needed before construction. The casino would be built next to the science center.

The Steelers have been pushing for the creation of a group like the one in place during the construction of Heinz Field and PNC Park to handle issues that came up.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07152/790666-336.stm

rbryan
06-01-2007, 08:52 AM
I'm surprised the casino is even going to be open on Sundays. I moved away from the Burgh years ago, are the "blue laws" still in effect?? I would think a casino would be the type of business not allowed to operate on a Sunday. Then again I never dreamed there would be one to begin with.

83-Steelers-43
06-28-2007, 03:03 PM
Steelers appeal city's approval of casino plan
Thursday, June 28, 2007

By Mark Belko, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Steelers today filed an appeal with the state Supreme Court challenging the decision by the city planning commission to approve the master plan for the proposed North Shore casino.

In a statement, Steelers President Art Rooney II said the team appealed because it believes the planning commission made "significant legal errors" in the May 29 decision approving the master plan.

"Our first duty is to protect the fans and visitors to Heinz Field. The master plan that was approved by the city planning commission fell short of the requirements under the city ordinance, which requires a master plan to demonstrate a safe environment and traffic mitigation measures. This work has not been done," Mr. Rooney said.

However, he added the Steelers were hopeful that recent discussions with Allegheny County Chief Executive Dan Onorato's office and Mayor Luke Ravenstahl's office "may lead to a resolution of the complex traffic and parking issues" related to the casino.

"In the meantime, the appeal of the planning commission action is intended to ensure that the construction of the casino is accomplished without serious negative impacts to other North Shore visitors," the statement said.

As the Steelers appealed, casino developer Don Barden still was trying to work out an agreement with the Carnegie Science Center over traffic and lighting issues to avoid another appeal. City officials were involved in those talks as well. The Pirates also are expected to release a statement about their intentions today.

Under law, the appeal goes directly to the state Supreme Court as a means of expediting the litigation. Mr. Barden is still awaiting word from the court as to whether he will retain the casino license after appeals by the two losing bidders.

A spokesman for Mr. Barden declined comment.

http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/07179/797891-100.stm

83-Steelers-43
06-28-2007, 04:22 PM
Man, Barden taking hell from both the Science Center and the Steelers. From what I've read it seems the Science Center seems to be putting more heat on the guy than the Steelers, but the Steelers are definately now pouring on the heat even though they should have no say in what Barden decides to do with HIS land.

Atlanta Dan
06-28-2007, 04:33 PM
Under Chuck Noll the Steelers motto was "whatever it takes"

Under AJR II the motto is "where's my cut?"

If I am Barden and the city I tell the Steelers that after waiting 5 years to develop pie in the sky plans like "the North Shore Nordstrom's" it is someone else's turn to develop the property.

I am no big fan of slots palaces but the Rooneys are pretty low on the list of operators who can cry about not taking the views of the neighbors into account when it comes to development.

83-Steelers-43
06-28-2007, 04:48 PM
For the record, I do not like Barden and I think it's a joke that he got the license to begin with, but the Rooney's are wrong on this one in my opinion.

Stlrs4Life
06-28-2007, 05:18 PM
For the record, I do not like Barden and I think it's a joke that he got the license to begin with, but the Rooney's are wrong on this one in my opinion.


I agree!