A South Side businesswoman said Pittsburgh City Council chairman Bruce Kraus ordered the city to put up no-parking pylons around her business to harass her, but officials maintain that the installation is part of a city-wide road safety program.
Christine Marburger is the owner of the pet grooming business, A Diamond in the Ruff, on 18th Street South, next to Kraus’ house. She said she arrived at work Thursday to find Department of Public Works employees installing the pylons that look like the ones used to separate the city’s cycle lanes. She said Kraus used to harass her.
“They told me it was a work order sent by Bruce Kraus and approved by Bruce Kraus,” she said. “Since I’ve had issues with him in the past, it looks like he has this vendetta against me and it’s just another little dig against me.”
Kraus countered that the pylons were implemented by the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure as part of a safety improvement program where 18th Street intersects with Mary, Sarah, Jane and Josephine streets.
“Bruce Kraus has nothing to do with installing this,” said Dan Gilman, Chief of Staff to Mayor Bill Peduto. “This is completely and totally wrong. Council members do not give orders to public works employees, and public works employees do not take orders from council members.
Gilman said the city had installed similar pylons and paint lines designating no-parking zones on dozens of street corners across the city, including the Strip District, Oakland, Uptown and Squirrel Hill.
“These are installed at intersections where we have had a lot of accidents and other safety issues,” he said. “Making sure cars don’t park too close to an intersection makes it safe for cars and pedestrians.”
Marburger said she understood there were safety concerns about the intersection, but the city could have mitigated that with stop signs.
“Tell me why this barrier was erected around my building,” she said. “It’s too much of a coincidence considering my past issues with him.”
The municipal police in 2014 quoted Kraus with harassment and detritus , alleging that he dumped garbage on the steps of A Diamond in the Ruff. Kraus has denied the allegations. District Judge Jim Motznik, a former city councilor who served with Kraus, rejected the charges .
South Side Chamber of Commerce president Mark Bucklaw said he was unaware of the security program and was not aware of any other intersections in the neighborhood with pylons.
“My question would be what makes this corner unique compared to other corners,” he said.
Gilman said the Ministry of Mobility and Infrastructure had determined where the pylons were to be installed. They are also planned to be installed at an intersection of 40th Street.
“These are installed all over town,” Gilman said.
Bob Bauder is a writer for Tribune-Review. You can contact Bob at 412-765-2312, [email protected] or via Twitter @bobbauder.