Pet salon owner blames Pittsburgh council president for parking pylons

September 27, 2018

City crews install a bump out in front of Dimonad in the Ruff at 18th and Mary streets in the South Side.

A South Side businesswoman says Pittsburgh City Council President Bruce Kraus ordered the city to install no-parking pylons around the front of her business to harass her, but officials maintain the installation is part of a citywide traffic safety program.

Christine Marburger owns the pet grooming business, A Diamond in the Ruff, on South 18th Street next door to Kraus’ home. She said she arrived at work on Thursday to find Department of Public Works employees installing the pylons that resemble those used to separate city bike lanes. She said Kraus has a history of hassling her.

“They told me it was a work order that was sent in by Bruce Kraus and approved by Bruce Kraus,” she said. “Being that I’ve had issues with him in the past, it just seems like he has this vendetta against me and this is just another little dig at 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 had nothing to do with installing this,” said Dan Gilman, Mayor Bill Peduto’s chief of staff. “It’s completely and utterly untrue. 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 has been installing similar pylons and painting lines designating no parking areas at dozens of street corners across the city, including in the Strip District, Oakland, Uptown and Squirrel Hill.

“These are being installed at intersections where we have had a large number of crashes and other safety issues,” he said. “Making sure cars don’t park too close to an intersection makes it safe for cars and pedestrians alike.”

Marburger said she understood there were safety concerns about the intersection, but the city could have alleviated that with stop signs.

“Tell me why this barrier was put up around my building,” she said. “It’s just too much of a coincidence considering my past issues with him.”

City police in 2014 cited Kraus with harassment and littering, alleging he dumped garbage on the front steps of A Diamond in the Ruff. Kraus denied the allegations. District Judge Jim Motznik, a former councilman who served with Kraus, dismissed the charges.

South Side Chamber of Commerce President Mark Bucklaw said he was unaware of the safety program and didn’t know of any other intersections in the neighborhood with pylons.

“My question would be what makes that corner unique compared to other corners,” he said.

Gilman said the Department of Mobility and Infrastructure determined where pylons should be installed. They’re also scheduled for installation at an intersection on 40th Street.

“These are being installed all over the city,” Gilman said.

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