Trump will be speaking about natural-gas drilling (aka fracking) and plans to laud some of the growth the industry has experienced in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
But, as with any presidential visit, Pittsburghers will be impacted, regardless of whether they care or are ambivalent to Trump’s thoughts on fracking.
Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said at a press conference today that Trump is expected to arrive in Pittsburgh at about 2:30 p.m. Trump then will travel from the Pittsburgh International Airport to Downtown.
Here’s what to expect from the visit.
A few roads and pedestrian paths near the convention center will be closed down starting at midnight the night before Trump’s arrival on Wednesday.
Starting at midnight, 10th street will be closed both directions between Penn Avenue and Ft. Duquesne Boulevard.
Hissrich said this section of the street will be closed in light of some of the violence that broke there between protesters and counter-protesters during Trump’s visit to the convention center as a candidate in 2016.
Starting a 4 a.m. on Wednesday, the pedestrian paths that run through the convention center will be closed (between 10th Street and Penn Avenue) and the paths that run along the river on the convention center sides of Ft. Duquesne Boulevard and 11th Street.
Then, starting at 9 a.m., vehicular traffic will be closed on 10th Street Bypass from the Ft. Duquesne bridge on and off ramps, all the way to where the bypass becomes 11th Street, which will be closed between Smallman Street and the Allegheny River.
Smaller roads around the convention center will also be closed. Garrison Place will be closed between Penn Avenue and Ft. Duquesne Boulevard. French Street will be closed between 10th Street and Garrison Place. The section of Ft. Duquesne Boulevard between Ninth Street and the 10th Street Bypass will also be closed.
Because of these closures, Hissrich warned Pittsburghers that there will likely be significant traffic delays around Downtown, especially during the morning and evening rush hours.
“Please be patient, there is going to be traffic congestion,” Hissrich said.
He suggested having Downtown employees work from home on Wednesday, if possible.
Hissrich also noted the president will likely be traveling directly between Downtown and the airport when arriving for the speech and leaving town. It’s unclear what route Trump will take, but it’s likely his movement, even if using the West Busway, will cause major backups on the Parkway West.
Pittsburgh Chief of Police Scott Shubert suggests that people traveling Downtown utilize public transportation or ride a bike, if possible, on Wednesday.
“As soon as the president is out of town, the faster people will be able to get home,” said Shubert.
In addition, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has reported that 12 schools will be closed on Wednesday for the visit.
Hissrich said that both Pittsburgh Public Safety and the police bureau have been notified of multiple protests that will coincide with Trump’s visits.
Pittsburgh police officials said that there is no indication yet that protesters will be blocking streets as part of Trump’s visit. One group will be marching to the convention center, but police said they would mostly be utilizing a pedestrian path.
Shubert said that the police bureau’s civil affairs team has been in communication with the protest groups and has established direct liaison with protest leaders. Shubert said this should help facilitate a peaceful interaction with the protesters practicing their First Amendment rights.
According to a Facebook search, there are at least three planned protests coinciding with Trump’s visit. One is called Defend The Water: Day of Action During Shale Insight Conference, and will start with a march at 1 p.m. at Point State Park and will then head to the convention center at 2 p.m. for a rally protesting fracking’s harmful effects on the environment.
Another, called the March for Truth, will start at 3:30 p.m. at the corner of Penn and 10th. This protest is calling for the impeachment and removal of Trump from office.
The third is a “peaceful anti-fracking Trump protest” and will take place from 6-9 p.m. near the convention center.
Police or public safety officials would not offer an estimation of how much money Trump’s visit would cost Pittsburgh, but Hissrich said: “it is going to be expensive.”
Hissrich said the city expects to foot the bill for the extra security, and Pittsburgh Police will follow the direction of the U.S. Secret Service when they arrive, and that the working relationship between the secret service is good.
Recently, during a campaign stop in Minneapolis, the Trump campaign and Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey got into a quarrel because he demanded that the Trump campaign pay upfront for the extra costs that his city will have to incur during Trump’s rally there.
In 2016, when Trump visited the convention center for a rally, Hissrich said the Pittsburgh officials attempted to send a bill to the Trump campaign, but it was not paid.
Tim McNulty, spokesperson for Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto, said the police costs for the Trump visits in April and September of 2016 were calculated at $164,000.
“The bill went nowhere, except that it came back to us,” said Hissrich.