Bucking the movement of Mt. Lebanon that makes jaywalking a fineable offense, the City of Pittsburgh today gave the green light to what people in the 'Burgh have been doing since the city was founded 200 years ago.
"Jaywalking is pure Pittsburgh. It's simply about time that we legalize it," says Mayor Bill Peduto. "I think it should even be taught in City schools. Besides, Pittsburghers are already recognized as leaders in this movement. In fact, the last time I visited Washington, D.C., and as I crossed the street in the middle of the block, of course, I hear a policeman yell out: 'Hey Pittsburgh!' I knew immediately he was talking to me, and I don't know I've ever been more proud of my city."
Legalized jaywalking aside, that's not the only thing that's about to change during this Bicentennial year. Pittsburgh city leaders-still smarting after losing the "H" from the city name for the two-plus decades between the 1890 and 1911-are now in "friendly legal discussions" with leadership in numerous cities named after Pittsburgh, including Pittsburg, Calif.; Pittsburg, Kansas; Pittsburg, Texas; Pittsburg, Oklahoma; and, closest to home, West Pittsburg in Lawrence County, Pa.
"Not everyone can be Pittsburgh, but they can at least spell it correctly," said Stephen C. Foster, a local resident who is coordinating legal and musical efforts to bring the "H" back to the incorrectly spelled Pittsburgs of the nation. In addition to persuading Pittsburgh city leaders to take up his legal fight against badly spelled cities, Foster-who is employed as a singer-songwriter and the only man living in Lawrenceville without facial hair-is working on a new tentatively titled song, "Oh! Susannah."
As for the likelihood of these cities and towns actually being renamed to the proper Pittsburgh spelling, Foster replies, "Hey, I'm just a beautiful dreamer, man."
According to sources close to the matter, West Pittsburg, located ironically about an hour's drive north of the real Pittsburgh, is reportedly considering the name change in earnest. "West Pittsburgh with an H has a much better ring," said a West Pittsburg insider, who is said to be secretly championing the name change.
The jury is still out, however, on whether jaywalking would also be legalized in those Pittsburg cities that change their name to the proper Pittsburgh spelling.
A spokesperson with the Pittsburgh Office of Citizenry Safety, who asked not to be identified due to what could be potentially perceived as a conflict of interest, stated: "It only stands to reason that those cities who agree to spell the city name properly as it should be—with an H—then they should also be afforded the same rights as all true Pittsburghers...and jaywalking along with making the infamous Pittsburgh Left is just part of the deal with Pittsburgh."