Cities from Tallahassee to Spokane have implemented comprehensive networks of protected bike lanes on major city streets. Baltimore City has been steadily following suit, though not without controversy.
Baltimore City recently installed semi-protected bike lanes on several major roads throughout the city, most recently on Maryland Avenue, Roland Avenue, and Potomac Street. Immediately after the construction of the Potomac Street lane in Canton, nearby residents began to register their complaints, primarily about limited options for parking. However, it wasn’t until the Baltimore City Fire Department assessed that the road was too narrow for emergency vehicles to pass that Mayor Pugh decided to take action.
On June 7, 2017, Potomac Street residents received a notice from the city announcing the complete removal of the bike lanes. This prompted Bikemore, a Baltimore-based bike advocacy group, along with two lawyers to sue the City. The court ruled in their favor, imposing a restraining order on the removal of the bike lanes. The city and the plaintiffs agreed to a settlement, and the temporary new plan is underway with a two week period for comments from street residents. So, what is the future of bike infrastructure in our city? And what challenges do we face as we strive to ensure that cyclists and drivers can coexist on our streets?
Tom is joined today by Steve Bloom, a Canton resident and a representative from the Canton Neighbors for a Better Potomac Street Bike Lane.
Luke Broadwater has been covering the bike lane story for the Baltimore Sun, and he joins us in studio to discuss his reporting. He’s an award winning journalist who writes about Baltimore City Hall and local politics.
Liz Cornish also joins us. She’s the Executive Director of Bikemore, a Baltimore-based nonprofit that works towards sustainable infrastructure and policy for bikers around the city. Liz also recently served as the Women Bike Manager at the League of American Bicyclists.