Cycling Advocates, City Reach Settlement in Potomac Street Bike Lane Lawsuit

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Bike Party
A Baltimore Bike Party event in 2014. Photo by Brian O’Doherty.

Local cycling advocacy group Bikemore says it’s reached a settlement with the city that will keep the Potomac Street bike lane intact.

Last night, the group wrote in an update on its website that both parties have “entered into a settlement agreement” and are finalizing new construction plans. The public will have two weeks to comment on the final plan once it’s released, after which the city will commence construction.

“We are confident this modified plan will preserve a high quality all ages protected two-way bike facility on Potomac Street, as well as safeguard public safety and accommodate emergency vehicles,” the group said.

Bikemore had supported a lawsuit filed by residents Marisa Saville and Steve Iannelli against the city on June 9 to prevent officials from restarting the project. A judge granted a temporary restraining order halting construction that would have removed the nearly three-fourths-complete protected lane. Both sides were due to reappear in court today, but court records show they entered a settlement order yesterday.

Bikemore leaders haven’t responded to a request for additional details about the settlement.

On June 7, Jim Smith, Mayor Catherine Pugh’s chief of strategic alliances, informed Potomac Street residents that the city planned to remove what it’d built there so far. “This will ensure that residents, advocates, and emergency management professionals have an opportunity for input on the Potomac Street bike lane design,” he wrote in a letter.

Some neighbors had complained to Pugh’s office about the lane eliminating already-limited parking spots and cutting room for emergency vehicles. They even cited international fire code, pointing out that standards say there should be 20 feet of room for firetrucks, ambulances and such.

The mayor’s office initially responded by modifying its blueprint to move bikes right next to traffic for a stretch from Eastern to Fait Avenues, and narrow the lane in a curbside section from Fait to Boston Street. After Bikemore objected to the redesign and launched a letter-writing campaign, Smith penned his letter announcing the decision to scrap it altogether.

Pugh previously said her office is reviewing all bike lanes around the city to see if they’re up to code.

Ethan McLeod
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Ethan McLeod

Senior Editor at Baltimore Fishbowl
Ethan has been editing and reporting for Baltimore Fishbowl since fall of 2016. His previous stops include Fox 45, CQ Researcher and Connection Newspapers in Northern Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in Baltimore City Paper, Leafly, DCist and BmoreArt, among other outlets. He enjoys basketball, humid Mid-Atlantic summers and story tips.
Ethan McLeod
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2 COMMENTS

  1. Please give a credit to Brian O’Doherty or take the photo down please. You can’t just use random people’s photos.

  2. We credited you. Sorry. It was in our media library from a story written three years ago! Thanks for letting us know.

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