The average Baltimore resident drove nearly 31 minutes to get to work this morning, according to an AP analysis of data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s the sixth longest commute in the entire country.
The other night, I arrived at BWI and made the mistake of driving into the city via I-95. Readers, learn from my error!
It feels like just yesterday that we were warning you, dear readers, about the “the ultimately-good-but-really-stressful-for-the-next-few-years reconstruction of Charles Street” — but in reality, it’s taken two years to complete the construction project aimed at making the area around Johns Hopkins more pedestrian friendly. The reconstruction involved shutting down both north- and south-bound lanes of Charles Street, a major thoroughfare, for months. But drivers take note: That’s about to change, sooner than you might expect.
University of Baltimore MFA student Nancy Murray describes the morning that Baltimore rush hour traffic sent her over the psychic edge.
Even if everything had gone perfectly I would have been about five minutes late for work. I didn’t call to make excuses to my boss because the chances were good that he wouldn’t be there either. It was entirely possible that he would never know I was late, but it was imperative that I get there as quickly as I could. There would be hell to pay if I were just unbuckling my seatbelt when he pulled up.
So not only has Baltimore’s worse-than-normal winter been a hassle, and for some a serious danger; it’s absolutely wrecked city streets. The constantly fluctuating temperatures have given us “more potholes than ever,” reports WJZ.
How many? According to a person with the City Department of Transportation, the city has repaired “over a thousand” so far this year — twice as many as normal. Yuck!
Right now, a handicapped placard earns a driver the right to park anywhere in Baltimore City free of charge. Problem is, that deal has made the placards very attractive to thieves. In fact, around 2,000 were stolen in 2012. So the city is switching things up.
Under the new plan, 200 parking spaces in the city will be designated handicapped-only (with more spaces being so designated over the next 18 months), and motorists who use those spots will have to pay a meter.
It certainly sounds like a better deal for handicapped drivers — in that, you know, they may now actually have a shot at parking close to their destination.
Some non-handicapped drivers are clutching their chests at the prospect. But I think everything is going to be OK.
Baltimore City is finally getting serious about supporting cyclists: As the Baltimore Sun reports, in the next few months the city will see its first bike sharing program (Charm City Bikeshare), the installation of 500 new bike racks, and a whole bunch of new bike infrastructure programs.
One of the biggest game-changers could be the plan to install several miles worth of cycle tracks along Maryland Avenue and other major Mt. Vernon streets. (You can check out the proposed map below the jump.) Cycle tracks are different from regular old bike lanes in that there’s an actual physical buffer between parked cars and the bike lane. That means that cars can’t double park/swerve/otherwise intrude on bike lane space. An excellent idea, right?
But as anyone who’s driven through Mt. Vernon during rush hour could tell you, traffic there can get pretty miserable. And because it’s not really possible to widen the roads, one travel lane will be turned into a parking lane, while the space between the curb and the parked cars will become the cycle tracks.
Canton Crossing will later this year house a Target and a Harris Teeter among other well known chain-y stores and restaurants. Mainstream retailers Ulta, Old Navy, Michael’s, Loft, Red Robin (and many more) are on the long list, according to The Baltimore Sun. The construction has already begun between Baylis and South Haven Street. White Marsh and other malls in the area will have a run for their money considering the stores opening in Canton are often shopping-mall residents.
They said Spring 2012, but nothing happened. “Later this month!” they promised back in July — but the roads remained clear. It started to seem as though the ultimately-good-but-really-stressful-for-the-next-few-years reconstruction of Charles Street might not happen at all. But as all you commuters probably noticed, the re-routing begins this week; Charles Street is down to one lane between 28th Street and University Parkway, and the southbound carriage lane is now closed. Traffic updates here; alter your commute accordingly.