Where not to drive downtown on July 4

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Photo by Elvert Barnes, via Flickr

Your instincts as a driver are probably telling you to stay away from the harbor on July 4—what with multiple barges of fireworks, and crowds swarming to come watch them—but since some have asked, here’s what you need to know.

Per a Department of Transportation release put out yesterday, you won’t be able to travel on the north lane of Lombard Street from President to South streets, or the west lane of Charles Street from Conway to Fayette streets, starting at 3 p.m….

…or on these roads starting at 8:30 p.m.:

  • Eastbound Conway Street to northbound I-395
  • Pratt Street at Charles Street
  • Lombard Street at President Street
  • Light Street (southbound) at Lombard Street
  • Light Street (northbound) at Lee Street

Restrictions are more substantial for commercial vehicles (cabs, buses and mass transit excluded), with trucks being barred from noon to midnight on:

  • Fayette Street from Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to President Street
  • President Street from Aliceanna Street to Fayette Street
  • Light Street from Pratt Street to Key Highway
  • Key Highway from Light Street to McComas Street
  • Hanover Street from McComas Street to Montgomery Street
  • Pratt, Lombard and Baltimore streets from MLK Jr. Boulevard to President Street
  • I-395 going to Pratt Street–commercial vehicles will not be permitted on I-395, or east of MLK Jr. Boulevard from the I-395 split up to Fayette Street

There will be traffic enforcement officers out and about to facilitate, and DOT will have workarounds in place. Full details here.

There also sections of Gay, Calvert and Baltimore streets and Key Highway where you won’t be able to park start at 3 p.m. But again, probably smarter to just avoid leaving your car parked anywhere within striking distance of the harbor on Independence Day.

Better for everyone if you opt for the bus, light rail or subway, which the MTA says will be following Sunday/holiday schedules. Light rail will be operating for one hour after the fireworks end in the harbor, the agency says.

And since this is 2019, there’s always ridesharing for those willing to pay extra.

Another couple quick PSAs from the Department of Public Works:

  • Workers are off on July 4, so trash and recycling pickup in certain areas are being moved to this Saturday
  • Drop-off centers and landfills will be closed
  • No street sweeping (which also means none of the normal parking restrictions)
  • No payment required for metered parking

OK, those are the not-so-fun details for tomorrow. For those looking to catch the best displays and festivities around the region, we’ll punt to WEAA, WJZ and Visit Baltimore, who’ve prepared some helpful guides for stuff to do.

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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 Virginia. His freelance writing has been featured in CityLab, Slate, Baltimore City Paper, DCist and elsewhere.
Ethan McLeod
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