A shouting crowd of South Baltimore residents, angry because the new stadium has brought permit parking to their streets, persuaded the city's parking chief last night to put a moratorium on ticketing and towing during ballgames until the community can petition the city to rescind the permits.
The residents objected to having to pay $20 a year to park on their blocks during games and $5 for one visitor's permit.
Last night's moratorium does not affect the neighborhoods directly surrounding the stadium in Otterbein or Ridgley's Delight. Any one parking in those neighborhoods during games without a permit continues to risk being ticketed or towed.
The new moratorium is in place for 23 blocks scattered farther south of the stadium. Most of them are south of Cross Street, particularly along Hanover and Charles streets.
More than 100 people attended the meeting called by the South Baltimore Improvement Association at Grace United Church of Christ.
After an hour of heated debate, Robert T. Schaffner, chief of the city's parking management division, agreed to a moratorium until May 12 on ticketing and towing to permit the residents to circulate petitions. The permits will then be dropped if 60 percent of the residents of a block oppose the parking system.
Many at the meeting were working class people or elderly couples.
"We love the stadium; we love the Orioles, but we're poor people and times are bad. Give us a break," shouted George Furman Jr. of the 1400 block of Marshall St.
City Council President Mary Pat Clarke and City Councilman Perry Sfikas, D-1st, convinced those present that they could take matters into their own hands by petitioning to remove the parking permit system from their community. If they do, they will receive refunds for permits already paid for.
The improvement association circulated a petition asking the Stadium Authority to pay the permit fees.