Tripping hazard at corner is no more

WATCH DOG

August 19, 2008

THE PROBLEM - Bus passengers were tripping over studs from a missing pedestrian signal pole.

THE BACKSTORY -- Darschell Washington knows from experience that the remnants of a light pole were a tripping hazard.

Four large studs and bolts stuck up from the sidewalk at the southwest corner of Wilkens Avenue and Brunswick Street.

That's where Washington regularly waits for the No. 35 bus to her downtown office. She first spotted the offending hardware nearly a year ago.

"I noticed it when I was walking to get the bus, and I tripped over it," Washington said.

"When the bus pulls in, a lot of times it would stop right in front of where those bolts were," she said. "I never saw anybody fall, but I certainly saw a lot of people trip. I did it myself."

Washington wasn't sure what happened to the pole but guessed it had been knocked down in an accident and not replaced.

Soon after she tripped, Washington said she notified city agencies about the problem via Baltimore's online 311 reporting system (baltimore.customerservicerequest.org). But no repairs resulted from that message.

"I figured they didn't respond," Washington said.

The exposed hardware remained in place until she e-mailed Watchdog.

But now the safety hazard is no more.

Department of Transportation workers installed a 10-foot pole carrying a pedestrian signal light by Aug. 7, according to Transportation Department spokeswoman Adrienne Barnes. The pedestrian signal is functioning, as well, she said.

WHO CAN FIX THIS -- Randall Scott, acting chief of the traffic division for the city's Department of Transportation, 443-984-2150. City residents can also call 311 or go to baltimore.customerservicerequest.org to report problems.

UPDATE

The water is flowing again at drinking fountains along the Inner Harbor promenade, a Watchdog reader has reported.

Watchdog tackled the malfunctioning fountains last month. But Bronson W. Sweeney wrote last week to say he has been reporting problems with three water fountains - two near Rash Field and one next to the Inner Harbor Pavilion - to city officials since last fall.

Sweeney, a retired Marine colonel, runs with his wife from their Locust Point home through the Inner Harbor several times a week. It was the broken Light Street fountain that frustrated Sweeney the most.

At that fountain, only enough water would bubble out of the spout to tease thirsty tourists and exercise buffs - not enough so people could drink. "It irks me to no end that our citizens and our tourists don't get treated with appropriate courtesy and respect," he said.

But Sweeney noticed Saturday that the fountain had been fixed. And during his run yesterday, he spotted maintenance men working on the other two fountains near Rash Field. They had replaced a missing handle on the one closest to the Rusty Scupper restaurant and installed a new fountain near the trapeze school.

"Lo and behold, all three are working as of two hours ago," the runner said yesterday.

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