City begins on-street parking for bicycles

March 20, 2009|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,michael.dresser@baltsun.com

Baltimore will become a little more bicycle-friendly today when the city opens its first on-street parking spaces specifically for bikes in front of Eddie's supermarket in Charles Village.

The city has replaced one parking space for cars in the 3100 block of St. Paul St. with racks that can accommodate 10 to 12 bikes. Mayor Sheila Dixon's administration is seeking to encourage bicycle use.

Nate Evans, a bicycle-pedestrian planner with the city Department of Transportation, said the Charles Village parking is the first of about five such spots that Baltimore will create in commercial districts. Plans are under way for similar bike parking in Harbor East, he said, while Fells Point, Hampden, Highlandtown and city market areas are under consideration. The bike parking will be free.

Evans said that by moving bicycles from the sidewalks to the street, the city will remove obstacles to pedestrian traffic.

"It'll improve the security for the bikes. It'll also leave the sidewalk open for merchants who put out tables and stands," he said.

Evans said that removing a single space for cars would not make a significant difference in parking availability or city revenue. He said the racks will be bolted to the asphalt and will have concrete stops on the end to protect the bikes from vehicles.

Such on-street bike parking is widely used in Portland, Ore., and Seattle and is beginning to catch on in New York, Evans said.

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