Unclear at any speed

WATCHDOG

Stadium event parking signs might become more readable, but telling motorists when they're enforced is another issue

March 29, 2009|By Liz F. Kay | Liz F. Kay,liz.kay@baltsun.com

UPDATE: With the Orioles' Opening Day approaching, Watchdog is revisiting an issue we looked into a year ago: the stadium event restricted parking areas in Federal Hill.

Many people find the design and language of the signs confusing, including residents, city officials - and Watchdog. One judge, who agreed with a Watchdog reader that the signs were confusing, reduced her fine last year.

After months of collaboration between residents and elected officials, the Baltimore Parking Authority has drafted revised signs for Area 9, which encompasses one section of Federal Hill. The revised signs are being printed, but the city sign shop is still awaiting materials to complete the 800 new signs so they can be installed all at once, hopefully by April 6.

"It's not clear whether we will have it by Opening Day, but we are hopeful that will happen," said city Department of Transportation spokeswoman Adrienne Barnes.

Until the revised signs are posted, here's a review: Drivers without a residential permit can park there for two hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. They can park from midnight to 7 a.m. seven days a week.

Only drivers with an Area 9 permit can park there from 7 p.m. to midnight Monday through Saturday, or from 2 p.m. to midnight Sunday. If you park there without a permit during those times, you risk getting a ticket or, if there is a stadium event, getting towed.

So how do drivers know if there's a stadium event? That's another source of confusion. In addition to O's and Ravens games, stadium events can include certain festivals and other major activities.

Events that trigger the tow-away provision are posted on the Maryland Stadium Authority's Web site, www.mdstad.com, said spokeswoman Jan Hardesty. The city Transportation Department also lists traffic advisories on its Web site, www.ci.baltimore.md.us/government/transportation, Barnes said.

"We always release information to the public when there is going to be aggressive enforcement," she said. Additionally, people can call the city's 311 service line to ask about traffic advisories.

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