Fence is removed, allowing pedestrians back on the sidewalk


  • Construction on Charles Street north of North Avenue forced pedestrians into the street.
Construction on Charles Street north of North Avenue forced… (Jed Kirschbaum, Baltimore…)
April 04, 2010|By Liz F. Kay

The problem: A fence around a demolition site on Charles Street forced pedestrians into the street.

The backstory: John Dorsey finds himself at Charles Street and North Avenue pretty frequently. Sometimes it's on the way back from driving his daughter to Baltimore International College, he said. Other times, it's as a pedestrian, walking to the Windup Space to watch his children and their friends play music.

But for nearly a year, by his estimation, the fence around a demolition site on the northwest corner of Charles and North has forced him and other pedestrians into the roadway on Charles Street, Dorsey said.

He said he called 311 to report the problem in December. Since then, a new sidewalk had been built on the Charles Street side several weeks ago - but the fence was still up.

"Seems a bit toothless of the city to do nothing," Dorsey said.

So, he called Watchdog.

City spokeswoman Cathy Powell said that Berg Corp. had a valid, current permit for the fence. There should have been a sign directing pedestrians to use the sidewalk on the other side of the street, she said.

Dorsey said he doesn't recall a "sidewalk closed" sign - and doesn't think he would comply.

Charles Street at North Avenue is busy with vehicle and pedestrian traffic. "This is not in East Podunk. There's certainly no reason why there shouldn't be a sidewalk there for months," he said.

People could cross to the east side of Charles Street, but "people aren't going to do that. It's not human nature," he said.

Luckily, Dorsey and his fellow pedestrians no longer have to dodge cars to navigate around the fence. Officials from the Department of General Services called Berg Corp., and the fence has been removed.

Who can fix this: Joe Kostow, engineering supervisor, Right-of-Ways Section, Department of General Services.410-396-4650. City residents should call 311 to report problems.

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