New street lights were installed at the I-83 exit and Mt. Royal… (Algerina Perna, Baltimore…)
The problem: An old street light on West North Avenue blocks the sidewalk for wheelchair users.
The backstory: Reader Rick Dorr went to great lengths to document the problems at the intersection of West North Avenue and Mount Royal Avenue, on the border of Bolton Hill and Reservoir Hill.
He took measurements, bought a disposable camera, drew diagrams on the printed images and mailed them to Watchdog.
Primarily, Dorr was concerned about a rusty street light pole on the southwest corner of the intersection, across from the Interstate 83 ramps.
A new street light pole and another post with pedestrian crossing signals have been installed in the grass there, part of a series of improvements all over the intersection.
But the rusty old pole, which also carried pedestrian signals, remains smack in the middle of the sidewalk. He said it leaves only 20 inches of clearance on one side of the pole and 24 inches on the street side.
That makes it difficult, if not impossible, for anyone navigating the walkway in a wheelchair or motorized chair to pass, Dorr said in his handwritten note. Thus, people who rely on wheels to get around are forced off the curb into the busy roadway.
"Note that handicapped access — or non-access — could not matter more, because Bolton North Apartments, where I live, has a number of chair-riders," Dorr wrote. In addition, the pedestrian signal buttons on it did not work.
"The old pole serves no good purpose — Why it was not removed is … who knows?" he added in his letter.
Watchdog contacted Baltimore's Department of Transportation on Wednesday to inquire about the pole.
"We need to remove it," said spokeswoman Kathy Chopper on Thursday.
Transportation officials went to the site on Friday and confirmed that the combination signal/street light pole was still there.
The failure to remove the old pole "was an oversight during construction," Chopper said.
Staff was coordinating to get the pole removed, she said, but she did not specify when it would be completed.
Who can fix this: Richard Hooper, chief of transportation maintenance, Baltimore Department of Transportation, 410-396-1686. City residents should call 311 to report problems.
Sun staff researcher Paul McCardell contributed to this article.
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