Fence in Tuscany-Canterbury protects grass, but is it cost-effective?

May 29, 2012|By Steve Kilar, The Baltimore Sun

The style of fence is called "Barcelona," but some residents of Tuscany-Canterbury say it reminds them more of Berlin.

It's the "Gorbachev fence" to the mother of neighbor Fred Chalfant, who often walks his dog past the barrier, which is six-feet tall, topped with spikes and divides West 39th Street down the middle.

Last week, Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke called it “a Berlin Wall of a fence,” as she demanded justification for the fence’s appearance, in a letter to the city’s Department of Transportation, which erected the fence in mid-April.

The fence’s only purpose is to protect the newly seeded grass on the street’s median, according to a three-page letter written by the transportation department’s planning chief.

“Keeping pedestrians off the median while the seed could establish was needed and the cost effective solution was a fence down the center of the median,” wrote Theo Ngongang in reply to Clarke.

But some residents wonder if a towering, metal fence that is sturdy enough to be permanent is the most cost effective way for the city to save grass.

The total cost for the purchase and installation of the fence was $20,160, according to Kathy Chopper, a spokeswoman for the transportation department.

Sandra Snow, a therapist whose office is across the street from the fence, which runs from West University Parkway to Canterbury Road, said she would have much preferred small signs asking people to refrain from walking across the median.

A short perimeter fence along the curb would have been a better solution, said Clarke. It would have discouraged pedestrians from walking over the median and also prevented trucks from pulling up onto the grass, she said.

Residents, who have gathered petitions requesting the fence's removal, suggest that either of those options – and many others – could have been a cheaper way to keep the median green.

If the fence is removed, it won’t all go to waste.

The panels between the posts can be reused elsewhere in the city, according to Ngongang’s letter. The support posts and nuts and bolts used to hold the fence together would need to be discarded, it said.

Baltimore Sun Articles
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.