Scrambling downtown traffic patterns won't attract new families to the city [Letter]

July 22, 2014

It seems to me that if Charlie Duff and others want to attract 10,000 new families to the city they are putting the cart before the horse in terms of enticements ("Two ways about it," July 16).

How about there being something to go to on foot or bike along the Calvert and St. Paul street corridors they are talking about calming by making two-way?

Safety issues aside, two-way is great if there is a reason to slow down. At this point, with few exceptions, there isn't.

And if there should be in the future, pedestrian traffic is in no way dependent on the direction the cars are moving.

Accommodations and awareness campaigns for cyclists are currently being made. That's really great. But cars are part of the civilized world. Some people are dependent on them and, like it or not, you can't get rid of them any more than you can get rid of iPhones, air travel or politicians.

Cyclists and pedestrians can learn to live with cars, just as drivers have learned to live with cyclists and pedestrians.

Call me crazy, but the kind of families that this plan, the city and the JHU Homewood Community Partners are trying to attract are going to be car owners.

They may be hybrid car owners, and even bike riders, but they are car owners none the less. They aren't going to want to live where drivers are not welcome, can't park and where the police are ticket happy while insurance rates are among the highest in the country.

And where it will take them as long to get from downtown to their Charles Village, Mount Vernon or Old Goucher homes in the city as it would for them to go from downtown to Timonium, Severna Park or some other verdant, safe community with decent schools, less costly utilities and taxes and better basic infrastructure.

Baltimore needs to get its act together and its ducks in a row to make the city safe and appealing, or it will continue to lose far more families than it attracts. Scrambling the traffic patterns should be way down at the bottom of the city's "to do" list.

Tweefie Millspaugh, Baltimore

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