South Baltimore Parking Study Identifies Potential Parking Solutions for the Area

| January 8, 2018 | 0 Comments

The now-completed South Baltimore Gateway Parking Study analyzes the current parking needs in the area and helps to identify potential solutions for the South Baltimore Peninsula with a focus on Otterbein, Federal Hill, Riverside, South Baltimore Neighborhood, and Sharp-Leadenhall.

The study was funded by the Baltimore Casino Local Development Council (BLDC), which receives Local Impact Grants from Maryland casinos. The study was directed by the Parking Authority of Baltimore City (PABC) and conducted by Whitman, Requardt & Associates, LLP.

Read the full study here.

“What we asked for was recommendations for how to improve the parking situation,” said District 11 Councilman Eric Costello. “Outside of crime, this is the number one issue in South Baltimore.”

There are many different types of parking spaces in the South Baltimore Peninsula neighborhoods including Residential Permit Parking (RPP), unrestricted parking, private parking, handicapped parking, special use parking, and truck loading zones. The study takes a look at the inventory of all of these types of spaces and how they are used.

The study shows the following occupancy levels for the on-street parking spaces:

Current RPP in these neighborhoods include:

  •  Zone 8 includes some blocks in Sharp-Leadenhall.
  • Zone 30 includes some blocks in Federal Hill, and many blocks in South Baltimore.
  • Zone 19 is all within the Riverside neighborhood but only a small portion
  • Zone 41 is all within the Sharp-Leadenhall neighborhood but only a small portion.
  • Most of Riverside and Sharp Leadenhall are not RPP.

To note, according to the Baltimore City map, Riverside also includes the Federal Hill South Neighborhood. The Riverside Neighborhood as zoned by the Riverside Neighborhood Association (RNA) does not have any RPP parking at this time, but RNA has been working on getting RPP added to its street parking for several years.

The study also shows the increase in cars in different sectors of the neighborhoods:

The study also noted that parking demands are higher during area events including Orioles games. The neighborhoods studied are not only close to Oriole Park at Camden Yards and M&T Bank Stadium, but are also in close proximity to the Inner Harbor and Downtown. The neighborhoods are also home to hundreds of businesses.

As SouthBMore.com has documented, new homes, offices and retail have steadily been added to the area. The study said the following about new development:

New development can affect parking in several ways:

  • If development parking demand is not provided for within the site, the development will add parking demand to surrounding streets
  • The parking supply on the development curb frontages may be reduced due to new driveways, or from new regulations for the development (loading zone, valet, etc.)
  • If parking is developed as part of a new development and its supply exceeds the demand, the surplus could potentially be used to meet other demands

Below is a look at solutions suggested by the study for additional supply.

Angled Parking

Angled parking often comes up in discussions about parking. It has been implemented on many streets in Canton and has already been added in nine different places in the South Baltimore study area.

The study identifies potential blocks for back-in angled parking. This could add about 300 total on-street parking spaces including 80 spaces in Federal Hill, 200 spaces in Riverside, and 20 spaces in South Baltimore. The blocks are as follows:

In Federal Hill

  • Warren Avenue between Light Street and Henry Street. Warren Avenue is two-way and is 48 feet wide, so could accommodate angle parking while remaining two-way.
  • E. Montgomery Street between William Street and Battery Avenue.
  • William Street between E. Montgomery Street and E. Hamburg Street.
  • Battery Avenue between E. Montgomery Street and Warren Avenue. 800 block
  • Riverside Avenue between Warren Avenue and E. Hamburg Street.

In Riverside: The listed street segments are all currently two-way; adding angle parking would require conversion to one-way.

  • Covington Street between E. Cross Street and E. Gittings Street
  • Jackson Street between Key Highway and E. Fort Avenue
  • E. Clement Street between Covington Street and Key Highway
  • E. Barney Street between Light Street and Johnson Street
  • E. Heath Street between Covington Street and Webster Street
  • Byrd Street between E. Fort Avenue and Randall Street
  • Henry Street between E. Fort Avenue and Randal Street
  • Covington Street between E. Fort Avenue and Randall Street
  • Randall Street between Light Street and Webster Street
  • Webster Street between Randall Street and Key Highway (coordinate with circulation on E. Clement Street at Key Highway)

In South Baltimore 

  • W. Clement Street between Race Street and S. Charles Street. This street is two-way and adding angle parking would require conversion to one-way.

Councilman Costello told SouthBMore.com that he is not yet sure how this could be implemented, but more information will be available in the Spring after upcoming meetings between PABC and Baltimore City Department of Transportation (DOT).

From the study

Adding to West Street Garage

West Street Garage in Federal Hill currently holds 254 parking spaces on three levels. Adding a new level would net 80 spaces and cost $2 million to $2.5 million. The garage would need to be taken out of service for about two months during construction. From the study:

While the West Street garage typically fills to capacity for short periods on weekend evenings and during events, it is not filled daily on a regular basis. This is partly because PABC limits the number of monthly permits that are sold, in order to keep spaces open for retail parking. There is a waiting list for monthly permits.

In the future, several factors point to an increase in demand for parking at West Street garage:

  • Redevelopment of Cross Street Market will increase customer demand.
  • As part of the redevelopment, on-street spaces on one side of Cross Street at the market reportedly will be removed to enhance the exterior, removing about 12 existing spaces.
  • Eventual redevelopment of the 1100 S. Charles Street lot will remove 30 off-street spaces now used for restaurant parking.
  • Better enforcement of on-street parking regulations could cause some parkers to shift to the garage.

Because street parking in the area is generally full, and there is no other opportunity to create additional parking close to the commercial area, expansion of the West Street garage would benefit the area businesses and the neighborhood.

Shared Parking

The study identifies parking lots/garages such as Southside Marketplace, The Baltimore Museum of Industry, MedStar/CorePower Yoga, and Digital Harbor High Schools. From the study:

The most common shared parking agreements allow owners of private parking lots, which often serve their patrons within a specific timeframe, to open their parking lots to the public or to a specific user group during other times. This can benefit the community because it provides additional parking without having to construct it. It can benefit the private lot owner because if parking charges are collected, the owner can collect some or all of the revenue.

Also from the study:

A Community Association is an appropriate entity to explore these and other opportunities for shared parking.

The location of spaces and any fees for use would need to be agreed upon. A written agreement that is recorded is the best way to make sure that both sides understand and abide by the agreement. A shared parking agreement would be implemented between private parties.

Councilman Costello told SouthBMore.com that he and his team have already facilitated shared parking conversations and that he is willing to facilitate these conversations with stakeholders in the future.

The study also looks at additional transportation options including a bicycle network and Baltimore’s overhauled bus system, MTA BaltimoreLink. A cycle track has been recommended for Covington St. from Federal Hill Park to near Riverside Park in Baltimore City’s 2015 Bicycle Master Plan. Councilman Costello told SouthBMore.com that this is moving forward and that there have already been talks with stakeholders in the immediate area.

Another recommended cycle track in the Bicycle Master Plan is on S. Hanover St. but the study suggests that preserving on-street parking in the design is likely to be a major concern to the community.

Federal Hill now has three Baltimore Bike Share stations. There is an additional station at McHenry Row in Locust Point.

Regarding the bus system, the study said the following about BaltimoreLink:

The new network is designed to improve service quality and reliability, maximize access to high-frequency transit, strengthen connections between MTA’s bus and rail routes, and better serve existing and emerging job centers. The new service launched on June 18, 2017. To the extent improved transit allows residents and employees to rely less on private vehicles, over time it can reduce parking demand.

The study took about a year to complete and Councilman Costello said he is happy it has been finalized. “I think this is exactly what we were looking for,” he said. “Here are the recommendations, you can either do them or not do them.”

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About the Author:

Creator of SouthBmore.com and resident of SoBo. Graduate of Towson University and owner of Incept Multimedia, a full service video production company. Diehard Ravens and O's fan, beach volleyball enthusiast, dog lover and "bar food" foodie. Email me at [email protected] and follow me on Twitter at @SoBoKevin.
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