Update on a Bike Lane Planned Through Otterbein

| February 1, 2023 | 0 Comments

From Councilman Eric Costello: 

UPDATE – Proposed Bicycle Infrastructure Improvements on S Sharp St/Otterbein

BACKGROUND – Baltimore City DOT has proposed a “rapid enhancement plan” to make a bicycle lane connection between the Maryland Cycle Track and the Gwynns Falls Trail on S Sharp St in Downtown / Otterbein. Concepts for this project were inadvertently leaked prior to a previously scheduled meeting in December which was subsequently postponed. These leaked plans included DOT’s plans including alternative options at the challenging intersections of W Pratt St & S Sharp St and W Conway St and S Sharp St. The plans that were discovered online also had additional options that were not produced or proposed by DOT.

SUMMARY – Earlier this week I met with Delegate Mark Edelson and DOT to understand the project, the alternatives, community outreach, schedule, and funding. We flagged several potential issues related to the Federal Reserve and its truck deliveries particularly at the intersection of W Hill St and S Sharp St, but were encouraged that DOT understood the unique challenges in this residential community so close to downtown and I-395.

The DOT proposed project requires some adjustments at the intersection of S Sharp St and W Conway St but will not remove the northbound left turn from S Sharp St onto W Conway St. It will compress northbound S Sharp St and will likely result in the elimination of the dedicated left turn lane. Initially, DOT has suggested that it will proceed without eliminating any parking at that intersection. If northbound vehicular traffic is severely impacted, it may require the elimination of the last few parking spaces on S Sharp Street between the Harborway parking lot drive and W Conway St. There are no other parking impacts.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s operational needs will not be negatively impacted and truck traffic will not be rerouted through the neighborhood.

The intersection of W Hill St and S Sharp St will receive some safety enhancements to better protect pedestrians and cyclists, but those improvements will not impact existing traffic patterns. The artwork that some saw at W Hill St / S Sharp St in the leaked proposal is not a part of this phase of the project and will not proceed without full public input. Given the historic nature of Otterbein, any such road treatments should be explored with CHAP and the various community associations.

FUNDING – The project is not in jeopardy of its funding being forfeited as was alleged in some online postings. A recent deadline was extended from June 30, 2023 until December 31, 2023 to ensure there is enough time to do this project the right way, after appropriate engagement with institutional stakeholders and the surrounding residential community.

NEXT STEPS – DOT will be meeting with representatives from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, the Baltimore Convention Center, and Old Otterbein United Methodist Church to better understand their access issues. DOT will also be scheduling a community-wide public meeting in the coming weeks.

Google Maps screenshot marked by SouthBMore.com to show the route studied for a bicycle lane 

The South Baltimore Now Podcast Latest Episodes Produced by Nathan Carper: https://www.natecarpercreative.com

About the Author:

News releases from various sources around South Baltimore.
Filed in: Otterbein