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Commentaryby Brew Editors1:19 pmFeb 5, 20120

Best of Brew Comments

Cyclists rallying to save Mount Royal bike lane

“The bottom line here is that at least some parts of DOT do not want to inconvenience cars for even a minute, no matter the costs in safety to cyclists and pedestrians. This is a completely backwards policy suited more to 1962 than 2012. I don’t know the numbers for sure – I’d certainly love to see them – but I would be shocked if the current average traffic volumes on Mount Royal were high enough that removing a lane of traffic in each direction would result in a complete traffic standstill.”
– Chris Merriam

“I’m far more concerned with the safety and quality of life that complete streets (and a dedicated bike lane) will bring residents, students, and cyclists on Mount Royal at all hours than I am with how quickly county residents can get to and from work at rush hour.”
– Jed Weeks

“Studies in New York, Seattle and other places clearly demonstrate that added bicycle infrastructure and increased bicycle traffic reduce crash rates and severity for ALL users, including pedestrians AND vehicle occupants. Pedestrians cannot legitimately be used as any kind of excuse for prioritizing motor vehicles over bicycles.”
– Bad Planner

“Here’s a good idea: Get rid of the median. It’s just wasted space. Scrunch the road together and there would be plenty of space for bikes and would reduce the excessive crosswalk lengths. Then get rid of all left-turns, which add conflicts and rob needed capacity. Anyone wanting to turn left should be on one of the one-way streets.”
– Gerald Neily

“The median is not wasted space. It prevents the street from being hideous. That’s not a waste.”
– Robert T.

“We need the big picture: The thousands of excess cars per day need to be moved out of the Mount Vernon corridor, and over to the Jones Falls corridor for which it is suited. Instead, the city puts a bikeway on The Fallsway, where the cars should be, with the full acquiescence of the bike community. The Mount Vernon neighborhood has been fighting and losing this battle with the city for decades. The city needs a plan which puts neighborhoods first.”
– Gerald Neily

“You’re still dead wrong on the Fallsway, Gerald Neily. If it were well suited to do that job the giant viaduct superhighway wouldn’t have been built on top of it. Motorists have been ignoring that option for decades, because they know it is slower than the other options available. The bicycling community acquiesces on the Fallsway separated bike lane because there is no reasonable question as to whether or not it is in there best interest. It clearly is. There is no other option available for a genuine and authentic transportation route for cyclists. Transforming Mt. Vernon into some sort of pedestrian paradise, which seems to be your chief concern, would not connect cyclists with their jobs downtown and their residential communities.”
– Dukiebiddle

“The problem is nicely shown by the photo – cyclists don’t take a proper position in the road. They want bike lanes because they don’t want to learn how to cycle effectively – or safely. Trust me, bike lanes aren’t going to make people like the guy in the photo any safer. Learn to ride properly and you don’t need a bike lane to be safe.”
– Ian Brett Cooper

“Asking cyclists to take the lane there, especially less experienced ones, is unrealistic. There is a hill there and it can take some cyclists a while to make it up that road, causing drivers to honk and get really aggressive. Easy to sit behind a computer and ask people to do something which is actually very intimidating because drivers get very aggressive very quickly when they feel inconvenienced.”
– Liam

“I would love to take Mr. Cooper–and our DOT officials–on a bike ride through Baltimore. Ride along with us as we get cursed at, cut off by trucks, stumble over broken pavement, narrowly avoid giant potholes, blow a tire on broken glass, and still get to our destination before cars traffic. Bike transit is super efficient, but way too dangerous and stressful with little support from our city planners.”
– Rose Reis
Eastward ho! Baltimore business marches away from the Inner Harbor

“The reason the old business district is being abandoned is because the owners have not invested in the buildings. The electric systems are a patchwork job of tech from the 30’s to the 90’s, the internet connections are laughable, and the HVAC system works roughly 60% of the time. The folks that own the recently renamed Transameica building realized this after Legg Mason moved out. They made the investments necessary and were able to attract two new tenants – Transamerica and Miles & Stockbridge. Second class facilities in a market with excess supply puts the power in the tenants hands – it is about time the owners of these buildings recognize their own shortcomings and stop blaming new development for “stealing” their tenants.”
– westside resident

“Newness attracts many people. Harbor Point is going to be fresh area with modern design, in what may be one of the best locations in town (on the water by historic Fells Point and the ammenties of Harbor East). What this shows is a real need to reinvent the CBD. This will not be done with a new arena or convention center, but with parks, greenspace and better transit. Downtown is not inviting in current state. 21st century cities are about mixed use, livability, sustainability. Baltimore needs to get out of its 20th century thinking.”

– Baltimoreplaces

“John Paterakis, the baker turned real estate mogul, is a shrewd operator, with a knack for making cake in Baltimore’s oven– fueled by deficit money and budget shortfall. The playground of the rich? Those are our cities–mendicants with begging bowls run by pliant politicians or should I call our cities pickpockets run by a handful of Fagins– in homage to Dickens? The cities have no qualms picking the pockets of their middle class citizens.”
– Unellu
Smoky fire breaks out at Sparrows Point

“No one is disputing that there was a fire. [But] the flames were nowhere near ‘hundreds’ of feet in the air. This article just proves the adage a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. You can put anything in there that you want without having to answer to anyone.”
– Outside Looking In

“If Mark did not have pictures, you probably would be telling us that there was not even a fire. Why is it that RG steel doesn’t even like telling their employees the truth? We shouldn’t have to read the Brew to know what is happening at the Sparrows Point facility.”
– GO Read the Dundalk Eagle

“So whats the difference between being told nothing and half truths? The Brew is a blog and doesn’t have to use the same practices that a newspaper has two do.”
– Outside Looking In

“Fact: there was a very large fire! Big enough that the local fire departments had to put it out. Did you ever get any of the hydrants working? Stop trying to sweep this shit under the rug.”
– Whg Pitt Mingo

Dumping of hot metal caused Sparrows Point fire

“At Burns Harbor they built a special ‘beeching pit’ away from the two blast furnaces, dug it deep and filled it with sand. The bad or extra iron was sent on a switch that only led to the pits where it was dumped. . . No fires or explosions. Having a massive fire leaves one to wonder what they were doing in Baltimore.”
– Dr. Raymond Boothe

“You’re right – blast furnace slag doesn’t explode when it hits moisture. The steam goes thru slag. Its the molten iron that explodes because it traps the steam in until the steam builds up pressure and explodes.”
– Bake4526

“I’m not in the steel industry, but I do know that Baltimore needs Sparrows Point. We’ve lost so many good manufacturing jobs here over the past 30 years. What do we have now: a bunch of crappy minimum wage retail jobs and some shiny new offices for the privileged. At least with Sparrows Point we have some hope that maybe if things get better that could turn around.”
– MistaJ
Leaky faucet: Board of Estimates approves another water EWO

“When the original contract requirement is poorly defined or in the case of a sewer leak, undeterminable initially, an EWO should be used to adjust the original terms, but after 80 EWOs you’ve probably added a lot of new work and are simply using the EWO to skirt the established bid process for new work.  The bigger issue is fairness to other vendors who could possibly be awarded some of this new work if it were properly announced for bids using the established competitive process.”
– Ktrueheart

“Remember all that deception about the new ‘openness, accountability transparency and restoring the public trust.’ ‘No more back rooms deals’ or mayoral tolerance for our City Hall culture of city concealment and fiscal deceit? What a pack of lies. They are playing us for fools, folks.”
– Tom Kiefaber
Krasnopoler family pushes for competency tests for Maryland drivers

“Every person is at risk of committing errors on the road spurred by an altered state of mind, personality or physical ailments that may be temporary, sudden and unpredictable. Tests cannot minimize these unpredictable outcomes or give exact profiles of those who should not be on the roads because tests of the sort the Krasnopoler family wants are not infallible. In the end, we’ll have a whole lot of people suing the state for unfairly depriving them of their driving privileges and keeping them away from their livelihoods and their jobs.”
– Unellu

“Unellu’s comments illustrate the sense of entitlement which has to change if we’re going to stop killing 13,000 people a year on our roads.”
– MC2012

“The best way to deal with this is technology–smarter cars–smarter roads and better public transportation. Cities should create oases for bikers and walkers. Cities can ask workers to leave their cars in the periphery of the cities, in lots, and take public transportation to their workplaces within, thereby reducing traffic, pollution and traffic deaths.”
– Unellu
Baltimore artist strikes back at speed traps

“I have very little sympathy with people choosing their own personal speed limits.  Drivers have an obligation to obey the traffic rules and traffic engineers have an obligation to level the playing field for all types of transportation.”
– Bmorepanic

“The trouble with most speed cameras in Baltimore is that they’re very clearly placed where they’ll generate the most revenue, not necessarily where they’re actually needed; when I see one in a blighted area with zero pedestrians where above-the-limit speed puts absolutely no one in danger, it’s a little hard to believe that public safety is at issue.”
– jwer

“Yeah my warning sign is called a speed limit sign.”
– Brewhon

“We citizens must clean out our own alleys, so why not fix potholes and paint lines on the roads. Next, I will paint my Buick Electra red and buy a couple of fire extinguishers just in case we need an extra fire truck. Yes Sir, this is a do-it-yourself city!”
– Walter
Baltimore’s guerrilla crosswalk artists

“This has been like this for MONTHS – there is absolutely no reason that people should have to do this on their own. Whenever they repaved the street they should have restriped it – period.”
– Guest

“Pretty sad when we can’teven get City government to respond to a simple request, then tie up a citizen response to the need in red tape!!”

– cshaw-wilson

“Artsy Fartsy?”
– Freddie

“Please do the intersection and 36th and Keswick next!”
– Virgil Caine
New city finance director had varied, at times combative career

“Black-Balled: New Finance Director brings much needed hubris and attitude to City Hall.
– dennisthecynic, via Twitter

“Looks like he is going to fit right in. #eyeroll”
– Mair, via Twitter

“I think he’s here because SRB has shrewdly concluded he has previous experience in a strong mayor system. Jack Young and the other city council members have lots of losing battles ahead for their pet projects. It seems to me whatever job he applies for, this man gets it. How many of us can boast that? The American democracy is a creature of thousands of silver tongued strong men.”
– Unellu

“I wish Mr. Black the best of luck. May he have good judgment, stand firm and remember who he is really working for – the taxpayers of Baltimore City.”
– Baltimoreplaces
In West Baltimore, a funeral for “The American Dream”

“What are you supposed to do with it once you withdraw it?”
– Freddie

“Put it in a Credit Union or a local (not ‘big’ ) Bank. It isn’t that hard to figure out which is which. Starting with when Reagan started deregulating the lending, banking, and real estate laws, and capped off by Glass-Steagall, the big banks merged and, honestly, there’s only 4 of them (Was 5 until Wachovia was consumed). If it isn’t BoA, Chase, Wells-Fargo or Citicorp, then you’re good.”
– Karen Brown

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