Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake’s announcement today that she will veto a residential parking plan for streets around the Rotunda complex – a sure pleaser to many residents in Hampden – was denounced by the councilwoman representing the North Baltimore district.
“I regret that the mayor has pushed the ‘V’ button to veto neighborhood plans which protect against the congestion of additional traffic and parking as The Rotunda development draws ever closer to completion,” 14th District Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke said in a press release this evening.
Last month, the City Council voted 9-3 to create parking restrictions around the shopping center, which is undergoing a major expansion, including nearly 400 new apartment units, to ensure that local residents won’t be crowded out of street parking.
The plan, however, was met with strong opposition from residents, mostly south of the complex, and by retailers along “The Avenue,” the popular commercial strip on 36th Street.
Many said the current problems are due to construction workers parking in the neighborhood, and others argued that parking headaches in Hampden have not reached the intensity of such neighborhoods as Federal Hill and Canton.
“Premature and Disruptive,” says Mayor
Rawlings-Blake clearly sided with the opponents. “While I believe that the Council’s heart was in the right place, the parking restrictions proposed by the bill are premature and disruptive,” she said in a statement.
This is the mayor’s third veto in four months. She earlier refused to sign bills calling for the ban of plastic grocery bags and for police to wear body cameras.
Clarke predicted that Rawlings-Blake’s “wait and see” response will prove inadequate once the “onslaught” of congestion mounts on the streets around the complex.
“Neighbors who met for months with the developers understand the growing impact of the 385 apartments being built, the multi-screen cinema in the works, and the multiple restaurants and retail outlets coming online,” Clarke said.
According to Clarke, the bill only included blocks that were petitioned door-to-door. “Blocks without at least 60% approval [had] been amended out of the plan,” she said.