The latest battle in the Baltimore parking wars is about to begin, and this time spaces are about to go away not to calm traffic but to speed it up.
Under a city plan that has community leaders abuzz this morning, Fells Point and Canton-area residents will lose parking on the south side of Aliceanna Street during rush hour, effective April.
Joanne Masopust, president of the Fells Point Community Organization, said Councilman James B. Kraft told residents about the upcoming change at their monthly meeting last night.
“Kraft said it was DOT’s idea,” Masopust wrote in an email to The Brew, because Aliceanna needed another lane during rush hour.
Masopust said the plan – and the absence of citizen input – underscores how little city government cares about the needs of long-time residents.
“[They] cater to the newer, wealthier residents and developers,” she wrote. “Myself and my neighbors are the ones who will be impacted by this action, not the newer residents with garages.”
“The city approved all this overdevelopment, and now they want to fix the problem on the backs of those with the fewest options.”
No Warning, No Dialogue
Emily Sherman, Kraft’s chief of staff, said today that Kraft made the first announcement about the restriction last night, but that DOT had been considering the change since last October.
“We found out they were going to implement it this week,” she said.
DOT was contacted for this story, but has not yet responded.
UPDATE:DOT announced via Twitter that they will hold a community meeting to discuss peak hour parking along Aliceanna Street on Monday, March 30th from 6pm-8pm at Admiral Fells Inn.
Parking on Aliceanna Street, from Harbor East to Boston Street in Canton, will no longer be allowed from 4-7 p.m. on weekdays.
”This is not fair to residents, especially. . . those who do not have off-street parking. And what about business owners?” Masopust wrote. “There was no transparency, no input from the community, no advanced dialogue with any of us.”
When traffic is severely impacted, DOT can make changes without consulting the community, Sherman said. “They have the authority to do so.”
Sherman noted that rush hour restrictions have been in effect on part of Aliceanna Street (from Washington Street to Boston since about January.
“Our office has not heard any concerns about it,” she said.
Parking Needs vs. Traffic Needs
When asked how many spaces will be affected by the change, Sherman said she didn’t know and was waiting on some numbers from the DOT later in the week.
Masopust said she was incensed about the sudden change. “Yes, traffic is horrible during rush hour, but frankly parking is a much bigger problem.”
Dan Kuc, a Fells Point resident and member of the same group, is calling Kraft out for not telling residents about the plan sooner.
“Jim Kraft should have told the city right off the bat that this needed to be discussed with us. Instead he just accepted it and told us that we have to roll over like an obedient dog,” Kuc said today.
Residents are girding for a battle, but Sherman said she did not think there was any recourse for citizens.
If the new plan “strains parking in other areas, I suppose it might be able to be reassessed at some point,” she added.
Followup Coverage in Baltimore Brew: