Bike lanes possible someday on Eutaw Place – or not

Eutaw Place neighbor Henri Daniels organized a meeting at Unity Hall last month to have members of the Baltimore Department of Transportation (DOT) hear concerns about a bike lane that could be installed on Eutaw Place. Approximately 60 people attended the meeting. 

It followed the DOT presentation of possible bike lane routes at the April 2022 BHCA monthly meeting, recounted in the Bolton Hill Bulletin. DOT’s PowerPoint presentation from that meeting is still accessible here. The broader plan would call for a bike lane connecting Druid Hill Avenue near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the south, up to Druid Park Lake Drive on the north. 

DOT attendees included Patrick Patterson, Bike Planner; Matt Hendrickson, project manager for the bike lane; Allysha Lorber, Capital Planning chief; and Eric James, a community liaison.

DOT made clear that its proposal was not yet finalized, and it would not necessarily install a bike lane on Eutaw Place at all. Apparently, Madison Avenue remains one alternative route. In any event, DOT said they would call their own public meeting later, when plans are more complete, and hear additional community input on that final draft plan. 

At the September meeting, four institutional groups voiced their opposition to a bike lane on Eutaw: The Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge at 1307 Eutaw Place; Hiram Grand Lodge at 1205 Eutaw Place; the college fraternity Kappa Alpha Psi at 1207 Eutaw Place, and Estep Bros. Funeral Home at 1300 Eutaw Place. 

These stakeholders primarily opposed the bike lane because it would result in some loss of parking along the median curb of Eutaw Place, when that is allowed. Currently parking is permitted on the median curb from 6 pm to 6 am, Monday through Friday; in effect, people can park on the median curb during nights and weekends. Parking on the sidewalk (outer) curbs would be unaffected if a bike lane were installed alongside the median. Eutaw Place currently is not part of Bolton Hill’s Area 3 Residential Parking Permit restrictions.

These groups were most vocal in their opposition to a bike lane on the southbound (west) side of Eutaw Place, stating that would unacceptably interfere with funeral services at the Estep Brothers Funeral Home. Some individual neighbors concurred that losing any parking would be not only a burdensome inconvenience but present safety concerns if drivers have to walk farther between available parking and their destinations.

But cyclists and others pointed out that the safety and convenience of drivers shouldn’t be the only concern. Cyclists should have safe, direct biking routes, and bike lanes can also generally impose traffic calming by narrowing roadways (thereby shortening crosswalks) and slowing traffic. DOT stated that Baltimore’s rate of traffic-related injuries has become extremely high, and that they’re trying to impose traffic calming as part of their Complete Streets initiative.

One attendee suggested that the city parking authority, in consultation with BHCA, could extend Area 3 permit eligibility to residents on Eutaw Place, without necessarily extending the Area 3 restrictions to Eutaw Place. This could enable such residents to find parking within the interior of Bolton Hill if that were helpful to them. Another proponent of bike lanes pointed to a vast wealth of unused parking around State Center, just south of Eutaw Place, which conceivably could be used to ameliorate any loss of parking.

DOT officials heard community comments for two hours, taking detailed notes as people commented. They said often that the bike lane plan is not yet finalized, and the community will have the opportunity to be heard again at a later meeting. 

– Kevin Cross

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