The city moved forward in October on its long-term Complete Streets program that tries to emphasize safety and alternatives to cars as transportation in the city. This time it included stretching an existing bike lane that headed north up Mt. Royal Avenue from W. Lafayette Ave. to North Ave., eliminating an existing northbound auto traffic lane while increasing available parking near MICA.
The unveiling wasn’t pretty. After-work traffic was especially snarled as northbound commuters were squeezed from two lanes to one, and many were shocked to discover that they could no longer turn left and head west on North Avenue.
“Aspects of the project took us by surprise,” said Kevin Cross, who leads BHCA’s Transportation Committee. “DOT did present, a while back at a BHCA meeting, that they would be installing a bike lane, basically from Guilford to Lafayette along Mt. Royal, but then recently taking away a lane down by the light rail, and the latest changes at North Ave — those came as a surprise. Those details weren’t presented.”
Some residents reported they were seeing commuters detouring west on West Lafayette Avenue, a street already plagued by high-speed drivers. Others saw traffic-pattern changes northbound on Park Ave.
“DOT may still have some finishing touches to implement, and drivers and their GPS navigation apps will need time to adjust,” Cross said. “I sure don’t think any part of Bolton Hill needs more automobile traffic.” DOT has a page set up for this project and it includes a form to provide feedback: https://streetsofbaltimore.com/mtroyal. Within that page there also are links to the technical design layouts.