Judge halts demolition of Canton's cycletrack

A Baltimore Circuit Court judge temporarily halted the city's plan late Friday to demolish a protected bike lane in Canton, attorneys representing bike advocates said.

Lawyers for Bikemore said the order was issued from the bench late Friday. A spokesman for Mayor Catherine Pugh confirmed the order and said the administration would "respond appropriately."

The city had said it intended to take out the protected lane, known as a cycletrack, after hearing residents' concerns that it would make it harder for emergency vehicles to travel down the street.

Bikemore, a leading advocacy group, sued the city after the Baltimore Department of Transportation told residents it would tear out the $775,000 bike lane along Potomac Street. The lawsuit alleged the city's decision "reversed five years of extensive planning and public input" and was "arbitrary and capricious."

The litigation said the project was slated to cost $775,000, of which $150,000 would be drawn from city funds.

The decision by Pugh's administration came in response to neighbor complaints that the bike lane would make Potomac Street too narrow to support certain emergency vehicles. The lawsuit says the city already made accommodations to the plan and that it consulted with the Fire Department.

"Our elected leaders and civil servants have worked tirelessly to attract federal and state funding for this project," Mark Edelson, an attorney for Bikemore, said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the city's short-sighted decision put this funding and efforts at risk. Our city was already once forced to walk away from federal funding for transit and improved mobility. We will not allow that to happen again."  

The recently created lane on Potomac between Eastern Avenue and Boston Street is part of a network that the city has been building to increase bicycle ridership in the city.

john.fritze@baltsun.com

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