Cyclist questions other city bicycle signs

The problem: Bike Baltimore signs confuse other cyclists, this time in the Inner Harbor.

The backstory: Let's refresh our memories about last week's Watchdog, which dealt with Bike Baltimore signs that said "Park Avenue" but directed cyclists onto Whitelock Street.

Reader Jay Rubin said he enjoyed a chuckle about that feature. He regularly commutes by bike between Mount Vernon and his East Baltimore home and has been wondering about the Bike Baltimore sign near the eastern corner of the intersection of East Pratt Street and the service road behind Pier 4.

That sign, facing eastbound traffic, reads "Brewers Hill & Greektown". A sign on the other side of the same post reads "Downtown."

"The first thing I thought was, I know my Baltimore geography, and I know I'm seeing something wrong," he said.

But according to Nate Evans, the bike and pedestrian planner for Baltimore's Department of Transportation, the sign is correct.

It's part of the Southeast Bicycle Network, a bike route from downtown to Brewers Hill and Greektown.

But the area is under transition. It is destined to be part of the second phase of the Jones Falls Trail, which will connect the Jones Falls Trail to the Gwynns Falls Trail near the Maryland Science Center, he said.

"We wanted to make sure the signs we had in place were current for when construction is complete," Evans said.

The "Downtown" sign on the other side of the pole would alert cyclists that they had arrived at their destination.

Evans did notice that some signs listing distances to destinations such as Canton and Patterson Park had been incorrectly installed on the western corner of that intersection. The signs should have been under the Brewers Hill sign.

Rubin said he thinks moving those distance signs to the same pole as the Brewers Hill sign will make things clearer. Adding the distance to Brewers Hill might clarify whether the sign describes a destination or the current location.

The reader also pointed out that the northbound bike lanes on President Street, now painted green to distinguish them from the motor vehicle lanes, stop at Baltimore Street. He said he's seen cyclists take their chances and continue riding in the street, without the painted lane, or on the sidewalk instead.

But Evans said that the extension of the Jones Falls Trail will be run on President Street up to Fallsway. It's just not done yet, though it has all the necessary approvals for its 18-month construction schedule.

As for the Bike Baltimore signs, Watchdog asks that those who might admire the logo refrain from taking one home. Evans said a number of signs are missing across the city.

"We know a lot of them were stolen for one reason or another," he said. "That leaves gaps in our system. It doesn't properly direct cyclists from one point to another."

Who can fix this: For more information about the Bike Baltimore signs, readers can check City residents should call 311 to report problems.

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