Pugh to review Baltimore bike lanes, parking spaces to see if they comply with fire code

A fight over a bike lane in Canton could spill over to the rest of the city.

Mayor Catherine Pugh said Wednesday her administration is reviewing both bike lanes and parking spaces around Baltimore to make sure city streets have enough room for fire equipment to pass.

"The Department of Transportation and the Fire Department are evaluating all of those lanes," said Pugh spokesman Anthony McCarthy.

A city decision to reconfigure a new bike lane on Potomac Street in Canton after some residents complained it made the street too narrow for firetrucks has drawn outrage from bike advocates.

Bikemore, a Baltimore advocacy group, has warned the move could jeopardize similar protected bikes lanes in the city.

McCarthy said the city is not committing to making any other changes to Baltimore's bike network plans, but is working on a "comprehensive plan."

"All these complaints are about Potomac," he said. "Common sense and good judgment means we will have to evaluate all of those streets."

While the Canton Community Association supported the bike lane, which the city began constructing in April, some residents were opposed. They said the lane would take away already scarce parking space — the city estimates 10 spots were lost — or was unneeded on a one-way residential street that bicyclists already could use.

More recently, opponents raised the issue of whether firetrucks would be able to pass through the street.

In a letter, the mayor's office informed residents on Potomac Street last week it would revamp the lane configurations.

"Mayor Pugh is committed to making Baltimore a bicycle and pedestrian-friendly multi-modal City, while at the same time ensuring that changes made to our roadways do not have serious negative safety and emergency response implications," said the letter, signed by James T. Smith, Jr., chief of strategic alliances.

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