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Baltimore is just fine, thank you [Letter]

BusinessCharles Theatre

My elation quickly soured as I read commentator Eileen Pollock's assessment of life in Baltimore following her return to the city after years of living in Manhattan ("Baltimore is no New York," Jan. 13).

I agree that we desperately need more public transportation options and that drivers are oblivious to pedestrians. But her claims of people being afraid to go out at night are greatly exaggerated. If that were the case, the symphony, the downtown restaurants and most other night life would be shuttered and the streets empty.

You only have to take a look at the crowds outside the Charles Theatre or the lines of people trying to get outdoor tables at Tapas Teatro to see how vibrant a previously desolate part of the city has become.

I've lived in Baltimore City for 30 years, and yes, I do feel that I'm in grave danger — not of being mugged, but rather of being hit by a car. Baltimore drivers are notorious for speeding, running red lights, pulling into crosswalks and failing to yield to pedestrians while turning.

Meanwhile, over a span of 30 years of living in several city neighborhoods, I've never been mugged, burgled or had a car break-in. During those years I've enjoyed an active social life. While living in Mount Vernon and studying at Peabody, I went out at night, walked home in the wee hours and was never afraid. Now that I'm pushing 50, my husband and I don't blink an eye at walking from Charles Village to North Avenue at night to enjoy Liam Flynn's or Joe Squared.

Last Saturday night we walked to WC Harlan at 23rd and Howard streets, which was packed with young people enjoying city life. I'm an avid distance runner and go out early in the morning alone or with friends and I feel perfectly safe — except for the cars. I even run in Druid Hill Park alone.

Ms. Pollock can choose not to live in Baltimore, but please, stop speaking for those of us who have made this city our home and who work hard to support its businesses and cultural institutions. She is doing a great disservice to the city by imposing her distorted and insulting views on those of us who live, work and own businesses here.

Carol Baker, Baltimore

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Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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