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Federal Hill needs more, not fewer, people on the streets at night

There is one complaint that can have no place in the debate over whether or not to allow more or bigger bars in Federal Hill: That is the lack of parking ("Digging in over Federal Hill," June 26).

Baltimore, like all cities, needs density to thrive. Even nice neighborhoods like ours, with its high property values and vibrant night scene, could benefit from more density.

As a resident of Federal Hill walking home at night, I often wish there were more faces on the street to give me comfort. Going to various restaurants and stores on the weekends, I pass too many empty or underutilized storefronts that could be turned into thriving businesses.

This lovely old neighborhood, with its narrow houses and narrow streets, wasn't designed for the two-car household. But it was designed to be lively and filled with people on its sidewalks, stores, bars and restaurants. Federal Hill needs more people to come eat here, play here and live here. We can't allow the problem of parking to stop such needed growth.

Federal Hill, like many city neighborhoods, needs more and better public transit, bike lanes and other transportation options. It already has the great advantage of being one of the most walkable neighborhoods in town. Just allowing the downtown circulator bus to run until 2 a.m. on weekends probably would solve the parking problem residents face at night. The idea that we should prevent needed growth because of a lack of parking is counterproductive.

Brian Levy, Baltimore

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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