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Baltimore mayor expands ‘Slow Streets’ program to increase walkability during coronavirus outbreak

Baltimore will look to reduce traffic around Patterson Park as part of an expansion of the city’s “Slow Streets” pilot program, which aims to provide more walkability and promote outdoor exercise in the city during the coronavirus outbreak.

Previously, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young and and city’s transportation and recreation and parks departments instituted similar traffic modifications around Druid Hill Park and Lake Montebello. The expansion will employ “traffic calming barriers” around the park and limit vehicular flow to “only local traffic.”

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In a statement, Young said the program enables city residents to safely comply with Baltimore’s stay-at-home order while maintaining healthy habits.

“This expansion will allow us to continue helping residents get exercise outside while practicing social distancing,” the Democratic said.

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The modification will encompass South Linwood Avenue from East Baltimore Street to Eastern Avenue.

In an email, Kathy Dominick, spokesperson for the Baltimore City Department of Transportation said parking in the area would not be affected.

“Local access will be maintained and parking for residents and park users remains the same,” she said. “The Slow Streets treatment is meant to decrease traffic speeds and deter cut through traffic to provide both ... social distancing and traffic safety improvements.”

The city remains under a stay-at-home order even has other parts of the state ease restrictions in their jurisdictions. On Wednesday, Young announced that all public gatherings in Baltimore with the potential to draw more than 250 people at a time have been canceled until Aug. 31.

The city has amassed one of the highest case counts per capita in Maryland. Close to 5,000 of Baltimore’s 593,490 residents have contracted COVID-19, and more than 200 of them have died, according to the latest figures reported by the Maryland Department of Health.

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