A car plowed into barriers protecting an outdoor dining area outside Blue Agave restaurant on Light Street in Federal Hill early Tuesday morning, video shows.
Michael Roslan, the owner of Diablo Doughnuts across the street from Blue Agave, said his Ring video camera captured the crash around 4:30 a.m., showing a white car running through barriers. A Baltimore Police Department report says the driver, suspected to be driving a 2007 Chevy Cobalt, also damaged six propane heaters and “multiple” planters.
The vehicle was left unattended on top of multiple barricades and the driver is unknown, according to the report.
Motorists often drive very fast late at night on the street, Roslan said.
“I’m surprised it took this long,” said Roslan, who said he is often working in his shop late at night. “People fly down that road at 50, 60 mph most of the time at night like that.”
This isn’t the first time such a crash has happened in South Baltimore, as restaurateurs have increasingly turned to makeshift outdoor areas to serve more customers safely during the coronavirus pandemic. A driver also crashed into SoBo Café's patio, just blocks away in Federal Hill, in October, destroying chairs and tables.
After the crash, Baltimore Department of Transportation officials planned to discuss requirements for restaurants to have water-filled barriers around outdoor seating on sidewalks.
German Vigil, a transportation department spokesman, said city officials have been evaluating restaurants that want to serve food on sidewalks since late October. If restaurateurs want to would like to acquire or keep their permits, they may be required to install water-filled barriers that surround their entire outdoor seating area.
The department has completed about 70% of its evaluations, Vigil said.
When the permit program began, restaurants that occupied a street lane were required to have concrete or water barriers that surrounded their outdoor seating areas, while restaurants that only occupied a sidewalk were required to have two barriers that faced oncoming traffic.
“We have had people go out and monitor traffic patterns, but we are still operating on a case-by-case basis to see if restaurants need additional barriers. But if we feel a restaurant is too much at risk, we are requiring them to more barriers,” said Vigil.
Parked cars often serve as a blockade from moving cars that pass by that makeshift outdoor areas.
“These are two complex cases that have occurred overnight when there’s no vehicles to protect the parklets,” Vigil said of the crashes at Blue Agave and SoBo Cafe.
“Pedestrian safety is our biggest concern and if this happens again, we may have to elevate our stance on this,” he added.
Diablo Doughnuts doesn’t plan to have an outdoor dining setup like Blue Agave’s because Roslan thinks it’s a risk.
“They definitely have to look into other things because there are people still sitting out there,” Roslan said. “The weather is still good. Luckily it was in the middle of the night or early morning when no one was out there.”
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Blue Agave owners did not respond to requests for comment.