The Baltimore Department of Transportation towed 25 cars Thursday from Potomac Street in Canton, as the city prepared to replace parking spots on the west side of the street with a two-way, protected bike lane opposed by some residents of the perennially parking-challenging neighborhood.
Crews will pressure-wash paint stripes from both sides of the street this week, and then will add angled parking lines to the east side, along with the new bike lane on the west, spokeswoman Adrienne Barnes said. It will run from Patterson Park to Boston Street.
The final design was a compromise that took months — and a lawsuit — to reach. The city began building the bicycle lane in April, then agreed to rip it out when neighbors complained.
Bikemore, the city’s leading bicycling advocacy group, sued to stop the city from removing the bike lane and subsequently dropped the suit when the city officials pledged not to do so.
“It’s been a long process to get to this point, but we are happy to see the city move forward on their promise of retaining a two-way, all-ages bike facility,” said Liz Cornish, Bikemore’s executive director.
The city should have given residents more notice of the work, said Valentina Loehr Black, a member of Canton Neighbors For A Better Potomac Street Bike Lane, the group that had opposed the initial bicycle lane, citing concerns over space for emergency vehicles to travel on the street.
“Our group is very disappointed with the limited signage that was posted, and very limited notice — three days — that was given prior to undertaking this work, which will now result in further hardship for residents, as they will find their cars towed later today,” Black said. “This is yet further evidence of poor planning start to finish on the bike lane project.”