Baltimore City Council votes for 'Complete Streets' legislation to push public transit, bike lanes

Baltimore lawmakers voted unanimously Monday to back new “complete streets" legislation aimed at requiring the city's transportation department to provide more bike lanes, sidewalks and public transit options.

The legislation, sponsored by City Councilman Ryan Dorsey, is designed to pressure city planners to avoid the practice of years past when they designed a city for cars over other forms of transit.

Dorsey told his fellow council members that the legislation would help fight climate change by de-emphasizing car use.

“We can either build our city around driving and parking or we can build it around people,” Dorsey said Monday.

In a city where one in three households lacks access to a car, the legislation states that the Baltimore City Department of Transportation must “to the greatest extent possible, promote walking, biking, and public transit" and “ensure equity by actively pursuing the elimination of health, economic, and access disparities.”

The legislation would create a "Complete Streets Coordinating Council” to oversee the bill’s mandates. It also requires the city to track whether officials are adequately addressing the transportation needs of Baltimoreans of all races and income levels.

The legislation still needs a final vote before it advances to the desk of Mayor Catherine Pugh.

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