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Hatem Bridge should be open to walkers, bicyclists

State Sen. Nancy Jacobs is right that the Hatem Bridge linking Havre de Grace and Perryville should remain affordable to motorists ("Columnist gets it half right on proposed toll increases," June 16).

But Senator Jacobs only gets it half right, too: What about people who can't afford a car, one-car families, etc.? And why aren't people allowed to walk or bicycle across this one-mile span?

Transportation officials say the bridge was designed only for motorists and that walking or bicycling over it is unsafe. But Interstate 95, less than a mile away, parallels the four-lane Hatem Bridge. Trucks and through traffic should use the Interstate, allowing the Hatem Bridge to be reconfigured into a full-service bridge for local traffic.

Sidewalks and bike lanes should replace the outer two lanes on the bridge. A reconfigured Hatem Bridge would be similar to the two-lane, full- service bridge used by bicyclists, pedestrians and motorists to enter Annapolis near theNaval Academy.

Slowing down from 45 mph on the current bridge to, say, 30 mph on the reconfigured bridge would add less than a minute to travel time, and having a two-lane bridge instead of a four-lane span would encourage trucks and through traffic to use the interstate instead of cutting through local communities.

Jeffrey H. Marks, Baltimore

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