Is Mayor Pugh trying to drive out the millennials?

Listening to a few vocal bicycle NIMBYs instead of following her own transition report, Mayor Catherine Pugh carelessly consented to remove the protected bike lane on Potomac Street (“City plans to tear out protected bike lane on Potomac Street in Canton,” June 8).

As a millennial with disposable income and the privilege to choose where I live, one of the primary reasons I stay in Baltimore City is the ability to walk and bike for live, work and play. If I wanted more parking, I would simply move to the county where the job opportunities, taxes, crime and education all work in my favor. The city's advantage is its diversity in both people and built environment.

There are more residents like me than the mayor seems to think. Recent additions to the city including Bikeshare and the Maryland and Potomac protected bike lanes keep us excited and help keep us here.

We even have conversations about how bike lanes may substitute for empty suburban streets once we have children. Behind the woodwork, there are more residents, especially women, attracted to a car-free lifestyle but who fear the possibility of death and injury due to a dearth of safe and protected bike lanes — something the Potomac Street installation began to fix.

Baltimore's bike infrastructure pales in comparison to Washington, Boston, and other cities of similar size — cities I that could choose to move to and cities that Baltimore should compete with. And cycling lanes aren’t just about young professionals; they provide a transit option for one-third of the city’s residents who don’t drive, they increase access for Baltimore’s most disadvantaged residents who lack vehicular access, and they encourage physical activity.

Mayor Pugh has put cars over residents and set a precedent to remove more bike infrastructure; reducing Baltimore’s competitive advantage with the suburbs and its ability to compete with other cities for new residents. Given her lack of comment, she may think this decision is just a fender bender.

But removing the protected lane will result in fatality: driving millennials out of Baltimore City.

Maria-Josefina Fernandez, Baltimore

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