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Readers Respond

Baltimore needs more streets like the redesigned Central Avenue | READER COMMENTARY

John Hardesty of Priceless Industries pieces together a decal to the new bike lane along Central Avenue at Fleet Street in Baltimore. File. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun).

Strong Towns Baltimore is strongly in favor of the Central Avenue complete street redevelopment project in Baltimore (”Controversy emerges over changes to Baltimore’s Central Avenue streetscape as it nears completion,” Nov. 21). For decades (since the end of World War II), cities across the U.S. such as Baltimore have suffered through the destabilizing adoption of automobile-centric transportation and land use development practices. Baltimore has allowed itself to be scarred with arterials and highways meant to speed automobiles through the city, down to employers and attractions near the waterfront, and then right back out. Accommodating these drivers and their cars requires wasting valuable real estate for wide, multi-lane roads, non-productive parking lots and enormously expensive parking garages.

With the Central Avenue complete street redevelopment and other efforts like it, Baltimore is making wise use of scarce resources in a forward-thinking, fiscally responsible manner to prioritize the needs and desires of its fully invested residents and business owners. Baltimore’s decades-long efforts to contort itself to allow people to drive in to, out of, and through it as quickly as possible has not been a recipe for success. On the other hand, focusing on human-scale development is.

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People activate a street. Cars deaden it. The most prosperous, wealthy communities are the most walkable and bikeable communities. Complete streets result in lower vacancy rates, higher property values and thriving communities, overall.

Strong Towns Baltimore applauds the Central Avenue complete street redevelopment project. That project and others like it will contribute to Baltimore’s rebirth for the betterment of everyone — residents, businesses and visitors.

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— Michael Scepaniak, Cockeysville; David House, Baltimore

The writers are co-presidents of Strong Towns Baltimore.

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