A primary reason that residents move to downtown neighborhoods is the ability to have a "walkable" lifestyle. In our popular Why We Stay series, almost every contributor mentioned walking to playgrounds, restaurants and friends houses as a beloved aspect of city life. To this end, we are commited to maintaining and creating a pedestrian-friendly culture in downtown Baltimore. Over the summer, downtown families were asked to send in top intersections in need of improvements to make them more pedestrian friendly. As the Department of Transportation works to make these intersections safer for all walkers, guest bloggers will write in with their "before" and "after" posts.
Guest post by Claire Tesh.
Living in Baltimore’s Butcher’s Hill neighborhood for the past five years, I’ve discovered that one of the best ways to really get to know Baltimore is to stroll the streets. My daughter and I love to greet neighbors, spot quirky window decorations and painted screens, and walk to different playgrounds including the castle at Patterson Park.
Unfortunately, while enjoying the sights of the city, one must constantly be on guard for drivers who neglect that they are sharing the road with pedestrians. The intersection of Patterson Park Avenue and Pratt Street is a frequent location of near misses and frustrated drivers and pedestrians.
On any given day hundreds of dog walkers and stroller pushers cross the intersection, but during heavy flows of traffic, this intersection is extremely dangerous. Motorists often stop within the lines of the crosswalks, making it difficult or impossible to cross without having to walk close to oncoming traffic. East bound drivers on Pratt Street will speed to make the green light at the intersection and often turn left or right without looking for pedestrians in the crosswalks. The walk sign is synched with the green light and drivers who are at high speeds will enter the intersection in hopes of making it through the light, giving pedestrians no opportunity to cross without oncoming traffic.
The distance between Chester and Patterson Park Avenue really does allow drivers to gain speeds so high that over the years we’ve seen several accidents which have actually flipped cars onto their roofs at Collington Avenue and Chester Streets.
With the number of families in the neighborhood and the amount of people, children and pets using the park daily, these crosswalks should become a priority for public safety and to make Patterson Park, one the city's greatest green spaces, more accessible to families.
To learn more about DBFA's walkability advocacy efforts, please visit baltimorewalks.org.