The West Baltimore Bike Boulevard project is funded and designed, with construction planned this coming Spring. This project began the planning, design, and community input process several years ago, and like the Downtown Bike Network, the construction start date is long overdue but finally approaching.
What is a Bike Boulevard?
Bike Boulevards are neighborhood streets that have been prioritized as bicycle routes through changes in street design. These changes are designed in a way to force cars to drive slowly and more carefully, while allowing people on foot or bike to use the road comfortably and safely.
The West Baltimore Bike Boulevards will incorporate bike-friendly speed humps, mini traffic circles, contraflow bike lanes, bike boxes and advance stop bars, as well as neighborhood cut-throughs to prioritize safe, convenient bike travel. Click on some of the images below for examples of these treatments.
Bike Boulevards are ideal for neighborhood streets with traffic volumes or speeds low enough that protected, separate bike lanes aren't necessary. An example of a bike boulevard in Baltimore is Guilford Avenue between Mount Royal and 33rd Streets. When installed, bicycle traffic increased significantly on this corridor.
West Baltimore Bike Boulevards
The West Baltimore Bike Boulevards project installs bicycle boulevards to connect to existing "low-stress" (easy to bike on) streets in the neighborhoods of Franklin Square, Midtown Edmondson, Harlem Park, Poppleton, Sandtown, Union Square, and Hollins Market.
These neighborhoods have been severed for decades by the Route 40 "Highway to Nowhere" which demolished major sections of predominantly African-American neighborhoods for an ill-conceived highway expansion through West Baltimore.
Beyond that obvious barrier to neighborhood connectivity in the project area, there are other significant barriers to opportunity. 55% of households in the project area earn less than $25,000 annually. The majority of the project area's population is of working age, but unemployment is high and job opportunities are few and far between. In many parts of the project area, 80% or more of households lack access to a car.
The bicycle boulevards would have connected these neighborhoods via safe, comfortable bicycle infrastructure to the Baltimore Red Line and the West Baltimore MARC station, providing direct access to a major transit line and the related jobs and access to opportunity it would bring.
Governor Hogan's devastating cancellation of the Baltimore Red Line removed one major connection to this project, but there are numerous other reasons why construction is beneficial, including neighborhood connections to:
- West Baltimore MARC Station
- Future West Baltimore BaltimoreLink Transit Center
- Lafayette Square Park
- Harlem Square Park
- Franklin Square Park
- Union Square Park
- Bon Secours Hospital
- James McHenry Recreation Center
- Hollins Market
- B&O Museum and Rail Yard
- Mount Clare Junction Shopping Center
Baltimore Bike Share will launch in the project area during installation of the bike boulevards. Bike Share is successful when it is directly connected to "low-stress" infrastructure like bike lanes and bike boulevards, so it is a perfect match for this project installation.
With the hopeful success of advocates like the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition, a revived Red Line would just be an added benefit for this project.
Bikemore has been advocating for this project for several years, providing feedback to DOT on design and community outreach, and encouraging community members to attend planning and design meetings to give feedback on how the project can best meet the needs of their neighborhoods. With construction negotiations underway, Bikemore will continue to monitor DOT's process to ensure a timely and correct installation.
We need your support so that we can continue to see more victories like this one, and that we see them faster.