BALTIMORE — The Baltimore City Department of Transportation is letting drivers know a new traffic will be installed along portions of Thames Street.
Starting Saturday, Thames Street will become one-way westbound between Caroline and Ann Streets. One lane of westbound traffic will be open for motorists along this portion of Thames Street, and no eastbound traffic will be allowed.
Once this new traffic pattern is implemented, all southbound S. Broadway and S. Caroline Street traffic will be required to turn right (west) onto Thames Street.
The new traffic pattern has been in the works for about four months.
"Just getting everybody a find a find a path so he was the hardest part," said Nicholas Johnson.
Johnson owns Su Casa, a furniture located on S. Bound Stree. He told WMAR-2 News the new traffic flow will encourage new shoppers to return to the area.
"We believe that pushing traffic, even just one way gets flow, gets exposure and makes it really convenient for people to come back to the neighborhood," said Johnson.
Currently there are barricades up on Thames near S. Broadway and S. Bond. They were originally put up by the city during the height of COVID-19 as a way to protect outdoor diners using parklets. However, the barricades also required people to make U-turns.
"The U-turn turned into this giant mess," said Johnson. "People start to get angry. They’re not used to it. There’s no flow. They were doing three-point-turns. It became a nightmare."
There was also property damage as a result. Sidewalk light poles were damaged in the process and had to be replaced at least twice.
"We also had people just leaving and not shopping locally," said Beth Hawks, owner of Zelda Zen. "I've been waiting a long time for the barriers to come down. Hearing the news today is like Christmas Day."
Amuse Toys owner Claudia Towles also supports the new plan but added the biggest thing is to let drivers know what's going on.
"This new proposed one-way from Anne Street to Caroline is a compromise that needs to be attached to a larger things like ways signage and marketing but it is better than the current situation," she said.
In addition, nightly road closures will be implemented along Thames and Lancaster Streets to facilitate outdoor dining activities:
- Starting on or about Saturday, November 7, 2020, Thames Street will close nightly between Ann Street and S. Broadway from 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. each evening.
- Starting on or about Monday, November 9, 2020, Lancaster Street will close nightly from the parking garage entrance/exit just south of the Aliceanna Street circle to Exeter Street from 4:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. each evening.
Signs will be posted in the area to alert motorists of the new traffic patterns. Motorists traveling in this vicinity should be on the watch for changing traffic patterns and are encouraged to use alternate routes.