'Don't block the box' campaign begins in Baltimore

Don't block the box campaign begins in Baltimore
Posted at 8:20 AM, Oct 15, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-15 17:49:32-04

Starting on Monday you can receive a $125 fine if you are caught blocking intersections in Baltimore.

You could call it a crash course in Traffic Safety, but blocking the box in downtown Baltimore from now on will earn you a pass/fail grade.


The enforcement began with a light touch.


"So far this morning, we've issued four citations for Don't Block the Box in the downtown community," reported City Transportation Safety Chief Toby Goodwin. 


But there's nothing light about the penalty.


"It's Code 46 in our parking citation books and the fine is $127," added Goodwin.


For those who enter an intersection and don't seem to care if they block pedestrians in crosswalks or other vehicles when the light changes, it puts a price tag on their lack of consideration.


"It's not fair to punish people for $127,” said Denise Gordon of Towson, “Most people here don't have it."


But some victims of the blocked box say they've had enough of it.


"I think it's a great idea actually,” said George Falter of Pikesville, “I park in this garage right behind you.  I have to come out sometimes during rush hour, and right here on this street, Lombard Street, where we are, I find very often the cars are blocking the box and the light turns and you can't get through."


During the evening rush hour, traffic enforcement officers will be looking for box blockers at the intersection of Lombard and Light streets, Pratt and Calvert streets and Charles and Saratoga streets.


Over the last month, they've issued more than 5,000 warning tickets to motorists to make them aware of the new penalties.


Had those tickets carried the new penalty, that would have put $635,000 in the city's coffers.


"I know safety is an issue... I mean with the city and everything, but it's money,” said Gordon, “It's the motivator in my opinion."


Under state law, blocking the box brings a $90 fine and a point off of your driver’s license, but the city is enforcing its own code, which brings the larger fine, but no point against your license.