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Public hearing for "Complete Streets" bill

Posted at 6:11 AM, Apr 25, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-25 18:58:53-04

Getting around in Baltimore can be tricky.

No matter the mode of transportation, throughout the day people are bustling by to get to their destination.

A challenge at times, says Liz Cornish, the executive director of Bikemore.

RELATED: City lawmaker wants Complete Streets law on the books 

“We haven’t seen the increased in ridership and pedestrian safety and the reduction in injuries and fatalities that other cities that are moving along with the improvements have seen,” Cornish said.

Liz is backing up Baltimore City Councilman with an effort to make these streets safer.

‘Baltimore Complete Streets’ is a concept that’ll aim to prioritize safety for people using the street: those who walk, those who bike, and those who drive.

“So this is about changing the way that we think about street design to prioritize our most vulnerable road users first and it will ultimately result in people having more transportation choices about how they access different parts of the city,” Cornish said.

City data shows 33% of people in Baltimore don’t have access to a car, so they either walk or take public transportation.

In the last few years, Baltimore has a crash rate that’s 370% higher than the statewide rate, and a fatality rate that’s 40% higher than New York City.

“It puts us in league with Los Angeles, one of those most notoriously car-oriented, car-centric places on the planet. So our crash and fatality rate is comparable to theirs which is insane,” Councilman Ryan Dorsey said.

He says the plan should not only make streets safer, but give people more options in terms of transportation, whether it’s four wheels or two.

“We’re a hundred years from the advent of the automobile – you’d think that we would have learned how to safely co-exist man and machine by now,” Dorsey said.

Liz says while passing this new bill would change how the city approaches building or upgrading new roads, it’s about making sure those who use them effectively.

“It’s context specific. It’s never one treatment over another, but it is about changing the way that we design our streets so that, ultimately, the people who live in Baltimore city are best served by our largest asset which is the streets that we own and operate,” Cornish said.