BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A protest earlier Monday morning asked city leaders to put off removing a protected bicycle lane through Roland Park.
Baltimore cyclists held a “bike-in” to bring attention to their case.
“No Parking” signs dot Roland Avenue, indicate the last official policy Mayor Catherine Pugh implemented before taking her prolonged leave of absence.
The Roland Park Cycle Track is now in the process of being removed.
“All pilot programs are tough at first. Change is difficult. And, it takes people having to get used to a different routine, and that’s tough,” said cyclist Kimberly Lodge.
Lodge, a parent, and cyclist in the neighborhood organized a bike rally Monday before school to try to stop the removal of protected bike lanes.
“Removing a protected cycle path in the interest of protecting cars is kind of a backward way of thinking. It’s kind of behind the times,” Lodge said.
“People’s behavior was somewhat getting modified, they just didn’t give it a chance to modify it all the way,” said Penny Power, another cyclist.
Work begins this week to stop this pilot program and remove the Roland Avenue cycle track.
The area will return to curbed car parking and a painted bike lane adjacent to car traffic.
“What’s clear is that after it was installed, we weren’t making things any safer,” said Bob Connors, Roland Park Civic League, an organization that, earlier this month, voted to delay the removal of the track.
Connors worked with the Department of Transportation on a solution and said the route caused more safety problems than it solved.
“The people that parked on the road had to open up their driver side and get smashed perhaps by a car that wasn’t being careful enough,” Power said.
“For whatever flaws people think of this design with the protective lane, at least it’s a protected lane. And, if a car will get hit, that is a sign we need to fix the road and do something about it. It’s not a sign we need to put bikers in the traffic,” Lodge said.
Cyclist Thomas Palermo was killed on Roland Avenue in 2-14, although these protected lanes are just south of that site.
Still, cycling groups hope the City gets back in the business of adding protected bike lanes instead of removing them.
“There is a possibility for a safe road for everyone, not just a few,” Lodge said.
The Roland Park Civic League said there are many other parallel routes, less traveled, that cyclists can take.
DOT has not given a timetable on when this project will finish, although signs suggest it will take a few weeks.
The advocacy group, “Bikemore” said acting Mayor Jack Young is “counting” votes of people who call City Hall to voice their opinion, although his office did not respond to our request for comment.