BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Improving traffic across Baltimore can be a bumpy road, but Mayor Jack Young, the MTA and Maryland Department of Transportation think their new plan is the start of a smoother ride.
The plan is called a “road diet,” and officials said it will make roads safer.
Road diets are proven safety measures that help improve livability in the many communities throughout out amazing cities,” Young said at a news conference Thursday.
A road diet removes a travel lane from a roadway to use that space for other modes of transportation.
Mayor Young believes changes along Harford Road in the Hamilton neighborhood will improve safety for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians.
The $400,000 safety project was paid for by a state grant.
“In areas where road diets are implemented, bicycles and pedestrian traffic tend to increase significantly,” Young said.
The project features a few firsts for the city like floating bus platforms, which allow buses to pick up passengers faster, reduce dwell times significantly and get back into traffic faster, the MTA said.
City leaders said they noticed patrons and residents didn’t feel safe eating and shopping in the area because of dangerous traffic patterns.
“It was unsafe, cars were traveling at high speeds and high volume at all hours of the day and night,” city council member Ryan Dorsey said.
Reaction from area residents has been mixed, but officials are confident this sets an example of what can be done for other areas of the city.
The DOT reports road diets can help reduce crashes by an average of 29 percent.