On Aug 6, Baltimore City Council voted unanimously to approve a bill that repeals parts of the city fire code to allow for more bike-friendly and pedestrian-safe street developments. Although the bill still awaits Mayor Catherine Pugh’s signature, a mayoral spokesperson said on August 20 that they do not anticipate a veto. The legislation will repeal the section of the fire code that requires 20- and 26- foot clearances for fire access, and will be replaced by more flexible NACTO guidelines.
A paper published in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation suggests integrating accessibility by bicycle, equity, and project selection to tackle the isolation and segregation of low-income neighborhoods in Baltimore. Using bicycle Level of Traffic Stress (LTS) to measure both access to common non-work destinations and disparities in access across different neighborhoods, the authors suggest that projects can be prioritized to improve outcomes for residents that do not own cars and struggle to reach destinations to meet their daily needs.
Construction on a bridge project in West Baltimore will soon begin, and federal and local officials hope it will improve connectivity in a neighborhood that has long suffered from the legacy of urban highways built through low-income and minority communities.