Committee votes to abolish permit parking in Canton

Written by on January 23, 2013 in Featured, Neighborhood News - 4 Comments

It looks like permit parking in Canton will soon be a thing of the past.

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The CIty Council’s Land Use and Transportation Committee today voted on Bill 12-0125, which addresses approving the extension of
Area 43, the residential permit parking area surrounding the Can Company.

First District Councilman Jim Kraft, vice chair of the committee, voted to repeal Area 43 and place a five-year moratorium on the creation of new permit parking zones in Canton: specifically the area bordered to the north by Eastern Ave., the east by S. Haven St., the south by Boston St. and the west by S. Patterson Park Ave.

The full text of a statement from Kraft regarding Area 43 is available below.

Other committee members who participated in the vote were Council Vice President Ed Reisinger, from District 10; 14th District Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke; and Fourth District Councilman Bill Henry.

Kraft says that on Monday the City Council will vote on the bill.

“They will accept the committee’s [unfavorable] report, and vote based on that recommendation,” says Kraft, who expects that Area 43 will be abolished soon after.

An exact effective date–when Area 43 signs will come down–is not available at this time. Kristyn Oldendorf, Kraft’s Chief of Staff, said that the

Parking Authority will remove the signs as soon as possible following a final City Council Decision.

Look for a more in-depth story in our print edition on January 30.

Statement from Jim Kraft:

Statement on Residential Permit Parking Vote

On Wednesday, January 23, 2013 the City Council’s Land Use and Transportation Committee voted on two bills, 12-0102 and 12-0125. These bills address, respectively, major amendments to the Residential Permit Parking (“RPP”) statute and the status of RPP Area 43, i.e., whether to repeal, reduce, expand or leave it alone.

Both of these bills are of particular interest to those people who live in Southeast Baltimore, especially those who live in the Canton area.  First and most obvious, one deals with Area 43 which lies here. Second, there are many RPP zones in Southeast.  Third, RPP is one of the suggested strategies developed in the Complete Streets plan for addressing the parking shortage here

As many of you have either read or heard, we have been working on the parking problem for over three years now.  Last February, I hosted a meeting at the Southeast Anchor Library which many of you attended (see attached statement).  At that time, the Department of Transportation (”DOT”) and the Parking Authority (“PA”) discussed numerous aspects of the plan.  DOT has put the draft of the plan on its website.  You may want to take the time to review it because it gives a sense of where we are headed in our efforts to deal with parking and traffic in the overall area.  

In fact, I would suggest that you take the time to review this plan. Although some believe that because the plan may fail to mention specific streets or specific timelines, that nothing will happen to those specific streets or that nothing will be happening right now.  While it may be true that all streets and timelines are not included, there is a simple reason for not having done so:  It is an evolving plan and the success or failure of certain strategies may determine the need, or lack thereof, for future ones.

There are certain immediate areas that need to be addressed: parking availability, parking meters and RPP.  At the same time, there are certain alternative means of transportation that can be improved now and in the near future: bike routes, water taxi access and extending the Charm City Circulator.  In the longer term, we are also looking at the possibility of establishing paid parking lots and/or garages.

Our first goal presently is clear, and it is the number one request that we have received from the overall community and Canton in particular – we must create as many parking spaces as possible.  This effort is underway.  In taking a holistic approach to the problem, reverse angle parking has been, is, and will be installed wherever the streets will accommodate it.  To do otherwise would only make the overall challenge more difficult and hasten the implementation of other strategies that some may find even more bothersome.

Boston Street and the blocks just off of it have in many areas become a park and ride lot.  People come here in the morning, park their cars, and leave them for the day while they either car-pool or take the bus to their office.   This practice significantly reduces the number of spaces available during the day for those who work, eat, shop or otherwise do business in our area.  The resulting shortage of spaces forces these cars into our neighborhoods, taking spaces that would otherwise be available to those who live here.

Subject to funding by the Rawlings-Blake Administration, EZ park meters will be installed along the Boston Street corridor.  The present plan is for the meters to be in effect during the business day.  It is believed that this will result in both an end to the “park and ride” effect and a regular turnover of parking spaces.  In addition, I have asked the Mayor to use all of the funds generated (after deducting the cost of operating the meters) toward extending the Charm City Circulator to Canton.  She has on a number of occasions indicated her willingness to make such an extension if funds were found to pay for it.

With these two strategies having been implemented, we will also see the relocation of the Water Taxi stop from the Canton Waterfront Park to a more central location near the Can Company complex.

In addition, the parking garage at the Can Company, with security, will be made available to neighborhood residents from 7:00 pm- 7:00 am Monday thru Friday and on weekends at a reduced fee (present proposal: $50.00 per month) for those who would like to have a regular enclosed parking space.  Furthermore, discussions are beginning that may result in usage, for a fee, of the Safeway parking lot.

While there is no public land available currently for a public parking lot/garage in the area, the Safeway discussions will also address the garage question.  It is also my understanding that there is presently a private individual who is accumulating parcels with the long term intention of building a garage.  It is important to note; however, that any public or private garage or lot will require a fee for use.

The final immediate option available is RPP.  This is the most difficult to implement and the most restrictive.  It will also have the most dramatic effect on all who live here because it will severely restrict not only access to parking for those who enter our neighborhood, but also those who live here.  During the hearings and work sessions on the two bills mentioned above we have not only heard much testimony from neighbors regarding their attitudes about RPP, but we have also had the opportunity to seriously examine its impact on densely populated areas such as Canton that have a lot of cars and little off street parking availability.   We have learned some things throughout the process.

Implementing RPP is like squeezing a balloon.  During the hours when the permit restrictions are in effect, all non-permit holding parkers are pushed out.  Even with severe restrictions on the number of permits issued per household, there are simply too many cars in the impacted area for every car with a permit to find a parking space there. There is presently one RPP in Canton – Area 43.  With the exception of the few individuals who reside in Area 43 who testified either in person, by phone or in writing to preserving the Area, almost every other person addressing the Area requested that it either be extended or repealed. In reviewing the Canton area and its geography, the only logical extension would have been to do so throughout all of Canton.  As was explained numerous times during the hearings (two of which were held in Canton), an expansion could be done through the legislation.  It would accomplish nothing.  

In fact, preliminary discussions with the PA indicated that even by issuing only one permit per household within the entire area, there would not have been a sufficient number of spaces to accommodate all of the vehicles, and experience shows that everyone expects to have two permits.  In such instance, it would have been virtually impossible to issue visitor permits.  Such a result would be entirely unacceptable.  The alternative of creating a number of smaller RPP areas within Canton would have only exacerbated the problem experienced around Area 43.  Instead of being in one area, it would have been everywhere.  Again, such a result would be entirely unacceptable.

Thus, we come to the immediate future and the Wednesday vote on the RPP bills.  We know the immediate steps that are going to be taken as the Complete Streets plan continues to evolve.  We need to have some time to see what effect they have; i.e., how much they relieve that parking pressure and how they assist with overall traffic flow and movement of people rather than automobiles.   This will take some time.  For now, I think that it is best to not only repeal Area 43, but also place a moratorium on the creation of RPP areas in Canton and so, for the reasons stated above, I voted to repeal Area 43 and place a moratorium on the creation of new RPP zones in Canton.

Sincerely yours,
Jim Kraft

by Danielle Sweeney
dsweeney@baltimoreguide.com

4 Comments on "Committee votes to abolish permit parking in Canton"

  1. Anonymous February 1, 2013 at 1:12 pm · Reply

    Just for the record, the intention isn’t to have Boston street go to permit in 5 years. Kraft has proposed for meters on both Boston AND Hudson to be installed in the coming months which means parking will only go from bad to worse for EVERYONE. This is completely ridiculous.

  2. 43resident January 26, 2013 at 8:34 pm · Reply

    Sure great news. Canton cannot have RPP for 5 years. The same time Boston street is going to get metered parking. Two guesses idiots on where the folks will choose to park.

    So yeah great news. Idiot.

    • Winston Smith January 28, 2013 at 6:35 am · Reply

      before you start calling people grade school names, take a minute and think about where everyone has been parking for the past year? Not in your area(43 resident). the rest of us around area 43 have seen our parking situation go from bad to worse all the while driving by open spots in area 43. So grow up, put your big boy pants on and stop calling people names. Take your energy and put it into some constuctive advice or solutions, because you are right, the parking is only going to get more diffecult with the red line.

  3. RC January 23, 2013 at 3:42 pm · Reply

    GREAT NEWS!!!

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