Park to see more traffic enforcement

Written by on May 8, 2013 in Neighborhood News - No comments

Patterson Park hosts many events, including the American Visionary Art Museum’s annual Kinetic Sculpture Race. From now on, the Baltimore CIty Department of Transportation will be enforcing parking rules in the park. - Photo by Erik Zygmont

Parking enforcement in Patterson Park has been transferred from the Department of Recreation and Parks to the Baltimore Department of Transportation.

“DOT is now in charge,” reported Bill Vondrasek, Chief of Parks, at the Patterson Park Working Group meeting on Wednesday, April 17. “I don’t have to worry about rangers anymore; I don’t have to worry about training rangers anymore.”

Up to now, Recreation and Parks Park Rangers had been charged with enforcing park rules, including traffic regulations. It has been noted by City Councilman James Kraft that Park Rangers have been “intimidated” by illegal drivers. Not only that, but rangers needed driver cooperation to issue a ticket.

Now, starting on Monday, May 13, DOT will be dispatching parking enforcement officers to issue citations, according to Adrienne Barnes, a spokesperson for DOT.

According to a press release from Recreation and Parks, the minimum parking citation in the park is $52.

“The community has been calling for enforcement of illegal traffic in the park for many, many years,” said Kathy Harget, Executive Director of the Friends of Patterson Park.

“Anecdotally, we staff people see people driving in the park quite frequently, and sometimes they don’t even know they’re not supposed to be driving in the park.”

Lexie Albe of Kraft’s office also noted that the park will be receiving new signs that are clear about the park’s driving restrictions.

Harget said that only “city official” vehicles such as police cruisers or Department of Public Works trucks may drive in the park, along with permitted vehicles. Recreation and Parks issues a limited number of hangtags every year, she said.

Albe said that the hangtags are issued to residents who have plots in the community gardens inside the park. Some of the sports leagues active in the park receive one permit each, she added, so that equipment can be delivered or picked up.

“We’re trying to keep it pretty restricted,” she said.

Park rangers will remain responsible for issuing citations for environmental and park rule violations, including littering and off-leash dogs. Environmental citations are $250.

by Erik Zygmont

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