Will gates keep cars out of Patterson Park?

Great news for Patterson Park-area residents: it will soon be a lot harder to drive illegally in East Baltimore’s favorite backyard.

The Friends of Patterson Park and the city are purchasing gates to block vehicular traffic at two key access points—Luzerne Ave. and Baltimore St. near the Rec Center, and at Linwood Ave., south of the dog park.

“Those are the two most common access points for vehicles,” says Jennifer Arndt Robinson, executive director of the Friends of Patterson Park.

The gates will cost between $10,000 and $15,000,” Arndt-Robinson says, the cost to be shared between the city and the Friends, who obtained a grant from the Abell Foundation.

Cars driving in the park, legally and otherwise, has been a concern of the community for some time, especially when cars and people are using the same paths, Arndt-Robinson notes.

The decision to buy gates grew out of meetings of the Patterson Park Working Group.

“We heard increasing concerns from the community regarding speed and safety. Cars can feel threatening. We knew we needed to control cars coming in, both those that had a reason to be there and those that didn’t,” Arndt-Robinson says.

The gates will be installed as soon as possible.

“Ideally, they will be keypad access gates. That way, drivers with permits—motorists who are allowed in the park are supposed to have permits, such as someone who rents the picnic pavilion—will be given a temporary access code.”

The Friends are also working with the city to install new signage in Patterson Park, so drivers are better informed about park rules regarding vehicles.

“The signs will inform drivers of the speed limit—15 mph—and help keep cars on the asphalt and off the brick,“ she says. “In this way, violators can’t claim they didn’t know.”

The signs will likely be installed around the same time as the gates, she says.

“The Friends currently don’t have an installation date for the gates or the signage,” says Arndt-Robinson. “But we’re hoping for the fall. This needs to be a visible outcome of the Patterson Park Working Group. Cars in Patterson Park have been a problem for the community for a long time.”

by Danielle Sweeney

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