SAVE OUR BOARDWALK!
If you have visited our flagship store in the Remington neighborhood of Baltimore, you may have noticed a few things about our intersection before entering the store: the speed of traffic on 28th street, and the beautiful parklet and boardwalk on the corner surrounded by architectural planters and evergreens. We need your help to improve the safety and accessibility of our community by signing this form asking the DOT to draft a safe design for 28th street that reduces car traffic to one lane and retains the parklet outside of our store.
28th street is a two lane, one-way road that travels from West to East through our neighborhood and connects the neighborhoods West of the JFX to Remington, Charles Village, and Harwood. In June of 2018, a consortium of neighborhood organizations supported by city council members, non-profit organizations like Bikemore, and businesses received approval and funding to include a protected pedestrian, bike and wheelchair access lane along Druid Park Lake Drive that connected to the 28th street bridge and allowed East-West access to people without cars along this corridor for the first time in 55 years.
Small businesses like Mount Royal Soaps who rely on foot traffic along this corridor saw an increase in customers as an entirely new section of the city suddenly had access to goods and services that were previously too inconvenient or unsafe to access. Overall, studies have shown the Big Jump to be an overwhelming success in linking two sides of a city previously divided by redlining.
In 2020 the Greater Remingnton Improvement Association received a grant to extend the Big Jump with a protected bike and pedestrian path and traffic diet plan along 28th street all the way to Maryland Ave. The grant was written and intended for a design that shrunk 28th to one lane and retained the community parklet. However, in the first meeting with the public DOT presented a design that calls for the removal of the 28th street parklet and installation of a dedicated right-turn lane for cars in its place.
We oppose the removal of the parklet. As anyone who has attended one of our Friday night markets can attest, we love throwing a rager on that boardwalk! We've made so many friends, eaten so much Ekiben and Snake Hill, given out so much beer from Charm City Meadworks, Peabody Heights Brewery, and Union Craft. We've seen so many small businesses get their start vending at the markets, and have heard from the more established ones how much they appreciate the huge draw they get and the amount of sales they make. We've had visitors like the Oriole's mascot, Mayor Brandon Scott...even the Ghostbusters came to a night market! We even received an award from the Central Baltimore Partnership for community organizing for these gatherings. If the parklet is removed, we can't host any more night markets.
But more importantly, we feel that the design presented by the DOT does not go far enough to make the intersection safe. Last month, a member of our team was hit and injured by a vehicle as they crossed the intersection leaving work after closing the shop for the evening. They were not seriously injured, but were unable to work and pretty shaken up. The vehicle that hit them was turning right off of 28th onto Huntingdon. Our team member, knowing how dangerous the intersection could be, was wearing neon reflective clothing as they crossed.
The DOT's planned design would not have prevented the accident that injured our team member. Nor would it have prevented the hundreds of near misses we've witnessed over the years of operating the shop. Once we saw an entire family of five almost taken out by a right-turning vehicle, the operator of the vehicle then had the audacity to beep the horn at the family for not exiting the intersection quickly enough. It wouldn't prevent the vehicles who make an errant turn the wrong way heading West on 28th street, of which we see several per week, and which we anticipate a single vehicle lane to help prevent. If 28th street is made a single lane road without a turn lane there will be enough distance between cars turning right and the crosswalk to prevent accidents like the one that happened to our team member.
Work To Be Done
Mount Royal Soaps and its founders have spent years living on or adjacent to 28th street, even before opening the shop. We have remained dedicated to the cause of making 28th street safer and more accessible to pedestrian, bike and wheelchair traffic. Not only do we support making the streets safer along our route, but everywhere in the city and in every city. We acknowledge that roads have been used and redesigned to serve as racist and classist boundaries and we support efforts to confront and dismantle systemic and structural inequalities because it's good for our community, and what's good for our community is good for our business.
If you feel the same way we do, or if you've had a great time at one of our night markets or haven't made it to one and would love to in the future, please take a few minutes to let the DOT know that you support traffic calming on 28th street but insist on a design that does not include a right hand turn lane and that retains the 28th street parklet. You can do so by clicking on Bikemore's website HERE and entering your information into the E-form. You will then be prompted to submit a pre-worded comment to the DOT with the message that we want the DOT to receive or you can edit the message.
Thank you for your continued support!