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cpzilliacus:
Baltimore Sun: City Council repeals part of fire code to accommodate bike lanes, development


--- Quote ---Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh is weighing whether to sign legislation that would repeal parts of the city fire code to allow new bike lanes and encourage development projects, her spokesman said Tuesday.
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--- Quote ---The City Council voted unanimously Monday night to approve the bill, sending it to Pugh’s desk.
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--- Quote ---“Her only stance is that citizens be able to reside safely in their communities,” said James Bentley, a spokesman for the mayor.
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--- Quote ---For months, the city’s Fire Department has been at odds with cycling advocates and developers over whether city streets are wide enough to accommodate their projects and large pieces of fire equipment.
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Laura:
Citizen Laura speaking on behalf of myself...

Appendix D of the fire code has been the bane of my existence for 15 of the past 16 months at my current planning position. I am a part of the interagency site plan review committee, and prior to the Potomac Street cycle track, the fire department did not care about street widths at all. They were not a regular part of the meetings. Then, one of the NIMBYs against the Potomac Avenue cycle track did some research and found the 20 foot street width rule for all new projects. Even then the fire department wasn't interested in getting involved until they were forced. Even after the mess with the project being cancelled, then the lawsuit, then the modification plans, the fire department wasn't super concerned. People brought up the hypocrisy with the majority of city streets and alleys being less than 20 feet yet being allowed to have parking on them and demanded that parking be removed instead. The fire department nonchalantly "allowed" for the street to be accepted at 19 feet.

I figured that was it, good, done, and that we'd never hear from the fire department again....wrong. Suddenly, they became a regular fixture at site plan review meetings and denied approval on every project that was build on streets and alleys less than 20 feet wide (for buildings under 35 feet) and 26 feet wide (for buildings over 35 feet high). This happened on infill projects, too, since most infill projects are technically counted as new construction in the city. I even questioned the fire department rep and asked "so why can't this infill rowhome be built if there's already rowhomes on this ten foot alley and that you already have a truck to serve them?" and he said because even though this would be an infill project it counts as new and they are against new construction that doesn't meet the standards. This has left many projects in limbo in a city that is shrinking and could use all of the growth it can get.

Frankly, I think this got a unanimous vote from the city council because it's negatively affecting development projects in every single district from moving forward. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Mayor Pugh will sign it.

TheOneKEA:
MDOT SHA posted several photos of the resurfacing of the Hanover Street Bridge today.

cpzilliacus:

--- Quote from: TheOneKEA on August 18, 2018, 06:21:40 PM ---MDOT SHA posted several photos of the resurfacing of the Hanover Street Bridge today.
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SHA? 

They  maintain exactly nothing in Baltimore City.

The Baltimore Sun ran this the other day: Hanover Street Bridge closed for repairs

cpzilliacus:

--- Quote from: Laura on August 17, 2018, 03:45:12 PM ---Frankly, I think this got a unanimous vote from the city council because it's negatively affecting development projects in every single district from moving forward. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that Mayor Pugh will sign it.

--- End quote ---

New development in Baltimore is a good thing.  I get the impression that the standards in question  were arbitrary.  If there's a street design that really hinders the arrival of fire or EMS, then it  can be discussed as needed.  But  firefighters tend to know the area that they serve (especially their first-due response area), and I suspect they know how to get themselves and their vehicles to the scene.  There are several areas of Baltimore that have narrow streets for as long  as I  can remember (think Fells Point as one example).

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