Mayor Dixon talks transportation
I had the opportunity to sit down with Mayor Sheila Dixon to talk about transportation issues, It's a topic very close to the heart of the mayor, an avid bicyclist who uses her rides around the city to get an up-close look at Baltimore infrastructure.
Speed cameras: Dixon expressed relief that a petition drive aimed at invalidating a law passed by the General Assembly expandig the use of speed cameras failed. She said the city has a serious problem with speeding and not enough officers to enforce traffic laws.
Roundabouts: The mayor said she, too, finds the Towson rounabout confusing, even though her administration is looking at creating six of them to replace busy interchanges. She said she got a good look at the possible benefits of such traffic circles during a trip to Chicago. Dixon said she especially likes the opportunity to create green space in the center of the roundabouts.
Red Line: Dixon restated her backing for Red Line Alternative 4C -- a light rail system running in a tunnel under Cooks Lane and through downtown and Fells Point but on the surface in Canton and Edmondson Village. But she said she understands the concerns of residents of the affected neighborhoods. She said the existing north-south light rail system down Howard Street -- built with the state-of-the-art technology of the early 1990s -- has colored people's opinions about the Red Line.
"People look at it like it's the light rail and it's not not," she said. Dixon said newer light rail technology is much quieter and will blend in better with the communities it serves. "People can't vision it the way we plan it to be."
The City that Paves: Despite severe recession-related budget cuts, the mayor said the city is still on track to repave 220 lane-miles this year.
Stimulus money: Dixon said it's out on the street right now, paying for the resurfacing of Northern Parkway and Orleans Street.