Peeling paint curbs bus lane enforcement
The bus lanes launched with considerable ballyhoo on Pratt and Lombard streets by Baltimore city late last year have reverted to their former all-purpose use after the paint used to designate them peeled off during snow removal efforts, a city official acknowledges.
Barry Robinson, chief of transit and marine services in the Baltimore Department of Transportation, said the city has put enforcement of the bus lane regulations on the back burner until it can reapply the paint marking the right lanes of those downtown streets for buses only.
The bus lanes were set up, with fines for other vehicles encroaching on them, as part of the preparation for the launch of the Charm City Circulator -- a free shuttle bus serving downtown. The Circulator's first route made its debut in January with the bus lanes in place, but by the time the last residue of February's two snowstorms was removed, so was much of the paint.
"Snow removal operations -- that has all served to eradicate the striping on the bus lanes," Robinson reports.
Some perceptive readers have speculated that the city must not have used top-quality paint when it originally marked out the bus lanes. Robinson says that's absolutely true -- that the city decided not to use expensive, long-lasting paint because it has plans to soon repave Pratt and Lombard. Under those circumstances, long-lasting paint might not be the best use of city dollars.
Robinson says the city has been waiting to reapply the (less expensive) paint until it can count on a stretch of nights when it can count on temperatures above 50 degrees. After that happens, he says, the city will intensify its enforcement of the bus-only rule.