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The Case of the Disappearing Bike Lanes

October 15, 2010

So, maybe you noticed about a week ago when the city was laying down fresh new paint on President Street for bike lanes between Alicanna and Fleet. Pretty neat: the start of a needed connector between the Pratt Street cycle-track and the easier, calmer roads heading east into Fells Point.

Well, cyclists got a surprise today when crews began painting over/erasing them. What gives? We asked Nate Evans, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator. Seems the blame lies with utility companies “dragging their feet on projects or coming behind a finished project and tearing the street up,” he wrote in an e-mail earlier today.

Veolia Energy is replacing hot and cold water returns and most likely tearing out the brand new bike lane between Aliceanna and Fleet.

The city uses a program called Envista – basically an online GIS where all city agencies and some utility companies input their future projects to eliminate or greatly reduce conflicts. Just like Outlook Calendar, it only works if everyone puts their info in.

Turns out Veolia did not enter their info and were “shocked” to see the bike lanes in when they were ready to start construction.

Veolia Energy is, notably, part of Veolia Environnement, the same company that the city outsources the operation of its Charm City Circulator service.

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