Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Bus Lanes are Only Effective if Properly Enforced

Over the past few weeks the Traffic Division has been busily painting the new Bus Lanes on Pratt St. Starting on the 17th the city placed Variable Message Signs up alerting drivers that the lanes would go into effect on December 28th.

Yesterday, being the 28th, I took a walk down to Pratt St after work during the evening rush to see how things were going with the new bus lanes. What I saw brought me to the conclusion that "bus lanes are only effective if properly enforced". I stopped along Pratt at Commerce for a few minutes and watched as about two dozen cars zoomed along the bus lanes as if nothing had ever changed. Apparently they were oblivious to the new solid white lines, Bus Lane pavement markers, and Bus/Bike/Right Turn only signs. I would have to say that some of the culprits were taxi drivers, but most were everyday drivers not paying attention. (Thankfully, the bikers were being smart and stayed in the protected bike lane on the inside of the orange barrier.)

Suprisingly, I didn't see any Police or Traffic Officers writing tickets! Generally speaking, if you want to get the word out, the lanes need to be enforced. Unfortunately, I just don't see this happening in Baltimore. Maybe things were different in the AM rush, maybe, but I only saw what was going on in the PM.

Suggestion to the City: if you want some turn around on your investment, first of all get the cars out of the Bus Lanes. Secondly, consider painting the lanes another color like many other cities


  1. Thank God for the officers who are not giving out tickets. These bus lanes are stupid, stupid, stupid. Everyone will be jammed into the left 3 lanes while the right lane sits empty or practically empty. Yes, an occasional bus uses it, but then crosses the other lanes to make lefts. I have been taking this route for 4 years and probably average 1 bike per year on the road. All that will happen is that people will be completely pissed. And eventually some will stop driving cars and taking public transportation, and maybe some to ride bikes, but this will take years before it makes any sense. Since the free buses apply only to those who live in downtown and are walking anyway, this will be a total waste. If anyone wants to stage a public protest over this nonsense, count me in, we should all march on city hall. 5 minutes lost sitting still on Pratt, plus the aggravation of seeing that empty lane that will cost me 1 freaking point and $90, will likely drive me over the edge.

  2. Thank you! I've been dying to find someone else who agrees that these lanes are a terrible idea. Traffic backs up all the way to UMB on a Monday night! It's absolutely ridiculous. I can corroborate the lack of buses and bikers in the lane. I drive down Pratt every day to go home from work and have seen ONE bus in the bus lane since the lanes opened and ZERO bikers. I'm down for a protest...

  3. I've used the right lane on Pratt Street to get to work at Inner Harbor East every week day morning for years. It WAS a perfect straight shot to make the right on President's Street. Now I just see rude (not careless) motorists zooming up the bus lane to get a few car lengths ahead before cutting back into traffic and in many cases cutting all the way across to the left. The bus lane is a horrible idea and it's made the morning drive on Pratt downright dangerous due to the aggressive nature of our drivers. Either enforce the stupd lane or get rid of it.