op-ed Baltimore mayoral candidates call for a pause on bike lanes amid local concerns

Baltimore’s bike lanes have improved mobility and safety, but some mayoral candidates want to reverse the progress.

At a recent forum, candidates like Wendell Freeman and Sheila Dixon called for removing or halting new bike lane projects. They claim residents had no input, despite extensive community engagement by the transportation department.

These anti-bike lane stances pander to a vocal minority who resist change, while ignoring the benefits bike lanes provide. Studies show they improve traffic flow by separating bikes from cars. They also expand transportation access in underserved neighborhoods.

“Bike lanes make our streets safer for everyone – drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians,” said Democratic candidate Thiru Vignarajah. He criticized the city for not meeting its bike lane installation goals.

Public surveys indicate strong support for bike lanes among Baltimore residents. But opponents continue spreading misinformation, claiming bike lanes increase congestion and remove car lanes. In reality, projects aim to balance the needs of all road users.

Cycling advocates hope the next mayor will continue expanding this sustainable, equitable transportation option. Most candidates agree community input is important in planning new bike routes. However, scrapping these projects entirely would be a regressive, reactionary response that caters to unfounded fears of change. Baltimore’s future depends on inclusive, multimodal infrastructure that serves everyone.