South Baltimore Parking Problems to Get Even More Worserer

South Baltimore parking is about to get even more sparse than it was before. After more than five years of being teased that luxury apartments are coming to Heath Street ( EtM edit: good god it’s been THAT long?), traction is finally being made on this plan. The Heath Lofts will boast almost 60 luxury pads at a hefty price tag, two bedrooms are said to start at $1,750 a month. But thanks to a poorly placed city hearing sign, the developers stood relatively unopposed by neighborhood residents. As a result, they are putting in a measly 28 spots for their future residents.

(here’s the quick math – 60 apartments x 2 bedrooms each = 120 more than likely extra cars – 28 parking spaces = 92 extra cars in the area.)

Now, I don’t know about you, but if I am paying $1,750 in rent a month I would hope that would ensure me parking. At the very least, if I’m paying that kind of money, what’s another $100 to rent a spot? But with 28 spots for 60 apartments, I suspect I’ll be on a long waiting list to take advantage of the elusive, guaranteed parking that can be found in Federal Hill. If you do the math that we did above for you, most of the lofts will have two residents, maybe not all of the occupants will have two cars per unit, this leaves anywhere from 32-100 residents (depending on how many units they actually fill) without parking.

Couple the above situation with yet another apartment building getting added on 2 East Wells Street, we are looking at a major influx of cars that will tax an already miserable situation. Fortunately, the Wells Street addition is being added by the same developers of the 1901 Charles Street apartments, WPM Real Estate Group, who do offer sufficient in-building parking for their residents.

Perhaps our only saving grace may come from the difficulties the Heath Loft residents will have obtaining area 30 parking permits. They may fight an uphill battle with the Parking Authority on a claim to their rights. I suspect many will find a way around it and the rest will just take up the limited free parking we have within a short walks distance.

Now, call me crazy, but wouldn’t it make more sense for one of these property management companies to look into adding something of way more value to Federal Hill residents than yet another luxury living apartment/condo/loft type building. Say…another parking garage? I guarantee any developer that they would have no problem filling every available space before the garage was even finished. And just imagine the premium price you could charge on game days. A girl can dream. In the meantime, I think I may go check Craigslist for some bicycles…

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29 thoughts on “South Baltimore Parking Problems to Get Even More Worserer

  1. Meanwhile, on the other side of the peninsula, we have residents in 500K+ homes opposing angled parking, saying the addition of those precious few spaces would somehow affect the aesthetics of the street…

  2. It may be an ugly reality that not everyone can have a car and live in the city. Folks need to change they way they think about cars and parking. Like the previous poster brought up – motorcycles, scooters, and bikes maybe the way to go if you insist on having something.

    1. Even everybody driving smaller cars would make things better. Both with parking and lane size in streets.

  3. I ride my bike 4 days out of the week but need a car to vend at the farmer’s markets. Which pisses me off in and of itself to have to have a car that costs a few grand a year to keep in operation just for those purposes, ON TOP of having to deal with neighbors that would bitch and complain about leaving it parked in the same spot for three days, possibly using the 311 app to wind up with a $72+ ticket. It’s beyond aggravating. The amount of mental gymnastics and calorie burning I have to do *solely dedicated to parking* is getting to be greater than the benefits of having fun bars within walking distance. Argh.

    1. Evan – I agree with you. I walk to work or use the circulator everyday. For everything else groceries, dry-cleaning, etc. I walk as much as possible. I got rid of my car because I was getting sick of getting tickets or having to go out every 2 days to move it to a different spot. I thought I was doing something good by walking to work but it backfired so I said goodbye to the car.

    2. Zipcars are awesome and save you a lot of money. I have lots of friends who sold their cars, who get around by bike most of the time, and who use zipcar once or twice a week. They’ve saved a lot of money from doing this.

  4. “Now, I don’t know about you, but if I am paying $1,750 in rent a month I would hope that would ensure me parking. ”

    This right here is a large part of the problem; the idea that you’re entitled to something other than the key to the domicile in return for your rent/mortgage. If you work in Columbia and live in SoBo, you don’t NEED a car. You WANT a car so you can work there and still enjoy the perks of city life.

    Every time you walk to an Ravens game and walk by the poor bastards trying to drive in and pay $35 to park, remember your complaints here.

  5. I remember the good old days checking out that space and watching the drug deals go down on the street below. My how times have changed.

  6. In a true urban development parking is a luxury not a necessity. City residents would rely on an time efficient and connected transit system. This is what the argument should be for, better and more transit options. Not parking.

    You have to wonder if in 4000 years from now, archaeologist will theorize why so many buildings are constructed with vast wastelands between them. The Egyptians the stars, Romans the cardinal directions, Amercia…

    1. I live in Northeast Baltimore city. I live 6 miles from my job. It’s a 30 minute commute. I would love to take the bus, but it would be an hour trip with two transfers in areas that aren’t safe. Now Zipcar would let me drive from say Harford and Hamilton and leave the car in Harbor East or if there were more direct bus routes or …

      1. The 19 travels from Harford and Hamilton to the Inner Harbor in 29 minutes, and runs every 15 minutes. It’s a great bus, and requires no transfers for anyone working in Harbor East.

      2. Harford and Hamilton is about a 20 minute bike ride or a 25-30 minute ride on the #19. I used to do it every day and it’s certainly faster than driving when you include time to park and walk to work from the garage.

        1. Eh, to make the trip by bike in 20 minutes you have to be hammering that hard. That’s a 40 minute bike ride for a normal law abiding human, and the ride home is closer to 50. Good exercise, but certainly not faster than a car; but alternative modes, be they bikes or buses, don’t need to be faster than cars to be appealing or valid. Hell if they do, everywhere that isn’t Manhattan or the Loop are screwed.

          1. Adrian, that’s unrealistic for even people who aren’t slowpokes like me, and I live at Hamilton and Harford. -Adam H 🙂 Speed demons can probably make it down to Harbor East in 35, and make it back up in 45.

  7. Someone pointed out in the FB thread that residents of this building will not be eligible for residential parking permits. The people who to not pay for one of the 28 spaces will have to pay for parking elsewhere, or live without cars. Many of these residents will likely live car free. This is exactly how development in high density areas with multiple transit options is supposed to work. Hats off to the developers and decision makers for doing this right. Parking is a non-issue.

    1. What about people who live in that building and have to drive to work in Columbia or Annapolis or anywhere outside the city? I did that for 3 years while living in Fed Hill; ergo I needed my car.

      1. They won’t live in that building, unless they can afford one of the parking spaces, and one is available. Or, they will pay for parking elsewhere. They will *NOT* be eligible for residential parking permits. That was a condition very smartly set by the city to the development. This building will be intended mostly for people who live car light, car free, or have enough expendable income to pay for a space elsewhere.

  8. I’ll go ahead and call you crazy, with this backwards thinking, short-sighted post that prioritizes people’s obsession with cars and low-cost/free parking over a walkable, livable city.

  9. All parking problems can be solved through the judicious use of pricing. Seriously. Set the right price and you’ll balance supply and demand. At a given time and on a given block, there is a price that will make one or two spots available most of the time. Check out The High Cost of Free Parking by Donald Shoup.

  10. I still can’t get over how entitled and bullish the people in our more affluent neighborhoods are about driving cars. Especially when a lot of the new residents who are moving into Canton and Fed Hill with demands for two parking spaces per household are young couples who recently graduated from college and who already go jogging every day (which isn’t any less dangerous than cycling, statistically). Most of them work in the city, within a few miles of home.

    I get that people who want to live in the city but work in the county have fewer options to get out of it other than to drive, but that’s another discussion. For people who live in Fed Hill and work in Mount Vernon, the Pratt Street area, or in Fell’s Point: All of these locations are accessible to Fed Hill residents by circulator, which was designed to ease congestion by offering white yuppies free transportation along high-traffic routes for free in order to ease congestion and reduce the parking “problem”. Meanwhile, black and working
    class residents of less affluent neighborhoods get to take the shitty MTA.

    But cars are a status thing, so if you’re concerned about sharing a bus with dirty plebs and want everyone to know you are top dog because you have to effing drive everywhere and YOU can afford it, I guess that’s as good a reason as any to be a moron about your manufactured right to park. I can’t emphasize enough how much a fear of sharing the bus with poor people, black people, or immigrants informs people’s choices to drive everywhere when perfectly good (and cheaper) transportation options are available. The irony is that the circulator wasn’t designed to serve any of these demographics.

    Meanwhile, Baltimore city has the highest proportion of air pollution-caused deaths in the country, and by driving, you’re contributing to that. If people in Fed Hill started using public transportation more often (the circulator works, but the MTA needs work), they could put their complaining skills to good use, since it’s clear that the wealthier parts of the city get a bigger say in how it’s managed.

    1. When i first moved to locust point in 1994, before anyone knew or cared about it, there was plenty of parking because nearly all households had one car or no car. when the place became popular, one household would have one or more cars per person. all of a sudden, parking became a huge issue, especially when someone had a “good” car that they wanted to keep in sight of their house, but never drove it. ugh.

  11. Part of the problem here seems to be that its hard in Baltimore to go completely car-free. I think there are a lot of people who make every effort to walk, bike public transit, around the city, but still keep a car in a parking spot for use in special circumstances (bad weather, having to go out to the county, having to move things). Untill you are completely car-free you will be taking up space regardless of how much you drive.

    Also here’s a thought: The Port Covington Walmart Site. Basically a huge parking lot that is unused. The problem is that it’s out of the way. If only people could long term store their cars there for free. Up the rates for street parking and use the extra cash to shuttle people too and from the parking lot. This would make perfect sense to the people who only drive once a week or so.

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