Slow Streets Program

The Slow Streets program is intended to support safe, essential physical activity by creating more space for social distancing in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Slow Streets will implement temporary “Road Closed: Local Traffic Only” soft closure barriers, so that people can more comfortably use these low-traffic streets for physically distant walking, wheelchair rolling, jogging, and biking across the city.

The Baltimore City Council passed a bill on Monday, May 18th of 2020 to mandate a minimum of 25-miles of Slow Streets in Baltimore City. This program discourages residents and visitors from driving on all “Slow Streets” unless they are necessary to reach your final destination. Slow Streets will also urge all people driving to drive slowly and safely to respectfully share the road with people walking and biking.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is this really a response to the COVID-19 pandemic?
Yes, the goal of the program is to provide a minimum of six feet of social distancing when performing essential trips and activities. This is based on best practices from the CDC and the Baltimore City Health Department. For more information on the citywide response to COVID-19 visit: https://coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov/
Why are Slow Streets important?
Typical city sidewalks are often not wide enough for required social distancing. Slow Streets provides additional space for residents to walk or bike while maintaining the six feet minimum required for social distancing, as outlined by the Baltimore City Health Department and the CDC. Additionally, the program also provides additional traffic calming benefits. During the pandemic, Baltimore streets have seen an increase in speeding and dangerous driving and program tallows for safer spaces for everyone using city streets. Our hospitals are busy enough. Drive slow. Drive safe.
What does a Slow Street look like?
A typical Slow Street will have barricades set up at each intersection with a “Road Closed: Local Traffic Only” sign. This will deter cut-through traffic, and decrease traffic volumes and speeds to meet the program’s safety goals.

 

Slow Street Sample

How long will this be in effect?
This is a temporary program and will be in effect in accordance to City and State public health requirements. However, there is no specific timeline and will be based on official public health guidelines for reopening. 
What about parking? 
In these areas there will be no loss of parking. Residents will still have access to “Local Access Only” streets and all normal parking areas. Unless it is absolutely necessary for safety reasons, parking will not be impacted.
What about Emergency Vehicle access?
Slow Streets treatments will not impact emergency vehicle access and they will still be able to respond to all emergency situations.
Where are Slow Streets located?
City Council legislation requires a minimum of one mile of Slow Streets in each council district. No single district is to have more than 15% of the city’s Slow Streets. Slow Streets can be located anywhere, but will typically be on residential streets that serve local traffic. 
What is a good Slow Street Candidate?
Streets that access or are near priority areas like parks and food distribution sites. Optimal streets are long segments of residential streets that could provide meaningful connections within and between neighborhoods. Slow Streets will avoid high speed, high traffic volume streets like truck routes and most bus routes.
Can I request a Slow Street in my neighborhood?
Yes, you may nominate a Slow Street in your district by applying on our website. However, all nominations must meet DOT Slow Streets criteria and will require sponsorship from their respective Councilperson in order to be implemented.
How do we know it’s working? 
The City Council bill requires an evaluation period 30 days after all Slow Streets have been installed across the city. Baltimore City residents will be able to provide official comments – and let us know how it’s working - at that time.