The Baltimore City Department of Transportation hosted a Barnes Dance demonstration onFriday afternoon at the Pratt Street-Gay Street intersection.
Members of the transportation department, along with other pedestrians, walked and danced through makeshift diagonal walkways as a deejay blared music from loudspeakers.
The “new” designs drew mostly positive reactions from pedestrians.
“I think it’s wonderful,” said Pamela Dennis, a Baltimore resident. “I think we should incorporate both ways; some people are used to going [the regular] way and now they’re going to create the diagonal [way]. I think it’s wonderful.”
“I guess it’ll make it easier, because this is a pretty busy intersection,” Harley Brooks, another pedestrian, explained, “and it is kind of hard to cross, especially with the turning lanes and things like that.”
Other pedestrians, like Drino Black, weren’t sold on the idea of diagonal crossing lanes. “I think that crossing the street vertical or horizontal is good enough for anybody,” Black said. “The angle looks bad. This is a busy street, and [diagonal lanes] look dangerous.”
Despite the concerns that residents like Black have, city planner Gladys Hurwitz still feels this is something that could be very effective. “I think it would be a great asset, especially for high-pedestrian intersections like this,” she said.
The diagonal walkways are not a sure thing yet, but should they become final, Hurwitz explained that it’s not as simple as just painting them into the street. “Just like most other projects it would be carefully designed to make sure that all the lines met different standards that we should be meeting for that type of design.”