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The construction at the Rotunda on 40th Street has led to a proposal to restrict parking. A sign points to where customers should park while they patronize businesses in Hampden Village. Cars line 38th Street behind the construction site. (The Daily Record/Maximilian Franz)

Rawlings-Blake vetoes Hampden parking permit bill

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has vetoed a controversial ordinance creating a strict residential permit parking zone around the Rotunda redevelopment in Hampden.

The City Council approved the legislation, sponsored by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, even though the Hampden Community Council and Hampden Merchants Association did not support it. But on Friday the mayor released a statement saying the bill put the proverbial cart before the horse.

“The bill’s proposed parking restrictions will begin before we know that the impact the Rotunda’s redevelopment will actually have on nearby residential streets. Even worse, by implementing the plan now, we would be much more likely to disrupt parking throughout the broader neighborhood, including some residents who would be left with no viable parking options at all. While I believe that Council’s heart was in the right place, the parking restrictions proposed by the Bill are premature and disruptive,” Rawlings-Blake said.

In July, merchants said the parking restrictions, which would have been the strictest outside of communities near M&T Bank Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards, would harm the thriving shopping district West 36th Street, a/k/a The Avenue.

“Traditionally, residential permit parking doesn’t solve parking problems. It creates more parking problems for other people and begets more residential permit parking,” Atomic Books co-owner Benn Ray said at the time. “What residents are doing is actually going to create more parking density and more parking problems for the neighborhood.”

About Adam Bednar

Adam Bednar covers real estate and development for The Daily Record.