As a customer of downtown Catonsville businesses, I am disappointed to see the access between the parking on the side of and the Strawberry Fields parking lot has now been chained off to vehicle and pedestrian traffic. I have often used this for access to parking on Atwater’s side lot. The remaining routes out of this lot leave much to be desired. I have seen the results of a vehicle hitting someone on a bicycle as they exited onto Frederick Rd. The potholes in the alley exit can swallow a car and the exit onto Mellor can be tricky. The sight lines are limited and the turning radius narrow.
I can appreciate the Strawberry Fields owner’s right to use their property to best fit their needs. The burden for safe passage to and from other businesses does not fall on the owners of adjoining properties. I understood the concern that larger trucks were causing damage as they passed through the narrow entrance between the properties. The addition of posts would seem to have alleviated that problem. I suspect the chains have gone up to restrict the use of the parking to Strawberry Fields patrons. My thought is that the businesses in the area might have different peak periods for parking demand and that business interests could be aligned to benefit customers visiting the downtown village area.
Cooperation of businesses and landowners to make the most of the parking and passage ways between their locations would be appreciated by their pool of common patrons. A few years ago, downtown Catonsville rarely received my consideration for a place to eat or shop. Today, with the investments and vision of the landowners and businesses in this area, I am an almost daily patron of a eatery or business downtown. If the convenience of using this area is hampered by conflicting priorities, it could be easy to fall back into old habits of shopping and eating elsewhere.
-Frank Walls, Catonsville
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