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The Covid-19 Pandemic

by Mark Reutter6:41 pmMar 23, 20200

Baltimore in lockdown: Many city services suspended

Residential trash and recycling pick-ups will continue, but other sanitation programs are suspended. Metered parking is no longer in effect.

Above: A Baltimore garbage truck rolls through a very clean and green neighborhood in this DPW photo.

So much for the mayor’s Clean It Up! campaign. Effective today, the Department of Public Works will suspend indefinitely street and alley cleaning, graffiti removal, rat abatement and bulk trash pickup.

The decision signals the deferral of Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young’s much-touted “eliminate grime” campaign, announced in late January, aimed at ridding alleys and vacant lots of accumulated debris, beautifying gateway streets and eliminating a backlog of 311 neighborhood service requests.

Essential sanitation services – trash pickup, recycling pickup and corner can collections – will continue on their current schedule, according to acting DPW Director Matthew Garbark.

Free Parking

This afternoon the Department of Transportation had its own round of service reductions.

They include the suspension of abandoned vehicle pickups, residential permit parking enforcement, pothole repairs, sidewalk and street paving, and limited conduit repairs along Greenmount Avenue .

The Parking Authority of Baltimore said that parking meter payments will no longer be enforced.

The Baltimore Municipal and Zoning Appeals (BMZA) board suspended all hearings through April, while the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development (MOED) closed its workforce centers.

Residents and visitors to Baltimore should visit department websites to determine what services are (or are not) available. Many agency directors are telling employees to work from home

Other Actions

Garbark said DPW’s service reductions were taken “to ensure the safety of the public and our employees” in the face of the COVID-19 threat.

A DPW spokesman did not respond Brew questions about what protective gear, if any, will be used by sanitation workers still assigned to garbage trucks.

Other actions taken today include:

• Closure of the Water Billing Customer Call Center and walk-in services at the Abel Wolman Municipal Building.

• Suspension of harbor clean-up operations.

• Significant reduction of vehicle towing operations.

• Closing to the public of the impound facilities at Pulaski Highway and Fallsway.

• Suspension of many city construction, maintenance and engineering projects. “Only emergency or essential functions will be handled.”

• Shut down of recreational activities (hiking, fishing, horseback riding) at the Liberty, Loch Raven and Prettyboy reservoirs.

• DOT’s Right-of-Way office is closed and all permit requests should be submitted online

Garbark said these actions “ensure we have a reserve of staff knowledgeable and capable of performing the critical functions.”

Here is the text of his letter regarding DPW’s service reductions:

Text of letter setting out service reductions at DPW effective March 23, 2020.

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