No travel on Baltimore streets after 6 tonight

Emergency personnel and hospital employees exempted.

sandy falls road

Falls Road near the Trolley Museum is closed due to flooding. The bike path is impassable, too.

Photo by: Fern Shen

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has announced mandatory travel restrictions starting at 6 p.m. and in effect until noon tomorrow.

This means residents will not be allowed on Baltimore roads except for emergency personnel, hospital employees and medical providers.

The worst of Hurricane Sandy is expected to strike the area between 6 p.m. and 3 a.m. tonight, with heavy rains and dangerously high winds.

“We need folks to stay off the roads so that our first responders can focus 100% on real emergency incidents as they may occur,” Rawlings-Blake said in a media release.

Police, firefighters and other emergency responders have been deployed throughout the city and will be able to respond to emergencies.

Forestry and public works crews are on stand-by. Residents are asked to use 911 for emergencies and 311 for non-emergencies during the storm.

Area hospitals and emergency rooms will remain open. “We are working closely with our hospitals and medical providers to ensure that their employees have safe routes to work,” the mayor said.

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  • Gerald Neily

    As of 6:30 PM, it still just looks like your ordinary big rainstorm to me. I’d imagine it’s bound to get worse tonight, but is it really worth declaring martial law? Is that proportional to the measures already in place, with the city basically shut down all day? Do our leaders consider the cost to our economy from shutting things down all day for what – a couple inches of rain so far and 25 mph wind gusts? I’m just asking. I watched the Channel 13 News and they did not report any city street closures except the pre-emptive ones done this morning – Pulaski/Monument, Kane/North Point, south Falls Road and Aliceanna in Fells Point, Maybe the Mayor and Governor actually know what they’re doing and the loss of a whole day’s economic activity is actually worth it to them. Maybe the usual crime rate will decrease too, with no one on the street. I do know the MTA must be saving a big bundle not running any transit today. 

    • GMan

      Dude really? By 1 it was not worth being on the highway (drove home on 83 and the wind was already picking up and making driving detrimental). And, as of this evening, its ridiculous outside. As a survivor of many a tropical storm and hurricane in New Orleans, and one I didn’t survive so much named Katrina, much better to lose a “day a productivity” than have school children getting off at 3 and workers getting off at 5 in this mess. Just following your work, you’re contrarianism is appreciated, but today was a fine day to lose productively. Precautions in this area are appreciated, I know personally. The spice does not always have to flow. 

      • Gerald Neily

        Did they close I-83? That’s easy to do, with only a limited number of ramps. They close it for almost every snow storm. But I never heard that they did. They just forbade all non-authorized persons from appearing in public.

        • Gerald Neily

          7 AM Tuesday update: The Mayor was interviewed by both Don Scott (Ch 13) and Stan Stovall (Ch 11) this morning and repeated that the public ban is still in effect. She then immediately changed the subject to talk about what her people are doing with fallen trees etc., rather than talk about what we the public should do or expect. Stovall then tried to get her to say what she is doing to enforce her ban (good for him!) and she again changed the subject.

          So the city grinds to a halt again today. The ban on all activity is as ambiguous as it is sweeping. They don’t seem to care about economic activity. Sandy’s economic impact has been many magnitudes greater than that of, say, a Grand Prix. It’s more similar to all the other ambiguity in modern society, such as voter IDs and “undocumented aliens”. It really doesn’t seem to be about anything except allowing the government to do whatever and whenever they want by making the public as docile as possible. Which we are – after all, we keep voting for these people.

      • Bmorepanic

        The problem for me is that the forecast had already changed by the time she implemented the ban – landfall was well north of us and the expected intensification just didn’t happen.  Every other mayor just strongly suggests that you stay home and they close 83 because it floods or freezes over in unexpected ways that kill people. 

        SRB comes off looking ridiculous because she didn’t respond to changing information.

        I can certainly agree with precanceling schools yesterday (its now tuesday) and pre-clearing vehicles from areas that historically flood (and should we add HarborPoint to that list?).    Yesterday before school and most workdays start, there was too much unknown.  

         But the kids could have easily gone to school today.
         Every hour past 4:30 saw a diminishing forecast and she should have changed plans with it. 

        I lost two days of income that I’ll never get back and that I didn’t have to lose because the weather wasn’t that bad.  The first day, ok – there was a lot of uncertainty about the storm track – but losing today also for no reason is really painful as it was for a lot of small businesses.

    • Bmorepanic

      I’m having difficulty remembering another time where a mayor did this.  I mean, forbidding travel like this.   What if your job requires you to attend?  What if you have a relative in the hospital?  What if you need to go to an elderly relative who can’t ride the storm out without care?

      I think she’s just grandstanding.

    • Jonathan R

      martial law what are you talking about?

      There isn’t in fact a curfew, just supposed to stay off the roads. which, yes, makes it hard to go anywhere, which you don’t really want to do anyway. but if you really have to, I don’t think you’re going to get stopped. 

  • GMan

    The thought process in these comments is staggering in both their selfishness and 20/20 hindsight. There are houses in the metro area that were taking on water as of this morning, trees and powerlines down and resources turned to making sure people can move efficiently, remembering the morning after situation from this past summer’s direcho. There’s PLENTY to attack SRB over in the day-to-day issues of her administration. If you don’t like her, just say ‘don’t like the woman.’ No one, except some very obtuse folk who’s comments I used to read with an open mind but will now be extremely skeptical about moving forward, is going to attack her for being cautious while coordinating with the overall MEMA plan.  

    • Gerald Neily

      GMan, the mayor was not being cautious when she made the rash decision yesterday afternoon to shut down the entire city until noon today. She was being reckless with people’s livelihoods – people losing two entire days of work and economic activity. If a given street or highway needs to be closed for whatever reason, fine, do it. That would be a matter of addressing actual problems.

      And why would you prefer me to say I “don’t like the woman” and that I’m “selfish”? Why do you want to turn this into personal attacks? If you’ve now closed your mind, don’t blame me.

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