Boardwalks are presumably only designed for foot and bike traffic.

Just two years after the city of Baltimore opened up a new 2-mile segment of mostly boardwalk of the Jones Falls Trail that cost taxpayers upwards of $2 million, extensive repairs may be in order.

According to Jed Weeks, who goes by @jedweeks on Twitter, a photo sent his way earlier last week (Nov 23,2022) shows a driver in a Nissan Sentra stopped on said boardwalk.

Check out his tweet below.

The car appears to be a 2012-2019 Nissan Sentra. At a little over 69 inches wide, this Sentra is barely narrow enough to fit on the bridge.

As the photo shows, it’s so tight that the Sentra driver is stopped, blocked from going forward because a pedestrian (rightfully on the boardwalk) blocks his way forward. There’s literally no space for anyone to squeeze by.

Planning for this boardwalk extension began in 2014 with Baltimore completing and opening up the 2-mile stretch of raised boardwalk six years later.

I checked out the satellite and street view of the Boardwalk on Google Maps and found the trail entrances are open to something as large as a car on both ends.

A bird’s-eye view of the boardwalk section of the Jones Falls Trail, beginning and end highlighted in red and green squares.
(Top) Entrance nearest to W. Rogers Ave.
(Bottom) Entrance nearest to South Road.

A reply to Week’s photo does say the gate is normally closed.

This theory posted on a Reddit thread about the incident, a GPS set to pedestrian mode, is one somewhat justifiable explanation.

Regardless, it’s quite clear that this is a pedestrian and bike path, not meant for car travel.

This gen Sentra weighs between 2,600-2,700 pounds and while the weight of the car is distributed through a handful of boards at any one time, I’d be surprised if they didn’t cause damage.

There’s no mention of an investigation by the city, but common sense dictates this incident, at the very least, requires a thorough inspection by a professional engineer.

Also, car-proofing the boardwalk is, at this point, a no-brainer.

As one of the replies with the most likes says, a bollard would fix from ever happening again.

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