The company that runs the Towson Place mall is installing a shopping cart detection system around the perimeter of the property by summer 2020, officials said in an email.
Kimco Realty, the company that runs the mall, said in an email to County Councilor David Marks, who represents the Towson area, that it would contact its tenants to see if they would like to install locks on their shopping carts. . With the detection system, a cart would lock if it crossed the perimeter.
Kimco said tenants could not be forced to use the locks, but some have recently complained of losing carts “so they should be encouraged to participate in the program.”
“For years we have heard concerns from the community that many trolleys are leaving the complex, going to the bus stop or going to the apartment complex across the street” said Greg Reed, vice president of development for Kimco.
Reed declined to share how much it would cost Kimco to install the cart lock system on the perimeter of the mall. He said installing the locks on the carts would cost $70 to $100 per cart, which he said would be four to five times cheaper than buying a new cart. Still, he said the decision to install the lock system was not based on finances but rather on the nuisance of having carts in the community.
Installing the lockdown infrastructure would not take long and cause only “minor” disruption to center traffic, he said.
Marks said he had been getting complaints about shopping carts in neighborhoods “for years.”
Making the announcement on Facebook, it received a largely positive response, with local residents saying they were tired of seeing missing or abandoned carts at bus stops.
Some, however, say locking carts inside a mall sweeps a bigger problem under the rug.
Sachin Hebbar, a Lutherville resident who serves on the Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee, said lockable carts can be a burden on people who rely on public transportation.
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In many areas, he said, bus stops and other public transport nodes are far from shopping malls, so those using transport have to travel a considerable distance to get to their bus stop. or light rail.
“On a human level, if you look at an elderly person and they have to cross a 40 mph road like York Road to get to the bus, then how are you going to transport those groceries? It’s not rocket science,” Hebbar said.
Hebbar said better solutions for communities might be to reroute bus lines so they pass through popular malls, or to create better and clearer paths between malls and the nearest bus stop. .
Marks said these transit and equity issues, particularly related to the Towson Place mall, would be resolved by a proposed Towson Circulator. The bus, he said, would have a stop at Towson Place, so people wouldn’t have to wheel shopping carts out of the centre.
Carts ending up in neighborhoods, at bus stops or in apartment complexes “isn’t the most pressing issue facing Baltimore County,” Marks said, “but it is a nuisance “.
Reed said access to public transport in Towson Place would not be an issue if shopping carts were locked, as a bus stop is already near the mall. At least three MTA bus routes — CityLink GREEN, Route 36, and Route 53 — have stops within walking distance of Towson Place.
Planning money for a Towson circulator was included in Baltimore County’s fiscal year 2020 budget, and a pilot program could be in place by 2021.