With the Hillman Garage out of commission, we've lost a few hundred parking spots. Parking is already tough in our little water-bound city. Construction adds another layer of complexity. Luckily, the City's on the case and has 4 alternative options to get you where you need to go.
First things first
We do have parking garages that aren't getting demolished. Here's a list in order of distance from City Dock:
Gott's Court Garage (25 Calvert Street)
Calvert Street Garage (19 St Johns Street)
Whitmore Garage (25 Clay Street)
Knighton Garage (1A Colonial Avenue)
West Garrett Garage (275 West Street)
Park Place Garage (1 Park Place)
My favorite is Calvert Street because it's free after 6 PM on weekdays and all day on weekends.
All transportation options below rely on a simple strategy: Park where parking's plentiful then get to your destination another way.
This one's hard to miss. It's got 8 stops (see map below) ranging from City Dock all the way up Park Place. This is the shuttle for you if you're going to park in the West Street corridor often. And the best part? It's 100% free.
The shuttle runs 6 AM to 11 PM Monday through Friday, 7 AM to 11 PM Saturday, and Sunday from 8 AM to 8 PM.
How to ride it
Wait at any of the stops, scan the QR code on the bus and signs at stops, or download the TransLoc app (Google Play or Apple App Store).
Another free option. And it's electric. Flag it down at any time on its route (below) which follows the below route. NOTE: Maryland Avenue is included in the loop but the map online hasn't been reflected to update that yet. You can hop off anytime.
This one is basically Uber or Lyft. But it only operates in Annapolis city limits and it only costs $2 per ride. Each additional passenger is $1 more. I know it's not free but this is definitely the best deal on the list. $2 to go anywhere in the city? Here's the (very small) catch... limited hours.
Annapolis GO runs 2 to 8 PM Monday through Friday, 12 to 8 PM on Saturday, and 11 AM to 7 PM on Sundays. So if you're going out, you'll be able to take Annapolis GO on the way there, but you may have to catch an Uber on the way home.
How to ride it
First, you'll need the Annapolis GO app. Get that here. Next, you'll book a ride. Tell the app where you want to go and tap the wheelchair if you need an accessible vehicle. Then off you go for only $2!
Don't have a smartphone? No worries. You can call 443-345-1001 to book rides.
Use the code GO4FREE to get your first 2 rides for free!
Bird scooters and bikes
This is one of the more fun options. Starting May 18, Annapolis will have 50 Bird scooters and 50 Bird bikes in various locations. Both are electric. Scooters are fully electric—i.e. no work for you. The bikes are pedal-assist so you'll to do a little work but trust me, it's easy.
The scooters are able to go up to 15 miles per hour. When I asked the Bird rep about the bikes, all he would say is, "The bikes go faster." Luckily, both have a digital readout speedometer.
How to ride
To fly on the Birds, you need yet another app. Sorry about your home screen. Download that (Google Play or Apple), make an account, and load up a credit card.
Once you find a bike or scooter, scan the QR code, hop on and away you go. When you arrive, safely park the bike or scooter out of the way and go on your merry way! There are places you won't be able to leave the Birds (like the Naval Academy) and there are certain places you can park where Bird will reward you with money back.
How to make sure this goes well
First, don't ride on the sidewalk. It's illegal and think about it. Would you want someone whizzing past you at 15 miles per hour on a 75-pound hunk of metal? That's what I thought.
Second, don't leave Birds in dumb places. If you're going to park it on the sidewalk, lean it against a building so it's out of the way. Don't park it perpendicular to the flow of traffic. That's just common sense.
And for the love of Pistol Pete, don't ride these things drunk. It's stupid and you will get caught and you will go to prison and your life will be ruined. Ok, maybe your life won't be ruined but still. Don't ride Birds drunk. You wouldn't drive a car drunk. Don't drive Birds drunk.
Bird's Community Pricing gives low-income riders, veterans, students, teachers, senior citizens, and a few other groups 50% off rides. See if you're eligible.
You can use text-to-ride if you don't have data but have SMS on your phone.
No credit card? Here's a map of places you can pay cash for a Bird code.
Bird provides a 25% discount for trips originating in predetermined equity zones. You don't have to enroll in the Community Pricing program to get the discount.
Helmets on Birds
Obviously wearing a helmet is the safest way to operate a Bird. So you can use the Bird app to order your own free Bird-branded helmet! Just go to the Safety section of the app to make it happen and they'll ship it right to your house. I then recommend plastering it with stickers from your favorite coffee shops and email newsletters. Maybe we should make stickers...
Bonus option: bring your own transit!
This is my favorite option. You may have seen me zipping around Annapolis on my tiny blue skateboard. But there are plenty of other options as well. Here are some options ranging in price from "I just started a business" to "I eat at the Yacht Club three times a week."
You could also rock some Heelys. And if all else fails, there's always the ankle express.
This is what I ride. It comes in a couple sizes. 22-inch (my choice), 27-inch, and a few bigger ones. They're around $100 and small and light enough to pick up when you get to your destination. Stash it under the table at meals, throw it in your trunk and ride it where you need to go. The Penny Board is a very versatile choice. Get one.
Get your own bike
I bought a bike for $99 off Craigslist in college and rode it every day for almost 2 years. It's still my favorite bike I've ever owned. Unfortunately, it was stolen off my side porch. I replaced it with yet another Craigslist bike that I still have for $200. Pro tip: wear a helmet. If you're commuting via bicycle, it's not if you get in an accident, it's when. Protect your head.
You could also splurge and get an electric bike. Recommended brands include Rad Power Bikes, Super 73, VanMoof, and Aventon.
This one will set you back a bit. $1,000 to be exact. But if you've ever pushed a skateboard up Main Street, you might find it worth it. The Evolve Stoke will get you where you need to go up to 22 miles per hour with a range of about 10 miles per charge. And it only weights 18 pounds!
You have to love a company whose motto is "Destroy boredom." This one takes some practice (because they aren't kidding about the name) but once you figure it out, you'll be able to ride 12 to 18 miles at up to 18 miles per hour. And because the wheel is huge, it can absorb small drops, potholes, and 18th century cobblestone streets. Check it out.
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