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Old June 14th, 2007, 09:31 AM   #4241
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Backers clang bell for fixed-rail trolley

06/13/07
By Adam Bednar



The public will have at least two chances to critique early plans for a trolley line that would run along Charles Street from the Inner Harbor to the Homewood campus of Johns Hopkins University.

The Charles Street Development Corp., which is promoting such a line as a tourism draw, will hold two meetings to update the public on the plan and to get input from residents along the Charles Street corridor.

The first meeting is Thursday, June 21, at the Baltimore Convention Center at 6 p.m. The second is June 25 at the Baltimore Museum of Art at 6 p.m.

The trolley would run through the southern part of Baltimore's 14th councilmanic district. It would be a plus for neighborhoods such as Charles Village, Oakenshawe and Roland Park, as well as Hopkins and the BMA, said 14th District Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, a staunch supporter of the project.

Involved in the planning process locally is the Greater Homewood Community Corp., which represents 40 neighborhoods in the area. Its executive director, Karen Stokes of Oakenshawe, serves on the Charles Street Development Corp.'s Community Trolley Steering Committee.

Stokes said meetings will include simulations of the trolley's route -- a proposed 3.5-mile circuit along Charles and St. Paul streets.

The corporation has been planning the route for several years with businesses, neighborhood associations and cultural organizations. The project could cost up to $150 million, depending on whether the trolleys would be glorified buses or the more expensive fixed lines on rails, according to a 2004 feasibility study. That decision has not been made.

Supporters, many of them from Baltimore's business community, envision local, state, federal and private financing.

Community leaders have been generally supportive of the idea so far, although some are concerned about the loss of parking spaces to make room for a trolley line and the aesthetics of a fixed track, which would necessitate overhead electrical lines. That would be unsightly, some residents say.

The fixed-rail trolley, which many backers favor, is modeled after a $56 million, 4.7-mile system in Portland, Ore. The Charles Street Development Corporation hired as its consultant the firm Kittles and Associates, which designed that system.

Baltimore has a history as a trolley town. Beginning in the mid-19th century, public horse-drawn trolley cars were in use.

The city's trolley system's use peaked during World War II but the influx of the automobile and the migration to the suburbs rendered it obsolete. The last trolley made its final run in Baltimore Nov. 3, 1963.

Now, the only place in the area to ride a trolley is at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum on Falls Road south of Hampden.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 10:37 AM   #4242
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I would hate to see overhead lines for a trolley on Charles St, particularly in Mount Vernon. Stick with buses on this route.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 01:55 PM   #4243
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Fixed rail trolleys/streetcars have never gone through Mt. Vernon Place and (prediction) never will.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 02:36 PM   #4244
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There are lots of small projects going on in the Westside.

Scaffolding just went up on a beautiful cast iron front building located on the 300 block of Baltimore Street near Howard. It is directly next to the City Crescent building at the corner of Howard and Baltimore Streets. The building has a front on Baltimore Street and goes completely through the block to Redwood Street where it also has a "front". Looks like a complete restoration of both are in progress and the interior is being gutted too.

The Abell building restoration is progressing very nicely.

The Bromo Seltzer tower restoration is coming along - finally!

Almost all the retail at Centerpoint facing Baltimore Street is now occupied. A new restaurant slipped into one of the spaces unnoticed by almost everyone. It is called Salsarita's Cantina. Hippodrome Hatters took a spot too. The 300 block of Baltimore is looking good!

Personally, I get more joy out of the small beautiful buildings being redone than I do out of huge mega projects in this part of town. Some of the architecture is truly stunning! It is the scale of the area that makes it so special.

Last edited by 30 Floors Up; June 14th, 2007 at 03:26 PM.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 02:54 PM   #4245
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Quote:
Originally Posted by micrip View Post
I would hate to see overhead lines for a trolley on Charles St, particularly in Mount Vernon. Stick with buses on this route.

I vote street cars since they are historically accurate. You can still see the old tracks at places like Charles and Read Streets. In fact, the development of Charles Village and most of the neighborhoods on the proposed route was made possible by the Street Car. They were the expressways of their time.

Baltimore was one of the first cities in America to have a public transportation system (created when our city fathers thought big!). It consisted of horse drawn street cars. In fact, I vote for them. I bet they would be a hit too. I say bring back the horses!

FYI, we also had cable cars.

I have no doubt that something will be constructed on Charles Street in the near future BECAUSE they just repaved part of it.

Last edited by 30 Floors Up; June 14th, 2007 at 03:27 PM.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 02:56 PM   #4246
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Originally Posted by fluffyhorse View Post
I recently noticed some evidence of mixed-use renovation work on the Hendler Building and another smaller building on East Baltimore St. in Jonestown. Its finally nice to see some renovations on some of those neglected historic buildings around there.
Yes, I couldn't agree more. Keeping that historic fabric is a part of what made Baltimore. It's a part of this city's past and definitely deserves to be a part of this city's bright future. Great post!
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Old June 14th, 2007, 03:39 PM   #4247
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Great data, 30 Floors. Might wanna consider throwing in a /sarc tag here and there, though. It's hard to tell sometimes when you're being serious.

Double-decker buses are historically accurate for Charles Street as well. In his book Small Town Baltimore: An Album of Memories, Gilbert Sandler writes about riding "the Charles Street double-decker bus with Ms. Reuben Ross Holloway, who fought to make "The Star-Spangled Banner" our national anthem."

Students at my employer, Dartmouth College, each year take The Big Green Bus, a veggie oil powered bus, on a trip across the country.

A big green double decker bus making the trip up and down a two-way Charles Street would be pretty cool. And probably a lot cheaper. Of course, the street would smell like McDonald's french fries. Not sure if that's a downside or not.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 04:45 PM   #4248
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 30 Floors Up View Post
I have no doubt that something will be constructed on Charles Street in the near future BECAUSE they just repaved part of it.


That is so true! They recently repaved a section of Keswick in Hampden. It had to be less than 48 hrs before some one had to dig a new hole in the street. And you wonder why we have so many potholes....
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:11 PM   #4249
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My stepdaughter lives on that stretch of Keswick and it is smooth as a baby's bottom, but I have noticed that speeds have increased. You couldn't go very fast when they had the craters in the street.


I grew up in Canton. I liked it when Broadway market was unheated.


Trivia Question: Why are there still tracks in the middle of some Baltimore streets (Light, Thames etc.)?
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:28 PM   #4250
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Md. governor sending slots delegation to Pa., W.Va., Del.
Jun 14, 2007 10:36 AM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (Map, News) - Saying slots are necessary to save the state's racing industry, Gov. Martin O'Malley is sending a delegation to examine gambling operations in neighboring states and is in discussion with legislative leaders on the issue.

"The racing industry and the jobs and the open space that is used by the racing industry - all these things are threatened by their inability to compete with tracks in states around us who are able to offer slots," O'Malley said during a news conference Wednesday. "We can't expect them to thrive, or even survive, ... if we handicap them and don't allow them the tools that the tracks in all the other states are using."

The announcement came a day after two racing industry groups announced they were cutting back on this year's racing schedule and slashing purses.

O'Malley said he is talking with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael E. Busch about slots as part of an effort to close a projected $1.5 billion budget shortfall.

The governor also said Thomas E. Perez, who regulates racing as Maryland's secretary of labor, licensing and regulation, will visit Delaware, Pennsylvania and West Virginia to look at their gambling operations.

Those states fund horse racing purses with revenue from slot machines on site. Slots supporters say the machines can boost Maryland's ailing racing industry and also help manage to the state's budget shortfall. O'Malley has said he supports a "limited" number of slot machines at racetracks to aid the industry.

"We want to look at our competition in other states, to see why it is they've been able to infuse their racing industries with new life," O'Malley said.

On Tuesday, the Maryland Jockey Club and the Maryland Thoroughbred Horsemen's Association announced they have agreed to reduce purses at every level by $2,000; cut the number of races during the fall meeting; and drop the stakes schedule by approximately $1 million. The Maryland Jockey Club also reported Tuesday that wagering figures for its spring meeting were 7 percent lower than in 2006.

Miller said that following the Jockey Club announcement, "hopefully, people will come to their senses."

However, Busch said he was wary of proposals that unjustly enrich track owners and feels residents should have a say in whether slots are put in their communities.

Busch said he believes the state can subsidize the racing industry without giving a blank check to track owners, noting New Jersey supplements racing with proceeds from Atlantic City casinos but doesn't allow slots at tracks.

"I concede that the horse racing industry is at a competitive disadvantage because purses in other states are supplemented by gaming revenues," Busch said. "We believe the number that the thoroughbred industry needs in a year is about $50 million to be competitive. ... There should be a set amount of money that we give them."

Lou Raffetto, president and chief operating officer of the Maryland Jockey Club, said Tuesday that a subsidy would be little more than "the proverbial Band-Aid."

Comptroller Peter Franchot, one of the strongest opponents of slots, noted voters in one West Virginia county which has slots recently voted against expanding gambling.

"Most people who have cancer would just as soon not have more cancer," Franchot said.

Busch, meanwhile, said he has mentioned to the governor the idea of a referendum, either statewide or in jurisdictions where slots are proposed.

"I think the citizens of Maryland ought to take note that these other states have at least had referendums to determine the length and breadth of the operations," Busch said. "Regardless of what came out, it was an important lesson to draw because the citizens had a say."

Last edited by MobtownManiac; June 14th, 2007 at 06:34 PM.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:33 PM   #4251
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BCCC tables downtown campus renovation plans
Baltimore Business Journal - June 8, 2007
by Sue Schultz


Baltimore City Community College has put on hold its plans to redevelop its downtown campus and asked the state to defer money earmarked for that project to renovations of another BCCC campus.

Earlier this month, BCCC President Carolane Williams and the school's finance committee requested deferring nearly $30.4 million set aside for improvements to its downtown campus from 2009 through 2012 to renovations already under way at its Liberty Heights Avenue campus. That project, also approved by the state, began in 2001 and could be complete by 2011.

"We don't want to run the risk of losing state funds," Williams said in an interview June 6.

The community college's downtown campus is anchored by the 80,000 square-foot Bard Building, which opened in 1976 and is at Lombard Street and Market Place.

In January, BCCC issued requests for a real estate advisor to study potential renovations for the Bard Building and future uses for the college's downtown property. BCCC received proposals in February and turned the matter over to the state for review.

"We are really on hold waiting for the state," said Williams.

A firm could be selected by July.

BCCC will submit by next month its overall budget requests, including the deferral of state money to the Liberty renovations. Williams said she doesn't expect a response to its requests until next year.

While waiting on plans for the downtown campus, Williams said the money could be used to complete the renovations of the Liberty campus more quickly. The project will include a new student lounge, a new cafeteria and bookstore and renovations to administrative offices and the fine arts department.

In fiscal year 2008, the state earmarked $2.65 million for 2009 and 2010 for the Bard Building. About $26.4 million was earmarked for 2011 and another $1.35 million was set for 2012.

BCCC has about 20,000 credit and non-credit students.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:34 PM   #4252
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BCCC tables downtown campus renovation plans
Baltimore Business Journal - June 8, 2007by Sue SchultzStaff
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The Bard Building sits at the corner of Lombard Street and Market Place.
View Larger Baltimore City Community College has put on hold its plans to redevelop its downtown campus and asked the state to defer money earmarked for that project to renovations of another BCCC campus.

Earlier this month, BCCC President Carolane Williams and the school's finance committee requested deferring nearly $30.4 million set aside for improvements to its downtown campus from 2009 through 2012 to renovations already under way at its Liberty Heights Avenue campus. That project, also approved by the state, began in 2001 and could be complete by 2011.


"We don't want to run the risk of losing state funds," Williams said in an interview June 6.

The community college's downtown campus is anchored by the 80,000 square-foot Bard Building, which opened in 1976 and is at Lombard Street and Market Place.

In January, BCCC issued requests for a real estate advisor to study potential renovations for the Bard Building and future uses for the college's downtown property. BCCC received proposals in February and turned the matter over to the state for review.

"We are really on hold waiting for the state," said Williams.

A firm could be selected by July.

BCCC will submit by next month its overall budget requests, including the deferral of state money to the Liberty renovations. Williams said she doesn't expect a response to its requests until next year.

While waiting on plans for the downtown campus, Williams said the money could be used to complete the renovations of the Liberty campus more quickly. The project will include a new student lounge, a new cafeteria and bookstore and renovations to administrative offices and the fine arts department.

In fiscal year 2008, the state earmarked $2.65 million for 2009 and 2010 for the Bard Building. About $26.4 million was earmarked for 2011 and another $1.35 million was set for 2012.

BCCC has about 20,000 credit and non-credit students.




Not sure what to make of this. The downtown building, as it is now, is a dump. Let the speculation begin..... Will they sell the property to a supertall developer?
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:35 PM   #4253
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30seconds too late.

Question remains...What will happen to the building/site?
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Old June 14th, 2007, 06:53 PM   #4254
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Quote:
Originally Posted by southbalto View Post
Question remains...What will happen to the building/site?
Quote:
Originally Posted by southbalto View Post
Not sure what to make of this. The downtown building, as it is now, is a dump. Let the speculation begin..... Will they sell the property to a supertall developer?
probably so. it's just a matter of time.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 07:27 PM   #4255
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They'll sell it to a supertall developer which will make a 35+ story design.. demo the site in anticipation of building it before anything is approved, scrap the plans and bam.. a new parking lot.

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Old June 14th, 2007, 07:31 PM   #4256
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I would love to see that trolley connect all the way to Towson. Downtown/Uptown connected.. colleges (Towson, Hopkins, Loyola, Notre Dame, UB, somewhat MICA, UMAB, and to an even lesser extent Morgan) connected.. sounds perfect to me.

Then Baltimore can really call itself Collegetown USA.

Last edited by House3780; June 14th, 2007 at 10:23 PM.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 08:15 PM   #4257
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bam.. a new parking lot.
Which, loathsome as surface lots are, would still be an improvement, in this instance.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 09:04 PM   #4258
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Quote:
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I would hate to see overhead lines for a trolley on Charles St, particularly in Mount Vernon. Stick with buses on this route.
I couldn't agree more...I couldn't imagine the neighborhood would allow ANY design that had overhead lines.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 09:07 PM   #4259
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Quote:
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Which, loathsome as surface lots are, would still be an improvement, in this instance.
Is it Jamie or is it sarcasm? LOL Only your SSC moderator knows for sure.

Perhaps the powers that be realized that the BCC site will be worth a fortune because all the Red Line plans have the Holocaust Memorial site penciled in as a major stop.

If the memorial is moved, when combined with the BCC property that equals 1 large square block of prime downtown real estate directly above a transit stop. $$$$$$$$$ I'm glad my Water Street unit faces north because supertall is not out of the question! Transit oriented development is rather de regur now.

Last edited by 30 Floors Up; June 14th, 2007 at 09:19 PM.
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Old June 14th, 2007, 09:17 PM   #4260
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I'm glad my Water Street unit faces north!



When is the big move-in date?
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