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Old July 28th, 2007, 05:34 PM   #5101
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Originally Posted by Fells28 View Post
Do you guys think that the subsidized housing next to Little Italy will ever be redeveloped? I don't care if they tear it down and replace it with new subsidized housing as long as it makes it look better. Everytime I walk by (from a distance!) I see nothing but an empty void. No people, no cars, and it always seems to be under a shadow. Weird!
Yes, it will. It's the "hole in the donut." Development (and redevelopment) is occurring all around it on Pratt (S), Central (W), Fayette (N), and Broadway (E). My guess is that we'll hear more after the election -- planning will get underway, tenants will press for a place in the new project, and redevelopment will begin as the housing market starts to rebound. It'll probably end up something like Albemarle Square, on the site of the old Flag House Courts highrises: mix of market rate and subsidized housing.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 05:39 PM   #5102
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Used to be that area was called "Lower Charles Village" not to long ago.(Below 25th) or affectionately "Chuck Village".I really think this area would be prime for some well designed Mid-rise density.
Yes. That's what Tower Hill Development has planned (if the city can acquire the land) for the old Chesapeake Restaurant site (click on development projects). And, of course, there's already seniors-only midrise just above North Ave. More would help.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 05:51 PM   #5103
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Have you ever driven thru the Springfield interchange in VA?

I don't think that this elaborate interchange is a worthwhile investment. Perhaps something less intense could serve the purpose. Highway construction is usually obsolete when it goes on line. In my opinion mass transit is a better investment. The only way to make traffic flow better is to provide alternatives.

I just came back from the Pacific Northwest. Both Portland and Seattle are investing heavily into mass transit. San Fran, LA, and Phoenix are doing the same. Also toss in Denver.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 06:14 PM   #5104
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whew long post

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As to the interchange, I don’t view it a weak reason for spending the funds; it really does need to get built. I know the State has wanted to do this since at least the early 1980s -- when the JFK Memorial Highway eliminated tolls -- and some of the Baltimore population began to seep north and east along the northeast corridor. That, along with more people, and the eventual widening to four lanes made it all the more evident something needed to be done with that interchange: it was (and is) a dangerous nightmare. I have seen some really horrible accidents along that stretch. Sightlines are severely limited.
Actually I agree that a new interchange is probably needed, (although it makes you wonder if they will replace the 95/695 interchange on the south side which is essentially the same design, its one of the few places in the US where you drive on the left!) fortunetly the design of the original interchange took so much land that they can fit in all these flyover ramps. I just think that going to the ETL's with 2 sets of fully functional interchanges is total overkill.

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However, I think a key component of the I-95 corridor through at least that part of Maryland ought to be collecting a toll, of some kind (more than just “Lexus Lanes”). While in general, I do not like tolls as a mere revenue-generating machine, in the case of this interchange improvement (and the thirty miles of improvements being made along JFK) I hope someone is making sure Maryland recoups its cost? Granted, we’re talking about federal funding here…but these improvements aren’t solely intended to benefit local commuters in Baltimore and Harford Counties, but the flow of interstate traffic (and commerce) as well. Where permitted legally, we need to ensure we recoup some of our expenses…
As far as tolls go remember that 95 is a toll road already right north of the Susquehanna. Might as well hit out of stater's more than locals. Also the current project is only from the 895/95 split to rt. 43. Anything above that is still being presented to the community (all the way to rt 22). I attended one of the workshops in May. Third there is very little federal money involved in this construction, MD is paying for it by itself. Thats why this is proceeding so rapidly, without the feds they could cut many of the review steps the feds require. Actually most of the JFK was built without federal money which is why there is a toll in the first place.

Interesting tidbit, the sole reason the rt.43 interchange was built in the early 60's (when it was literally in the middle of nowhere) was to weasel the Feds would pay for the 695/95 interchange. They needed a free exit above (43) and below (moravia) the 695 interchange since the harbor tunnel and the JFK were already tolls.

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Finally, I was very interested in the most recent rendering made public. The design, or shall we say “idea” transformed very quickly within 18 months: it’s gone from modern to baroque!

I have no idea why they changed the design (and its a pretty radical change from that first rendering).

I did notice that they are embossing 'JFK' into the concrete bridge abutments. They should put a crab design into the bridge piers like Texas puts a star into all of theres, it would look cool.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 06:31 PM   #5105
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Originally Posted by Gsol View Post
I don't think that this elaborate interchange is a worthwhile investment. Perhaps something less intense could serve the purpose. Highway construction is usually obsolete when it goes on line. In my opinion mass transit is a better investment. The only way to make traffic flow better is to provide alternatives.

I just came back from the Pacific Northwest. Both Portland and Seattle are investing heavily into mass transit. San Fran, LA, and Phoenix are doing the same. Also toss in Denver.
Mass transit serves only the local population. It does nothing for thru traffic
between NY. and FL. Maybe one day we will have an outter beltway that would bypass both D.C. and Baltimore.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 08:54 PM   #5106
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I really hope that the new park at Rash Field has some sort of wow factor. I say this because, as we all know, the new Westside Park is nice but quite unassuming. This is evident from the lack of people I see actually utilizing the park (I walk by it everyday during my lunch break). I hear that money has been allocated to put the water feature in the Westside park but I wonder when this is going to happen and don't understand why it wasn't all done at the same time.
I love it.

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Old July 28th, 2007, 10:12 PM   #5107
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Hi guys. Not sure if this is in the right thread (if not I do apologize), but I was in Baltimore during the past weekend for Otakon and decided to snap some shots of the Hilton Hotel. Thought it was the Zenith but was able to read the crane banner from another photo so that got cleared up fast .

Enjoy.

Pics - Friday, July 20th, 2007













Unfortunately I can't give any more updates on this until I'm in Baltimore again but hopefully these shed some light as to where the project stands currently.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 10:18 PM   #5108
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Something that is definitely needed...

On a mission to add to greenery
Volunteers armed with computers collect data on Baltimore's trees
By Alia Malik | Sun reporter
July 28, 2007


Before most city workers had reached their offices one recent morning, Amy Hess and Mary Ellen Chambers stood in front of a strip of trees on Calvert Street, ready to survey them -- the 2007 way.

With hand-held computers and an assortment of field guides, they gathered such information as the trees' size, species and whether they have dead branches -- a high-tech way to help move Baltimore toward its seemingly low-tech goal of doubling the number of trees in the city by 2036, improving both aesthetics and air quality.

"If you don't know what you have, it's very difficult to put the adequate resources into it," said Myra Brosius, coordinator of the TreeBaltimore initiative for Baltimore's Department of Recreation and Parks. "When you don't know what you're working with, it's like operating in a vacuum."

Hess, 28, and Chambers, 50, are volunteering with almost 80 others this month to help city officials assess the state of Baltimore trees. "It's so easy and convenient," Hess said of the computer survey process and software, known as i-Tree. Throughout this month, the volunteers are inspecting trees on 500 randomly selected city blocks -- a task that includes trying to assess whether any pose a threat to wires or sidewalks.

At the survey's end, the software will project how much the city's public trees improve air quality, conserve energy, control storm water and increase property values, said Peter G. Conrad, a city planner in the Division of Research and Strategic Planning.

The software is useful because it can give that data in dollar amounts, evaluating how much property value public trees add and how much they save in energy and environmental fees, said City Arborist Rebecca Feldberg.

"It's part of a national climate where there's more and more attention paid to those functional values that trees give us," she said. "Because they're not articulated like that, trees aren't given their place at the table as part of a livable city."

The data collected using i-Tree should show policymakers and the public why the city's trees are worthwhile, but Feldberg said she also predicts the survey will highlight the need for more trees and inspire residents to plant them on private property.

"Some people really need evidence," Feldberg said. "To some people, they're just a nuisance -- you've got to rake the leaves, you know, the branches fall on your car -- they don't see the benefits."

The i-Tree software is available at no cost from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Forest Service, and the city Department of Recreation and Parks spent about $2,500 on the personal computers and other survey materials, Feldberg said. That money came from an $83,000 grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources to develop the TreeBaltimore plan.

Baltimore's Urban Forest Management Plan, which is still being completed, has three major goals: better coordination among city departments that work with trees to keep them from being damaged; updating forestry policies to reflect the best current practices; and providing incentives for people to plant trees on private property. The plan proposes $6.7 million for increased parks department staff and additional trucks for city work on trees, Feldberg said.

Brosius developed the TreeBaltimore plan with input from several city and state departments, and nonprofit organizations.

About 20 percent of Baltimore's land lies under trees, Brosius said, compared with a 27.1 percent average for cities nationwide. Doubling the canopy to 40 percent is also part of a statewide plan to improve air quality, Brosius said. Baltimore does not meet federal air quality standards.

This year, for the first time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is supporting tree planting as a method to improve air quality, Conrad said. "It's a huge thing to have a positive rather than just a negative -- you know, 'You can't build this; you can't use these paints.'"

The Forest Service had been kicking around the idea for the i-Tree software long before the federal agency started developing it in earnest three years ago, said Mark Buscaino, who directed the service's Urban and Community Forestry Program before leaving last year to join a Washington tree restoration nonprofit group.

"Like most good ideas, eventually it just bubbled up to the top," Buscaino said.

Working with decades of scientific research on the benefits of trees, the Forest Service eventually created the software with help from the Davey Institute, an Ohio-based nonprofit tree research institute. The software was released a year ago and has been used in cities including Sacramento, Calif., New York, Minneapolis and Boston, said Dave Bloniarz, a Forest Service project coordinator who developed some of the software.

"Here's a chance to show the dollar value of our green infrastructure in a way that hasn't been possible in the past," Bloniarz said. "In today's economic climate, this is the only way you can argue for continued investment in green space."

Bloniarz said he and his colleagues have been pleasantly surprised with the software's burgeoning popularity.

"It's a neat project that everyone's excited about," he said.

Many of Baltimore's volunteers feel the same way, said Kari Smith, assistant director for the Community Greening Stewardship Program at the nonprofit Parks & People Foundation. "I probably only had one person who didn't enjoy it," Smith said. "I'm starting to have a hard time getting everybody scheduled because there are so many people who want to survey."

Chambers said she has always loved nature, although identifying trees "isn't her strong suit."

"It's been fun," she said. "It's nice to get outdoors; it's nice to have a task; it's fun to meet people you normally wouldn't encounter."

Hess found out about volunteering for TreeBaltimore after a Google search for summer volunteer opportunities in the city.

She learned to identify trees during her childhood on a Pennsylvania farm and in high school and college classes, she said.

"I just have always appreciated nature, and now I know how important trees are for the environment," Hess said. "I just love everything about them -- except when they fall down."
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Old July 28th, 2007, 10:41 PM   #5109
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Actually I agree that a new interchange is probably needed, (although it makes you wonder if they will replace the 95/695 interchange on the south side which is essentially the same design, its one of the few places in the US where you drive on the left!) fortunetly the design of the original interchange took so much land that they can fit in all these flyover ramps. I just think that going to the ETL's with 2 sets of fully functional interchanges is total overkill.



As far as tolls go remember that 95 is a toll road already right north of the Susquehanna. Might as well hit out of stater's more than locals. Also the current project is only from the 895/95 split to rt. 43. Anything above that is still being presented to the community (all the way to rt 22). I attended one of the workshops in May. Third there is very little federal money involved in this construction, MD is paying for it by itself. Thats why this is proceeding so rapidly, without the feds they could cut many of the review steps the feds require. Actually most of the JFK was built without federal money which is why there is a toll in the first place.

Interesting tidbit, the sole reason the rt.43 interchange was built in the early 60's (when it was literally in the middle of nowhere) was to weasel the Feds would pay for the 695/95 interchange. They needed a free exit above (43) and below (moravia) the 695 interchange since the harbor tunnel and the JFK were already tolls.




I have no idea why they changed the design (and its a pretty radical change from that first rendering).

I did notice that they are embossing 'JFK' into the concrete bridge abutments. They should put a crab design into the bridge piers like Texas puts a star into all of theres, it would look cool.
The issue of right-hand exits is only a part of the reason the interchange is being rebuilt: it’s more a matter of capacity. The interchange of discussion in essence gets squeezed down to two lanes as the right lane vanishes completely (for Beltway traffic heading toward Towson) and the left lane (while it doesn’t disappear) carries traffic towards Essex. With recent improvements made to this section of I-95, the capacity outweighs what is there now. In other words, the interchange was initially designed for a highway with fewer lanes, and not the capacity that was added in the late 1980s north of the interchange, and augmented with additional lanes from the southern approach. It has to be done…and if already money is being spent, then do it properly, with right hand exits.

The interchange in Catonsville provides continuous passage. While it would be nice to provide proper exits, until capacity (or age) render the interchange outdated; I think we’re going to end up keeping what we have…

Although when Camden Yards (the stadium) was built, additional lanes were configured for the segment between I-395 and I-695. So in theory, I’m sure one could argue new and additional capacity was placed on the Catonsville interchange.

Tolls? Definitely, and for that matter I would love to have the out of state drivers pay for the new interchanges and improvements. I’m not sure why Maryland is picking up the hefty tab on this project, especially since it appears to mostly benefit the interstate travelers from elsewhere. I’ll have to take a closer look at that component.

Also, as a side note, construction is already in progress north of the Route 43 interchange at White Marsh. Bridges are being demolished and replaced with wider spans. I need to find one of the schedules in the reports: it really provides a nice overview of the project. The amount of dirt that needs to be removed, replacement asphalt, concrete, down to the number of signs that will need to be ordered is astounding. It won’t be as large of a project as the Woodrow Wilson Bridge-Springfield interchange project, but pretty close.
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Old July 28th, 2007, 11:21 PM   #5110
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Originally Posted by Fells28 View Post
I really hope that the new park at Rash Field has some sort of wow factor. I say this because, as we all know, the new Westside Park is nice but quite unassuming. This is evident from the lack of people I see actually utilizing the park (I walk by it everyday during my lunch break). I hear that money has been allocated to put the water feature in the Westside park but I wonder when this is going to happen and don't understand why it wasn't all done at the same time.
More detail here. No video waterwall or "Bean" like Millennium Park in Chicago, but pretty cool just the same. Plumbing is in place for water feature. It was an additional $1 million on the $4.5 million price tag for the park. City is paying for it out of surplus from last year. That money would have been available June 30, so we might see something this fall (in time for the election) or next spring.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 02:39 AM   #5111
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Thanks for the pics, The-Real-Link.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 03:48 AM   #5112
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I like it! It looks like an extention of Federal Hill.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 07:48 AM   #5113
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Originally Posted by Eerik View Post
The issue of right-hand exits is only a part of the reason the interchange is being rebuilt: it’s more a matter of capacity. The interchange of discussion in essence gets squeezed down to two lanes as the right lane vanishes completely (for Beltway traffic heading toward Towson) and the left lane (while it doesn’t disappear) carries traffic towards Essex. With recent improvements made to this section of I-95, the capacity outweighs what is there now. In other words, the interchange was initially designed for a highway with fewer lanes, and not the capacity that was added in the late 1980s north of the interchange, and augmented with additional lanes from the southern approach. It has to be done…and if already money is being spent, then do it properly, with right hand exits.

The interchange in Catonsville provides continuous passage. While it would be nice to provide proper exits, until capacity (or age) render the interchange outdated; I think we’re going to end up keeping what we have…

Although when Camden Yards (the stadium) was built, additional lanes were configured for the segment between I-395 and I-695. So in theory, I’m sure one could argue new and additional capacity was placed on the Catonsville interchange.

Tolls? Definitely, and for that matter I would love to have the out of state drivers pay for the new interchanges and improvements. I’m not sure why Maryland is picking up the hefty tab on this project, especially since it appears to mostly benefit the interstate travelers from elsewhere. I’ll have to take a closer look at that component.

Also, as a side note, construction is already in progress north of the Route 43 interchange at White Marsh. Bridges are being demolished and replaced with wider spans. I need to find one of the schedules in the reports: it really provides a nice overview of the project. The amount of dirt that needs to be removed, replacement asphalt, concrete, down to the number of signs that will need to be ordered is astounding. It won’t be as large of a project as the Woodrow Wilson Bridge-Springfield interchange project, but pretty close.
I agree that a new change is needed, just that the design with the ETl's is not the best one. Your right about the catonsville interchange, I was saying that from mermory and the design is totally diffrent.

This current round of construction is to extend just past the rt 43 interchange, the new etl's require that the joppa rd bridge be rebuilt. It is not being built any further north as of yet.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 04:01 PM   #5114
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I like it! It looks like an extension of Federal Hill.
It does. Other good aspects (most having to do with subtraction rather than addition): removal of the belgian-block berm with the crab-apple trees along Key Highway, improving the view toward the harbor; demolition of the ugly garage between Rash Field and the Ritz; re-installation of the Pride of Baltimore Memorial on the West Shore, near where it, Pride II and the Lady Maryland were built; bringing back the play area for kids; re-conceiving the sister city garden, which had become an afterthought; making people on the trapeze the first thing that catches your eye as you round the corner on Key Highway heading toward the Inner Harbor (a certain, unintended 'wow' factor there); adding a dog park; construction of bathrooms that, unlike the ones there now, don't (literally and figuratively) scare the cr*p out of visitors.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 07:13 PM   #5115
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I like it! It looks like an extention of Federal Hill.
yeah, the rendering does look nice. not only is this project gonna' be a great compliment to federal hill, but to west shore park as well.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 07:25 PM   #5116
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excellent pics, the-real-link!!! i went to the o's game last night and it looks like hilton hotel hotel has another 6-7 floors before it finally tops out. i'm not happy that it's going to block the bromo-seltzer tower, but i have grown to deal with it.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 08:27 PM   #5117
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THE SPECIALIZED CRANE USED TO CONSTRUCT THE SLURRY WALL AROUND THE FOUR SEASONS/LEGG MASON SITE


BRINGS UP BUCKETS OF DRIPPING MUD FROM A 3 FOOT WIDE TRENCH


AND DEPOSITS THE MESSY MIXTURE INTO MUD ENCASED DUMP TRUCKS.


IT IS GOING TO BE A LONG, VERY MESSY, JOB! I FEEL SORRY FOR THE FOLKS WHO WILL BE MOVING INTO THE VUE AND WILL HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS.
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Old July 29th, 2007, 11:31 PM   #5118
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Awesome pix, wada!
BTW, had a chance to get up into the Water Tower condo, yet?
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Old July 30th, 2007, 03:00 AM   #5119
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excellent pics, the-real-link!!! i went to the o's game last night and it looks like hilton hotel hotel has another 6-7 floors before it finally tops out. i'm not happy that it's going to block the bromo-seltzer tower, but i have grown to deal with it.
Yeah. At least you can still see the Bromo from the Eutaw Street plaza.

The devil's definitely gonna be in the details on this one ... renderings of the facade thus far aren't inspiring. I've noticed, though, that lately a lot of buildings are turning out better than their renderings indicate. Used to be that the renderings looked much better than the finished product.
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Old July 30th, 2007, 05:53 AM   #5120
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Nice pics wada, I remember seeing a show about those cranes and Boston's big dig.
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