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Old March 1st, 2007, 06:18 PM   #1
PeterSmith
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Pratt Street Redevelopment Thread

My condolences to folsom....

Design team picked to revamp downtown's Pratt Street corridor
Baltimore Business Journal - 11:06 AM EST Thursday, March 1, 2007by Daniel J. SernovitzStaff
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Baltimore-based Ayers Saint Gross has been selected to help the city develop a new look for the 16-block-stretch of Pratt Street along downtown Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

The Tide Point firm, which has teamed with the Olin Partnership of Philadelphia, was one of four teams picked to present conceptual plans for the roadway's redesign last week. It will now work with city agencies to put its plans, which include a Pratt Street trolley system and new Civic Plaza to replace McKeldin Plaza, into action.


"The Ayers Saint Gross/Olin Partnership had the best overall presentation, taking ideas from other great cities and tailoring them to the unique characteristics of Pratt Street," Downtown Partnership President Kirby Fowler said in a statement.

A handful of city agencies, including Downtown Partnership, the Baltimore Development Corp., and the Baltimore City Department of Transportation and Department of Planning began exploring ways to make Pratt Street more pedestrian-friendly last March.

"As Baltimore's Inner Harbor experience has evolved over time, Pratt Street has continued to play a key role as one of the city's vital public spaces for pedestrians and vehicles," BDC President M. J. "Jay" Brodie said in a statement. "This design competition produced a variety of new ideas for refreshing and improving this significant urban area."

The Ayers Saint Gross plan includes establishing a trolley system to run from President Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, bicycle lanes, new fountains at the start and finish of the 16-block stretch of Pratt Street, and a new Civic Plaza to replace what is know McKeldin Plaza which will feature a central "video wall," according to a press release issued by the BDC.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 06:22 PM   #2
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They'll have to rip McKeldin, et al, up when we build the Yellow (CAC Red) Line.....or wait until after we build it. Which is more important I ask?

Silly trolleys, money better spent on rapid transit matching funds.

Nate
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Old March 1st, 2007, 07:59 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PeterSmith View Post
My condolences to folsom....

Design team picked to revamp downtown's Pratt Street corridor
Baltimore Business Journal - 11:06 AM EST Thursday, March 1, 2007by Daniel J. SernovitzStaff
Print this Article Email this Article Reprints RSS Feeds Most Viewed Most Emailed
Baltimore-based Ayers Saint Gross has been selected to help the city develop a new look for the 16-block-stretch of Pratt Street along downtown Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

The Tide Point firm, which has teamed with the Olin Partnership of Philadelphia, was one of four teams picked to present conceptual plans for the roadway's redesign last week. It will now work with city agencies to put its plans, which include a Pratt Street trolley system and new Civic Plaza to replace McKeldin Plaza, into action.


"The Ayers Saint Gross/Olin Partnership had the best overall presentation, taking ideas from other great cities and tailoring them to the unique characteristics of Pratt Street," Downtown Partnership President Kirby Fowler said in a statement.

A handful of city agencies, including Downtown Partnership, the Baltimore Development Corp., and the Baltimore City Department of Transportation and Department of Planning began exploring ways to make Pratt Street more pedestrian-friendly last March.

"As Baltimore's Inner Harbor experience has evolved over time, Pratt Street has continued to play a key role as one of the city's vital public spaces for pedestrians and vehicles," BDC President M. J. "Jay" Brodie said in a statement. "This design competition produced a variety of new ideas for refreshing and improving this significant urban area."

The Ayers Saint Gross plan includes establishing a trolley system to run from President Street to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, bicycle lanes, new fountains at the start and finish of the 16-block stretch of Pratt Street, and a new Civic Plaza to replace what is know McKeldin Plaza which will feature a central "video wall," according to a press release issued by the BDC.
Are these real trolleys or just buses that look like trolleys? If it's a real trolley, it seems like a waste of money and much too kitschy for my tastes. Either build a real transit system or stop wasting money. Downtown isn't just for tourists.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 08:20 PM   #4
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Does anyone know what plans The Ayers Saint Gross team has to make the legg building better connect with pratt st?
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Old March 1st, 2007, 08:34 PM   #5
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Here is a copy of waj's recap of the Ayers Saint Gross Plan:

Ayers St. Grove/Olin Partnership

These guys did a great job and if I had a vote (with a few changes) I'd pick this group's proposal. Pratt would become two-way with a median that would house trees and flowers and flags. They suggested that the facades of exisiting structures be wrapped in glass (I think they referenced glass structures) which would allow for new ground level retail opportunites. Their suggestion for the eastern gateway (MLK and Pratt) was interesting....though I liked the 3rd groupd circles better. They suggested a traditional T intersection, but trees and flowers and fountains would surround this intersection in an oval shape. They mentioned that horrible blank wall along the convention center and suggested that a glass facade and walkway connect the old and new parts of the convention center. They proposed a resturant pavilion made of glass at Legg Mason Plaza. Then it got fun. McKeldin would be completely transformed. They walkway connecting the Inner Harbor to the Convention Center would stay (all other skywalks would go). Stay with me b/c this can be a bit hard to imagine...partially b/c Im tired and not explaining things very well. A serpintine shaped LED video wall would be the highlight of McKeldin Plaza. It would be attached to the skywalk which is above the Under Armour headquarters store. They also mentioned creating a gideau (sp?) or jets of water on either side of the Jones Falls (the actual waterbody , not the interstate).
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Old March 1st, 2007, 08:43 PM   #6
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haha...i just searched for 5 mins through old posts to remember what each group proposed.

No offense to the poster who could have contributed to the man hours that go into submitting a proposal, but this concept was clearly the best. The McKeldin Plaza thing was pretty damn cool and Im assuming they didnt just pull Under Armour out of thin air. There must have at least been some interest in creating a headquarters store.

I still stand by my initial assessment of their proposal. I really liked it. The convention center looked great, the resturant pavilion looked great. The city can front the bill for some of the more cosmetic streetscape stuff. Those slight changes should help immediately.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 10:52 PM   #7
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didn't see any mention of taking the berms on the sidewalks away. That is one of the major impediments to walking along Pratt St. They mention doing some treatment along the Convention Center, I hope they put something along the Pratt Street side of the Courthouse as well.

Making Pratt one-way and putting in a center island seems tough. Wouldn't they have to widen it quite a bit? What about traffic wanting to make left turns from the eastbound lanes? Wouldn't that create a logistical problem? You would need turn lanes.

Whatever they do will vastly improve they present condition. Walking west of Harbor Place can be quite daunting, the berms and blank concrete walls is a perfect combination for beggers to lurk and accost people. Try walking through there after dark. Hopefully, creating wider open walkways and street level retail will create a safe ambience.

Last edited by Gsol; March 2nd, 2007 at 03:54 AM.
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Old March 1st, 2007, 11:00 PM   #8
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here's Ayers Saint Gross's renderings.........




my first choice would've been the EDSA rendering, but this one looks fine too.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 01:58 AM   #9
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Very interesting. I like this proposal a lot, especially the big screen. Glad to see that in there. It looks like from the article that their idea of a two-way Pratt won't be done though. I think things are fine the way they are. It would be cool with the big, Washington monument type traffic circles but I like the stuff this team could do. Let's see them get to work on it.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 02:13 AM   #10
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Apologies if I missed it in all the pandemonium of proposals, but where is the site that lays out the Ayers/St. Gross whole proposal? (If it exists)

Regards,
Nate
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 04:11 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sdeclue View Post
Very interesting. I like this proposal a lot, especially the big screen. Glad to see that in there. It looks like from the article that their idea of a two-way Pratt won't be done though. I think things are fine the way they are. It would be cool with the big, Washington monument type traffic circles but I like the stuff this team could do. Let's see them get to work on it.
yep, i'm getting that impression as well. if anything, they'll just add more lanes to the 4 lanes that already exist on pratt street (going ONE way).

Last edited by MasonsInquiries; March 2nd, 2007 at 04:06 PM.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 04:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by getontrac View Post
Apologies if I missed it in all the pandemonium of proposals, but where is the site that lays out the Ayers/St. Gross whole proposal? (If it exists)

Regards,
Nate
Ayers Saint Gross Plan:
http://folsomfanatic.blogspot.com/20...post_1984.html
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 05:26 AM   #13
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The trolley idea seems really out of place. If Pratt is to be two ways, how do they plan to fit trolley tracks and lanes for two-way traffic on Pratt? If Pratt is one way, will the trolley travel against traffic? Will it be grade separated?
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 02:59 PM   #14
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Road to future
City officials select local architects to redesign Pratt Street as inviting gateway to downtown


By Kelly Brewington
Sun reporter
Originally published March 2, 2007

Adam Gross imagines the gateway to downtown with all the grandeur of an Italian piazza: sparkling fountains, brilliantly designed restaurants and landscaped walkways that beckon visitors with a sense that the street itself is a destination. Yesterday, Baltimore development officials endorsed that vision for the city's Pratt Street as they named Gross' firm, Baltimore-based Ayers Saint Gross, and Olin Partnership, of Philadelphia, the winners of a contest to redesign the main artery along Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

"We want to create a much more beautiful and stronger sense of the public realm along the length of Pratt Street," said Gross, design principal at Ayers Saint Gross, who with a 10-member team found inspiration in some of the world's classiest boulevards - New York's Fifth Avenue, the Champs-Elysees in Paris, and Chicago's Michigan Avenue. "We wanted to create a great series of public spaces," he said, "a great public corridor for the activities of the city."

But how to make it a reality is still in the works. Officials would not specify cost estimates, other than to say a complete makeover of Pratt Street would require a public-private partnership and take many years. The Baltimore Development Corp., Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and the city departments of planning and transportation began soliciting design ideas for Pratt Street last year. In December, they narrowed a field of 10 to four finalists and awarded each a $25,000 grant to pursue proposals for remaking the 16-block stretch from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard east to President Street.

Last week, the finalists unveiled their proposals publicly at the Baltimore Convention Center, suggesting such dramatic changes as building boathouses along the harbor and demolishing the Pratt Street Pavilion of Harborplace. BDC President M.J. "Jay" Brodie called the winning selection "extremely thorough and creative."

While some elements of the proposal could happen right away, others - such as transforming both eastbound Pratt Street and westbound Lombard Street into two-way thoroughfares - would need more consideration, said Brodie. "It doesn't mean that each of these suggestions will turn out to be possible," he said. "But hopefully, as many of the ideas as possible can be retained."

In conceptualizing the design, architects aimed for stylish, inviting and environmentally friendly. Among the highlights are an east-west trolley system between President Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard, bicycle lanes and a two-story, free-standing glass pavilion in front of the Legg Mason building at Light Street to house a top-notch restaurant.

McKeldin Plaza, at Light and Pratt streets, would receive a high-tech overhaul, with a giant "video wall" that would project scenes celebrating Baltimore's diverse cultural events or even a sold-out Ravens game. "It's sort of a Times Square idea that is done in a more elegant, sophisticated way," said Gross.

The architects' overarching goal was to help Pratt Street feel more unified through a seamless design of lighting, landscaping and an intrinsic connection of water and land. "We want to reinforce the connection of Baltimore to the harbor," said Betsy Boykin, landscape architect with Ayers Saint Gross. "So that wherever you are along the length of the street, you understand the connection of Pratt Street, and Baltimore itself, with water."

Large fountains would mark the gateways of Pratt at Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and President Street, while smaller ones would run along the blocks in between, the water from which would be used to irrigate the surrounding landscape, said Boykin. Other green elements include solar-powered street lamps. The proposal is the culmination of several years of discussions among city officials who have long agreed that Pratt Street deserved a face-lift. Chief on their priority list was doing away with the grassy mounds, or berms, on the sidewalks, which they said disrupt its urban character.

Designed in the 1970s, the grassy knolls were intended to create a buffer between pedestrians and vehicle exhaust, but they only ended up confusing people, said Kirby Fowler, president of the nonprofit Downtown Partnership. In addition, Fowler said, some people feel unsafe walking along the street, with some berms as tall as 5 feet preventing pedestrians from seeing their surroundings clearly.

Fowler said removing the mounds would be among the first redesigns to take place. "You see people walking down and they look disoriented and kind of scared," said Gross. "We don't need that space. Let's put the trees closer to the street, make a nice wide sidewalk and take the facades, pull them out further and make room for some new retail."

Gross noted that cities nationwide admire the planning behind Baltimore's Harborplace and that architects want to capitalize on an already good thing. In addition, Gross said he hopes the design inspires areas well beyond Pratt Street. "Lombard is like the back of a refrigerator right now," he said. "But it should become more like Pratt Street. ... This should happen not just for the core of the city, but these same kinds of competitions and debates should happen citywide - in areas both poor and affluent."

City leaders envision Pratt Street as the connection between east and west revitalization efforts. "The redesign of Pratt Street is extremely important to the future of downtown," said Fowler. "It's our welcome mat, basically. And, if anything, it should have the best qualities of the city reflected on it."

I'm all for the trolley if it puts an end to that hideous gondola system that was proposed. God, I hate that thing.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 04:10 PM   #15
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I'm all for the trolley if it puts an end to that hideous gondola system that was proposed. God, I hate that thing.
yep, i agree. that gondola system looks hideous.
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 06:35 PM   #16
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^Given a forced dilemma between a trolley and gondola...the gondola's got to go!

Nate
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Old March 2nd, 2007, 08:34 PM   #17
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From the Baltimore Sun:

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Old March 2nd, 2007, 08:39 PM   #18
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And another one:

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Old March 3rd, 2007, 12:42 AM   #19
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That is a huge building! What is it going to be?
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Old March 3rd, 2007, 01:41 AM   #20
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I didn't think that was a building, Steven. I thought it was the "snaking video wall."
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