Vibrant and Walkable Streets
July 27 2017
Edith Gilliard Canty
Dan Rodenburg welcomed the guests and gave an overview of the Committee, emphasizing the focus on the Carey St corridor and the Carey St underpass. We have applied for funding for LED lights under the Carey St underpass.
The Committee is also working on an anti-littering campaign. We have received about $10,000 in grant funding for an anti-littering campaign. The committee is discussing having the recycling office attend a meeting. Elizabeth will invite the recycling people.
Presentation from the Planning Department
Brent: This Green Network has been worked on for a while. The Planning Department is hoping to be able to share this with all the neighborhoods before it’s finalized. This could be something that the Vibrant and Walkable Streets Committee could present to the Board.
The would like to get the SWP’s input on connections to a trail in the plan. These are nodes and are planned, but are undefined.
Two nodes are under discussion: one in Mount Clare and one in Franklin Square. There is vacant land owned by the city, and vacant houses, abutting Traci Atkins Park. The idea, if the houses were torn down, would be to close the end of the streets and combine the city owned land with the park.
The Committee also discussed passage over the B&O Railroad tracks to connect the neighborhoods to the north to Carroll Park. Jeff is discussing a possible Carroll-B&O Trail. The B&O Railroad tracks are in a meadow, which could be a connector but is currently a barrier. The park could be done relatively inexpensively for a major trail. It can also be a real transportation artery to UMB and downtown and to the Gwynns Falls Trail. Phase One would probably parallel the rail line–it would connect to the on street bike networks. The Planning Department would like to work out potential crossings with the community before approaching the B&O.
Bif: the B&O does seem to be more open to this, they have hired a national design firm to help them plan for their campus. There is also an Ostend St project planned from DOT.
It would help the case to approach the B&O in the context of the Green Network plan. The running of the B&O train is very infrequent (5 times a week) and isn’t a huge barrier to access.
The Committee reinforced that this trail is in our Vision Plan and remains very supportive.
The other node is in Franklin Square. There is not currently a park in Franklin Square for recreation (there is the Square and other green spaces but not a large recreation one). They are looking at a piece of land along the 1600 block of W Baltimore and Fayette St, south of the MLK Rec Center. It would be possible to expand the Rec Center green space and/or connect to Mount St. It would require closing a block of Fayette St. There are concerns about closing a block of Fayette St in Franklin Square among some community members in Franklin Square. It would also be possible to narrow Fayette St to calm the traffic. Jeff: Patterson Park closes a lot of streets. Edith: the Franklin Square community members are concerned because they’ve lived in the community for a long time and are used to things as they are. The park would be between Mount and Gilmor–a park between Mount and Gilmor from W Baltimore St to behind Lexington. Edith: unsure about why Mount St needed to be closed–could they rehab the houses on the west side of Mount vs tearing them down. Ms Edith will look into the groups that have talked to her about rehabbing some of the houses. The Planning Department could bring layouts for the proposed park so that people could see what could go in there–many of the older of the community members are concerned about increased drug activity in the park.
Jeff: the bigger the park is the more it can be programmed and the safer it can be.
We could invite the Councilmen to a meeting to share the plan and the Planning Department would be able to come to make a presentation. They can bring back the support of the Franklin Square neighborhood.
Bif suggested that Bon Secours would be supportive because the new St Martins Wellness Center would border the park.
The Planning Department still wants to update the bigger group about the Green Network Plan.
They are looking at a multi-year plan–the actual implementation will take time.
The Committee asked about the status of the pedestrian and bike plans and the MLK sidepath. There isn’t any plans that Brent knows about, but he’ll keep us updated. He encouraged the SWP to share capital projects that we are looking for.
Trash Project Update
We’ve received two grants for community clean ups and an anti-littering campaign, as well as the recycling campaign grant. Elizabeth will be in touch with the neighborhood associations to talk about interest in regular clean ups as well as the anti-littering campaign materials.
The Committee discussed the new traffic circles, there are concerns about people driving over it and causing accidents. The circles are at Baltimore and Lombard and Stricker. There’s concern because it so low to the ground. There is supposed to be signage and lighting as well as planting but those haven’t been installed. There wasn’t a lot of communication between the city and the neighborhood.