Thursday, February 26, 2009

Am I Getting Bigger or is the Baltimore Sun Getting Smaller?


(image credit Baltimore Magazine)

I just noticed this today, clearly it shows how often I buy a print edition of the Baltimore Sun, but when did it get smaller? It doesn't even look like a real newspaper! The Sun looks borderline tabloid, or a rather large newsletter. This is ridiculous. This isn't like the old New York Times that you could use as an umbrella when it rained and keep you and 3 of your closest colleagues dry.

Although it does make me feel a lot taller and bigger. I feel like i dwarf the newspaper. At least now when I get angry at the news I can pretty much crush the whole thing quite simply. It's made me stronger now!

The Sun has already gone through two redesigns since 2005, a reduction in staff, and quality journalism, and now a reduction in size. It feels cheap now, not like a good major city newspaper should be. Let's start charging for online news content and get the newspaper back to the way it used to be.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

I Hate it When the Recession Hurts the Arts

(flickr photo by Chauncy.Primm)

The Walters Art Museum today announced that they are cancelling an upcoming exhibit in order to cut costs. NOOOOOO!

Seriously,it's my favorite arts spot in the city. At least they are still committing to be a free institution, well for their permanent exhibits. I'm cool with that, if you really want to see something special you should pay for it.

The Walters is also slashing 7 filled positions and cutting 9 others that are currently vacant.

If you want to help out, make sure to drop off some donations. They really should think about initiating a "Donate What You Want Day". It's not making you pay anything to enter, but it puts the donation advertising right out in the open.

see the Baltimore Sun article

Friday, February 20, 2009

New Hybrid Articulated Buses - Where to Put Them

(*Photo by wikipedia)

The first of the new Hybrid Articulated buses will be on the roads in Baltimore soon. The new buses are 60 footers, and can carry about 4% more passengers than the normal buses. Being hybrids they are quieter, less polluting, and use 20% less fuel. Save the Bay Ride MTA!

But, what to do with them? Generally the articulated buses go on those with the higher ridership, but what about the QuickBus?

The Route 40 QuickBus is an express bus service, a long shot for a BRT, but atleast it's something. However, it isn't very visible, the stops don't look any different than most local buses, and the biggest problem I see, they look just like every other bus! Why not take some of these new buses, give them a unique paint scheme and reserve them for the QuickBus. MTA is also planning 2 other QuickBus routes between downtown and Towson, so why not jump on board soon with this.

It will make the route a hell of a lot more visible. Which brings me to my second point: visibility. As planned the QuickBus was supposed to have unique shelters and signage with next-bus LED screens, but this never happened besides at a few spots (Shot Tower for one). Solution - finish the job why don't you, and the visibility problem is solved...voilĂ !

Lastly, the express factor. Normally it takes over an hour for a bus to travel the entire distance of the route. If you were to drive, without stopping, it would take you about 45 mins. A possible solution is to reduce the number of stops to lower the travel time. If MTA's intention for this is to be for commuters, then eliminate some of the stops between Security Square and Middle River and downtown.

Just a few ideas to make it better. Now go get your weekend on!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Amtrak Now Offering...Lower Fares?

(*courtesy www.amtrak.com)
Seriously? I use Amtrak a lot for work shooting up and down the Northeast Corridor, so I enrolled in their Guest Rewards program do get some bonuses...only 1,000 more points for a free cup of coffee! I got the new update for this month and guess what, Amtrak is offering, get this, LOWER FARES on Acela!

Now there's something smart, how do we get people to use intercity rail? that's right, lower the fares. Between now and June, if you purchase tickets at least 14 days in advance you can get an Acela ticket for as low as $99 from DC to NYC, $79 from Boston to NYC, and $73 from DC to Philly. In most cases this is saving up to about 25%. Now it's only a $19 difference between the regional Baltimore-Philly and the Acela, that almost makes it worth for the savings of 6 mins!

How smart is that? Seriously airlines have been doing this for years, why did it take Amtrak so long to do this!

Amtrak Acela Deal

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Friday Rundown


The O's are "right on track"...whatever that means

JHU is freezing hiring in an attempt to cut costs...there goes my raise!

O'Malley unveils one of the new hybrid buses at the Motor Trend International Auto Show...now how about making a decision on the RED LINE!

Slots commission throws out the proposals for Laurel Park and Rocky Gap...wow slots were a great idea right Annapolis?

Towson U. reached an agreement on the location of its new stadium...can't wait for more mediocre basketball in a new arena!

Last Weekend for The Baltimore Examiner...fair thee well, and thanks for giving us something better to read for the past 4 years!

Good news it's the weekend! Time to get out there, fill the tips jars at the bars, stimulate the economy by taking in the local scene. Max's Taphouse has it's Belgian Beer Festival this weekend in Fells. Auto Show's in town at the Convention Center. Benefit shows all weekend at the Senator Theatre to help them raise some dough. It'll be on the warmer side, so take advantage of it while it lasts.

From all of us here at Baltimore Skyline enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Signs of Life for the Charles Street Trolley

I recently went to the Charles Street Corridor Trolley website, http://www.charlesstreet.org/trolley/ and saw signs of life! Sometime inf January they posted two files on plans for the trolley line to go North South along the Charles Street corridor.

These plans have been in the works since at least 2005, but have had a lot of problems because of the neighbors and business owners. However they are in the second year of a two-year study into the engineering and feasibility of this.

Personally, I think its a great idea. Getting back to the old days when Baltimore was a streetcar city. This sort of thing has clearly worked for Portland, why not Baltimore! This will be a great way to connect the different institutions along Charles and St. Paul. Cleaner and more friendly than the buses.

The only thing I want to see from this is, if they are going to have MTA fares, make it easily transferable to the Light Rail and Metro! PLEASE.

This is definitely a step in the right direction. Great for college students, commuters, and especially tourists. Hey, want to go to the BMA? Sure! Well just hope on the Baltimore Trolley! Maybe, down the road, we'll see one go down the Key Highway corridor to Fort McHenry.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Breaking News: Pimlico Prohibits Pints at Preakness

(courtesy of The Baltimore Sun)

All alliteration aside, starting next year you won't be able to bring any beverages into the infield at Preakness. Not just beer and alcohol, but soda, water, and anything else. The only way you'll be able to get your drink on will be by purchasing items from Pimlico vendors.

This means no more coolers, no more 30-racks of Natty-Boh, and no more kiddy pools full of beer and drinks. This also means no more flying beer can projectiles, which will make the Running of the Port-O-Potties so much more safe. Now you can drunkenly run across the tops of the pots without having to worry about getting creamed with a full can of Miller Lite. Falling off because you're too drunk to realize what you're doing?...still a hazard.

Will this make the Infield cleaner? probably. Less muddy? probably not. Less drunk? doubt it. Will it make it tamer? maybe. Classy? maybe not. However, a big addition this year will certainly enhance the party atmosphere. There will be a women's volleyball competition and a concert with ZZTop (really?) and other local bands.

I'm sure it will still be a mob scene at the Preakness, but just with a lot less beer flowing...and flying. The infield once was a place where the laws of physics no longer held. Things that normally don't fly, do. People float across crowds as if they were lying on a cloud. A biblical Garden of Eden for beer, where it chilled in pools and were stacked in pyramids. It fell somewhere between a war zone and a stampede. Where green freshly cut grass can turn to mud in the blink of an eye, and without any semblance of a water source. Where how much mud is on you is proportional to how much fun you're having.

So goes the Last Bastion of BYOB with the Triple Crown.

Baltimore Sun article HERE


(courtesy of The Baltimore Sun)
A Very Bad Idea

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

New Homewood House Exhibit is "Craptastic"

(*courtesy www.museums.jhu.edu)

Now running until March 31st at the Homewood House Museum on the main campus of the Johns Hopkins University is “Next to Godliness: Cleanliness in Early Maryland”, an interesting exhibit into the bathroom and hygiene customs of our past residents. The exhibit focuses mainly on early 19th century items period to the Homewood House, which was built by Charles Carroll Jr. between 1801-1808. A 5-point Federal Style house, it currently is furnished as it would have been when the mansion was completed.

The exhibit is free addition to the regular museum tour which are held daily from 11am-4pm and Saturday and Sunday 12-4pm. The $6 admission fee for adults isn't bad at all. Even better if you're a student it's only $3. If you happen to be a JHU student, staff, or faculty it's FREE (that's half the city right?)

A interesting add on is included on Saturdays. Visitors get to view the rarely open Homewood House privy, the only remaining out-building from a once 140 acre summer retreat, which largely is covered by the JHU campus today. This runs until March 28th, and the full exhibit ends on the 31st For more information visit www.museums.jhu.edu/homewood.

It's definitely something great to see. While you're up there check out nearby Wyman Park and the BMA.