Thursday, July 30, 2009

BaltimoreSkyline is moving...

Sorry for the lack of posts in the last few days, but I'm in the process of moving, and haven't had the time to check in on the Baltimore scene. No worries, I'm not leaving the area, and Baltimore Skyline will continue, just from a new view.

So long Fells Point, hello Downtown.

I will be back up and running in the next few days with new highlights, news, and thoughts when I'm settled in my new digs.

Until then, enjoy it out there Baltimore.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Soccer Comes to Baltimore

Chelsea vs AC Milan tonight at M&T Bank Stadium. See you at the bars!

For your viewing enjoyment:


Wednesday, July 22, 2009

City Buys Back the Senator

The bidding started at $750,000 with the city only planning on accepting bids of $1 million or higher. There was only one bid for $800,000, which the city refused, and so bought back the Senator for $810,000.

Now who knows what will happen to it now!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Interesting Prospect for the Senator

This isn't the first time a college has sought interest in managing an old movie house. Gettysburg College bought the 1925 movie theater just off the town square and renovated it between 2003 and 2004. It now functions as a space for performing arts, and still shows older movies, independent films, documentaries, and other features throughout the year. It no longer shows first-run movies though.

Loyola College is looking to be a bidder for the Senator when it does go to auction. What the university plans to do with the Senator is yet to be seen, but if they take a page from Gettysburg College, there is a lot of potential.

Loyola would be able to draw a wide variety of talent to a performance center like the Senator. It's close proximity to Belvedere Square, where Loyola has it's Clinical Center, would be another strengthening point of the York Road corridor up in Govans.

Whatever keeps the Senator alive, in one way or another, is a good thing for Baltimore.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Singletracking is Not the Answer

I've said this once, and I'll say it again. The MTA needs to consider building the Red Line in phases, instead of trying to build all 14 miles at once. If you build the West Baltimore to Bayview section first, and then the Woodbury to West Baltimore section second, this will save money, and the MTA will build what they want. It makes sense to do it this way, there is a planned maintenance facility near the West Baltimore Station, so a temporary turn around could be built there, and Bayview is the East terminus anyway.

Hopefully someone from MTA actually reads this blog!

MTA considers single track for part of Red Line - baltimoresun.com

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Less Fartsy More Artsy

(image credit, artscape)

Artscape is here! The largest free arts festival in the US! Today through Sunday the are around UB, MICA, and Station North will be full of performances, visual arts displays, and a whole lot of family fun activities. That, and artsy people, lots and lots of them. This is the 28th year for Artscape, an event that regularly attracts 300,000+ people.

Here are some things to expect:

1.) Crowded conditions if the weather is nice, which it surely will be.
2.) Street Closures
3.) Bands you've probably never heard of, but play some great music.
4.) Free concert at the BSO, 3pm Saturday.
5.) Arts and craft tents for the kids, so bring the little ones!
6.) Lots of people riding the Light Rail. It may get crowded, but it' seriously the only way to go.
7.) People with an eclectic sense of style and dress.

Streetclosures:

Monday, July 13 at 7am through Tuesday, July 21 at 4pm - Unit block of East & West Mt. Royal Avenue and 1100 – 1600 blocks of Mt. Royal Avenue, closed from North Avenue to Charles Street, north and south bound
Thursday, July 16 at 10am through Monday, July 20 at 6am - Impact begins on Charles Street. Plan Ahead!

Get yourselves up to the action this weekend. If you haven't been before check it out, it's wild.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rethinking Downtown

Interesting article from Gerald Neilly over at Baltimore Brew about how to reinvent downtown to make it work in the post modern world. Basically, the "walled in" Downtown, MLK to the West, Franklin-Mulberry to the North, and the JFX to the East act as barriers to the livibility and growth potential of the downtown. If these can be readjusted or in some cases, removed, majore strides can be made.

I like the point he makes about don't just replicate suburbia in the urban area. Anyways it's a good read.

Downtown doesn’t need to recover – it’s got to reincarnate.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

It's a Mad House! Mad House!

(image credit, lombardproject)

You have been forewarned! Don't blame me, I'm letting all of you know on this blog. If you don't read it, well that's your fault. Resurfacing and partial reconstruction of the downtown portions of Lombard Street begins today! My suggestion, don't drive down there for the foreseeable future! I wouldn't even recommend taking Fayette St to get across the CBD. The light sequence is even worse than Lombard, and it's a narrower street.

Complicating things this week is ArtScape, which will be sure to snarl traffic in the MICA/UB/Station North area of the city.

Suggestions:
Use the Metro, Light Rail, or Buses.

Take the Fort McHenry Tunnel around the downtown area.

Take Streets north of Lombard to get across the CBD.

From the East, use Baltimore St. or Fayette St. to get to the JFX. (Lombard generally backs up into Little Italy on normal rush hours anyway)

If you find a better way to get around, by all means, let us know, and we'll spread the word!

For more information go to the project's website: www.lombardproject.com

Thursday, July 9, 2009

No More Texting

MTA Maryland adopts a no cell or texting policy for it's operators. This follows a similar press release by WMATA this morning. Though this comes in light of Sunday's accident, there is no word if an inattentive operator was at fault.

Blog post from Michael Dresser at the Baltimore Sun.

MTA falls in line with WMATA cell/text policy
SUN EXCLUSIVE: The Maryland Transit Administration has adopted a zero-tolerance policy under which any bus, light rail or Metro subway operator found to have been using a cell phone or text-messaging device on the job will be fired even if its is a first offense.
The MTA took the action about an hour after the Washington Metro system announced a similar change in which it scrapped a three-strikes-and-you’re-out policy and said it would fire violators outright.
The decision by Administrator Paul J. Wiedefeld came just minutes after The Sun inquired about the MTA's policy in light of WMATA's announcement.
MTA spokeswoman Jawauna Greene said the agency will inform its operators' union of the change but will not bargain over it.
"There is no negotiation when it comes to public safety," she said.

Monday, July 6, 2009

No News Is Not Good News

(flickr photo credit, Amber Rhea)

It's been over a day since two teens were found in the middle of the southbound tracks of the Light Rail near the Lutherville Station. One died yesterday, the other died today, but why does MTA Maryland not update its riders of the situation?

Within minutes of the accident on the DC Metro, Metro's website had information regarding the situation, delays, and news updates. I would question the immediacy of a response with our counterparts.

Why is it that every time I hear news from MTA Maryland, I get it from the Sun, or WBAL or WJZ or somebody else besides MTA Maryland? This incident is just another one of those non-stories from our Public Transit folks. No press release on the website, nothing. Press Releases are few and far between on mtamaryland.com, yet you can find almost daily news updates from transportation departments in other cities (MTA, MBTA, WMATA, SEPTA, etc). Why, then, do we get nothing?

It's not to say that there isn't news in Baltimore transit. The Light Rail is getting new signage downtown, any news or updates? No. The SmartCard system is supposed to go live in October, any updates for riders who might be interested in getting one? No. Bus, Light Rail, and Metro Subway schedules changed on June 14th, any news release on the main page? No, and even then, there was no press release about what was changing. The Metro Subway is getting brand new PA/AV systems at all stations with Federal Stimulus money. You guessed it, No news there either. What about updates on the Red Line? Nothing, Green Line, Nope, Purple Line, Nada.

How do you expect to encourage ridership growth, if you don't tell your current or potential riders anything?

Odd Accident on the Light Rail, Sunday

1 Boy Dead, 1 Hurt After Light Rail Incident - WBAL Radio - wbal.com

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MTA Maryland is still trying to figure this one out. A northbound train Fare Inspector saw two bodies lying in the southbound tracks, Sunday afternoon, so the train stopped and medical personnel were called. Jawauna Greene, spokeswoman for MTA Maryland said an investigation is going on, but no train operator reported hitting anything.

This is really odd.