Friday, December 31, 2010

Last Day of the Year

December 31, 2010. Today is the last day of 2010 for tomorrow begins a new year: 2011.

2010 has been an interesting year for Baltimore, and honestly a lot has happened. The Charm City Circulator began running and the Poe Toaster never showed up. Mayor Dixon resigned and Stephanie Rawlings-Blake took over the reigns. The city was dumped on by the Snowpocalypse. The Orioles got a new lively manager in the form of Buck Showalter. The summer brought us one of the worst heat waves with record days above 90 and 100. Downtown streets became a mess with first broken water mains, and then reconstruction for the Grand Prix. The CharmCard went into operation, finally. Someone crashed into the fencing at the Washington Monument. Four hotels opened this year including the complete restoration of the Hotel Brexton. A few major construction projects began, housing at Johns Hopkins East Baltimore Campus, the new Law School building at UB, and the new Shock Trauma expansion to name a few.  Mercy Hospital opened its new building on St. Paul Street. A massive fire endangered The Block, and the next day another severely damaged buildings in Mt Vernon. Maryland's population is trending up, but Baltimore's seems to be still trending down. Yet, all major crimes have hit the lowest in decades.

There was plenty more news this year in Baltimore, but we just pulled some of the top stories that Baltimore Skyline covered this year to just look back and remember all that happened in the last 365 days. How will 2010 wrap up? There is still plenty of hours left in the day. The Inner Harbor fireworks are always a blast, many bars will be open past 2am, the CCC is running until 1pm, and Bus, Light Rail, and Metro will be free from 8pm-2am thanks to Miller Lite.

Thanks again for another great year for all of you who read this blog, and we'll be seeing you in 2011.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas Baltimore!


While we didn't get exactly a White Christmas this year, it looks like we're going to get socked with 6-10 inches of snow tomorrow! A storm is brewing up the northeast corridor with Winter Storm Warnings from DC to Boston. Snow is expected to start overnight and continue all day tomorrow,just in time for all the people wanting to get on the road.

Anyway, Merry Christmas, Baltimore we hope you got everything you wanted!

Friday, December 24, 2010

Maybe Some Snow on Christmas?

While we wont be getting a lot of the white stuff on Christmas day, there is still a chance for some afternoon snow showers tomorrow, and through the weekend. This is a best case scenerio - the kids are happy because they get the White Christmas, and the parents (and everyone else) are happy that we don't have to drive in it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Up Goes Another Crane

screen shot from ubalt.edu
The construction crane for the new Law Center at the University of Baltimore went up at the corner of N. Charles St and Mt Royal Ave today. This is the second crane to go up in recent months in the city, which can only be great news. Feel free to follow the link in the caption to the construction camera on UB's website.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Block Fire: Arson?

The latest news swirling around is that the fire on the Block was reportedly arson. While no official word has been given, the ATF and Fire Marshal will have a news conference at 3pm today to deliver their findings.

What does this mean for the future of the block? If the buildings are losses, do we wind up with a third of a block that remains an empty lot? Would anyone even want to develop that property anyway?

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Welcome to Another Week

Another work week in Baltimore starts tomorrow after a rainy Sunday with the potential of snow showers during the morning commute, albeit very slight. We could be looking at some snow for next Sunday, so watch out.

The Terps lost to BC tonight in men's basketball, but Loyola stomped Mount St. Mary's by 23 points yesterday on the Evergreen campus.

The Holiday Festival of trains is steaming along at the B&O Railroad Museum as they contemplate purchasing one of their old buildings back on Pratt Street from Baltimore Behavioral Health.

At UB the foundations for the construction crane are set, and it is expected that the crane will go up sometime this week. It's only a matter of time until the concrete starts rising. Meanwhile in East Baltimore, the JHU grad tower has two floors of concrete up, and is moving skyward.

Downtown, the 400 block of E. Baltimore Street is still closed, but up in Mount Vernon scaffolding has already gone up around the burned out building where Donna's, My Thai, and Indigma hope to be back up and running in the next few months.

Welcome to a new week...

Thursday, December 9, 2010

MTA Maryland Needs a New Website

The MTA Maryland website was redesigned a couple years ago in order for it to be more user friendly and accessible, but even with the newer site it neither more user friendly, nor accessible. Below are just a few  other city transit agencies, and their much better sites. MTA Maryland should take some good notes from these other agencies and do a total restructuring of their own site.

SEPTA - Philadelphia, PA
PATCO - New Jersey/Philadelphia
TriMet - Portland, OR
WMATA - Washington, DC
Metro Transit - Minneapolis, MN
MBTA - Boston, MA

Information on each page is very limiting, and some is wrong, or doesnt look like it's been updated in a while.
For instance the pages for the Light Rail and Subway tell a potential rider nothing regarding how frequently trains run unless one digs into the schedule. The "General Information" for the Light Rail doesn't give you much at all, it doesn't even tell riders where it goes.

The website has to be more useful, if the MTA wants to draw new and more frequent riders. A mobile site is also a must, for riders to check in when they are already at the stop.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Second Big Fire in Less Than 9 Hours in Mt Vernon

Another 5-alarm fire started in Mt Vernon Place around 1:30am in the buildings that house Donna's, My Thai, and Indigma. Many of the same firefighters who had battled the fire on the Block just hours before were called out again to tackle the blaze on N. Charles Street.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-mount-vernon-fire,0,6793282.story

Monday, December 6, 2010

Massive Fire on the Block

There is currently a multi-alarm fire in the 400 block of E. Baltimore Street, aka "The Block". This is a terrible time for this to happen, right before rush hour.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bal-city-fire1206,0,3043698.story

http://www.wbaltv.com/slideshow/news/26037691/detail.html

UPDATE:
Fire now at 5 alarms. Shot Tower-Market Place Metro station is temporarily closed, and city buses are on detour, see http://www.mta.maryland.gov/.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Another Hotel Opens in Bmore

Looks like the new Sleep Inn next to the Holiday Inn Express on Fallsway is finally open. Saw the lights on, sign lit up, and cars in the parking lot while driving past today. This is another great addition to downtown, especially along Fallsway where any new development is a positive.

The far side of I-83 has its troubles since the highway cuts it off from the rest of downtown and the Harbor. At the lower end, there seems to be better success where the separation isn't as complete. The hotels make that stretch a lot less lonely and barren, and the addition of foot traffic is an improvement. This also shows a willingness to develop properties that are adjacent to I-83. On the west side there are a few vacant properties next to the highway, especially on Guilford. If the hotels are successful, it could be an incentive to build on lots and redevelop properties along Guilford, Holliday, and Gay. Let's see what happens.