Courtesy JHU Hub

Just in time for 2017, San Martin Drive on the Johns Hopkins University-Homewood campus reopened thanks to a $15 million renovation from the school.

Sections of the winding roadway, which runs along a northern edge of the campus and is used heavily by runners, have been closed since last February while construction was underway. The closing forced drivers to find other routes to get around the Hopkins campus.

Yesterday, San Martin Drive was reopened to vehicles from University Parkway to Wyman Park Drive. A sidewalk on the south side of Wyman Park Drive was also reopened, providing access to the campus from Remington Avenue. Most of a new sidewalk from the Bloomberg Center to University Parkway has also been opened to pedestrians.

“It’s good news for the New Year,” Bob McLean, vice president for facilities and real estate at Hopkins, told the JHU Hub. “We appreciate the university community’s patience and cooperation as we made important improvements to the safety, convenience and appearance of this well-traveled area.”

About a mile in length, the project was designed to make San Martin Drive safer and more attractive, just as the recent improvements to Charles Street did for that corridor. According to the Hub, the work included providing better pathways and lighting for pedestrians, shorter and more easily negotiable crosswalks at three intersections and brick gateways at entrances to the Homewood campus.

Among the enhancements was a sidewalk upgrade to protect pedestrians and runners. Before, the road had sections where sidewalks suddenly ended or became too narrow. Now it has a continuous, standard path that also includes a nearly 350-foot bridge reserved for pedestrians.

San Martin Drive is owned by Baltimore City, which allowed Hopkins to make the upgrades. The university paid for the improvements, primarily through gifts. The improvement area stretches nine-tenths of a mile along San Martin Drive from University Parkway to Wyman Park Drive and then continues another tenth of a mile along Wyman Park Drive to Remington Avenue.

RK&K was the lead designer and engineer, and Ayers Saint Gross was the landscape architect. Whiting Turner Contracting Co. was the construction manager.

According to the Hub, some work will continue into the first few months of 2017, including construction of a sidewalk in front of the Homewood Early Learning Center on Wyman Park Drive and new gateways and curbs at the University Parkway intersection. Some landscaping also won’t be completed until the spring, when weather conditions are better for planting.

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Ed Gunts

Ed Gunts is a local freelance writer and the former architecture critic for The Baltimore Sun.