Baltimore Could Get $200 Million To Repair City Infrastructure – CBS Baltimore
A 1930s campground will be revived in Gwynns Falls Park – Baltimore Sun
Five Bands to see at Artscape 2017 – BmoreArt
When Mayor Catherine Pugh handed off a letter to Donald Trump at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday, she was making an appeal for help from Trump’s incoming administration for several of Baltimore’s most pressing infrastructure issues.
Another sinkhole popped up in Mt. Vernon last night, this one about a block west of the Washington Monument at the center of the historic neighborhood.
By now, you’ve presumably seen the horrifying footage of the huge
sinkhole landslide that swallowed several cars on 26th Street during yesterday’s storm. But did you know that the neighborhood has been campaigning to get the unsafe area fixed for nearly three decades?
Last week we mentioned the Washington Post’s assertion that Marylanders will soon be paying some of the nation’s highest prices for gas. (Why are you always hating on us, WaPo!?) It’s true that this spring’s gas tax hike is causing drivers to pay more at the pump. But if that money is spent well — and, yes, that’s a big if — it’s possible we’ll all be saving money in the long term.
According to the American Society of Civil Engineers, 55 percent of Maryland’s roads are of poor or mediocre quality, perhaps because a full 25 percent of our pavement was constructed before 1930! Poorly maintained roads wreak havoc on vehicles to the tune of about $1.6 billion in extra repair costs per year, the ASCE estimates — that’s about $422 per driver. The ASCE translates that to a grade of C-. That’s dismal, to be sure, but slightly better than the national grade of D.
No, you’re not suffering from deja vu — there’s actually been another slew of water main breaks interrupting commuters, diverting traffic, and shutting off water to city residents. After last week’s rupture at Charles Street and North Avenue disrupted commuters, we thought that maybe the city would catch a break (no pun intended) for at least a week. But no: this morning, Mount Vernon residents were greeted by a flooded Guilford Avenue, and this afternoon Essex Community College had to cancel classes after a pipe broke on the eastern edge of the city.
Maybe you were trying to drive up Charles Street to get to work this morning, only to find this crucial throughway under water — not because of a hurricane, but because a water main broke. Or maybe you (like me) woke up one morning in August to find the sidewalk outside your house had turned into a river. Or maybe you were terrified by the news of the sinkhole that opened in the middle of the street in Southwest Baltimore this summer. In any case, it’s clear by now: Baltimore’s water mains are in terrible shape, and they’re only going to keep breaking. So what’s a city without a whole lot of extra money to spend on improving aging infrastructure to do?
The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) recently began a new one million dollar resurfacing project to improve safety and traffic operations along one mile of MD 45 (York Road) between Towsontown Boulevard and Stevenson Lane in Towson.
Crews are upgrading sections of curb, gutter, sidewalk and ramps to meet current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards; cleaning and repairing inlets and drainage pipes; and installing underground and overhead traffic detectors at intersections where needed. Later this summer crews will patch, grind and resurface this section of York Road.
What’s that sound, Baltimore drivers? The gentle breath of an early May breeze? The whoosh of a zooming sports car? Unfortunately, it’s the collective sigh of a thousand stranded (yet resigned) local motorists. As you probably know from reading The Sun or by braving the northbound JFX yourself, last night — between 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. — all but a single lane near the northbound 29th Street exit was closed, leading drivers down a detour (Sisson to 29th and back to the JFX), and marking the official start of the two-million-dollar project to replace damaged drain pipes and strengthen the soil that supports the whole shebang. The un-fun continues each night through Monday. But it doesn’t stop there!
To quote The Sun story by Candus Thomson and Kevin Rector: “After this week, transportation authorities will alternate northbound and southbound overnight closures as needed throughout the road reconstruction project to keep traffic flowing.” Um, the opposite of yippee.
In far happier infrastructure storytelling, a bulletin from the State Highway Administration informed us that a new merge lane opens today, Friday, May 4th, along the I-695 W outer loop between York Road (MD 45) and Charles Street (MD 139).
Congratulations, those of you who made it to work today despite the expletive-inducing JFX Road Construction from Hell!
Surely by now we’ve many of us survived the morning commute via an alternate route, if not by way of the newly slenderized Jones Falls Expressway itself, which has of course been reduced to two lanes in both directions for impending construction, the first of its involved kind on 83 in 25 years. And quick review (delivered in a whiny voice): The project, which closes lanes near 29th and Druid Lake Drive—to enable repairs to drainage pipes below the highway and “bolster the highway’s underpinnings”—could last as long as eight weeks and cost up to (cue Austin Powers) one million dollars.
“The Jones Falls Expressway as we know it disappeared Friday evening…” Candus Thomson wrote rather poetically in Saturday’s print edition of The Baltimore Sun, and also noted, “Taking away the two left lanes will reduce traffic flow by at least a third on Baltimore’s highest-volume artery.” Yikes!