Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Street Smart

Former New York City commissioner, traffic columnist ("Gridlock Sam") and transportation consultant Sam Schwartz has written a book about urban streets and "The Rise of Cities and the Fall of Cars". (You can see a 2012 video with him here).
In the book he is hopeful and somewhat nostalgic about streets, thinking that they could return to what they were for thousands of years before. And he doesn't mean sewers and drainage ditches but places of public life, commerce and interaction.
“Horse-drawn carts trying to negotiate a road like Bedford Avenue would have had to dodge pedestrians who filled the street,” Schwartz writes. “Peddlers and other tradesmen were as entitled to the street as wagons. Children played in the middle of those roads, and adults met one another there". (Street Smart)
Naturally, the Wall Street Journal doesn't like the book much and the online comments under the WSJ review are full of the liberals against free market warfare in which much of the transportation debate is being couched these days.

Schwartz will be on Midday today with Aaron Hankin as the show's moderator and me as a second guest. 
Brooklyn intersection (Brooklyn Magazine)
We will have to find out that Baltimore is not yet a city with "smart streets" but instead filled with Moses/Barnes devices and methods that still hang on all the way from the fifties to now, such as:

  • - peak hour restricted parking lanes that become dangerous travel lanes in rush hour
  • -one way streets that became traffic sewers
  • - timed traffic signals that encourage speeding through entire neighborhoods without slowing down
  • - lack of bike and ped facilities
  • - ineffective transit. 
Of course all of this is supposed to change. 2016 will bring us us bike share, a reorganized bus system and possibly fewer one way streets. Hearings and public conversations about buses, one way streets and mayoral candidates' qtransport policies are beginning right now. 

Rather late than never. Tune in today at noon (88.1fm) and participate in the conversation. 

If we get to talk about Times Square it may even get juicy: how traffic calming has induced public nakedness. 

Of course the sad reality is that "street smart" in Baltimore has nothing to do with traffic and little with sex. 

Klaus Philipsen, FAIA

Below some of the upcoming public meetings related to transportation:

Bus system reform:

You are invited to learn more about BaltimoreLink, the multi-phase plan that will create an interconnected transit system and will redesign the entire local and express bus system throughout Baltimore. The plan also includes adding 12 new high-frequency, color-coded bus routes that improve connections to jobs and other transit modes.  
Workshops will be conducted, open house style, to provide updated information on the BaltimoreLink system and to collect feedback. Presentations will be provided and staff will be available to answer questions. The same information will be presented at each workshop.
We want to hear from you! Please join us at any of the following workshops (drop in during the workshop when convenient for you). You can also learn and participate online by going to ourBaltimoreLInk webpage.
Transit Access
Date and Time
War Memorial, Memorial Hall
101 N. Gay Street, Baltimore, MD 21202
Nos. 5, 5X, 7, 8, 10, 15, 15X,
19, 19X, 20, 23, 26, 31, 35,
36, 40, 46, 47, 48, 91, 150,
160, 310, 420 and Metro Subway
Wednesday, November 4, 2015,
11:00 AM -3:00 PM
Owings Mills Library
Meeting Room A
10302 Grand Central Avenue
Owings Mills, MD 21117
Nos. 18, 56, 59,
and Metro Subway
November 9, 2015
6:00 PM - 8:00PM
State Center Office Complex, Room L1

201 W. Preston Street
Baltimore, MD 21201
Nos. 3, 5, 5X, 11, 19,
20, 23, 27, 31, 91, 310, 420,
Light Rail and Metro Subway
November 16,2015 
4:00 PM -6:30PM 
Brooklyn Park Community Library
1 East 11th Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21225
Nos. 14, 64
Thursday, November 19, 2015
6:00 PM - 8:00PM 
Towson Library
320 York Road
Towson, MD 21204
Nos. 3, 8, 11, 12, 48
December 1, 2015
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
North Point Library
1716 Merritt Boulevard Dundalk, MD 21222
No. 4
December 7, 2015
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM 
Northwood Library
Use of library meeting space does not constitute endorsement of this organization, this program or its content by the Enoch Pratt Free Library.
4420 Loch Raven Boulevard
Baltimore, MD 21218
No. 3, 33, and 103
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
5:30 PM - 7:30 PM 
Coppin University 
Talon Center, Room 218 A
2500 W North Avenue Baltimore, MD 21216
Nos. 1, 7, 5, 13,
16, 21, 22, 51,
52, 53, 54, 91
and 97 (Mondawmin Shuttle)
Thursday, December 10, 2015
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM 
Catonsville Library

1100 Frederick Road Catonsville, MD 21228
Nos. 10, 10X, 23,
and 77
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
White Marsh Library
8133 Sandpiper Cir. Baltimore, MD 21236
Nos. 35, 58, and 120
Thursday, December 17, 2015
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

City Council Transportation Forums:

Traffic delays.  Reliability.  Access to Jobs.  What will the City Council do to improve transportation for Baltimore City? Now is the time for a serious discussion about how we can have a world class transit system in Baltimore.
Brought to you by Transit Choices, Citizens Planning & Housing Association, 1000 Friends of Maryland and the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance.

(Event for mayoral candidates will be held in early 2016)
Time: 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Location: Lord Baltimore Hotel, 20 W. Baltimore Street - Baltimore, MD 21201
Space is Limited so please register today.

One way Streets:

The Baltimore City Department of Transportation will hold three community meetings to discuss the St. Paul Streets and Calvert Streets Two-Way Conversion Study.  Please select the most convenient date that fits your schedule.
December 15, 2015
Benton Building
417 E. Fayette Street
Baltimore MD 21202
3rd Floor Conference Room
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

December 1, 2015
Saint Philip and James Church
2801 N. Charles Street,
Baltimore MD 21218
7:00 PM to 9:00 PM

December 9, 2015
Baltimore Montessori School
1600 Guilford Avenue
Baltimore MD 21202
7:00 PM to 8:30 PM

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