Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

Happy New Year to all of you in Baltimore, from all of us here at Baltimore Skyline!
Hope you had a great 2008, and best wishes for a healthy 2009!
We're outta here, heading to the New Years Celebrations, but we'll catch you in '09!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Pentultimate Post of 2008

(*courtesy flickr member silentarchimedes)

As the second-to-last post of 2008, we'll recap some of the events that happened this year in Baltimore.

1.) Work finally started on the Legg Mason Tower and The Four Seasons down at Harbor East, finishing up the last of the open parcels down there. Look for more updates in 2009 as those buildings are completed and tenants move in.

2.) The DEIS was finalized for the Red Line and it looks like a light rail plan (4C) will be the one chosen. Next stop off to the Gov's office for the final say. Who knows when construction will start though

3.) Work on the Hopkins Medical Campus and East Side Redevelopment chugs along. The steel is done on the two new Hospital Towers, and one of the Bio Tech buildings is finished. Expect to see more work going on throughout 2009 and into 2010.

4.) MTA expanded its MARC schedule in January, and now a year later is reducing service to save cash. There goes any hope for weekend service on the Penn Line anytime soon.

5.) The Light Rail broke this Summer, and then was fixed, and then broke again this Fall. Even with all of that ridership is up over 15% Thanks to the patient commuter!

6.) Silo Point is complete and open to tenants. Who new a grain silo could look so good with a touch up.

7.) The Hilton Hotel was completed, and has been a major success for attracting conventions. The Zenith apartments across the street was also finished.

8.) 4 plans were presented for to the BDC for the new arena. There are a lot of promising ideas, so hopefully we'll see some construction equipment over there sometime in the future.

It's been a promising year for Baltimore, even with the financial crisis. Here's to more exciting development, sports, transportation, etc news in '09!

-Baltimore Skyline

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Festivus for the Rest of Us

(*courtesy of The Baltimore Sun)

Hot Diggity-Dog the Ravens are in the playoffs! That means another Ravens Festivus! Expect purple to light up City Hall, Penn Station, and the Inner Harbor in the near future, if the Ravens can make a run this postseason. The 27-7 drubbing on the Jaguars ensured a Wild-Card berth and a playoff date with the Miami Dolphins next weekend on the road. Once again everyone is Wacko for Flacco, who threw for 297 yards.

In other NFL news my hometown Iggles ransacked the Cowgirls 44-6 on their way to the playoffs as well. They'll meet up with the Vikings in Minnesota in some Wild Card action.

Hope the long weekend was good. Back to work!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Things We Love About Christmas In Baltimore

(*courtesy of jpete flickr)
* Miracle on 34th Street in Hampden

* Santa's Christmas Palace at the Inner Harbor

* Quad Lighting at Johns Hopkins

* Snowflakes along Pratt Street

* Christmas Village at St. Paul Place

* The Washington Monument Lighting

* Fells Point Christmas Trees

* Campus decorations at Loyola

* Festival of Trains at the B&O Museum

* BSO Holiday Spectacular

* Christmas Parade in Hampden

Like all Christmas related things in Baltimore, we start and stop with Hampden. It's the wintry centerpiece of our fair city.

Whatever you are doing for the Holidays we here at Baltimore Skyline wish everyone in Charm City a Blessed Christmas and Holiday Season!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Why Deadlines Are Important

Miss a deadline in college - lose a few points off your grade

Miss a deadline in the real world - lose $2 million in FTA funding

This is why deadlines are important people! The MTA missed a crucial deadline for earmarks adding up to $2 million for design and engineering program for the Red Line. Consequence? Bye-bye money. The Gov't giveth and the Gov't taketh away.

Now, in all fairness the FTA didn't make it very easy to file the necessary paperwork, but if the MTA knew it was difficult, they should have worked harder. Especially if it is central to the planning and implementation of a major piece of transit!

The Baltimore Examiner goes into a little more detail about it, which is worth taking a good look at it. I liked the Bush Bashing at the end.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

No Teixeira for the Orioles?

It doesn't look like Mark Teixeira will be wearing the Orange and Black next year. A 7-year $150 million contract just isn't enough of an incentive to play for Baltimore, in your home state of Maryland. Word on the street is the Red Sox are out in the lead with an even bigger offer. Why go play in Beantown in front of a packed crowd of Massholes in Fenway, when you can bask in the luster of Camden Yards in front of a homier, yet just as die hard fan base in Birdland! (Hey remember when the Braves picked him up in '07 hoping he would catapult them into the playoffs, and then they finished in 3rd place?)

Call me old school, but I sure wish there was still something called "team loyalty" in baseball. We haven't had a franchise player in Baltimore since Ripken, and I would hardly call B-Rob a long hauler.

Anyways, back on track. The O's did pick up Cesar Izturis from the Cardinals for a 2-year deal. He's a career .260 hitter, which isn't bad. He's a switch hitter, which will make him valuable as the starting SS.

On a positive note, anything is possible in baseball, and anything is better than last year.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Remember When Rash Field Had Ice Skating?

I do...well vaguely. It seems hard to believe that there isn't a place to ice skate at the Inner Harbor. One would think that it would be a no-brainer. You have the promenade, the water, the skyline, it's a great place to have a public out-door ice skating rink. Well there was Rash Field until 2003, when the rink closed down after 10 years. I remember going by it a few times during the winter when I was in college, but never had the chance to actually ice skate.

So why don't we have one anymore! We're missing on a great market here. New York has Rockefeller Center and Philadelphia has their River Rink, we need to bring it back!

There are a few ideas on the table. One is a revamped Rash Field with a garage underneath. This, I believe, is still on option. The other would be on the other side of the Harbor, apart of the Pratt Street redevelopment. Part of the plan would be to rebuilt Schaefer Plaza/Sam Smith Park into a larger public space. One of the artists renditions includes an ice rink for winter. Place right at the heart of the action would be a great place, but the Rash Field site would be more picturesque if you ask me.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Fat Lady Sings for the BOC

After 58 years the Fat Lady sings for the Baltimore Opera Company, and the Lyric will be a whole lot quieter. Sadly, they filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and canceled the last two shows of their season. Unfortunately not enough people in Baltimore like going to the Opera. It's a major blow for the High Arts for this city, though at least there is the BSO and the theatre arts (like Center Stage and the Hippodrome).

When Baltimore is trying to increase its image as an improving city, with a vibrant tourist scene, and attractive venues for its citizens, we go and let ourselves down by letting a culture scene die. Smothered like Desdemona in Othello by the pressure of the economy and other venues in the city.

Now, I can never say I've actually been to a BOC performance, or any Opera at all, although I am a big fan of Center Stage, but the loss of this performing art just encourages the dissenter's argument that Baltimoreans are "uncultured"

Here's hoping that the BOC gets back on it's feet, stretches out their diaphragms, and get some of that class back in Charm City

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Christmas Time in Baltimore

(courtesy of The Baltimore Sun)

It's my favorite time of the year, especially here in Baltimore. The lights go up on Pratt Street, the neighbors hang wreaths and trim their trees. Most importantly is the annual lighting of the Baltimore...Monument.

What a great tradition, instead of having a large city tree, we light up the most recognizable landmark in the city. So every year in early December, lights are strung up Washington's column, and are ceremoniously lit, accompanied by fireworks, music, and food.

Unfortunately, this year I couldn't make it on Thursday, I was disappointed about that. I do enjoy seeing it from a distance, or driving by while sitting on the JHU shuttle. Kudos to the city for deciding to ditch the colored lights for clear this year. Call me conservative, but I never did like colored lights outside anyways. I remember throwing fits in suburban Philadelphia, at a young age, when stringing lights on the trees with the family, and insisting that not a single light would be anything other than clear (and god forbid any of them blinked!).

If you get a chance this Holiday Season to check out Mt. Vernon Square, do so. You might also enjoy St. Paul Place that gets decked out as well. Or Fells Point with their assortment of Christmas trees in the plaza and red tape rapped light posts.

Holidays are upon us! Hope you get your shopping done.

Monday, December 1, 2008

BaltimoreCarShare Coming in 2009

As we reported on Baltimore Skyline back in October, the city is planning on it's own non-profit car sharing company, BaltimoreCarShare, to catch the market left by Zipcar, who did not want to enhance it's service in Baltimore

Well apparently BaltimoreCarShare will start service in March. According to an article in the Sun, there will be a trial period in January and February, and then everything will be open at the end of March.

No word yet on where car pods will be located, but that will probably be made public sometime in the future. If you ask me, they should definitely situate a lot of pods downtown, and at the public garages (Federal Hill and Fells Point to name two places). Penn Station, Camden Station, and BWI would also be key, to catch the commuters and visitors coming in town. Situating a few around the many college campuses (MICA, UB, Loyola, UMB, etc) would be great for letting students get around easier.

As i mentioned in the previous post, the best idea would be to put pods at the many MTA stops that have parking lots (Glen Burnie, Owings Mills, Mt. Washington, etc) to allow a seemless tranisition between transit. PhillyCarShare does this with their transit agency SEPTA, and apparently works great.

There isn't much on the website yet, but I would expect more info up there eventually. Definitely a good idea since Baltimore is trying on the whole "green" look.