Friday, September 25, 2009

Loyola is dead! Long Live Loyola!

Today marks the name transition of one of Baltimore's institutions of higher education. Loyola College in Maryland, founded in 1852 by the Jesuits on Holliday Street in downtown Baltimore, officially changes its name to Loyola University Maryland. While the school has had university status for many years, last year Loyola decided that a change of designation was in order to reflect its growing identity.

Over the past few weeks Loyola has been busy preparing its campus for the new name. Old signs have been brought down and replaced with shiny new ones. A grand convocation is also planned for today with two honorary degrees being awarded. Fireworks will cap off the night.

Not everyone is fine and dandy with this new name. Over the past year many students, staff, and especially Loyola alumni have voiced their opinion in opposition to the designation change. Many feel that this isn't the best decision, while others feel it's a waste of money during tough economic times (a name change can cost millions of dollars), and even others think the university is losing its tradition and commitment to the small liberal arts values, all in the name of rankings and business.

Whatever the case may be Loyola College in Maryland is out and Loyola University Maryland is in.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Charm City Circulator - Running Late Now...Because They Didn't Get Their S*** Together

First it was "Coming This Summer" then it was "Coming Late Summer" now it's "Coming This Fall" The Charm City Circulator keeps getting pushed back due to, as the website states, "the global economic downturn and problems with the automated supply train" Maybe they wouldn't have had this problem if the city didn't ask for a last minute design change to the front of the bus that necessitated the windshields and front panels to be replaced.

The hints should have been coming that the CCC was in fact not going to start any time soon, if you ever took a look around the proposed routes. All summer there were no signs, no dedicated lanes, no shelters, or anything going up that screamed "There's where the new circulator will be!". Instead all of these have just been recently added to along the first line along Lombard and Pratt streets.

What does "Coming this Fall" mean anyway? It's clearly not by the Autumnal Equinox, because that was yesterday. Maybe October? November? Sometime prior to the start of winter on December 21st? I would sure hope it's before that day, since the third of three lines is supposed to be operational by the end of December. That's the one that will go along Charles St. and St Paul.

Maybe the CCC missed the opportunity for all the summer tourism we get in the city, but that's OK, the three lines will be operational for all the Holiday tourists, you know the ones that do their Christmas shopping at all of the downtown retail we have out in the counties.

I'm sure this will be great when it gets up and running, but making vague announcements about start times, and proposed routes without anything definitive, does not encourage us. In fact, we're as confused as ever.

City Paper Awards "Getting There"

The Baltimore City Paper awarded Michael Dresser's Baltimore Sun blog "Getting There" as the city's Best Newspaper Blog for 2009.

Thanks for keeping us up-to-date on what's going down on the roads and rails in Baltimore!

Best Newspaper Blog: Getting There | Baltimore City Paper

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Defenders' Day Wash Out

(flickr photo by Ash Crowe)

That last holiday of the summer, the one after Labor Day, the one that is really only a Maryland Holiday, and pretty much only celebrated in Baltimore, was a total wash this past weekend thanks to Mother Nature. What is usually a grand celebration of history and Baltimore with fireworks, food, picnics, and cannons was mostly turned into a subdued event due to the rain.

Baltimore area school children were left with running between buildings on Friday morning during the Young Defenders program, to keep out of the steady light rain. The Living Flag program for them was cancelled. A gray Saturday morning turned into another afternoon of mistiness that left Fort McHenry with lower than anticipated attendance.

The fireworks were as grand as usual Friday night, but the crowd seemed much smaller then in the past due to the unpredictable weather. The major change this year from previous was in the setting. The crowd gathered near the statue of Orpheus rather than on the large field near the Inner Harbor, due to the construction of the Park Service's new Visitor Center. Although different this allowed for a great sight, watching the fireworks explode in a brilliant variety of colors and shapes behind the Star Spangled Banner.

Being as this was the 195th Anniversary of the Battle of Baltimore and the writing of the Star Spangled Banner, Gov. O'Malley (say what you will about him, but the man loves and knows his history) announced the official beginning of the Maryland War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission that will be the counterpoint of the 200th anniversary beginning in 2012.

Although this Defenders Day was lesser than usual, expect the celebrations to become grander over the next few years as the City and State get closer to the 200th. I wouldn't be surprised if Defenders' Day was reinstituted as a State Holiday.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Links from Our Friends on the Web - Baltimore Transit

Here are two responses from some good blogs on the webs about the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance's recommendation that the proposed Yellow Line, an extension of the current Central Light Rail south from BWI to Columbia and north from Penn Station to Towson, be moved ahead of the next scheduled project, the extension of the Metro Subway past Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The Transport Politic - Baltimore to Advance Yellow Line Project Ahead of Metro Extension?

Greater Greater Washington - Baltimore needs central transit, not Yellow Line extension

I'm still formulating my own take on this, since I haven't had the change to fully dive into the plan, but from what I see of it so far, the extension of the current light rail past BWI to Columbia doesn't sound like the best idea at all. It doesn't make a quick trip to anywhere. I'll get back to you all on my full report in a later post.

You can view the full report of the CMTA recommendation here: Central Maryland TOD Strategy.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

So Long Sweet Summer

Your Baltimore Skyline is taking a little "last weekend of the unofficial summer vacation" to the New Jersey shore for Labor Day, so we'll see you in a few days. Wow did this summer fly by! It feels like only yesterday that we were celebrating Memorial Day drinking some cocktails, bbqing, and enjoying the nice weather in Baltimore, and now it's September. Where did you go summertime?

Now it's time to transition into Fall. School's back in session, the Ravens will be rocking M&T Bank Stadium soon, and the Orioles won't be playing October baseball (ok, so the regular season goes into the first week of October this year, but you know what I mean). It will be Defenders Day in another weekend, and right before you know it, it will be time for the B'more Book Festival, Free Fall weekends, and somewhere there will be a brand spanking new Charm City Circulator.

Anyways, enjoy the long weekend Baltimoreans, hope you don't sit on the Bay Bridge for too long. Break out the grill one last time, pop open a beer, and enjoy the weather, it'll be great!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Red Line Video

Check out the new Red Line video on the project website. It's a nice 3-d visualization of the line from Poppleton to Canton.

Things I've noticed:

- The Howard Street stop will have an entrance right at the Light Rail station.

- The pedestrian connector at Charles Center to the metro subway will have a moving walkway. I am disappointed that they only have 1 station entrance planned here, and not an additional one on Redwood Street halfway along the pedestrian connector.

- The light rail tunnel comes back to the surface at Hudson Street in Canton. I'd be interested to see how this plays out.

Let me know what you think. It's September folks, enjoy your Labor Day weekend!