Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spring Training

The O's are down in Sarasota in their new spring training facilities. Only 7 more days until the first spring training games start. Weiters, Markakis, and B-Rob are there. Tejada is back with the team (for better or worse), and old new ace Millwood.

That could only mean one thing. The Orioles will be back in Camden Yards quicker than the Light Rail from Hunt Valley!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Transit Back Up and Running

Finally after the snow has gone and the sun has come out again, Baltimore Transit is back up and running on its normal schedule. Metro Subway and the Light Rail are running as normal, making all stops. MARC trains have also resumed normal service as of today.  MTA Maryland is still warning about slippery parking lots and a few less spots due to snow piles, but other than that it's good.

City buses are still seeing residual slowness, and some lines have still not reopened. Most streets are cleared, but many are still down lanes due to snow piles. Commuter Buses are back to normal schedules, but some bus stops are still snow covered, so be careful out there.

The Charm City Circulator continues to run on a modified schedule and route due to downtown conditions. The CCC will run until 8pm, and will not serve stops west of MLK Blvd until further notice. You can still get real-time shuttle locations on nextbus.

Thankfully there is not snow in the forecast for this week, other than the showers we're supposed to get today. In the meantime, the sun will be out and temperatures will be well above freezing, so bring on the melt. Take that snow! (Is it springtime yet?)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snowpocalypse Redux Slideshow

Just when you thought we were done with the snow, the Snowpocalypse returned with storm number two on February 9-10. The total snow amount in Baltimore broke the winter record set in 1995-1996, and it's only the beginning of February. Here are some more pictures of walking around downtown. Enjoy!

Snowpocalypse Slideshow

This is a little late, but with all of this snow I've been a littl busy. This is a photo gallery from the first storm of the Snowpocalypse on February 5-6. I was able to walk around downtown on the 6th and took some of these pictures as the storm was starting to wind down. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Evolution of the DC Metrorail

This timeline was put together by David Alpert from GreaterGreaterWashington of the evolution of the DC metrorail system.

The best part about this is watching how the system grew and expanded (and threatens to be curtailed due to finances) over the last 34 years. As you click through the timeline and watch the system grow, you can see how a lot of growth happens over very short periods of time. It's unfortunate when you compare this to the Baltimore system which grew very slowly, and still struggles with the best way to successfully expand service.

D.C.'s metrorail is a testiment to strong, consistent funding backed up by sound decision making, planning, and connectivity. The same cannot be said with Baltimore, where our funding has been much less, our planning being focused more on cheaper rather than most effecient, and our connectivity is lacking. 

Anyone interested in putting together something similar for Baltimore?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Snowpocalypse Now!

(photo credit, The Baltimore Sun)

I love the smell of snow in the morning, smells like...blizzard.

Just when you thought we couldn't get any more snow, here we go with another storm, and a hell of a storm at that! By tomorrow we could see anywhere between 20"-30" of the white stuff in the Baltimore area. This storm could easily give the February 2003 storm a run for its money. For all of us Loyola alums who were there at the time, we refer to that one as "Snow Week".

Right now, as of 11:15pm, we have blizzard like conditions with heavy snow and a whole lot of roaring, blustery wind. Looking out on the skyline the buildings disappear into the snow only a few blocks away. It is very incredible to watch!

More snow to come over night, the temperature is supposed to drop as the night goes on and the winds will continue to be strong and gusting. More snow throughout tomorrow into the afternoon. If you have any great pictures from today or tomorrow, please pass them along!

...the horror...the horror

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Checking in on Changes at Penn Station

I'm not a daily commuter in-and-out of Penn Station, so I am rarely up there other then when I have to take MARC or Amtrak for business travel. Before the snow yesterday, I found myself up in that part of town while dropping into the UB Library to pick up a book on reserve. Since I had to wait for the Hopkins shuttle to pick me up, I decided to detour into Penn Station to see what improvements have been made since I was last in there.  To bring people up to speed Amtrak received stimulus money to make improvements and upgrades at the station.

The interior is seeing some major upgrades. Recently, the ceiling was upgraded, the water stained tiles have been replaced, so the ceiling is now uniformly white. Ceiling fans have been installed and are a great addition. Amtrak is apparently upgrading their train information systems as well. Gone is the auto-mechanical schedule board with its familiar flap-flap-flap sound as the schedule was updated. It has been replaces with an equally large LED display, which has not been put into service yet. New LCD monitors have been added in the many lobby, the sitting area, and the ticketing area, but have not been turned on either.

The biggest improvement so far has been the opening of the Java Moon Cafe (and bar!). This is definitely an attempt to capitalize on the growing number of travellers who travel through Baltimore. The addition of Java Moon fills a major hole at Penn Station where other stations (e.g. 30th Street, Union, NYPenn) have, an expanded place for travellers to sit and grab a bite to eat or have a drink while waiting for the train to arrive.

In the near future the windows will also be replaced through ARRA funds, and the long anticipated renovation for the Inn at Penn Station coming sometime this year.

If any of you readers out there are up by Penn Station in the future, or more frequently than I am, check in and let us know what you see, or if you have any photos.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Unexpected Snow Storm

What was forcast as a light dusting of snow for Saturday turned into a whole lot more than that in the Baltimore area. I awoke Saturday morning to the first snowflakes falling.  What I thought would pass by quickly turned into a lengthy, constant snow storm. The city wound up getting more than an inch or so, and the streets quickly turned into a slippery white mess.

Unlike our previous snowstorm that dropped 21 inches in December. This quick storm left many of us in Baltimore unprepared, and previously scheduled weekend plans were truncated. Thankfully, the DOT was on the roads early and often, salting, sanding, and plowing. By the afternoon most of the downtown streets were pretty clear.

If you have any snow stories from the weekend please let me know!