Transforming the Public Realm by Providing Equitable, Healthy Trail Access for People of All Ages and Abilities in Baltimore City

How We’re Getting It Done

The Baltimore Greenway Trails Coalition is a broad-based group of diverse stakeholders that includes more than 90 active partners, spearheaded by RTC and Bikemore. The coalition is focusing its early efforts on strengthening Greenway programming and supporting the network’s existing trails across all levels of civil society. Additionally, the coalition of partners works together to advocate for trail construction funding, advance designs, and build support for a Baltimore connected by trails.

The partners are also working with:

  • Communities in trail corridor gaps to build advocacy networks for future trails;
  • Elected leaders, business leaders and community advocates to develop innovative funding and finance plans for trail building;
  • Public agencies to incorporate trail-building plans into their capital improvement projects and master plans;
  • Institutions, property developers and other landowners to highlight the benefits of connecting their capital projects to the Greenway;
  • Regional planners and advocates to grow a robust regional trail network supported by a strong regional hub based in Baltimore.

The coalition will build on and support already emerging initiatives in the city, including Baltimore City’s emerging Green Network Plan, the updated Baltimore City Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan and a revitalized master plan for the Middle Branch.

The Coalition’s Origin: Building an Equitable and Healthy Baltimore with a Plan4Health Grant

In late 2015, the Baltimore Greenway Trails Coalition received an innovative Plan4Health Grant from the American Planning Association to form a sustainable coalition of broad-based stakeholders—with representatives from public agencies, nonprofit organizations, the private sector and community groups—to promote trails as part of urban design solutions for public health equity. Learn more.

Through this key support from a national partner, the coalition was able to:

  1. Broaden the public health discussion to include trails as tools for access to equitable movement and community development for healthy communities; and
  2. Convene diverse partners in a coalition who champion trails as essential infrastructure to support local and regional economic development, increase access to amenities, improve the quality of life and build strong communities.

Today: Building Collaborative Relationships with the Philanthropic Community and Public Sector to Advance the Greenway

France-Merrick Foundation

In 2016, RTC received funding from the France-Merrick Foundation to work with coalition partners on planning, design and community outreach in three significant corridor gaps along Northern Segments of the proposed trail network that connect Gwynns Falls Leakin Park to Herring Run Park, and in South Baltimore connecting the Middle Branch to the Inner Harbor, Downtown and the trail network.

The work supported Baltimore City successful funding applications—a 2018 federal Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) grant for final design of the South Baltimore Connector and a 2019 Maryland Bikeways Grant to design the Northern Segments of the Greenway.

A 2020 grant from the France Merrick Foundation to RTC enabled a community design process for the Boston Street Trail to connect the future east side rail-trail to the Inner Harbor Promenade. Baltimore City will use this preliminary design work to fundraise for state and federal funding to complete final design and construction.

Trail plan rendering showing the re-envisioned Boston Street Trail. | Courtesy of Toole Design Group
Trail plan rendering showing the re-envisioned Boston Street Trail. | Courtesy of Toole Design Group

South Baltimore Gateway Partnership (SBGP)

In 2017 SBGP began supporting RTC’s work on the Baltimore Greenway to highlight how the Middle Branch and the neighborhoods of South Baltimore will benefit from the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network. This work included tours of existing and future trails with neighborhood stakeholders, capacity building support to neighborhood organizations and trail vision sessions with project partners, residents and South Baltimore stakeholders.

Additional Funders of the Greenway

We are grateful for the continued support of The Goldseker Foundation, The Abell Foundation, Clayton Baker Trust, BGE, the Blaustein Foundation and the Chesapeake Bay Trust. These partnerships have supported RTC’s coalition building work, community vision setting, trail tours, community engagement, ongoing trail design and planning work to close gaps in the trail network, which helps advocate for a completed trail network.

These types of public-private partnerships enable the city, philanthropic community and private sector to assist each other in helping Baltimore reach its objectives related to community development while positioning trails as a catalyst for community growth.

We are also grateful to the following for their invaluable in-kind contributions that support the Greenway: Bikemore, Parks & People Foundation, Southeast CDC, BGE, Johns Hopkins University, Greater Washington Partnership, EY, Unknown Studios, AIA Baltimore Chapter Urban Design Committee, Design Jones, and the Louisiana State University’s Department of Landscape Architecture.

The Baltimore Greenway Trails Coalition Partners

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