Spring is Coming

Posted 04/02/19 by Avery Harmon in America's Trails

Jones Falls Trail by Woodberry Kitchen | Photo courtesy Woodberry Kitchen

Hello trail supporters:

Welcome to the third article in our Baltimore Community Blog. The weather is warming up, and we’re looking forward to spending less time indoors and more time on the trails. We’re also excited to get out and spread the word as much as possible about the trail network—so if you know of any upcoming festivals or other outdoor activities happening in the city in the near future that we should attend, please reach out to us.

“Regional” Trail Development

Earlier this month, we traveled to Annapolis to meet with legislators from the 40th District of the Maryland House of Delegates to talk about the northwest segment of the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network and legislation that would dedicate additional funds to complete trails, bike lanes and other bike-ped infrastructure projects. Although we couldn’t meet with every legislator given their schedules, we made sure to communicate to available staffers our efforts in Baltimore to lead effective, community-centric engagement around the creation of the trail network.

A couple of weeks after our initial visit to Annapolis, we went back for the 40th District’s Annapolis Night, where we heard excellent drumming by students from Creative City Public Charter School and talked with some of the area’s constituents who we’ve worked with over the past couple years to establish a trail route. We look forward to continuing to meet with stakeholders representing this area of the city! In fact, earlier this week we spoke at the Liberty Elementary Parent Teacher Association meeting.

Creative City Charter School students at Maryland 40th District Legislative Night | Photo by Avery Harmon, courtesy Rails-to-Trails Conservancy

Outreach in Westport

On March 7, we attended the Westport Neighborhood Association’s quarterly meeting to discuss our plans to improve the existing Gwynn’s Falls Trail as part of the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network. We informed attendees that the South Baltimore section of the trail is most likely to be completed first, and someone from the audience asked: “Why is the Westport section happening before other parts of the trail?”

Valid question. Back in September, the Baltimore Department of Transporation and Baltimore Greenway Trails Coalition received a Transportation Alternatives Program grant with the support of key stakeholders along the route that has allowed us to accelerate the planning process. The focus is to improve existing trail routes by widening sidewalks, adding crosswalks or rerouting the trail to safer paths away from traffic. The rendering below of the intersection at Hanover and Montgomery Streets is just one example of how the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network will improve existing trail routes.

Montgomery and Hanover Streets rendering | Image courtesy RTC

South Baltimore Bike Tour

Building on our partnership with the American Institute of Architects – Baltimore (AIA-B), we’re co-hosting a bike ride along the southern portion of the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network in collaboration with AIA-B’s Committee on the Environment and Resiliency (COTE | R) on April 27, from 9 a.m. to noon.

This is an annual event created by the COTE | R committee. After attending our Southeast Trail Planning Open House at Monument City Brewing last month, they reached out to us to learn more about the project and potential opportunities to bring greater awareness to the trail network through their yearly bike ride. The ride will begin at 9 a.m. at Checkerspot Brewery, with stops at future trail segments, historic landmarks and other significant sites within South Baltimore. If you’re interested in joining us, please register for the event here: COTE | R Bike ride registration.

Opening Day for Trails 

Every year, RTC organizes Opening Day for Trails to encourage people to get outside and celebrate America’s exceptional trails and trail systems through various events and activities. On April 13, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Baltimore Greenway Trails Coalition is hosting our largest event to date by organizing two simultaneous events along the Jones Falls and Gwynns Falls trails. Like prior Opening Days, Baltimore City Recreation and Parks (BCRP) will be leading a walking tour from Cylburn Arboretum to Druid Hill Park, as well as a biking tour from Cylburn to downtown, with stops at the Rawlings Conservatory, Fruit Tree Fair and Inner Harbor. We’re excited to continue this ongoing tradition with BCRP and look forward to traveling through Baltimore on one of its oldest and most recognizable trail systems. More details on the event can be found here: Opening Day Jones Falls event page.

We’re also collaborating with Volunteering Untapped (VU) to host a cleanup on the Gwynns Falls Trail in Middle Branch Park. VU is a local nonprofit that hosts monthly events to “give young professionals the opportunity for inspiring, rewarding and impactful experiences that will help forge a passion for future volunteering.”

Last week, we met with BCRP and VU reps to discuss event logistics, and we’re expecting between 100 and 150 people to help pick up trash, paint benches, spread mulch and help with other activities to improve Middle Branch Park. If you’re interested in joining us, please register for the event here: Volunteering Untapped Registration.

Thanks for checking in with us—and stay tuned for more updates. We hope you join us at one of our many upcoming events.

Baltimore Greenway Trails CoalitionThe Baltimore Greenway Trails Coalition seeks to create a 35-mile world-class network of urban trails.RTC wants your feedback on the project and this blog post. Feel free to contact Avery Harmon or Jim Brown.
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