Hi there, trail friends!
As you might have read in our initial blog post, we hosted a trail design happy hour on Jan. 31 at Monument City Brewing Company to talk about the southeast section of the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network. We showcased the great work being completed by one of our newest coalition partners, the American Institute of Architects Baltimore – Urban Design Committee (AIA UDC), in addition to inviting the city departments of Planning and Recreation & Parks to share information on their respective efforts to create a greener Baltimore. By the end of the happy hour, we counted close to 100 people from all over the city who showed up to learn about our recent progress and how they can get involved. This event was so successful as a direct result of our overwhelming community support and our incredible co-hosts at the Southeast Community Development Corporation (CDC)!
Partnership With the Urban Design Committee
Back in August, we reached out to AIA UDC to ask for their technical and design skills to help develop new content for the southeast portion of the trail. Initially, we requested a few renderings to demonstrate how the project could improve existing infrastructure, but our collaboration quickly evolved into a budding partnership. By November, our UDC partners, made up of local architects from JP2 Architects, Cho Benn Holback + Associates | a Quinn Evans Company and Baltimore Department of Planning, had introduced us to key stakeholders in the region—and had increased the amount of content they had initially committed to! We also went on a visioning walk to examine potential trail routes.
By January, we were ready to share the materials they had developed over the past few months. Special thanks to this amazing design team for all their contributions to the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network!
Baltimore Trails and More
We chose to host the interactive design happy hour at Monument City Brewing Company because it is directly adjacent to the potential trail corridor, and we wanted to highlight the connection between local business and trail development. This local business, like others, is very excited to be located along the future rail-trail portion of the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network.
During the event, attendees were invited to share their insight and ideas regarding how the trail would most benefit the communities it intersects. To kick things off, Jim Brown, Trail Development Manager based in RTC’s Baltimore Office, gave a brief presentation on the trail network while highlighting the purpose and potential of the southeast corridor. Following Jim was Chris Ryder, Former Director of the Southeast CDC, who spoke about this special opportunity to repurpose underutilized railroad infrastructure while complementing the new development and growth in nearby neighborhoods. Chris who is also the recently appointed planning director for Baltimore City, mentioned that this event was the perfect transition from one job to the other, as he looks forward to working on this trail project in his new role leading the Planning Department!
Next on the docket was Jeff LaNoue from the Planning Department, who spoke about the Green Network Plan and the role of the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network in pursuing a greener, healthier Baltimore. Finally, Joel Conde with Baltimore Department of Recreation and Parks talked about their efforts create a Trail Keeper program to inspire residents to take pride and ownership of the growing trail systems.
Exploring Trail Corridors
During the event, we collected hundreds of data points and community-generated ideas on trail design and programming to create a true community asset. Some of those included installing solar-powered trash bins, enhancing the tree canopy with native trees to attract birds and ensuring quality connections to local neighborhoods. In addition to these interests, many guests mentioned the lack of connectivity between existing green space in southeast Baltimore and how the trail brings awareness to the need for accessible, unified bike-ped connections to popular destinations like Patterson Park, the Canton Waterfront and Senator Bonvenga Field.
This event serves as just one example of how the trail network is creating new conversations around community development and the future of Baltimore’s public space. We are extremely appreciative of our UDC partners, whose design expertise, vision and energy have moved the trail network forward. Thanks to Monument City Brewing for providing us with the space to host everybody. We’re excited to expand our work in southeast Baltimore, so expect to see us more often!