The Livable Streets Coalition Meeting was held on Saturday, August 19th. Attendees included a total of 21 Coalition members, representing 6 neighborhoods (Highlandtown, McElderry Park, Library Square, Butchers Hill, C.A.R.E. Community and the Patterson Park Neighborhood). Representatives from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the Patterson Park Audubon Center were also present.
Participants at the Livable Streets Meeting on August 19th.
Photo credit: Craig Collins-Young.
|Delegate Robbyn Lewis
Joel White, AARP, Maryland
Susie Creamer, Patterson Park Audubon Center
- Welcome & Introductions
- Maryland Transit Administration Presentation on the RAISE Project – Jamie Richardson, Project Development Manager & Latoya Eff, Outreach Specialist
- Highlandtown Community Paint Day – Brain Sweeney, Highlandtown Community Association (HCA) President
- William Paca Elementary Traffic Calming Project – Delegate Robbyn Lewis
Welcome & Introduction
Delegate Lewis welcomed participants and led a round of introductions. She then provided an overview of the Coalition’s history and activities. Delegate Lewis launched the Coalition in 2019 in response to residents’ calls for improved pedestrian safety on the Fayette-Orleans Street corridors. Initially convened as an advisory group, it soon expanded into a network dedicated to centering human health in public spaces. The Coalition now includes 7 neighborhood associations, the AARP, National Federation of the Blind, Southeast Community Development Corporation (SECDC), the Patterson Park Public Charter School, William Paca Elementary-Middle School, and others. The Baltimore City Department of Transportation and the Maryland Transit Administration are active Coalition partners.
MTA Presentation on the RAISE Project
Jamie Richardson, Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) Project Development Manager, delivered an in-depth presentation on the Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity (RAISE) Project. The RAISE Project is an east-west bus route that will improve the speed and reliability of service for thousands of people in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. It is a Baltimore City-run project that is funded by a $50 million federal grant through President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Act. The presentation addressed:
- MTA’s community outreach efforts, including the Open House that was co-hosted by the Livable Streets Coalition on February 25, 2023
- MTA’s analysis of traffic patterns, existing bus service performance, pedestrian safety, parking and other conditions along the east-west route currently served by CityLink Blue and Orange
- Proposed improvements to bus stops, pedestrian crosswalks, and bike lanes
- MTA’s timeline to improving bus service using Dedicated Bus Lanes and other investments along the route
- How the RAISE project ties in with other projects such as the Red Line
Participants were very interested in transit improvements, and expressed support for prioritizing the movement of buses using dedicated lanes and signal priority. They asked questions about the quality of data used by MTA to make planning decisions regarding changes to on-street parking that are proposed under the RAISE project. Folks also wanted to know more about the proposed Red Line replacement project as well. The MTA slide presentation can be viewed here. This deck will be posted to the Livable Streets Facebook group as well.
Highlandtown Community Paint Day
Brian Sweeney, President of the Highlandtown Community Association, described his neighborhood’s efforts to improve pedestrian safety. Sparked by an incident in which pedestrians were nearly hit by speeding cars at the intersection of Ellwood & Eastern Avenues, Highlandtown resident Kat Klocek mobilized residents to take action. With support from Delegate Lewis, Baltimore City Department of Transportation (BCDOT) and others, Kat led a group of Highlandtown residents on a pedestrian safety walk on 9 November 2021. Kat helped raise funds from the Public Art Across Maryland New Artworks grant from the Maryland State Arts Council and then engaged artist Graham Coreil-Allen to create an “Art in the Right of Way” pedestrian safety project at that dangerous intersection. The resulting design will be painted on the surface of the Ellwood/Eastern intersection. This is a fantastic example of community action that can be replicated by the Coalition!
Brian also shared details about the upcoming Community Paint Day on Saturday, September 2nd from 10am – 12:30pm, when the traffic calming design will be painted at the dangerous Ellwood/Eastern intersection. All Livable Streets Coalition members are encouraged to join in! This is a fantastic opportunity for Coalition members to gain direct, hands-on experience with painted crosswalks. Please volunteer! To learn more about the Highlandtown Community Paint Day, click here.
William Paca Elementary Middle School Traffic Calming Project
Delegate Lewis led a brainstorming session to plan next steps for a traffic calming project at William Paca Elementary Middle School. This project was first conceived by members of the Coalition during our 2-part Design Thinking Training workshop, which was held on 24 May 2021 and 29 July 2021. A total of 35 Coalition members completed this training.
Three Workgroups were formed by Coalition members as a result of the 2021 Design Thinking workshops. The assembled participants agreed to re-activate the Workgroups as follows:
- William Paca Traffic Calming Project Planning
Focus: use “Art in the Right Of Way” strategies to slow traffic and keep kids safe from injury on Lakewood between Fayette & Orleans
Point Person: Joy Scalabrin
Members: Tia Price, Dena Robinson, Mary Hennigan, Sharon Hunt, Khaliq Rodriguez, Ernest Le
- Community Projects
Focus: clean ups, greening, string lights
Point Person: Stephon Lynch
Assistant Point Person: Tia Price
- Strategic Planning
Focus: Continue working with BCDOT to ensure completion and dissemination of the promised traffic study of Orleans Street
Point Person: Craig Collins-Young
Members of the Coalition chose May 2024 as the implementation date for the William Paca traffic calming project. If you would like to join a Workgroup please notify Delegate Lewis via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Within the next few weeks, Delegate Lewis will contact each of the Workgroup point persons to schedule planning meetings
- Delegate Lewis will work with the SECDC to finalize fiscal agent arrangements
- Delegate Lewis will request an update on the Orleans Street Traffic Study from Baltimore City DOT and will disseminate updates to Coalition members
- The next Coalition meeting has not been scheduled, but we will try to hold it before December 31st 2023
Delegate Lewis and Coalition members review the map of pedestrian safety hotspots.
Photo Credit: Craig Collins-Young