News And Projects

University Parkway

June 2022 University Parkway Resurfacing begins

Orange Cone Alert!
You may have noticed construction equipment on University Parkway in the last few days. Work has begun to resurface University Parkway from 39th Street to Charles Street in both directions as part of the Baltimore City Department of Transportation’s routine pavement maintenance program. The city’s contractor, P. Flanigan and Sons, has set up an equipment and materials staging site on northbound University Parkway just north of Charles Street. Be careful when driving, biking, and walking on University Parkway during construction, and help keep the workers safe, too.
After the new pavement is laid, P. Flanigan and Sons and City DOT crews will install new pavement marking which will narrow the vehicle travel lanes in both directions, more clearly mark where parking is allowed, and move the bike lanes so that they are between the parking lanes and the curbs in both directions. The City also will give University a “road diet,” shrinking from two lanes to one in the southbound direction only. Northbound University will still have two lanes. Many of these changes are mandated by the City’s 2018 Complete Streets Ordinance, which resulted in a new set of design guidelines for city streets that undergo resurfacing or reconstruction.
As this project is funded from the maintenance budget, there is not enough funding to make major changes to the design of University Parkway, and there will be no significant changes to the medians or curbs, other than minor repairs where needed. We also were unable to get a new crosswalk installed at Bishop’s Lane and the Johns Hopkins University North Gate, but a significantly narrower roadway in both directions should be safer to cross.
Once the near-term resurfacing and restriping project is completed, we’d like to hear from you! Please drop us an email at TCNAstreets@gmail.com with your observations and suggestions, and we’ll pass them along to the City for consideration.
This near-term resurfacing project has spurred a lot of discussion in the TCNA Streets Committee about what University Parkway could look like in the long term. We’ve partnered with Johns Hopkins and community associations from 33rd Street (near Waverly Farmers Market and the Waverley Library) up to 40th Street to develop a long-term vision that could lead to a more extensive reconstruction of University Parkway in the future. If you’re interested in participating in this visioning effort, please reach out to TCNAStreets@gmail.com.

Spring 2022

Updates about Plans for University Parkway

This month, the big news was the release of the city’s long-awaited plans for resurfacing University Parkway from Charles Street to the 39th Street/San Martin Drive intersection. The project, funded out of the City’s maintenance budget, provides an opportunity to pilot several safety improvements on the stretch of roadway that forms our neighborhood’s southern border.

In light of changes to University Parkway over the century since it was built, the City is exploring ways to make University Parkway better serve people walking, biking, using scooters, or riding an MTA bus or Blue Jay Shuttle. Drawing from lessons learned from other, similar projects in recent years, the pilot phase will give the City a chance to test out several safety features using materials that can be modified later if needed:

Every City resurfacing project triggers a requirement to make all adjacent sidewalks and crossings compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The City will install ADA-compliant curb ramps along this stretch and add better crosswalk markings at Canterbury Road.

University Parkway eastbound currently has one through lane at 39th Street/San Martin Drive. The City will continue the single through lane up the hill, past Canterbury Road and Bishops Lane, until just before Charles Street. University Parkway westbound will remain two lanes from Charles Street to 39th Street.

There will be protected bike lanes in each direction between the parking lane and the curb, connecting to the bike lanes installed two years ago between 39th and 40th Streets. The City noted that the recent attempt at a similar design on Roland Avenue in Roland Park was hampered by the narrow 34-foot width of each direction of Roland Avenue. In contrast, University Parkway is a minimum of 40 feet wide in each direction, allowing for adequate striped buffer space on each side of parked cars so that car doors should not open into travel lanes OR bike lanes.

The City is also investigating changes to signalized intersections,particularly at University and Charles Street, to re-time signals, reduce crossing distances, and adjust geometry to make left and right turns safer for all.

The City emphasized that the changes will be relatively modest given that all this is being funded from the maintenance budget. There are no plans, for example, to rebuild and re-landscape the center median at this time,aside from minor repairs that can be considered “maintenance.”

The TCNA Streets Committee wants to hear from you!

First, stay tuned for details about a public meeting on University Parkway to be hosted by Baltimore City Department of Transportation (date and time still TBD as of this publication). Everyone is invited to attend and send written comments about the project to the City. We’ll share details when they become available.

Second, once the project is completed, let us know what you think: email TCNAstreets@gmail.com. Pavement striping and most other features can be removed, relocated, or changed relatively easily.

Third, if you want to be engaged in a longer-term effort to re-vision University Parkway, please email TCNAstreets@gmail.com. TCNA has been working with JHU, our neighboring community associations, and the Neighborhood Design Center on a longer-term vision for the future of University Parkway all the way from 33rd Street in Waverly to 40th Street in Roland Park. The longer-term vision is intended to look 10+ years into the future and address the needs of everyone who uses or depends on University Parkway for their daily needs.

The long-term vision is a precursor to a more substantial capital project that will allow us to rebuild University Parkway using more durable, environmentally-conscious, and aesthetically-pleasing materials. We’ll keep what we like, change what we don’t like, and transform University Parkway into a safer, quieter, and greener community amenity that forms a better transition from Tuscany-Canterbury into the JHU Homewood Campus.

The TCNA Streets Committee has a new email box for your suggestions, comments and requests related to our neighborhood streets. Please email us at: TCNAstreets@gmail.com

November 2021

Baltimore City Department of Transportation has informed us that resurfacing of University Parkway from 39th Street to Charles Street will take place in the Spring of 2022 at the earliest. As part of the resurfacing, the City plans to more clearly delineate bike lanes and crosswalks along this stretch, extending the pilot traffic calming and road diet project recently installed between 39th and 40th Streets.

Next steps: As part of our effort to collaborate with neighboring community associations and institutional partners to craft a longer-term vision for the future of University Parkway, the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) is planning a corridor-wide design charette in late November or early December. The charette will be an opportunity for all interested TCNA residents to provide input on current challenges and opportunities along University Parkway and think about how we’d like University Parkway to look in 5-10 years. Stay tuned for details.

September 2021

The median strips on University Parkway from Canterbury to Charles Street in front of Hopkins fields are in “pitiful” shape. Whose responsibility?

First, in the coming weeks, the City Department of Transportation will be repaving University Parkway from 39th St to Charles Street. As part of that maintenance effort, they may make some limited repairs to the medians and curbs, and they’ll be restriping the road and possibly making all the crossings compliant with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). We don’t expect to see any landscaping as part of the maintenance project.

Second, TCNA is joining forces with our neighbors from Wyman Park, Guilford, Charles Village, and Oakenshaw to develop a long term vision for University Parkway that will certainly include improvements to green spaces and make University Parkway safer to walk along and across. If you or any of your neighbors would be interested in participating in the development of the vision, or just being on the mailing list, let me know and I’ll sign you up.

Summer 2021

Update on Near-term Resurfacing University Parkway

  • Baltimore City Board of Estimates approved $889,000 resurfacing project for 39th/San Martin to Charles Street. Scope of ADA improvements, bike lanes, crosswalks, other repairs unknown. Project was transferred from Maintenance Division to Traffic Engineering and Construction (TEC) Division of DOT, implying a higher degree of engineering/design.
  • An update on the scope of any improvements over and above the resurfacing has been requested.

Long-term: Shared Vision Plan of University Parkway

  • Neighborhood Design Center sent (NDC) TCNA a Memo Of Understanding for development of a Shared Vision Plan for University Parkway from 33rd Street to 40th Street. TCNA Board approved $250 expenditure for administrative fee at their last meeting. The TCNA President will sign the MOU after final edits are agreed.
  • Establish a “University Parkway Project Team” to serve as liaisons between the NDC-led effort and TCNA, and also to coordinate engagement with our neighborhood stakeholders and partners (building/condo associations and owners, businesses, institutions)

April 2021

University Parkway has evolved quite a bit over its long history, and more changes may be coming soon. Members of TCNA’s Streets and Greens Committee are working with our neighbors in Oakenshawe, Charles Village, Guilford, and Wyman Park to create a new long-term vision for University Parkway. This vision will take into account the needs of the communities along University Parkway, the diverse set of people who travel to, from, across, and along University Parkway, and the institutions and businesses that depend on University Parkway so that employees, visitors, and freight shipments can move in and out of the area each day.

More than 113 years ago, the Roland Park Company converted Merryman Lane into University Parkway, complete with two streetcar tracks, to connect Roland Park home buyers to their jobs in downtown Baltimore. About 60 years ago, when the Number 29 Streetcar stopped running, University Parkway was widened to allow cars and trucks to travel at higher speeds through our neighborhood on their way to northern suburbs.

Today, University Parkway is as much a barrier as it is a connector. Three wide lanes in each direction form a 100-foot expanse of pavement from curb to curb, signaling to drivers: “this is a high-speed thoroughfare,” and threatening seniors, families pushing strollers, bus riders, people in wheelchairs, hospital workers, and JHU faculty, staff, and students. For all but the most daring and experienced, it feels unsafe to travel by bike or scooter. The “Parkway” designation even seems like a misnomer today given the lack of street trees and green space, particularly along the stretch from Calvert Street to 39th Street.

The “quick build” traffic calming project that Baltimore City Department of Transportation installed on University Parkway between 39th and 40th Streets in the Spring of 2020 has slowed traffic, made the shortened crosswalk between the Carlyle Apartments and Tudor Arms Avenue more visible, and created safer spaces for people walking and biking along University Parkway. In 2021, the City plans to repave University Parkway from Charles Street to 39th Street. The City notified TCNA that they might make modest improvements to pavement markings and crosswalks as part of the routine maintenance project, but there isn’t room in the budget this year for more substantial changes.

The quick build project and the forthcoming pavement maintenance made members of TCNA’s Streets and Greens Committee wonder if we should think bigger about what could be done to improve University Parkway over the longer term. We’ve been encouraged by our Baltimore City Council Member, Odette Ramos, to form a coalition of neighbors, businesses, and institutions to advance a shared vision, and we’ve submitted an application to the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) for support.

Spring 2020

 

The Streets and Greens Committee, ably led by Rose Weeks, is excited to share its success getting the City to implement some needed changes to the intersections at W. University Parkway and Tudor Arms, and also heading east along W. University to San Martin Drive and W. 39th Street. The Streets and Greens Committee worked with the Wyman Park Neighborhood Association, Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, and the City Transportation Department to advocate for these changes, which are already beginning to slow traffic and improve safety at the pedestrian crossings. Up next: the City will be adding flexible posts where the bike lane meets the roadway to protect bikers and improve safety. These improvements are the result of nearly three years of work by the Streets and Greens committee, in conjunction with others. On to additional victories!

 

The Department of Transportation completed most of its streetscaping work to improve pedestrian safety along University Parkway between 39th street and Tudor Arms. The DOT also striped high visibility “continental” crosswalks with flex posts at key points at the intersection of 39th street and University as well as the pedestrian crossing at Tudor Arms, in front of the Carlyle. The addition of a bicycle lane in each direction for this segment of University Parkway is intended to slow vehicular traffic and make crossing at Tudor Arms safer. Incidentally, walkers and runners are using the bike lane to “social distance” from others on foot, especially when crossing the bridge over Stony Run where the sidewalk is perilously narrow, even in pre-COVID times.

 

 

 

February 2020

February 2020 members of TCNA’s board and the traffic committee began meeting with Johns Hopkins administrators and representatives of neighboring communities (Roland Park and Guilford) to discuss shared concerns about traffic safety affecting drivers, bikers, and pedestrians on West University Parkway between 40th and Charles Streets.

JHU has engaged a traffic consultant to examine problems on roadways around the campus, and the firm’s report has enabled our ad hoc committee to begin identifying critical problems and setting priorities for future consultation with the City.  We appreciate the leadership shown by the university and look forward to continuing our work together.

The project, funded out of the City’s maintenance budget, provides an opportunity to pilot several safety improvements on the stretch of roadway that forms our neighborhood’s southern border.

In light of changes to University Parkway over the century since it was built, the City is exploring ways to make University Parkway better serve people walking, biking, using scooters, or riding an MTA bus or Blue Jay Shuttle. Drawing from lessons learned from other, similar projects in recent years, the pilot phase will give the City a chance to test out several safety features using materials that can be modified later if needed:

Every City resurfacing project triggers a requirement to make all adjacent sidewalks and crossings compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). The City will install ADA-compliant curb ramps along this stretch and add better crosswalk markings at Canterbury Road.
University Parkway eastbound currently has one through lane at 39th Street/San Martin Drive. The City will continue the single through lane up the hill, past Canterbury Road and Bishops Lane, until just before Charles Street. University Parkway westbound will remain two lanes from Charles Street to 39th Street.
There will be protected bike lanes in each direction between the parking lane and the curb, connecting to the bike lanes installed two years ago between 39th and 40th Streets. The City noted that the recent attempt at a similar design on Roland Avenue in Roland Park was hampered by the narrow 34-foot width of each direction of Roland Avenue. In contrast, University Parkway is a minimum of 40 feet wide in each direction, allowing for adequate striped buffer space on each side of parked cars so that car doors should not open into travel lanes OR bike lanes.
The City is also investigating changes to signalized intersections,particularly at University and Charles Street, to re-time signals, reduce crossing distances, and adjust geometry to make left and right turns safer for all.
The City emphasized that the changes will be relatively modest given that all this is being funded from the maintenance budget. There are no plans, for example, to rebuild and re-landscape the center median at this time,aside from minor repairs that can be considered “maintenance.”
The TCNA Streets Committee wants to hear from you!
First, stay tuned for details about a public meeting on University Parkway to be hosted by Baltimore City Department of Transportation (date and time still TBD as of this publication). Everyone is invited to attend and send written comments about the project to the City. We’ll share details when they become available.
Second, once the project is completed, let us know what you think: email TCNAstreets@gmail.com. Pavement striping and most other features can be removed, relocated, or changed relatively easily.
Third, if you want to be engaged in a longer-term effort to re-vision University Parkway, please email TCNAstreets@gmail.com. TCNA has been working with JHU, our neighboring community associations, and the Neighborhood Design Center on a longer-term vision for the future of University Parkway all the way from 33rd Street in Waverly to 40th Street in Roland Park. The longer-term vision is intended to look 10+ years into the future and address the needs of everyone who uses or depends on University Parkway for their daily needs.
The long-term vision is a precursor to a more substantial capital project that will allow us to rebuild University Parkway using more durable, environmentally-conscious, and aesthetically-pleasing materials. We’ll keep what we like, change what we don’t like, and transform University Parkway into a safer, quieter, and greener community amenity that forms a better transition from Tuscany-Canterbury into the JHU Homewood Campus.