On my daily walk to work down Wolfe Street shortly after the 1st of the year I was elated to see crews working on installing pedestrian countdown signals and rehanging the traffic lights on Aliceanna.
The request to upgrade the infrastructure at this intersection was made last April through the Southeast Walkability Initiative with the support of Senator Bill Fergusen and help of Councilman Jim Kraft. Councilman Kraft directed his staff to work with DOT representatives in order to ensure that safety concerns raised by Southeast residents were promptly addressed.
While the upgrade itself took a few months longer than originally planned, I am thrilled to see that our patience has been rewarded. Thanks to the efforts of my good friends Rebecca and Miranda we were able to direct city resources to increasing the walkability of our neighborhood.
It's been a couple of weeks since they first stared upgrading the infrastructure for the new countdown signals (there were no existing pedestrian signals at this busy intersection) and huge progress has been made. The countdown signals are now working and the traffic lights have been changed so that they are now visibile to both drivers and pedestrians. I want to personally thank Councilman Kraft and the staff at DOT for making this intersection safer for my family and our neighbors.
What a better way to welcome the new year? Sometimes it's the little things that make life in the City more enjoyable.
I love my neighborhood. It’s simple, we wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Fells Point was initially not our idea of the perfect place to raise a family, but over the years it’s turned out to be the place we can’t imagine ever leaving.
I love the fact that through our work at aMuse we can participate in our community in ways that contribute to the quality of life of our neighbors.
This past Sunday we celebrated Halloween as a neighborhood. The energy and enthusiasm that fellow organizers possessed was contagious.
As a business woman and a mom, building community is what drives my desire to ensure aMuse is always an active participant in our neighborhood. This weekend was a confirmation that all our efforts are worthwhile. Businesses and families came together and pulled off a great family friendly event.
Sebastian was quite proud of having helped inflate the moon bounce for the little kids (he of course tested it out) and helping put out the decorations.
Although this year we couldn’t stay for the party and trick or treating parade to the businesses, our family is happy to have lent a hand so that neighborhood families could celebrate in community.
What's the one thing about Baltimore that makes it's such an interesting place to live? Well, for me, it's the fact that there is the opportunity to make a difference.
In my last few posts I've talked about the Southeast Walkability Initiative which was started in response to changes the city had made to pedestrian walk signaling around my neighborhood.
It's a subject that I very much care about and you'll see I've spent quite a bit of time and energy on - even giving up a little bit of my sanity in the hopes of making progress.
Dan Rodricks on his show last Friday referred to the initiative as "amusing" and brought on by "mommies with babies, blackberries and strollers". To say the least I was a little peeved. Actually I was pretty much outraged. Obviously Rodricks did not take the time to inform himself on the situation and why the changes sparked such discontent. The issue is about the appropriateness of push buttons to activate a walk signal in a neighborhood (that is also a central business district) with high pedestrian traffic. This “fix” or “restoration” to infrastructure is in fact a regression in our cities’ walkability and empowers the culture of automobiles over people that is already prevalent in Baltimore. The resulting confusion that is caused by removing automatic walk signals and the VERY real compromises to safety should not to be trivialized. I along with my neighbors would glady take the time to go down to the WYPR studios and have an intelligent conversation about moving Baltimore's walkability forward -not backward.
Last Friday Jamie Kendrick (DOT Deputy Director) sent an email addressing the concerns raised at the Thursday meeting and has agreed to implement some but not all of the recommendations made by the community. Unfortunately, the DOT has yet to agree to restore automatic walk signals at every cycle, a main focus of this initiative. The Baltimore Sun blog Getting There incorrectly reported on May 3rd that automatic walk signals had been restored.
In a recent meeting of the Fells Point Residence Association members voted to fully support the initiative of restoring automatic walk signals at every cycle and the removal of all push buttons.
Councilman Kraft has been out of town this week, but we look forward pursuing the issue of automatic walk signals at every cycle and the removal of the push buttons from our neighborhood when he returns.