Panel approves bridge at Boys Latin

May 13, 1994|By Norris P. West | Norris P. West,Sun Staff Writer

There's no beauty in a bridge.

That was the contention of several Baltimore County condominium residents who yesterday opposed plans for a pedestrian bridge connecting the two sides of Boys Latin School, which straddles both the city-county border and busy Lake Avenue.

But the Baltimore City Planning Commission sided with Boys Latin and approved, 4-1, a proposal to build the bridge over Lake Avenue at the northern edge of the city. The measure goes to City Council.

Raleigh Brent, president of Boys Latin's board of directors, said the bridge, which is within the city boundaries, is needed to ensure the safety of students walking from one side of the 36-acre campus to the other. School officials said there are an average of 1,385 student crossings a week.

Mr. Brent said parents of the school's children support construction of the bridge, which will cost $300,000.

"We are willing to spend that amount because we think this is something that is necessary for the well-being of our students," he told the commission.

But residents of Baltimore County's Devon Hill Condominium Association argued that the bridge would destroy the neighborhood's bucolic appearance of rolling green hills and homes adorned with flowery gardens.

"The aesthetic problem with the bridge is simply that it will be there," said condominium resident Martin P. Azola. "It's just going to look like it doesn't belong. I know that sounds trite, but from an aesthetic position, that's our opinion."

Mr. Azola and other neighbors asked the commission to consider alternatives to make the crossing safer for children, such as erecting traffic signals, using crossing guards, or changing the grading of the street to encourage motorists to drive slower.

Commissioner Samuel Hopkins said the traffic problem on Lake Avenue has worsened over the years and children need the bridge for safety.

"Obviously, nobody's thought more about the bridge than the school and parents," he said. "I have high respect for their judgment."

The bridge has been redesigned to provide a gradual slope in its 150-foot span. It would have a 16-foot-high clearance.

In other action, the commission unanimously approved plans for a 55,000-square-foot Safeway grocery store on the American Can Co. site at Boston and Hudson streets in Canton. The site will have 312 parking spaces for customers and will employ 100 to 120 people. Community residents appeared at the hearing to support the project.

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