Bridges linking schools get tentative OK


Three Roland Park private schools inched nearer to building two steel bridges to connect their campuses as a City Council sub-committee gave the proposal tentative approval with one serious objection in a hearing yesterday.

The height of an arched footbridge over Norhern Parkway should be elevated from 16 feet to 18 feet for truck clearance, public works official Marcia Collins told the highways and franchises sub-committee headed by 1st District Councilman John L. Cain.

At the end of the hearing, Cain said there should be "further discussion" between the schools and the Public Works Department on the height of the Northern Parkwar bridge, which would link Bryn Mawr School with Gilman School. The propposed bridge over Roland Avenue linking Gilman with Roland Park Country School is acceptable at 16 feet, Cain said.

Fourth District Councilwoman Rochelle "Rikki" Spector predicted a final vote on July 10, the council's only meeting during the summer. She said the city tax on air rights--a "franchise fee" set by the Board of Estimates-- is likely to be about $4,500 a year per bridge.

She said she could not heed aesthetic concerns over height because the port of Baltimore's trucks, which frequent the parkway, are key to the city's economy.

The bridge designs, with colored steel arches, have caused some contention in the affluent North Baltimore neighborhood.

The schools, prepared to spend more than $2 million on the project, say the bridges are safety measures intended to spare upper school students from crossing heavy traffic to attend classes at all three schools in their shared curriculum.

Jean Hawley, projects manager for Bryn Mawr, acknowledged yesterday that design issues remain to be worked out with neighbors and approved by the city's Design Advisory Panel.

Sun staff writer J. Kimball C. Payne contributed to this article.

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