2 bridges provide safe links among 3 private schools

Roland Park, Bryn Mawr, Gilman erect overpasses for pedestrian crossings

May 24, 2002|By Linda Linley | Linda Linley,SUN STAFF

Two pedestrian bridges linking Roland Park Country, Gilman and Bryn Mawr schools opened this week, marking the end of a 10-month, $3 million project that eliminates a safety hazard for students at the North Baltimore schools.

The schools pooled resources to pay for the stone-and-steel arched bridges, which will carry students across two busy roads - Roland Avenue and Northern Parkway. Several years ago, a Bryn Mawr student was seriously injured after being hit by a car on Northern Parkway.

Students frequently move among the campuses, where the upper schools share classes.

"We've been waiting for a long time," said Roland Park junior Andrea Bartman, 16, of York, Pa. "The bridges symbolize the unity of the three schools."

The project began in August, when traffic lanes were narrowed on Roland Avenue to prepare for construction of walkways and stone abutments.

The Roland Park Civic Association objected to the bridges' design, but architectural plans for the pale green steel arches were approved by the city.

One bridge crosses Roland Avenue, between Deepdene Road and Northern Parkway, and connects Roland Park Country with Gilman.

The other bridge crosses Northern Parkway, between Charles Street and Roland Avenue, connecting Gilman and Bryn Mawr.

"Now we don't have to depend on the traffic lights," said Gilman junior Gibbs Burke, 17, of Timonium, who travels to Roland Park Country for an Advanced Placement computer science course and then to Bryn Mawr for German and English classes.

Bryn Mawr sophomore Mandy Mahle, 15, of Rodgers Forge uses both bridges to get to her French class at Roland Park Country, instead of waiting for traffic lights.

"The crossing guards were great, but if I had to talk to a teacher after school, the guards had left for the day and it was difficult to get across Northern Parkway," Mahle said.

Roland Park junior Jennie Tuttle, 17, of Towson, agreed. "Safety is the main factor for the bridges," she said.

Nancy Mugele, the Roland Park school's director of communications, said the bridges are jointly owned by the three schools, which will be responsible for maintenance and security.

Using the bridges is mandatory for students, Mugele said. Those who don't use them will face penalties.

For now, the bridges remain a novelty.

Roland Park third-grade teacher Jane Latshaw took her class for a walk on one of them this week before the start of music class. They wanted to see Roland Avenue from above.

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