`Get In On It'? Hey, Baltimore, How About We Just Get On With It?

September 09, 2006|By JACQUES KELLY

Maybe I got out of the wrong side of the bed today or it's my fall hay fever. Call me impatient, but:

When will Russell Street be fixed? I'm growing weary of the construction, the traffic disruption and the mess.

Call me highly provincial, because I live on St. Paul Street, but when will the area between Mount Vernon and Charles Village turn a corner? I realize some fancy homes are rising at Lanvale and Calvert - and that there has been some individual fixing-up of a house here and there. But why is it that this convenient location seems to be on the slow road to rebirth?

I know a lot of people would like to see the Male/Female statue in front of Pennsylvania Station relocated or replaced. I'd like to know when the station's window frames will be painted and the windows washed. How about fixing the cockeyed blinds and make the station look like a properly maintained federal asset? (Compare it to the stations in Washington and Philadelphia.)

Our train station is a marvelous building. Let's treat it that way. Also on my wish list: some affordable Amtrak fares to New York.

Now that the area to the north of Johns Hopkins Hospital is being demolished and reconstructed, is it time to consider what's happening to the American Brewery?

In the same vein, when will the Maryland Transit Administration ever give us some frequent and dependable bus service? Baltimore's buses are old and beat. We lag behind Washington, Philadelphia and New York, where buses are newer, cleaner and, in my personal experience, on time.

I've harped on the physical condition of Baltimore's streets before, and I don't observe much improvement. They're still full of potholes and popping up streetcar tracks. Why is it that City Hall Plaza got fixed up but so many of Baltimore's streets are full of ruts?

I've read articles stating that the city's traffic lights are to be better coordinated, but I've seen little evidence. If anything, the signals seem to be disrupting the flow of traffic in an erratic manner. And I don't even drive.

I'm not even going to mention the Middle Branch and Westport, where some plans were recently discussed. Let's address Broadway (Fells Point) and Light Street in Federal Hill/Cross Street Market area. Both neighborhoods have seen impressive residential investment in the last decade, a real endorsement of the millions in public investment spent on the Inner Harbor. But the Fells-Federal commercial heart is dirty and, in places, depressing.

OK. Isn't it about time for the Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation to have made a decision about the Lexington Street-area property it controls? I'm tired of the back-and-forth and prolonged disputes among agencies and owners. Baltimore deserves better. The foundation has accomplished so much good in the social services-health care field and at the old Stewart's department store property. Why not be done with real estate bickering and allow this part of downtown to get on with it?

And lastly, calling all national retailers, department stores and other vendors: It's now safe to come back into the city and reopen the type of general merchandise stores we once had. The tourists seem to like the harbor shopping. How about something more for us residents?


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