Don't blow through intersection of Elm Avenue and 36th Street

Hampden Column

October 10, 2011

Change can be hard to get used to, even when you want it, even when you're expecting it, even when people are telling you the change is going on.

Here's what I mean. After numerous residents and businesses complained about the intersection at Elm Avenue and 36th Street, the Hampden Village Merchants Association requested that Baltimore City turn it into a four-way stop.

That was months ago.

Then one night, after a late dinner with friends, as I was driving home, I noticed some makeshift signs in the intersection. My thought was someone got tired of waiting for a four-way stop and made their own signs. So I cruised up 36th Street without stopping.

Two guys were standing at the side of the road, yelling, "Whoa, he didn't even stop."

So I pulled over and removed the signs from the intersection. The two guys then narrated, "Now he's removing the signs."

As I got in my car to drive off, the two guys continued the play-by-play: "Now he's leaving."

That's when the passengers in my car pointed out the newly installed stop signs we had requested. The intersection had been converted into a four-way stop and I didn't realize it.

I got back out of my vehicle, and the guys announced, "Oh, here he comes again."

I then returned the homemade signs to their previous locations so that people would notice it's now a four-way stop, as the two guys laughingly announced, "Oh, now he's putting the signs back!"

But even after that, I've accidentally blown through the intersection three more times.

So even though I welcome change when it makes sense and it's a positive, it can still take some getting used to.

Speaking of change, why not change up your routine and check out these events?

The 510 Readings series hits Minás, 815 W. 36th St., on Oct. 15 at 5 p.m., hosted by Michael Kimball and Jen Michalski, and featuring authors Mark Cugini, Laura Ellen Scott, John Rowell and Jackie Wang. For more information, go to

Also Oct. 15 will be a release party for the book "Tarnished: True Tales of Innocence Lost," a true-story anthology edited by Shawna Kenney and Hampden resident Cara Bruce. The party starts at 7 p.m. at Atomic Books, 3620 Falls Road, and features readings by contributors Julie Geen, Amanda Kingsbury, Jennifer Tress and Valley Haggard.

And then back at Minás on Oct. 16, the Town Square Open Mic offers up an array of poetry, performance, stand-up comedy, acoustic music, fiction, mime, monologues, sleight-of-hand, puppetry, oratory and mimicry. Sarah Jane Miller hosts the series.

Now, what's that flavor you can almost taste, but can't quite identify? Find out at A Taste Of Hampden on Oct. 20 at The Hampden Family Center, 1104 W. 36th St. Come enjoy local fare from area restaurants and mingle with friends. Tickets are $30 each and proceeds will benefit the Hampden Family Center.

And finally, a couple of punk rock legends will be visiting Hampden. On Oct. 20, Tesco Vee of the band The Meatmen will be visiting Atomic Books/Celebrated Summer Records to discuss "Touch & Go," a new book about his legendary cult punk fanzine. And on Oct. 24, all the way from Japan, the girl-rock group Shonen Knife, celebrating their 30th anniversary, will be at Atomic Books/Celebrated Summer to meet fans, sign autographs and pose for pictures.

Just remember, when heading out to any of these events, you have to stop at Elm Avenue and 36th Street.

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