November 13, 2012
Paul W. Wirtz, former deputy director of facilities engineering at Aberdeen Proving Ground and longtime comptroller and trustee of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, died Nov. 4 from multiple organ failure at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. The former Roland Park resident was 91. "Paul was a very erudite guy and very learned. He was a world traveler until he became ill," said Andrew S. Blumberg, a member for many years of the Baltimore Streetcar Museum, where he is director of public relations.
October 12, 2012
All world-class cities have extensive mass transportation systems, but with the exception of Toronto - which has a robust streetcar program to support its massive subway network - virtually every city in North America has abandoned streetcar systems ("A streetcar named Charles?" Oct. 3). Only now are cities like Washington beginning to bring streetcars back as a way to get people from neighborhoods to their subway spurs. Strong mass transportation is critical to strong quality of life, and in a city with high levels of middle- and low-income residents, mass transportation is all the more important.
October 4, 2012
I've lived in Baltimore most of my life and own a house in the city, but I travel for work, and when I go to Portland I stay at a hotel along the streetcar line, in Seattle along the streetcar line, in San Francisco along one of their streetcar lines, and in New Orleans at a hotel with the streetcar out front. When people who don't know Baltimore come to visit, I tell them to find a place along the light rail line, usually in the county. Begin to see a theme here? Why, because you always know where it is going.
October 2, 2012
Most who ride the St. Charles Avenue streetcar through New Orleans' Garden District are immediately smitten, not only by the city's charm but also by the convenience and nostalgia of the historic trolley. Many other cities, Baltimore included, have tried to offer light rail as a more modern take on that classic form of street-level transportation. So it's not surprising that many folks who live in Charles Village and other points along Charles Street are taken by the notion of a streetcar running through their neighborhood, too. Eighty years ago, Baltimore was a city that largely ran on streetcars, with more than 400 miles of track crisscrossing the city, including portions of Charles and St. Paul streets in Charles Village.
October 1, 2012
Plans to get mass transit to the communities north of Pennsylvania Station are proceeding on parallel tracks. A one-year-old, grass-roots campaign to establish streetcar service along the Charles Street corridor and south to the Inner Harbor is still at the door-knocking, leaflet-passing stage. Meanwhile, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is driving the bus - figuratively - to extend the Charm City Circulator's Purple Line from the train station to 33rd Street. She made the proposal part of her State of the City address in February and reiterated her support last week at a Charles Village community meeting.
September 28, 2012
After the frost lowers the mosquito population, a dedicated group of park builders will be clearing a path through the middle of Catonsville. They are reclaiming the old right of way of the Catonsville Short Line Railroad, a route that has been overtaken by weeds and trees since the last train left for good in the spring of 1972. The summer's storms, including the June 29 derecho, felled tree limbs along what had been a tidy gravel walking path, which is now being expanded through several neighborhoods within greater Catonsville.