Since the launch of the West North Avenue Streetscape Conceptual Master Plan, the partners have been promoting the plan widely. For background on this initiative, a partnership between Druid Heights CDC, Coppin Heights CDC, Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, Neighborhood Design Center, and 7th District City Councilman Nick Mosby, go to the RHIC website.
In recent months the first funds for implementation have started to be put in place.
Tree Canopy Improvements by Blue Water Baltimore
In June 2016, Blue Water Baltimore announced the planting of 225 street trees in the first phase of increasing the West North Avenue tree canopy. The finished project will include 450 street trees and the removal of three-quarters of an acre of concrete. The leadership of State Delegates Antonio Hayes and Brooke Lierman, and Baltimore City Councilman Nick Mosby helped Blue Water Baltimore to achieve funding to implement this aspect of the Master Plan.
Maryland Department of Transportation
This past spring, the Maryland Department of Transportation and Baltimore City Department of Planning met with West North Avenue Partners, including RHIC, Druid Heights Community Development Corporation, Penn North Community Association, Coppin Heights Community Development Corporation, Neighborhood Design Center, Councilman Nick J. Mosby, and No Boundaries Coalition to discuss their application for a Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant that would significantly help fund the West North Avenue Streetscape Conceptual Master Plan. That grant was awarded and Baltimore will receive $10 million to pay for "dedicated bus lanes and new bike facilities, enhancements at Maryland Transit Administration’s (MTA) metro and light rail stations, improvements at major bus stops and sidewalks, streetscaping and roadway re-pavement," for about 5 miles of North Avenue. This is the most significant funding that would implement parts of the West North Avenue Streetscape Conceptual Master Plan to date.
Baltimore City Department of Transportation
Baltimore City Department of Transportation has identified an area around Pennsylvania and North for investment that will target some key priorities of the Master Plan. The target area is North from Carey to just past Woodbrook and on Pennsylvania from just north of the CVS driveway to Cumberland.
The plans include planting 45 street trees, and some tree pits are being widened. Each tree pit will have the decorative low fencing around it. There are eight benches and eight trash cans being added to key intersections. There are 10-15 pedestrian level lights being added on North Avenue from Carey to Woodbrook on both sides of the streets. This includes new signal mast heads at the intersection, with pedestrian lead countdown signals/timers being added to the intersection. New curb bump outs (curb extensions) with upgraded ADA surfaces and ramps to shorten the crossing are planned for various intersections. New, highly visible crosswalks are to be repainted. In addition, DOT is coordinating with the MTA on the latter’s plans for Penn and North as a transfer facility.
The funds to be used are federal funds, so all plans be approved by the federal Highway Administration. DOT hopes for the work to be bid out in summer 2017.
Together, these are tremendous investments that will better connect the neighborhoods along West North Avenue, improve pedestrian use of North Avenue, and contribute to the economic revitalization of West Baltimore. The works of hundreds of people in producing the West North Avenue Streetscape Conceptual Master Plan is coming to fruition.