at the center. in the mix. Can Baltimore create a regional destination that is not on the waterside?
In the last 10 days, there has been widespread media coverage of the release of the Charles North Vision Plan by Mayor Dixon, the Central Baltimore Partnership and the Baltimore Development Corporation. Surely a country that can elect a black president can cast aside decades of disparagement and disinvestment and can make the very center of this city a vibrant, genuine cultural crossroads and high point of commercial and entertainment venues.
The Vision for Charles North/Station North is bold: substantially increase the population and parking in the area immediately north of Penn station through major, mixed-use, high density, transit oriented development projects. The bold stroke is careful: don’t destroy the historic architecture of the existing buildings, preserve the pedestrian friendly streetscape, build on the diversity and artistic and entrepreneurial energy currently flourishing in the community. The bold vision is long-term: of necessity transformation of this magnitude will take decades; yet, it has clear, immediate steps for the next six months, the next year, even in the turmoil of the capital markets. The bold vision is sustainable: it calls for a market oriented development process shaped by community goals and values, driven by private investment and environmentally friendly and restorative to the max. This bold vision has momentum: major private property owners, community leaders, higher education institutions, nonprofits and city agencies are on board with a common vision. Already, they have a track record of significant accomplishment in the last year by working together. Can we take it to the next level?
Why not? Surely Baltimore can be excited about transit oriented development in spite of being a city that barely embraces public transit. Yes we can.
Why not? Surely we can reconfigure the land around Penn Station and make the station itself first class and a linchpin for a major commercial development, like Union Station in Washington and Grand Central in New York. Other cities have created new green space by decking over their tracks. Yes we can.
Why not? Surely we can embrace the diversity of uses and population being brought back to the area by a young generation that ignores the old boundaries, East versus West; North versus South; black, divided from white divided from Asian divided from Hispanic; gallery versus restaurant. Anyone using the exciting venues of the area now has seen the energy of a young (and sometimes not so young), diverse crowd. Yes we can.
Something big and exciting is happening. Something BOLD and different is coming.
at the center. in the mix.
Check out the Vision Plan and the BTA+ consultant report that was background for it at www.centralbaltimore.org Thanks to the private property owners of Charles North, MICA, UB, the Goldseker Foundation and three city agencies (BDC, Planning, Transportation) for funding the consultants and to all of the members of the Central Baltimore Partnership for making it happen. Join us for an open house and presentation of the Charles North Vision Plan Thursday, November 13, 430-6pm, at the Metro Gallery, Lanvale and Charles. Read up, react, blog on.