No more waterfall “they” didn’t like it

McKeldin Plaza features , well at this point featured a multi tiered waterfall feature. Integrated into the water feature was an elevated walkway that linked downtown hotels and residences to Harbor Place. One could walk from 2 Charles Center to the harbor without having to risk life and limb dodging motor vehicle traffic. Downtown drivers have little respect for pedestrians or bicycles.

The “they” in the title refers to the Downtown Partnership. The Partnership is an unelected and largely unaccountable agency managing the downtown “Benefits District”. The partnership is funded by mandatory fees levied against downtown property owners.       

So for whatever reason (and the reason or lack of one is immaterial – the partnership does what it wants because city government is too feckless to do anything about it) it demolished the waterfall without oversight, and without public comment.

Baltimore Bikeshare Up and Running

Grand Opening Celebration

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake accompanied by high rollers in Baltimore’s transportation and bicycling circles got together to pat themselves on the back for a job well done. How well done it was depends to who one talks to. I was happy to see some electric bikes on the street. Of course this all happened two months ago, so I hardly remember what anyone said. Everyone smiled a lot while saying what ever it was that was on their minds.

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Bike share bikes all in a row at City Hall.

After the speeches everyone jumped on a bike to head over to Harbor Place for a party. The Baltimore City Police were on hand to wave riders through intersections. It was quite a spectacle. I had to ask several people how to find the electric bikes. Would have thought that would have been part of the introduction. Anyway, there is a lightning bolt on the rear fender. Getting the thing started was a jerky affair. This might have something to do with my not having been on a bike in quite a long time. The assist comes on after a few revolutions of the crank. How many  revolutions is the mystery of the morning. Suffice it to say it works pretty well.

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The star of the day’s show!

I’ve only taken a ride on a couple of occasions. I am very much a fair weather rider. The bikes don’t handle like normal bikes – at least not like any bike I’ve ever ridden. They feel longer and heavier. Maybe more practice is the ticket. Traffic is the big limiter for me. Between the pot holes and frost heaves, it feels like I’m taking my life in my own hands. Add it insane downtown drivers and it becomes a white knuckle ride. The saving grace is the Maryland/Cathedral/Liberty bike track. Two way bike traffic sheltered from the kamikaze vroom vroom class by a row of parked cars and lots of painted white stripes is definitely the way to go. If anyone is listening, a bike track on Baltimore Street between Patterson Park in the east and Martin Luther King Blvd on the west would make my riding life a whole lot less nerve wrecking.

Stay tuned for more of my two wheeled adventures.