Preparations Begin for Wells St. Extension of the Charm City Circulator Purple Route

| June 11, 2014 | 9 Comments
Proposed Stop at S. Charles and Wells St.

Proposed Stop at S. Charles and Wells St.

The Baltimore City Department of Transportation (DOT) and Veolia Transportation are preparing to launch an extension of the Charm City Circulator’s Purple Route, extending it to Wells St. to the south and to University Parkway (Charles Village/JHU) to the north. The Purple Route originally circulated from Penn Station to Ostend St., but was later extended two blocks south to Fort Ave. A push has been made for the Wells St. extension as Wells St. has seen a surge in redevelopment and new residents with the addition of 375 apartments in recent years, as well as the soon-to-be-completed 2 East Wells development, which will add 153 apartment units and 5,467 square feet of retail space along the street.

With this expansion, South Baltimore would see the addition of three new Circulator stops, which were proposed for the northwest corner of Heath St. and Light St. (adjacent to the Riverside Neighborhood), the northeast corner of Wells St. and S. Charles St., and the southeast corner of S. Charles and Fort Ave. The first two stops would be added to existing MTA bus stops, but the third stop would have to be created thus eliminating three to four parking spots.

Representatives from the South Baltimore Neighborhood Association (SBNA) reached out to the owners of four homes on the 1500 block of S. Charles St. who would see the new stop placed in front of their homes. Several owners voiced strong opposition due to concerns of increased vibrations, noise, loitering, and the loss of up to four parking spots. SBNA, formerly South Baltimore Improvement Committee (SBIC), was formed in the 1970s when two houses collapsed and many others were damaged on the corner of S. Charles St. and Heath St. due to vibrations from the buses coming down Heath St. One of the homes was never rebuilt and the other is now the home of a community garden.

A discussion was held at last night’s SBNA meeting with several neighbors in attendance who live in front of or near the new stop at S. Charles and Fort Ave. The membership voted unanimously to support the stops at Heath/Light and Wells/S. Charles, but to oppose the stop at S. Charles/Fort. SBNA has formed a task force to find a better place for the stop, which many suggested should be the southeast corner of Ostend St. and S. Charles St. where there is already an MTA bus stop. The Hollins Market Community worked with the Charm City Circulator on two occasions to get stops moved because of problems with loitering.

The timetable for the extension will depend on when the road redevelopment of N. Charles St. in Charles Village is completed, which is expected to wrap up in the fall.

The Charm City Circulator is a free hybrid Baltimore City bus primarily funded by a city parking tax.

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