June 25, 2012

Be prepared: July marks start of Charles Street reconstruction

Charles Street reconstruction is finally about to begin.

Baltimore City has awarded a construction contract, and work is expected to begin in July on rebuilding the roadway from 25th Street north past the university’s Homewood campus to University Parkway.

In a letter sent last week to faculty, staff and students, Greg Smith and Michael Sullivan of Facilities Management said that they expect to learn more within the next few weeks on when the road will close, which sections will be rebuilt first, where pedestrians will cross the work area and how traffic detours will work, and that they would relay the information to the university community.

“The result,” they said, “will be a roadway that is safer for pedestrians and smoother for drivers, that provides dedicated lanes for bicyclists and that is even more attractive than the current Charles Street. The project will also modernize the utility infrastructure buried beneath the roadway.”

The most dramatic changes, they said, would take place between 28th Street and University Parkway, the portion of Charles Street that fronts the Homewood campus.

The new look will include an ellipse between the Beach on the west side and Wolman and McCoy halls on the east. Traffic signals at the north and south ends will make the entire ellipse into one large, controlled, safe pedestrian crossing. The sweeping right turn from southbound Charles onto Art Museum Drive, where now drivers often fail to stop—or even slow down—for pedestrians will be converted to a 90-degree turn.

The $25 million project is financed in part by a $2.5 million contribution from the university.

The work is expected to take about two years. While it is under way, pedestrians will be able to cross the work area only at designated spots, which will change from time to time. There will be traffic detours and shuttle bus route changes.

The city’s project website is charlesstreet.mdprojects.com. The university will post Johns Hopkins–specific information at fm.jhu.edu/charlesstreetconstruction. Questions can be sent to charlesstconstruction@jhu.edu.

For more details and illustrations, see this Gazette story from a year ago: gazette.jhu.edu/2011/05/02/charles-street-renovation-ready-to-go.