March 1, 2019 / Member News

AIA Baltimore Partners with Rails to Trails on Baltimore Greenway Trails Network

Rendering of rail-trail conversion | Rendering by Ren Southard, Assoc. AIA, co-chair of the AIA Baltimore Urban Design Committee

Baltimore, MD (March 1, 2019) — The AIA Baltimore Urban Design Committee (UDC) has been partnering with the Rails-To-Trails Conservancy to advance the Baltimore Greenway Trails Network. The goal is to create a world-class network of connected urban trails in Baltimore. To do this, 10 additional miles of trail are needed to close critical gaps through 50 neighborhoods and help reverse urban fragmentation. Former rail lines, industrial coastlines and reconfigured roadways will be transformed from barriers in the built environment to community-based assets centered on trails. This will change the way Baltimore residents work, live and play—and generate myriad long-term impacts related to social equity, health, environmental conservation, active transportation and economic development.
Members of the committee have been assisting with land-use issues, design challenges, connecting stakeholders and providing renderings. Avery Harmon, Community Outreach Coordinator at Rails-To-Trails had this to say about AIA Baltimore’s involvement:
“The Southeast section of the trail is not without challenges, but we’ve made consistent progress thanks to the support of the City of Baltimore and our community partners. The coalition acquired a valuable partner last year by recruiting the AIA Baltimore Urban Design Committee. In collaboration with some of their members—representing architecture firms like JP2 Architects and Quinns Evans Architects (formerly Cho Benn Holback)—we created conceptual renderings and site plans outlining how to create a seamless connection from the Canton Waterfront to an underutilized railroad corridor. They have been incredibly helpful in identifying solutions to some of the land-use and design challenges in this section of the project, and with connecting us to key stakeholders in the area.
On Jan. 31, we co-hosted a happy hour at Monument City Brewery with our AIA UDC partners to showcase some of the designs. Close to 100 people showed up to learn about our progress and how to get involved in ongoing trail planning efforts.”
Learn more about the Greenway Trails Network progress on the Rails-To-Trails website.
Be sure to join us on April 23 for a tour of the southwest part of the trail, organized by the AIA Baltimore Committee on the Environment and Resiliency (COTE | R). We’ll hear from Rails to Trails and community leaders about trail plans for the area. The natural waterfront areas along the Middle Branch—ecologically rich and home to some of the best waterfowl seeing—go largely unnoticed, hidden behind vestiges of industry and underneath highway interchanges.  Better access by trails will help to strengthen the natural assets of Baltimore’s lesser known harbor.