Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Kevin answers the question- What's it like to drive into downtown Balto. in the morning rush?

We know some people will be staying with friends in areas outside the city. Those of us who are locals will also be commuting in so I asked Kevin V. what it's like to commute in weekday mornings:

It takes me about an hour to walk out my front door (in Silver Spring (Maryland DC Suburb - ed.)), get in the car, drive to the parking garage on Baltimore and Russell streets (the latter is what 395 becomes when one gets in town), get out of the car, walk downstairs, walk to work, take the elevator to my floor, and walk into the library. I leave at about 8 AM. with a 10 minute variance, and still get in about the same time. Allowing for changes in route this should be quite similar if I were to walk to the conference site. At lunch it takes about 15 minutes to make the trip door to door on foot. Coming from the North, one is better advised to take 83 in. 95 can be quite congested from the tunnel. The Marc train from DC will stop at Camden yards, from which it is about 20 minutes walk to the site. I don't usually stop anywhere since the distance to a train station nearly equals getting to town. Add the flexibility of departure and an 'early bird' parking rate and, alas it becomes competitive with the more environmentally responsible alternative. That said, it is a wise idea not to try to get too close to the inner harbor. Traffic in the morning is extremely heavy and the drivers become quite aggressive as one gets closer. The other bit that is worth noting is that parking in Baltimore is a challenge any time. In their infinite wisdom parking close to the inner harbor is limited and expensive. Move into town a couple blocks and life is much easier in this respect. This is for the early morning hours. IF one comes in after about 10 AM it is much easier sailing and takes about 45 minutes v. the hour mentioned earlier. Going out: The Lombard to 395 route is heavy during the 'rush hour' which is 4:30 to 6 pm. One can go a little further west on Lombard and take Greene street out at about twice the rate. The Camden yards commuter train has limited scheduling. The train that runs from Penn station in Baltimore runs more frequently, but one needs to get up there. A difficult trade-off. The B-W parkway can work sometimes. It is a two lane highway and bunches inside the Baltimore beltway, but could be a reasonable alternative.

Hope that helps.


It does help! Thanks, Kevin. BTW- the B-W parkway (aka 295) is the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. It's a two lane limited access highway with no trucks allow on most parts. I've marked the train stations on the Wayfaring Map (points 26 & 27).

Friday, February 24, 2006

The Light Rail

Contributed by Anna Cole.

The Light Rail is a good method to get from the airport to the city. Very clean, usually runs on time and the trip from the airport to the city is probably 30 minutes. Since the track runs by the Convention Center up Howard Street, it is in the heart of downtown B-more. it runs north south from Hunt Valley in Baltimore County to Glen Burnie in Anne Arundel County. there is a switch track to the airport and to the train station. so if someone comes by train, they have buses, cabs and the light rail at their disposal.

1 way $ 1.60
day pass $ 3.50 includes light rail, buses and the subway.
weekly pass $ 16.50 includes light rail, buses and subway.

Here is a link with all info and a map:

Important to know: riders must buy a ticket before boarding the train from ticket boxes on the platform. The Light Rail runs until 11 PM

There are two reasonably priced motels at the North Linthicum station: Comfort Inn and Sleep Inn. That stop is a short ride to downtown B-more. and may be an alternative to the cost of downtown hotels.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: An African American Heritage Tour of Baltimore

Blog editor's note: The following article was e-mailed to me by Lisa on behalf of the Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association. It is copied directly from her e-mail without revision. Even though the SLA conference will be held well after Black History Month is over, I would encourage you all to visit some of these sites and learn about the importance of Baltimore in African American Heritage and Black History, and the importance of African American contributions to Baltimore history and culture - ckp

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants: An African American Heritage Tour of Baltimore

African Americans have blazed a distinguished trail through Baltimore, from Frederick Douglass to Eubie Blake. Visitors to this charming East Coast port city can explore a history of unparalleled achievement and inspiration on a remarkable journey through its many African American treasures.

A great place to begin a black history tour in Baltimore is the National Great Blacks In Wax Museum, housing more than 100 life-size wax figures—including Frederick Douglass, Harriett Tubman and Benjamin Banneker—presented in dramatic and historical scenes. A most compelling highlight is the dramatic walk through the museum’s replica slave ship, complete with Middle Passage history. Then journey through 400 years of African American history at the new Reginald F. Lewis Museum of African American History & Culture, the largest of its kind on the East Coast. With interactive permanent exhibitions, exciting changing exhibitions and engaging programs, the museum is fast becoming a major regional attraction.

At the Eubie Blake National Jazz Museum and Cultural Center, check out the assortment of memorabilia and artifacts honoring the Baltimore-born composer and pianist, as well as highlights of other Baltimore jazz greats like Cab Calloway and Chick Webb. Then uncover keys to Baltimore's past and future at the Orchard Street Church. Founded in 1825, legend has it the church was a stop on the Underground Railroad—it still has an escape tunnel! Along with the church, the building today is also home to the Baltimore Urban League, an organization committed to enhancing the social and economic conditions of African Americans in Baltimore.

Also a stop on the Underground Railroad, the Baltimore Civil War Museum is housed in the President Street railroad station, which was built in 1851. The site also played a pivotal role in the Pratt Street Riot, the first incident of bloodshed in the Civil War, and features exhibits on Baltimore's colored troops.

Other highlights include the Frederick Douglass Marker in Fell's Point, celebrating the life of the great abolitionist, publisher and orator. Other neighborhood sites showcase where Douglass lived, worked, worshipped and learned to read. Don't miss the five historic townhouses he built that still stand today.

And if you have time for a show while you’re in town, don’t miss the nation's oldest continuously operating African American community theater, the Arena Players, offering productions of both classic works and contemporary plays by African American writers.

Finally, consider a stop at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the oldest, largest and strongest civil rights organization in the United States, which moved its headquarters to Baltimore in 1986. Peruse the national civil rights archives at the library, and stroll through a memorial garden to writer Dorothy Parker.

~Melissa Goldman, Baltimore Area Convention and Visitors Association.

Pick up a copy of the African American Heritage and Attractions Guide and learn more about celebrating black history month in Baltimore.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Places for free Wi-Fi in Baltimore

Judith Seiss suggests:
Sources: JIWire.com (better site) and metrofreefi.com

1407 Fleet Street

CapPOOCHino Cafe
625 Washington Blvd

Community College of Baltimore County Libraries
800 South Rolling Road

In-Dulj Cafe and Bar
202 East Pratt Street
Lobby Level

Inner Harbor waterfront area
200 East Pratt Street

Johns Hopkins University, Sheridan Libraries
3400 North Charles Street

Kiss Cafe
2400 Boston Street

Metropolitan Coffeehouse and Wine Bar
902 South Charles Street

Microtel Inns & Suites
1170 Winterson Road

Nick's Fish House
2600 Insulator Drive

Port City Java
644 East Fort Avenue

Wydeye Coffee House
1704 Aliceanna Street
Fell's Point

We hear that this new coffee house also has free wi-fi if anyone is back in the area.
Corner Fleet & Wolfe
Historic Fells Point
Baltimore, MD 21231