BALTIMORE—MedStar Harbor Hospital has been awarded a $500,000 grant to design a bicycle and pedestrian path to connect two major existing bike routes amid intensive planning to revitalize the 11-mile greater Middle Branch waterfront.
The Maryland Anchor SEED funding grant, awarded to the hospital and non-profit partners, Greater Baybrook Alliance and South Baltimore Gateway Partnership in November, will provide 30 percent of engineering design for the pathway. This critical step will allow the hospital and partners to apply for grants for construction, which is expected to cost around $3 million.
The three-mile bike and pedestrian path will span two jurisdictions and connect the BWI Trail in Anne Arundel County and the Gwynns Falls Trail in Baltimore City. The Gwynns Falls Trail currently has a trailhead adjacent to MedStar Harbor Hospital’s campus. It will offer safe access to southwest Baltimore, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Gwynns Falls Park, a wildlife refuge and more.
“This is an ambitious project that we hope will spur economic development along the Middle Branch waterfront, connect eight neighborhoods, encourage safe and healthy transportation, improve the environment by reducing car use, and improve the health of the community,” said Ryan Moran, director of community health for MedStar Health in Baltimore. “MedStar Harbor Hospital is committed to transforming and revitalizing its surrounding community, which faces economic challenges and poor health outcomes.”
About half of households in Cherry Hill and about a third in Curtis Bay do not have access to a car, but many roads in the area are unsafe for cyclists, pedestrians and those in wheelchairs.
“This project will help address one of the toughest problems in these communities – transportation barriers. This protected route will make it easier for residents to get to the Middle Branch Park, the soon-to-be developed Wellness Center in Reedbird Park, jobs, and health services at the hospital. It will connect these neighborhoods with a vibrant and attractive pathway and improve the quality of life for thousands of residents,” said Meredith Chaiken, executive director for Greater Baybrook Alliance. The design engineers will determine the exact route of the new path, which will travel along public streets, including a portion of South Hanover Street that has an existing unprotected bike lane. It will pass through the communities of Brooklyn and Brooklyn Park before connecting with the trailhead for the BWI Trail in Pumphrey. The engineers will offer protected and unprotected bike lane options depending on funding levels.
The project will be subject to approval by Baltimore and Anne Arundel County transportation departments. Design is expected to take about 18 months.
Baltimore City this summer selected a landscape architecture firm to invigorate the Middle Branch shoreline, which residents have complained is cut off from the rest of the city and suffers from disinvestment. MedStar Harbor Hospital’s campus is in the middle of the shoreline. The proposal would transform an old railroad bridge into an education center, turn the Hanover Street bridge into a park, add wetlands and have green public space for gatherings.
About MedStar Health
MedStar Health is a not-for-profit health system dedicated to caring for people in Maryland and the Washington, D.C., region, while advancing the practice of medicine through education, innovation and research. MedStar’s 30,000 associates, 6,000 affiliated physicians, 10 hospitals, ambulatory care and urgent care centers, and the MedStar Health Research Institute are recognized regionally and nationally for excellence in medical care. As the medical education and clinical partner of Georgetown University, MedStar trains more than 1,100 medical residents annually. MedStar Health’s patient-first philosophy combines care, compassion and clinical