Though the July 29 meeting about the S. Broadway corridor did highlight what is wrong with the area, there were some suggestions for improvement.
The Guide received several comments on last week’s story, “Broadway corridor residents and business owners are Fed Up,” referring to the story’s focus on the negatives. This follow-up covers the suggestions for improvement that were proposed at the meeting.
Joanne Masopust, president of the Fell’s Point Community Organization, suggested bringing a “drunk tank” to the area. Having a place to put and treat people until they sober up, Masopust argued, would free up police officers.
Currently, an intoxicated or injured person may not be accepted in the police booking system until he or she sobers up or is treated for any injuries. If an officer takes someone into custody who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, then that officer must stay with that person until they sober up.
Masopust noted that many of the “vagrants” that occupy the S. Broadway corridor aren’t actually homeless, but are addicted to drugs, alcohol or both.
David Garza, an economic development officer with the Baltimore Development Corporation, recommended that businesses in Upper Fell’s Point organize.
“We could get Upper Fell’s Point to the level where they could apply to be a ‘Main Street,’” he said, referring to the federal economic development program that “brings special attention and additional resources” to a business area.
Highlandtown has a Main Street program, as does Fell’s Point. Fell’s Point Main Street recently spearheaded the extension of the Waterfront Partnership into Fell’s Point to address trash and issues with vagrants.
Garza noted that securing the “Main Street” status is a very competitive process.
Stacey Harrison of the city’s Department of Transportation noted that one crew is responsible for mowing all medians in the city. Rather than relying on the city to maintain the S. Broadway median, nearby businesses and residents could “adopt” the median.
“We can work with communities to come up with MOUs,” she said.
FIrst District Councilman Jim Kraft noted that the “Bayview Community triangle” at the intersection of Eastern and Dundalk avenues is an example of this arrangement. The Bayview Business Association adopted and beautified the triangle in 2010, and continue to maintain it.
“They did all of that; the city of Baltimore did not do that,” Kraft said.
More categories for 311 app
Resident Phyllis Fung praised the city’s app for making 311 complaints on smart phones. However, she said, the app could use some more categories, such as public urination and vagrancy.
Benches and signs
If people do not have a place to lie down, maybe they won’t loiter so much. To that end, Kraft’s office has arranged for the removal of the park benches from the S. Broadway median. They will be transferred to spots in Patterson Park and the Canton Waterfront Park.
Kristyn Oldendorf of Kraft’s office said that the benches would likely be moved this week.
Kraft also addressed the lack of signage on the median at the meeting. Offenders, he said, will often argue that they didn’t know whatever they were doing in the Broadway corridor is illegal. Posting the rules in English and Spanish, he said, would take away that argument. The Recreation and Parks Department has been charged with putting up the signs.
Additionally, there are now signs on the S. Broadway trashcans that alert residents and businesses that the trashcans are for street litter only, not for household or business waste. Putting a trash bag from your home into a street trashcan is an offense that carries a $500 fine, and the new signs on the trashcans say so.
More committees and meetings
Kraft agreed to help organize three committees charged with addressing three of the corridor’s major issues: economic development, crime/vagrancy, and beautification/sanitation. Kraft’s office is looking for volunteers to sit on and lead these committees. Call 410-396-4821 for more information.
A follow-up meeting on the Broadway corridor has been tentatively scheduled for Monday, Oct. 28, 7-9 p.m., at the Polish Home Club, 510-512 S. Broadway.
by Erik Zygmont