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Baltimore City Listening Sessions, March 7, 2018

What We Heard in Response

Public ServicesMapping Support and DataDemographicsEconomic DevelopmentYouthHousing ♦ Infrastructure  ♦ Community Engagement and Volunteerism ♦ Transportation ♦ Community ♦ Funding ♦ CommunicationState AgenciesPlanning ♦ General

The comments below represent the statements or points of view of one or more individuals who participated in the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) “A Better Maryland” Development Plan Listening Sessions. These comments do not represent any official position or policy of MDP or any other State agency, nor do they represent any official position or policy of any local jurisdiction or local planning agency.

Public Services

The Maryland Department of Planning could help Baltimore with the Interagency Committee on School Construction (IAC) and put in a good word

Schools are very important

An educated citizen can make better choices

For those city residents who do not have the luxury to choose where they live, school quality is perhaps the biggest inequity they must face

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Mapping Support and Data

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council has a monthly permitting reporting service that is very helpful and unique in Maryland. Perhaps this is something the State could replicate elsewhere

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Demographics

Baltimore wants to partner with the Maryland Department of Planning on the 2020 Census to make sure the City gets a complete count (reiterated a couple times)

Given reduced federal funding, Baltimore wants to help engage the hard to reach populations

The Census is very important to the City, and there is a concern that Baltimore will not be fully counted and result in not getting its fair share of funding

To the extent possible, put some focus on equity as part of the Census outreach preparation process

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Economic Development

Baltimore has historically been the economic driver of the state, and its residents are part of the success of the State

Interested in prosperity and inclusiveness for everyone, so all boats rise

Thousands of City vendors are in non-compliance with hiring practice law. Even those receiving City money. When contracting with the City, the City should use E-Verify so that undocumented residents are not hired as low wage workers

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Youth

Poor children in the poorest neighborhoods get the worst schools. This is a matter of equity

They should benefit from a quality education

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Housing

Affordable housing is a priority issue for Baltimore residents

Money intended for Amazon could better go to housing and community development issues

The Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) should provide more low-income tax credits to make City housing more competitive

People who have been living in their homes for years can’t get homeowners insurance policy, while owners of newly rehabbed houses can. There is a need for assistance to expand access to homeowner’s insurance

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Infrastructure

Baltimore is open for business, but its aging infrastructure is a hindrance (reiterated many times)

Mayor Pugh is pro-business

The State can help and provide guidance in this area

This is an excellent way for the State to invest in Baltimore, and it will make money for the State down the road

The State should look at Baltimore’s Capital Improvement Program (CIP) and factor that into its infrastructure funding decision making process

The Jacobs Report and the 21st Century Buildings for Our Kids program focus on the need for capital funding to replace deteriorated schools, but there is also an ongoing need to maintain all the existing school facilities that cannot be forgotten, to avoid perpetuating the problem of deteriorated school buildings

In addition to transportation, water/sewer service and school construction can’t be solved neighborhood by neighborhood or jurisdiction by jurisdiction. There must be an integrated and coordinated effort

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Community Engagement and Volunteerism

Citizens who express their voice by going to meetings and engaging in their own communities can also help raise the voter turnout

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Transportation

Transportation ties into everything in Baltimore. It is not a standalone topic

Investment would be a great equalizer

A Better Maryland should focus on transportation and evaluate how resources can best be used to address urban centers

Only the State can afford to pay for it

Transportation systems do not stop at the City line

Disadvantaged West Baltimore was disappointed that the Red Line project ended. It had a lot to offer that area (reiterated many times)

The Red Line should be revisited

Many residents are upset with State administration for cancelling it

It would have regional benefits, not just those for Baltimore

The City is in a crisis regarding its transportation system

No Metro (at time of meeting). The State’s response to documented hazards in the metro system two years ago was inadequate

City Link is a move in the right direction, but inadequate. Same with bus GPS

Speeding is another big problem in residential neighborhoods

Transit system is extremely important to Baltimore

Many City residents do not have cars

City needs support from the State on this

A major City like Baltimore must have better transit

Transit should take priority over cars

The City struggles using transit to maximize number of people with the density in Baltimore

But is Baltimore a strong enough city to support the density needed for a successful Red Line?

State should focus on policies that incentivize Transit Oriented Development (TOD) around existing nodes

Transit Equity

Need to engage populations most directly affected by transit issues

Equity is a must, including fairness, access to resources, and impact on lower income communities

The Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition is placing emphasis on equity studies for transportation projects. The studies should analyze who gets the benefit, who gets impacted, racial impact, and environmental impact

Commute times on transit need to be reduced to under 45 minutes

Engage underserved populations from the beginning, such as Historically Black Universities and Colleges

Transit trip from Mt. Vernon to Morgan State University is unnecessarily long. Many students end up taking Lyft instead

The Maryland Department of Planning should talk to the Baltimore Department of Transportation. They need help with roads and additional state funding

This funding is critical for the City. Even if the Maryland Department of Planning does not fund projects, it should still try to influence the State CIP

The North Avenue Rising project needs to be prioritized (reiterated multiple times)

The current proposed improvements are only patchwork

Baltimore should establish the vision, and then the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) should support it

Communities and businesses need opportunity to provide input

The $27 million investment is insufficient to address a five mile stretch of such a major corridor

Need to prioritize North Avenue, just like the City did for five blocks of Charles Street

Cars present a significant barrier to the viability of Baltimore’s neighborhoods

The northeast corridor of the City, Harford Road – Belair Road is overrun with traffic coming from outside the area and this is stifling community reinvestment

The City will spend as much money maintaining Interstate 83 over the next few years at it would spend dismantling it. I-83 should be removed because it divides the City into different parts

We need to look at how land use is affected by car congestion, with zoning and development not reaching their full potential

We are seeing more and more pedestrian and bicycle accidents because of traffic and speeding cars

The emissions standards of all new fleet vehicles must be considered during purchasing process. The City has a big asthma problem, and these vehicles have harmful particulate emissions. MTA stopped purchasing hybrid vehicles

The City provided MTA with suggestions for Baltimore Link, but it was disregarded. We hope that you will listen to us this time

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Community

The Project CORE partnership is very promising, and serves as a good example of how state and local governments can work together

Needs to be maintained over time

Decades of reinvestment is needed to make up the ground from decades of previous disinvestment

City is tying its Green Network to the CORE dollars

What happens after demolition?

Need to establish a sustained investment amount that focuses on neighborhoods, not just projects

Baltimore is urban, but perhaps not dense enough to support the kind of growth and amenities it needs

City is a constellation of neighborhoods

A completed transit network could tie the City back together again

Connect everyone together for the common good

Local government investments have started to pay dividends in streetscaping and schools

City government is the mechanism to make things happen

State should give City back control of the BCPD

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Funding

Small community development corporations can access capital, but not operating, funding. Need to develop an operating funding source at State level

Local governments must be nimble and know what is happening on the ground. Because of this, the State should funnel services and funding through locals

State should allow greater flexibility for the use of infrastructure funding in exchange for greater accountability

Resource allocation is an equity issue

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Communication

Need to think about how to get information about A Better Maryland to all members of the public. Baltimore staff and Planning Commissioners want to stay tuned into what is happening

Respectful and clear discourse between City and State officials is often lacking

Baltimoreans are Marylanders and want to be respected

The City is a great place to live and work and State government should say good things about the City

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State Agencies

Make sure to include the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) in A Better Maryland

The State administration doesn’t have the best track record on Smart growth. It took money away from dense Transit Oriented Developments and put it toward more roads

State agencies must talk to each other about transportation

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Planning

A Better Maryland should be viewed and completed through an equity lens. Such an equity lens could be described as a best practice in the final product (reiterated multiple times)

The Baltimore Sustainability Plan, conducted using an equity lens, will be completed in Spring 2018

Baltimore does not have a true comprehensive plan

Might not have the resources for one

The City could use some help with its larger comprehensive planning. There are a lot of small neighborhood studies, however a bigger more regional plan is needed to knit the neighborhood plans together. For example, individual neighborhood plans won’t transform West Baltimore

The redevelopment of State Center presents a great opportunity for both the State and the City

Thousands of Baltimore residents are very discouraged and frustrated by the lack of progress on this project

Could lead to a $1.5 billion TOD investment in the heart of the City

Plan had unprecedented community benefits package

Coppin Heights, Walbrook area needs reinvestment

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General

The State should incorporate the Reinvest Maryland document into A Better Maryland, and it should get a significant focus

New office of African American male engagement, recently formed by Mayor Pugh, is a positive and promising step

State could serve a leadership role in this

A Better Maryland should address best practices

Assets

Diversity and the strength of different perspectives

Hope for change

Challenges

West Baltimore feels abandoned and forgotten

Drug problem

Isolation

Poor transportation system

Poor performing schools

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