by Benjamin L. Cardin
U.S. Congressman, 3rd District
One of my most satisfying moments as a member of Congress came recently when I joined hundreds of fellow bikers and walkers traveling down the closed Jones Falls Expressway in celebration of the soon-to-be-built Jones Falls Greenway. The Jones Falls Greenway will be constructed using funds that have been set aside in the recently passed federal transportation bill. I proposed the inclusion of this project in the transportation bill because in addition to providing routes for bikers and walkers, greenways offer urban residents a safe way to use other modes of transportation. The first phase of the greenway will run from Penn Station to Druid Hill Park and is expected to be open to the public by fall 1999. When finally completed, it will run from the Inner Harbor to Lake Roland in Baltimore County, and will be part of the East Coast Greenway network stretching from Maine to Florida. It may also one day be extended to the North-Central Trail in northern Baltimore County. The greenway will give people in our region the opportunity to experience the rich scenic beauty of the Jones Falls Valley along with the opportunity to see the architectural heritage of Baltimores first major industrial corridor, which developed along the Jones Falls. In addition to securing funds for the Jones Falls Greenway, I also managed to get more funds for the Gywnns Falls Greenway. The first 4.5 miles of the Gywnns Falls Greenway is currently under construction, and will run from the Inner Harbor to Leakin Park when completed. The additional funding will be used to reconstruct Leakin Parks Franklintown Road to include a bike lane and to study extending the Gywnns Falls Greenway from Leakin Park north to the park-and-ride at the end of I-70. As a biking enthusiast, I have always appreciated the importance of greenways. They provide a non-polluting mode of transportation and can easily hook up with light rail and other mass transportation systems. In Baltimore, we have led the nation in understanding the practical and aesthetic value of alternative transportation projects in our community, providing bikers and walkers with the opportunity to enjoy the natural beauty of our natural landscape.The Trust for Public Land, a nationwide nonprofit conservation organization, has a Baltimore Project Office at The Mill Centre in Hampden. For information about the Trust and its work locally, call 243-3698. Also, The Parks & People Foundation offers community grants from $200 to $1,000 to encourage environmental projects in city neighborhoods. Deadline is January 1999 for spring projects. Call Ellen Smith at 448-5663, ext. 112.