GBC survey results favor harbor pedestrian bridge, ‘Harbor Loop’ option for Rash park

Almost 90 percent of respondents to the Greater Baltimore Committee’s seven-day-old online survey said they support the idea of building a pedestrian bridge across Baltimore’s Inner Harbor as part of any plan to convert Rash Field into a world-class waterfront park.

The survey so far has attracted more than 600 participants.

Survey results as of June 2 on votes for favorite option for the park design are as follows:

Option A – Garden Terrace – 12.3 percent
Option B – Federal Hill Connector – 26.7 percent
Option C – Harbor Loop – 60.2 percent

Would the Inner Harbor pedestrian bridge enhance the Inner Harbor experience?

• Yes – 89.9 percent
• No – 10 percent

Following are selected comments submitted by survey participants:

Much general praise for converting Rash Field into a park:
• “I love connecting the park space at the water’s edge to Federal Hill and giving the residents of this neighborhood easy access to the park.”
• “This is by far the most visionary, and the innovative design is transformational, just what the City needs. Also, the “connectivity” of the bridges will link multiple sites together and make the whole Inner harbor more accessible.”
• “I think all three options are AMAZING. THANK YOU!! I am genuinely torn between all three, but you forced my hand. I chose A over the others because I think A makes more functional use of all of the available space AND OFFERS ADDITIONAL PARKING! I also think the elements included in Option A better accommodate everyone and everything – kids and grownups, locals and tourists, sports fans and the arts crowd, etc.”
• “Option C. The nature flow of the curve and the improved connection to federal hill make this a winner. And of course, the bridge.”

The Inner Harbor pedestrian bridge was overwhelmingly praised by survey respondents:
• “For 8 years, we’ve joked about taking the bridge to the other side of the harbor. For us then, the bridge would literally be a dream come true.”
• “It simply makes everything more walkable — people will head into harbor east and the whole harbor will be more connected!”
• “This concept will be an incredible help to connect the neighborhoods surrounding the inner harbor. Aside from the picturesque advantages, it is incredibly practical for tourists and residents alike.”
• “The bridge provides an architectural icon for Baltimore city that would celebrate its relationship with the water and the Harbor.”
• “Time to roll out some new postcards of the city, this would be a game-changer!”
• “Not only would it enhance the inner harbor, but it would enhance the city as a whole.”
• “The bridge is a more inviting experience for pedestrians and provides other opportunities for visual experiences.
• “Pedestrian Bridge! Pedestrian Bridge! There have been so many times my family has wanted to go to Harbor East but it takes too long or is inconvenient and expensive to wait for the Water Taxi.”
• “Take, for example, the Charleston Harbor. The bridge connecting downtown Charleston to Mt. Pleasant forever changed the downtown experience in Charleston. A similar bridge in Baltimore will have the same profound effect on both residents and visitors alike.”

While most loved the bridge, a few didn’t:
• “Leave the harbor basin unbridged as it’s been accessible without it.”
• “Closing off the Inner Harbor visually is a mistake. The connection to the Bay is vital, especially metaphorically.”

Many praised the idea of a band shell:
• “I like the idea of the performance shell/stage. Much like the ‘hatch shell’ in Boston, Ma. right on the water, very popular for performances.”
• “I find the four park areas, the public art, and the band shell to be most appealing attractions. The lines of this design are peaceful, and it offers the practical option of walking through the park and around the band area, or along the harbor promenade, ending at the same locations. Very exciting design. Thank you.”

A few didn’t favor a band shell:
• “Band shell seems redundant with Pier 6 and Light and Pratt and boring when no performance.”

Many favored parking as a key element of the concepts, but many favored underground parking over surface parking:
• “Below grade parking is the ONLY worthy option.”
• “I like the idea of more parking and more so that it is underground”
• “A garage with a green roof (intensively landscaped) would be another green option.”
• “Above ground parking is a waste of a prime location”
• “There shouldn’t be any more surface parking lots built anywhere in Baltimore City.”

Other suggestions:
• Put a people mover on the bridge.
“Great idea, very dynamic and would provide visitors a great view. How about having some form of motorized walk way like in airports to make it more ‘handicapped friendly.'”

• Have exercise stations.
“Consider exercise equipment stations, climbing wall, skate park etc.”

• Outdoor movies.
“Could do outdoor movies in the green space.”

• Traffic circle at Key Highway and Light St.
“At the intersection of Light St. and Key Highway, clean this up with a good looking and functional traffic circle or roundabout – go to Oregon and you’ll find dozens of beautiful examples.”

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