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Hampden

Car Free in Hampden

As if you needed one more picture of that thing they do on 34th st.

So I moved to Hampden last month. After living in Canton for 4 years, it’s a sea change. Instead of drinking at sports bars talking football, I’m drinking with hipsters talking Beach House records. Soon I’ll be wearing tapered jeans and rolling my eyes at the band you like because they’re just too popular.

I was a bit concerned about being car free in Hampden before I moved. Hemmed in by parks on either side and a behemoth elevated highway to the west, the choice of bike routes into the neighborhood range from OK to less-than-great. Sisson St. is crazy fast.  Wyman Park Dr. is alright, but a dedicated off-street bike path would help.  Remington Ave. is good until you get to Howard. If you’re going across town, 28th and 29th streets, which could of been direct routes into Hampden from downtown, are pretty much unbikable due to fast one way traffic.

I haven’t used MTA since moving up here, but I know the Hampden shuttle and the #27 are pretty much it. Just looking at MTA’s maps gives me a headache, so I’m not going into the intricacies of bus access in Hampden here.

A few initial observations:

  • Hills. It seems I’m going uphill everywhere I go. This isn’t logical. I became spoiled living near the waterfront. Now I have to work for my commute. It’s alright though since biking the extra uphill miles will help maintain my Greek god-like physique.
  • Housing variety. Instead of monotone blocks of rowhomes like in Canton, there’s an interesting variety of housing here. Check out Hickory Ave. Reminds me of my former stomping grounds in Asheville, NC.
  • Bright lights. Stumbling out of Golden West at 1am is a glorious experience. The Avenue is lit up like the sun.  We need this kind of pedestrian lighting on more city streets.
  • The inverse of the above point.  Sometimes I bike Charles St./St. Paul St. on my commute. Long stretches of these streets are almost pitch black at night, especially between 20th and 25th streets. You may not notice this if you’re in a car, but it hits you on a bike.
  • Street life. Not just on The Avenue, but throughout the neighborhood.  It seems more people hang out outside of their homes here. Jane Jacobs would be proud.
  • Shoutout to Sixteen Tons on the Avenue, one of the best men’s clothing stores I’ve found in the city. Timeless styles and contemporary stuff. I walk out of there like Brando.

In other news, we’re taking it to the next level and will be starting monthly meet ups to discuss bike/transit/car free issues in Baltimore. Specifics will be announced on our new Facebook page, so “like” us. Or don’t, but don’t say we didn’t tell ya.