The looming $23 million makeover of the Charles Street Bridge at Pennsylvania Station will entail a detour for Homewood-JHMI shuttle riders and commuters traveling northbound on Charles Street to the Homewood campus.
The construction, scheduled to begin in May, will force the closing of Charles Street between Oliver Street and Lanvale Avenue for a period of up to 18 months. The makeover consists of bridge repair, a new entry lane to the Penn Station plaza from Charles Street and an improved ramp from Charles Street leading to the Jones Fall Expressway.
For the project's duration, the Homewood-JHMI shuttle's northbound pick-up point at Penn Station will shift from Charles Street to the corner of Mt. Royal Avenue and St. Paul Street, directly in front of Henderson House.
From that point the shuttle will follow the same path as re-routed Mass Transit Administration buses. The shuttle will proceed east on Mt. Royal Avenue to Calvert Street, north on Calvert to 20th Street, and then return to Charles Street to resume its normal route.
Lt. George Kibler, Homewood Security transportation manager, said the new route should impact only those traveling north to the Homewood campus from the point of Penn Station.
"There will be no change to the southbound traffic pattern in the direction of East Baltimore," Kibler said. "And everything else should continue on schedule."
Shuttle departure times also will remain the same, Kibler said, although a test run of the detour route indicated there will be a "manageable" two- to three-minute addition to travel time for northbound shuttles under normal conditions.
Kibler, who was involved with city and Yellow Bus company officials in developing the route, said the new Penn Station shuttle stop, which already displays university signage, was the most viable option after exhausting all other site alternatives. Sites closer to Penn Station were considered but had to be ruled out either for passenger safety concerns or city traffic restrictions.
Henderson House--an approximate four-and-a-half-minute walk from Penn Station's St. Paul Street exit--has a large vestibule to shield waiting passengers from the elements and an indented curb to allow vehicles to pull off and into the main thoroughfare. The route from Penn Station to Henderson House also has sufficient modified curbing so that wheelchair operators can travel safely.
Since northbound traffic along Charles Street will have to be rerouted to Calvert Street and Maryland Avenue, Kibler said it's not just the approximate 7,000 weekly northbound Homewood-JHMI shuttle passengers who will be impacted by the street closing.
"Anyone who goes up Charles Street and uses that corridor will either have to go left or right at some point," Kibler said. "So we want people, whether they are commuting by car or using the shuttle, to plan ahead to accommodate these temporary changes. And that could mean leaving a few minutes earlier."
For concerns or questions regarding Homewood-JHMI shuttle changes, contact George Kibler at 410-516-6628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.