Overgrown Lot and Empty Train Cars on Kloman Near Wenburn

I spent today getting back in the swing of things at work–researching, writing, planning, and scheming, and asking people with money to give it to me for my plans and schemes, probably my least favorite activity, though I’m fairly certain that my student group can spend your group’s money better than you can. And then it was time to get on the bike. It feels like it’s been forever since I was on my bike, so I was happy to get on and pedal with no clear destination. I flew down the hill to the Inner Harbor and took the bike path, happy to discover that somebody finally moved that blue crane that was parked right in the middle of our bike/ped path. I noticed some folks blowing up giant weather balloons, so I stopped to chat with them about what was going on–that’s the sort of thing you can do when you’re on your bicycle. They were getting ready to float a giant sign above the traffic on Light Street to let people know that the Hyatt in Baltimore pays workers 3/5 what it pays workers in cities with hotel rooms that cost exactly the same amount. That 3/5 number is rhetorically powerful, and underpaying workers? Well, that’s gross, and also the logic of capitalism, so what’re we going to do about that? I kept riding, following the path through the Sharp-Leadenhall neighborhood to read the historical signage about Baltimore’s oldest African-American community and the vibrant life that used to be in this tiny shrinking neighborhood tucked just under the freeway next to the stadiums. Those signs never tell you what happened that the neighborhood doesn’t look like that anymore, but I’m guessing urban renewal projects may have something to do with it. And then I rode out to Middle Branch Park on Gwynns Falls Trail. I stopped to take a picture of these rusting abandoned train cars sitting in what amounts to the back yard of the folks living in these houses, some of which are occupied, others abandoned or burned out, all stuck together, because that’s how we build houses in Baltimore. Why don’t the owners of these train cars have to move their trash out of here? Sigh. I continued my ride out past the folks fishing on the piers for a sit-down on a bench just the other side of Harbor Hospital before turning back to ride home, a stop for frozen yogurt and iced coffee where I thought about how much of our built environment is built for cars, and how many people have been forced to move from their neighborhoods so other people can more conveniently drive cars. We could organize space differently, you know. Riding a bike teaches me that over and over and over again, and it’s good to be on mine again.

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