Henderson Crossing on Ashland & N. Madeira

Sunday was hot, hot, hot, but I was in the mood for a bike ride to no particular destination, so I lathered on the sunscreen, filled up my water bottle, and headed down Barclay Street to see what would happen. The first thing that happened was getting soaked in my own sweat, but that’s just part of the deal, being outside in the summertime. At least I was creating my own breeze. I went south and then east, and then south and east again. I decided to see how far that new east/west protected bike lane goes. Yeah, it stops at Washington, which means it’s really for getting people to Hopkins, and that’s it. I hope the city extends it someday, because I wanted to keep going east, and there’s a lot of east left to go from there. The lane’s great if you live in the central part of the city and stop at Hopkins, but for the rest of us, it’s not enough.

I quickly turned off Monument Street to avoid the traffic and headed east on Ashland. I stopped to take this picture of the sign for “Henderson Crossing,” a new development being planned on Ashland and N. Madeira streets. Brand new townhomes will start in the mid-$200s. In the background of these promises is a lot of what this neighborhood looks like now–vacant homes, potholed streets, collapsing roofs, and other signs of economic devastation. The neighborhood certainly hasn’t always looked like this, but here it is, the result of decades of displacement, economic devastation, and broken promises. If you’re reading this blog from somewhere outside of Baltimore, that starting home price might not sound like a lot, but in Baltimore numbers, that’s really expensive, and without the Live Where You Work credit offered by Johns Hopkins ($17,000, I think) and capital from elsewhere, folks simply won’t be able to afford to live here. But that’s the cost for new housing, and I guess we’ll see what kind of need it meets, and who will get displaced when that happens.

I continued my ride looping around these neighborhoods. I saw a guy looking for his dog–nope, I hadn’t seen her. I saw a couple pop up snowball stands and regretted leaving the house without cash. I saw people on stoops with those pop up tents to create shade, so many people riding scooters or strolling, and so many cops. Two of them were arresting a man, sitting on curb, hands handcuffed behind his back, in tears. Arrest is so devastating in so many ways, to the person arrested and to the community from which the person is removed. So many arrests in Baltimore, and none of them fix what’s happened and keeps happening in the neighborhood.

Around and around I went, and then snaked my way back west and north and west and north to home again. So much sweat. I’m glad I took a ride.

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