Druid Hill Complete Streets

Graham Coreil-Allen headshot

Graham Coreil-Allen headshot

I’m honored and humbled to announce that I have been awarded a 2018 Open Society Institute (OSI) Baltimore Community Fellowship providing me with eighteen months of funding and organizing support as I collaborate with residents on reconnecting our West Baltimore neighborhoods with Druid Hill Park. Through the Druid Hill Complete Streets project I will be working with my neighbors to ensure that a forthcoming Baltimore City Department of Transportation (DOT) planning effort is as reflective of community voices as possible as we seek to convert the dangerous barrier highways around Druid Hill Park into complete streets safe and accessible for all – especially the approximately 50% of area residents who do not drive. Complete Streets are streets designed and operated to be safe and accessible for all, including pedestrians, transit users, wheelchair riders, and people who rely on bicycles. During the fellowship I will be working with local youth to create traffic calming public art to slow down cars and improve pedestrian safety. Potential ideas include mural-filled crosswalks, artistic planters protecting pedestrians, and creative signs reminding motorists where pedestrians have the right-of-way.

Auchentoroly Terrace walking tour

Auchentoroly Terrace community advocacy walk with city agencies, 2017.

West Baltimore’s historic work class neighborhoods of color have systematically been denied safe access to Druid Hill Park due to dangerous six-to-nine-lane-wide highways constructed over community opposition between the 1940s and the 1960s. Click here to read my story about the history behind the highways cutting off the neighborhoods of Mondawmin, Penn North, and Reservoir Hill from Druid Hill Park. The formerly two-lane, park-front streets of Auchentoroly Terrace and Druid Park Lake Drive were widened into high-speed highways primarily serving suburban commuters at the expense of park access for local residents.

Structurally racist urban planning decisions to build highways around Druid Hill Park make it difficult for the residents to enjoy the park’s public health benefits, including exercise, healthy food, and clean air. The Baltimore City Health Department’s 2017 Neighborhood Health Profiles show that the majority working class, African American communities around the park have some of the city’s highest mortality rates of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Click here for the Penn North / Reservoir Hill and Greater Mondawmin health reports. Census data also shows that approximately half of residents in the immediate area code of 21217 do not drive. As pedestrians, transit users, wheelchair riders, and people who rely on bicycles, our residents deserve priority access to the park.

Druid Hill Complete Streets map and challenges

Since moving to Auchentoroly Terrace in 2013 I’ve listened to my neighbors talk about and experienced firsthand the need for more crosswalks, narrower roadways, less vehicular traffic, and slower speeds. With no playground in our neighborhood, I all too often witness small children on foot and bike darting across eight lanes of high speed traffic to reach the safe green spaces and play areas of Druid Hill Park. I also see how my retired, car-free neighbors are unable to reach the Druid Hill Farmers Market due to a lack of safe, convenient crosswalks. Most at risk are wheelchair riders who along sections of the park are blocked by non-ADA pathways.

In response to community transportation needs, 7th District Councilman Leon F. Pinkett III convened the Druid Hill Park Stakeholders group in early 2017. The group includes representatives from Mondawmin, Auchentoroly Terrace, and Reservoir Hill; Baltimore City agencies including the Departments of Transportation, Public Works, and Recreation and Parks; as well as non-profits including Bikemore, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, and Parks & People. We are also reaching out to more local leaders and organizations to bring into the planning and advocacy effort. Thanks to the councilman’s leadership, in February 2018 Baltimore City DOT agreed to conduct a major transportation study to address our community’s concerns. This study will build on two ongoing local initiatives, the Big Jump Baltimore and the Baltimore Greenway Trail Network northwest trail planning effort. As an OSI Community Fellow, I will work full-time with my neighbors to shape this forthcoming transportation plan for rebuilding the dangerous barrier-highways of Druid Park Lake Drive and Auchentoroly Terrace as accessible boulevards that safely connect our most vulnerable residents with Druid Hill Park.

The Druid Hill Complete Streets initiative will support community education, creative urban planning, and traffic calming through public art. We will organize community-led walking tours in which youth, seniors, wheelchair riders, elected officials, and city planners learn from one another while seeking common ground for enacting equitable park access. We will also creatively engage residents in the ongoing DOT planning process through a new website, social media campaign, and activities at places like the Druid Hill Farmers Market to get input from residents who may not be able to make traditional public meetings. Lastly, we will collaborate with youth to create traffic calming public art around Druid Hill Park based on community design workshops in which residents will identify sites for enhancing pedestrian safety and reconnecting with the park. These low-cost interventions will have an immediate positive impact on park connectivity and public health while enabling residents and the public at large to envision the possibilities for complete streets.

The schedule of events and public art production will be determined by the yet-to-be-confirmed DOT study timeline. The Druid Hill Complete Streets project will bring together diverse neighborhood groups to shape the upcoming improvements around the park, empowering communities to claim our public spaces through creative city planning and public art interventions.

2018 Fall New Public Sites Walking Tours

New Public Sites Tours Fall 2018

New Public Sites Tours Fall 2018

This fall New Public Sites is excited to offer one new walking tour in Arlington, Virginia, Wandering the West Pike, and three classics in Baltimore City; Inner Harbor Baltimore Drift, Station North Ave, and Druid Hill Reservoir Interchange! The tours series focuses on the intersecting issues of public space access, transportation equity, creative placemaking, and how residents are shaping places through everyday actions.

All tours are free and open to the public, but spots are limited so be sure to register. The Fall 2018 New Public Sites tours are made possible with support from Arlington Arts and Free Fall Baltimore.

Free Fall Baltimore is presented by BGE, and is a program of the Baltimore Office of Promotion & The Arts, an independent 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Wandering the West PikeWandering the West Pike

Saturday, October 13, 11:00 am-12:30pm
Free! Click here to register

Rain date: Saturday, October 20, 11:00 am-12:30pm

As one of the most diverse corridors in the country, Arlington, Virginia’s Columbia Pike in many ways represents the future of American culture and urbanism. On Wandering the West Pike walking tour participants will learn about how residents new and old are adapting suburban public spaces along Columbia Pike to meet their urban needs. Join us to explore and reimagine the public spaces of Columbia Pike’s West End. Learn about transportation improvements currently under construction. Imagine future public art projects taking place along the Pike, including  “The Pike” by Donald Lipski. Learn more…

Inner Harbor Baltimore Drift bannerInner Harbor Baltimore Drift

Sunday, October 14, 2-4pm
Free! Click here to register

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is a celebrated success of waterfront redevelopment, but its spectacular looks disguise a contested past and challenging present. Join us on Inner Harbor Baltimore Drift to discover the real stories of how powerful people, visionary plans, and community movements are still transforming the former industrial wharf into a premiere public space for all. Learn more…

New Public Sites Station North AvenueStation North Ave

Sunday, October 21, 2-4pm
Free! Click here to register

As a major thoroughfare in Baltimore’s premier arts district, North Avenue in seeing increasing arts, entertainment, and education development. The Station North Avenue tour explores the history of North Avenue as a transportation and cultural corridor, and the ongoing impact of creative placemaking in the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. Learn more…

New Public Sites Druid Hill Reservoir InterchangeDruid Hill Reservoir Interchange

Sunday, October 28, 2-4pm
Free! Click here to register

Druid Hill Reservoir Interchange will explore the overlapping embankments and sidewalks to nowhere between the Jones Falls Expressway and the Druid Hill Park Reservoir. The tour will focus on the history of the the park and surrounding highways, and details about the current reservoir construction project. Along the way, we will also share about the community movement afoot supporting pedestrian safety improvements around the park. Learn more…

Free Fall BaltimoreBaltimore Office of Promotion and the Arts

Choose Your Own Adventure at Artscape!

Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure

Its July in Baltimore, which means its time for the nation’s largest free art festival – Artscape! Building off of the outrageous success of last year’s Dancing Forest of inflatable trees, I’m now teaming up with with fellow Baltimore public artist Becky Borlan on Choose Your Own Adventure! Choose your own Adventure will transform the Charles Street Bridge at Penn Station into a colorful playscape of pedestrian pathways and hanging beach balls. Spray chalk lines will mark a site-based map converging under a forest of beach balls hanging from an open air structure.

Choose Your Own Adventure at Artscape 2018
Charles Street Bridge at Penn Station, Baltimore, MD, 21201
July 20-22, 2018
Friday: 11am-9pm, Saturday: 11am-9pm, Sunday: 11am-7pm
After hours: Friday and Saturday 9pm-11pm
Free and open to the public

Choose your own Adventure takes inspiration from the natural paths taken by street-crossing pedestrians, the Jones Falls and train tracks below, and the joyful experiences of summer-inspired toys. The kinetic environment will feature hundreds of colorful, translucent beach balls and multiple lounging options for festival goers to find respite from the summer sun. Participants who choose to explore will discover curious signs offering choices for adventures beyond. Through tactical urbanism and creative design, the installation will preview possibilities for completely transforming the Charles Street Bridge into an immersive pedestrian environment and playful visionary experience.

Creating Places with People: 2017 Year in Review

171014 Mondawmin Crossings Reisterstown Rd

171014 Mondawmin Crossings Reisterstown Rd

2017 New Public Sites infographicAs we close out 2017 I’m thankful for the numerous neighbors, leaders, artists, and organizations I have had the honor of working with to Make Place Happen in Baltimore and beyond. From championing pedestrian accessibility around Druid Hill Park, to exploring the robust and emerging civic spaces and public art of Arlington County, to colorfully reconfiguring concrete paving for playful action, place is truly what we made of it. Public space is not just constructed out of tactile materials like pavement, landscaping, and benches, but also the intangible – knowledge, organizing, and programming. Through New Public Sites walking tours we poetically re-experienced everyday public spaces while learning from community leaders and civil servants how to affect change at the block level. Artscape showed that streets and bridges don’t have to be just for cars, but can also be spaces for ecstatic pedestrian interactions. Workshops like the Baltimore Museum of Art’s Visioning Home created spaces for inclusively mapping out creative futures for the city. I am inspired by my collaborators who believe that we can expand such temporary zones of autonomy into lasting places of accessibility, well-being, joy, and freedom.

Read More…

2016: Making Place Happen with People

NPS Five Points Denver - Graham speaking

NPS Five Points Denver - Graham speaking

Since going full-time for Graham Projects I’ve had the honor of investigating, activating, and improving numerous public places in Baltimore and beyond. 2016 was a great year for making place happen with inspiring people. I am thankful.

  • At the invitation of the Waterfront Partnership, Melvin Thomas and I made a 103’ long Harbor Hopscotch.
  • My New Public Sites – Five Points Denver walking tours and immersive map installation went gangbusters at RedLine’s 48 Hours of Socially Engaged Art Summit. Along the way, I was honored to share the megaphone and learn from half a dozen local speakers.
  • With support from BikeMore and Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, my home street Auchentoroly Terrace got a temporary Footprints Crosswalk to help pedestrians better connect with the Druid Hill Park Farmers Market.
  • Working with an inspiring network of cultural organizers across Baltimore, I helped lead Citizen Artist Baltimore get-out-the-vote vote efforts. Bigly surprises aside, we informed local candidates of the values of our city’s diverse arts and cultural communities and educated voters on the importance of local races and ballot initiatives.
  • I was honored to be invited by Baltimore Heritage to join their board of historic and cultural preservation advocates. I’m excited to be working with them on saving Baltimore’s most meaningful places.
  • I had a fun time making water loop while redesigning Dance & Bmore’s website. May I do the same for you?
  • The Public Art for Central Avenue Streetscape project continues. Falon Mihalic and I are busy closing in on our final design for a 25’ tall, pedestrian-empowering Periscope. Stay tuned for the full announcement and renderings…

Harbor Hopscotch

Harbor Hopscotch southeast

Harbor Hopscotch southeast

Harbor Hopscotch

All are invited to jump the Harbor Hopscotch from now through the end of summer!  Harbor Hopscotch is a 103’ long, colorful hopscotch court playfully activating a ramp entrance to West Shore Park at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The temporary installation of teal, electric blue, and fuchsia colored spray chalk was commissioned by the Waterfront Partnership of Baltimore to bring more people into the south end of this prominent public space. Pedestrians strolling on the Inner Harbor Promenade are met with a large project ground graphic inviting them to hop up the ramp leading into West Shore Park. The graphic also encourages participants to share pictures of each other jumping using the hashtag #HarborHopscotch and @waterfrontpartnership.

Click here for more pictures of this epic court of pedestrian hopscotch play!

Arcade Parade a Wandering Success

The Arcade Parade celebration of Midtown privately owned public spaces, October 2011, New York, NY. 1.5 hours, uniform, maps, performers, public spaces, participants. Combination view.

Thanks to everyone who participated in the Arcade Parade on Saturday, October 15th. Together the F-POPS team, Hungry March Band, and over one hundred people festively wandered through Midtown’s largest network of privately owned public spaces. Under LeWitt stripes waving, the Arcade Parade fomented the Social Life of these Small Urban Spaces through festive music, critical observation, site specific play and interventionist sound. Through blocks played and plazas performed, Holly Whyte Way is cemented as path and place.

More pictures and info about Friends of Privately Owned Public Space at f-pops.org.

Special thanks to the 27 backers on kickstarter and the many other volunteers and supporters who helped make the Arcade Parade possible.

Organizers: Brian Nesin, David Gryder, Graham Coreil-Allen, Christina Kelly, Elena Volkova. Performers: The Hungry March Band, the children on scooters, Simone and Claire Ghetti

The Arcade Parade / 10.15.11 / 11am / Midtown-NYC [updated]

Arcade Parade flyer

Arcade Parade flyer
Join us on Facebook and visit our KICKSTARTER page to help make this parade a success!

Download your own Holly Whyte Way SELF-GUIDED TOUR here.

Arcade Parade
Holly Whyte Way Dedication
October 15, 2011, 11am-12:30pm
Starting at AXA Plaza
151 West 51st St, New York, 10019

Join us in Midtown New York on Saturday, October 15th for the Arcade Parade, a free pedestrian tour through a series of little-known shortcuts composed of privately owned public spaces. Between 51st and 57th Streets and 6th and 7th Avenues, there exists an exciting, if unfinished, network of privately owned public spaces (POPS) provided by developers in exchange for additional floor area within the buildings above. Friends of Privately Owned Public Space (F-POPS), in conjunction with the West 54th/55th Street Block Association, and openhousenewyork, is promoting the individual spaces along the parade route as a single entity called Holly Whyte Way. William “Holly” Whyte was an influential urbanist whose books and films championed the substance of successful public space. In addition to enlivening these midtown arcades, F-POPS also seeks to increase their visibility and accessibility by connecting the spaces along the parade route with crosswalks. The proposal for crosswalks has been approved by the Community Board and is now being studied by the NYC Department of Transportation. The Arcade Parade will mark the dedication of Holly Whyte Way through a series of festive events along the nine-block parade route, including presentations of architecture and history by architects Brian Nesin and David Grider, episodes of play from artists Graham Coreil-Allen and Christina Kelly, a moment of site-specific sound by Simone and Claire Ghetti, and raucous music by the Hungry March Band!

Friends of Privately Owned Public Space is an organization dedicated to the celebration and improvement of New York City’s eighty-two acres of POPS. A collaborative of architects, artists, and community leaders concerned with the civic realm, F-POPS seeks to raise public awareness of the existence and purpose of these unique spaces.

f-pops.org / ohny.org / grahamprojects.com

Holly Whyte Way map

Arcade Parade patch

Tinges Commons Kiosk preview

Tings Commons Kiosk birds eye

The Tinges Commons Kiosk, or TCK, will be a sign structure and pin-up board for artists setting up outdoor installations and public users interested in distributing information. The kiosk’s three sides will each address separate but overlapping traffic flows: The narrow side will face the Frisby Street sidewalk and be clad in homasote for people to pin up neighborhood flyers. Meanwhile, the south side will face the diagonal path cutting through the commons while the north and widest side will face 33rd Street. These two longer sides will serve as installation surfaces for artists setting up projects in the lot. With this curatorial/community structure, I hope to create an enhanced site of public art, collaboration and neighborhood communication. Info on the first show soon to follow…

Tings Commons Kiosk birds eye Tings Commons Kiosk elevation Tings Commons Kiosk elevation 2 Tings Commons Kiosk above