The Plan for Stony Run Trail
Amy Bonitz and Mary Page Michel
Last revised 12/20/12
Communities in north central Baltimore have come together in an unprecedented way to develop a $1.75 million plan to expand and strengthen a 3-mile linear park that runs along the Stony Run stream and connects it to the 7.75-mile Jones Falls Trail. Called the Stony Run Trail, the plan builds upon a $10 million public investment made in 2008-2009 for the environmental restoration of the Stony Run, a tributary of the Jones Falls, which flows into the Inner Harbor and the Chesapeake Bay.
Stony Run Restoration (2008-2009)
Built along a historic rail corridor, the Stony Run Trail plays an essential role in the communities that surround it. As a “green” Main Street it provides a non-motorized means of transportation and recreation that links a dozen historic neighborhoods, two major universities, more than a half dozen K-12 schools, key neighborhood commercial districts and several major parks. As a stream and woodland area it provides vital habitat and tree cover that acts as a natural buffer and filter for urban storm water that heads downstream to the Chesapeake Bay. This little slice of nature provides a place of discovery and quiet reflection, a place to experience nature for the thousands who encounter it.
The plan for the Stony Run Trail represents hundreds of volunteer hours over the last two years — first as part of the Greater Roland Park Master Plan and then as part of a complimentary initiative led by the Tuscany-Canterbury Association for the neighborhoods south of Roland Park. Volunteers researched land records, negotiated with property owners and city agencies, developed design solutions, mobilized neighbors and achieved community consensus to address the gaps in the trail and watershed restoration that still remain. The end result is an ambitious plan to protect the park land and stream while allowing for continuous pedestrian access for the trail’s entire three mile length.
The plan includes the following elements:
- Acquisition of land or easements along the former Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad right-of-way to fill in the public-access gaps.
- New and improved trail crossings to increase safety and accessibility.
- New trail segments to fill in access gaps to include woodland trail segments to replace asphalt with a pervious trail and vegetated buffer or new streetscape improvements where natural condition is not possible.
- Physical stabilization of eroded areas along trail to ensure safety and minimize run off.
In late 2011 and early 2012, the RPCF partnered with The Associated: Jewish Community Federation of Baltimore (The Associated), Bolton Street Synagogue, Blue Water Baltimore, the Greater Roland Park Master Plan Steering Committee and the Baltimore Jewish Environmental Network (BJEN) to launch awareness, to implement remediation and to engage the broader community within the Roland Park and Jewish communities. The Bolton Street Synagogue gave up 17 parking spaces along Stony Run so that the Stony Run path would connect Cold Spring Lane to the existing Stony Run Path. The Roland Park Community Foundation provided $10,000 in matching funds for a grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to supply critical funding for this wonderful project.
In spring 2012, the RPCF partnered with the master plan committee and the Friends of the Stony Run to request $600,000 in upgrades to the Stony Run path from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources budget. The funds were successfully allocated to Stony Run and will pay for improved crossings at Wyndhurst Avenue, Cold Spring Lane, and the restoration of one bridge and the design work of another. In addition, the funds will help to pay for the legal fees in transferring small slivers of privately held land over to the city so a true public path will be formed. In addition, the funds will pay for erosion control and new path entrances.
Finally, there is still more to come. Fund raising now will focus on an endowment for maintenance of the Stony Run, a new pocket park adjacent to the dry cleaners on Lawndale Avenue, and new path signage.