Cycle Track: Next Steps

by Hap Cooper

BOTTOM LINE: Representatives of the RPCL Board met with Michelle Pourciau, the new Director of the Department of Transportation (DDOT), and her staff to request restoration of curbside parking along Roland Avenue with a wider, safer bike lane.  Mrs. Pourciau was very receptive and suggested that our two teams stay in contact over the next several weeks as she digests all the relevant materials.  Michelle and her team committed to being ready to recommend next steps in 30 days—which we thought was reasonable given all the turnover in the department.

THE WHOLE STORY: In response to increasing pressure on the BCDOT from the RPCL, Sharon Middleton, convened a meeting on Monday, September 18th with the following participants:

Sharon Middleton (Council Representative, 6th District)
Robert Ginyard (from the Councilwoman’s office)
Michelle Pourciau (Director, Department of Transportation)
Veronica McBeth (Department of Transportation)
Graham Young (Department of Transportation)
Mary Kay Battafarano (RPCL, At Large Plat Rep)
Anne Stuzin (RPCL, 2nd Vice President)
Chris McSherry (RPCL, 1st Vice President)
Hap Cooper (RPCL, President)

The purpose of the meeting was for us to meet the new Director, provide some context, and request her help in restoring curbside parking along Roland Avenue immediately with a wider, safer bike lane.

Graham Young shared the DRAFT BCDOT traffic and intercept study beforehand and we brought copies of our resolution and research for the BCDOT team to take away. Mr. Young committed to having the final study ready for us to disseminate within the next week. Their study contained no surprises and the data essentially mirrored that of the study commissioned by our own committee.

The Director began the meeting by providing her background, which included transportation planning, engineering and community liaison work. She is the former Director of the Department of Transportation in Washington D.C.

Our group provided a detailed history of the Cycle Track discussion, implementation and results. We made it clear that although we welcomed the idea of a cycle track, the execution did not work and the goals were not achieved.  Roland Avenue is too narrow, cross streets are too frequent and debris is too prevalent for the track to function as it was envisioned.

Consequently, minor and major accidents have spiked and the community does not feel safe. Many cyclists will not ride in the narrow cycle track and getting out of a car into traffic can be terrifying—especially for seniors and parents with young children.  We impressed upon the Director that this is a highly charged and very emotional issue.

We also discussed the many anchor institutions along that stretch of Roland Avenue (churches, schools, clubs, restaurants, stores, the library, etc) and how each of them and their constituents have been negatively impacted by the cycle track—economically as well as from a safety perspective.

The former DDOT, William Johnson, and his staff repeatedly committed to Roland Park that the “cycle track is only paint” and if it doesn’t work, they would restore curbside parking. We reminded all the representatives at the meeting that we were holding the City to that commitment.

Director Pourciau listened intently, took notes and apologized that the Department had not been more responsive (she was not installed until a month after the RPCL Annual Meeting and cycle track vote). She recently visited Roland Avenue to see the street design first hand and confirmed that she understood our sense of urgency.

She told us that she has not seen our study and that the City’s study is not even final yet. She also mentioned that she has been barraged by multiple other priorities since taking office.  Consequently she asked if she and her staff could have 30 days to get their arms around all the information.  To her credit, she asked her staff members if 30 days would work for them and had each of them commit to that timeline.  She also encouraged us to communicate in the interim.

Councilwoman Middleton will reconvene the RPCL and BCDOT in mid-October to discuss a detailed action plan. We will continue to post updates on this site as progress continues.

(For background see Cycle Track Committee page)

Roland Park Civic League Meetings temporarily relocated

During construction at the Presbyterian Church, the September 2017 through April 2018 meetings of the Civic League will be held at the North Baltimore Mennonite Church, 4615 Roland Ave. Meetings will be held at the regular time (first Wednesday of the month, 7 PM.)  For dates, times and locations of RPCL meetings, please visit the Community Calendar.

Volunteer Opportunities in Roland Park

Roads & Maintenance

is in need of a new representative for Plat 2. If you’re not sure which Plat you live in, consult our Plat Map or contact Beth Hayes in the Roland Park office.

Requirements for Plat reps are:
– your own property is under covenant,
– you use a computer,
– you are willing to review in a timely manner applications submitted to R&M and to attend monthly evening meetings, held on the 4th Tuesday of each month, year round.

Architects are especially appreciated, but other thoughtful Roland Parkers are welcome. If interested. please contact

Audit Committee

The Roland Park Civic League needs several resident members to form a new Audit Committee whose primary responsibilities include:

  • Overseeing the financial reporting and disclosure process,
  • Monitoring choice of accounting policies and principles,
  • Overseeing hiring, performance and independence of external auditors,
  • Performing an annual audit

Candidates should have strong accounting experience and/or a CPA designation. Prior experience conducting audits is preferred. If interested, please contact

Finance Committee

The Finance Committee is looking for a volunteer with strong bookkeeping experience or a CPA designation to join us. The Committee is responsible for the supervision of all business functions including the receipt of and disbursement of monies to and from the Civic League as well as the Roads and Maintenance Corporation. The Committee is also responsible for presenting an annual budget to the board for each entity. The Committee meets regularly (approx. 6 times a year) to review and approve the financials for both the Civic League and Roads & Maintenance.  If interested, please email

Annual Openings

Every January-March nominations for Plat Rep. openings and Officers are pursued to be elected in May at the Annual Meeting of the Civic League membership. Please submit nominations to the Chair of the Nominating Committee by email:

All residents are encouraged to get involved as volunteers are always needed. Please peruse both the standing and ad hoc committees to consider where your interest and experience may be a good fit.

ApplicationComing Soon (please check back).

Please Contact the Mayor on the Overlook PUD Bill

From the Civic League President:

Although we were hopeful, on Monday the City Council approved the PUD Bill for the Overlook at Roland Park development. It took less than 2 minutes and there was no discussion. Now the bill goes to Mayor Catherine Pugh to sign or veto- she can sign it at any time. So once again, we ask you to stand up for our community and take action!
Here is what we need you to do every day until the Mayor meets with our RPCL President Hap Cooper. Please make this a part of your everyday routine for the next week or two! The Mayor counts the number of contacts, so let’s make our voices heard, every day. This can make a big difference!


  1. Call the Mayor at 410-396-3835
  2. Email the Mayor at
  3. Tweet the Mayor at @mayorpugh50
  4. Fax the Mayor at 410-576-9425

Some suggestions to choose from as to why you are against the Overlook PUD bill (choose whatever appeals to you and feel free to add your own ideas/concerns!):

  1. The traffic congestion and accidents at the Falls/Northern intersection make it one of the worst in the City. More development in that intersection is dangerous.
  2. The process did not include your neighborhood. Why weren’t we included?
  3. The process was rushed so the surrounding communities were not informed/not enough time to evaluate and react. The traffic study came in 15 minutes before it was voted on. Why the hurry?
  4. The City Councilman (Yitzy Schleifer) seems to be rewarding one of his largest donors instead of representing his constituents. Why is he putting his constituents behind the interests of one business?
  5. Neighborhoods first, developers second. Stand up for us, the voters.

Thanks for your continued support! We are counting on the Mayor to stand up for this neighborhood, which means so much to this City.

Community Gathering for Overlook PUD – June 19th 7:30 AM

COMMUNITY GATHERING TOMORROW MORNING June 19th 0730 Northern Pkwy and Falls Road.

Following is an urgent message from Hap Cooper, President of the Roland Park Civic League

Dear Roland Park Neighbors,Good Evening–I hope everyone is enjoying Father’s Day! Join us tomorrow morning at a mega-neighborhood gathering at NP & Falls to send an URGENT message to the Mayor!

Those of you who drive through the congested intersection at Northern Parkway and Falls Road probably know that the City Council will pass a bill tomorrow afternoon permitting the development of a 148-unit out-sized apartment highrise at that F-rated intersection–which is at 114% of capacity on the way to 120%.

For those of you concerned with potential overcrowding in the Roland Park Elementary/Middle School–children in this new development would be sent to RPEMS.

Only a small percentage of neighbors were consulted about the project and the adjacent communities of Roland Park and Mt Washington were not contacted at all. So join us by 7:30a tomorrow morning at Northern Parkway and Falls to send a message to the City that neighborhoods matter. Process matters.
The Mayor will have the bill on her desk as early as tomorrow evening, as it’s been fast-tracked and rubber-stamped through City Hall. We must convince her that a large majority of the surrounding neighborhoods oppose the bill until we can assess the impact of the development on our communities.

If it’s the right project for that intersection now, it will still be right in a month or two when we all understand how we’ll be affected. SEE YOU TOMORROW.

Urgent Call to Action – Rezoning for Overlook at Roland Park

Dear Roland Park Neighbors,
All hands on deck. We need your help in the next four days. ASAP please!

A major high-rise housing development is set to be approved by the City Council on Monday, June 19th. The development is called Overlook at Roland Park, and often referred to as Belvedere 2. A freshman City Councilman, Yitzy Schleifer, has worked closely with the developer to fast track this project through City Hall. It will be located at one of the busiest and most dangerous intersections of the City, Falls Road and Northern Parkway.

Mt. Washington and Roland Park, the two largest neighborhoods adjacent to the property, were not included in the process, only the two small neighborhoods above the proposed development (North Roland Park and Poplar Hill). In the past week, the Mt. Washington Improvement Association and the Roland Park Civic League both voted against the development, primarily because of the lack of knowledge. The majority of residents in North Roland Park and Poplar Hill have signed petitions opposing the project. We must stop the rezoning process, called a PUD, until all affected communities have time to study the project. If the project is as good as the developer says it is, then it will be just as good in 60 days after we have all had a chance to understand what the project actually is.

If you want more details about the project, go to the website Also, please see the attached press release from the Roland Park Civic League.
Here is what we need you to tell our elected officials-
1. Tell them your name and that you are a city resident
2. Ask them to put the PUD legislation on hold (Officially Bill 17-0049)
3. Tell them that the affected neighborhoods need time to learn more.
4. A sample email might include Dear Mayor Pugh, I am a resident of North Baltimore and I am asking that you slow down the PUD zoning for the Overlook at Roland Park so that the communities affected have a chance to learn about the project. Adding a large high rise housing unit at one of the busiest and most dangerous intersections in the city deserves a careful look. Please give us the chance to learn more. Sincerely, _________

Here is who we need you to tell-
1. Call, email, fax and/or tweet Mayor Catherine Pugh: 410-396-4900 or 410-396-3835,  @mayorpugh50,  Fax #410-396-3798
2. Call, email, fax and/or tweet Council President Jack Young:, 410-396-4804 @prezjackyoung Fax #410-539-0647
3. Call, email, fax and/or tweet Councilman Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer: 410-396-4819 @councilmanYitzy Fax#410-396-6800
4. Sign the online petition at

It will take all of us to get this done, please step up and share with others!

Letter from RPCL to Sharon Green Middleton Opposing the PUD for Overlook at Belvedere

At the monthly meeting of Roland Park Civic League Board for this past Thursday, June 8, various stakeholders spoke about the proposed Overlook development near the intersection of Falls Road and Northern Parkway.

A representative from Blue Ocean Realty, the developer proposing the 132 unit, six-story tower spoke at the meeting, as did Hunter Cochrane, organizer of opposing the development. After a general discussion on the topic with comments and questions from residents of Roland Park and Mt. Washington, the board voted to take a position opposing the development.

On Friday June 9,  Roland Park Civic League President formally expressed the opposition in a letter directed to City Council Member Sharon Green-Middleton, and copied to Mayor Catherine Pugh, City Council President Jack Young, State Delegate Peter Hammen, and City Councilmembers Mary Pat Clarke and Isaac “Yitzy” Schleifer.

A copy of the letter is available here: RPCL Letter to City Councilmemner Sharon Green-Middleton et al Opposing Belvedere 2 PUD

Letter from RPCL to DOT regarding Cycle Track

The following letter regarding the Cycle Track has been sent to Mr. Frank Murphy, Acting Director of the Baltimore Department of Transportation.  The original formatted letter can be found at this link.


Mr. Frank Murphy, Acting Director
Baltimore Department of Transportation
417 E. Fayette Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

RE:  Roland Avenue Cycle Track                                                                      June 6, 2017

Dear Mr. Murphy,

From March 2016 until May 2017 the Roland Park Civic League’s Cycle Track Committee (“CTC”) studied the Roland Avenue cycle track between Northern Parkway and Cold Spring Lane—as did your own Department of Transportation.  The CTC held fourteen committee meetings, two public meetings, and solicited the input of an outside engineering consulting firm. At the conclusion of the process, the CTC submitted to the RPCL Board and the broader community  a comprehensive year-end report that included the following consensus statement: “Either restore curbside parking with a wider, safer bike lane and slower traffic, or partner with the community to create a complete street that works for everyone.” 

After discussion at the Civic League’s Annual Meeting last month, the membership in attendance voted 55-31 to adopt an alternate position statement to be communicated to your department as follows:

“[R]estore curb side parking immediately and completely on Roland Avenue and continue the work of the committee to achieve the other objectives (included in the year-end report).”

The RPCL Board requests that the DOT implement the above motion as soon as possible while continuing to work with the community to develop a safer “complete street” on Roland Avenue.  We appreciate the DOT’s on-going commitment to our community and to making our streets safer for everyone! We look forward to working with you to resolve this issue.


Robert H. Cooper III (Hap)

President, Roland Park Civic League

CC: Mayor Catherine Pugh, James Smith, Sharon Green Middleton, Mary Pat Clarke, Veronica McBeth, Graham Young, Nikia Mack, James Decker

Statement on Cycle Track

Dear Roland Park Civic League members and residents:

At the RPCL Annual Meeting on Wednesday May 24th 2017, the Civic League offered a position statement to be communicated to the City regarding the Cycle Track. This statement had been proposed by the Cycle Track Committee after a great deal of study (see below). A Civic League member made a motion from the floor to amend the adopted statement. Following discussion on that motion, members in attendance voted 55-31 to request that Baltimore City: “[r]estore curb side parking immediately and completely on Roland Avenue and continue the work of the committee to achieve the other objectives (included in the year-end report).”

The Roland Park Civic League (RPCL) convened a cycle track committee (CTC) last year to study the cycle track as deployed and report findings to the Board and broader membership. The CTC held fourteen committee meetings, two public meetings, and solicited the input of an outside engineering consulting firm. The CTC produced a year-end report that included the following consensus statement: “either restore curbside parking with a wider, safer bike lane and slower traffic, or partner with the community to create a complete street that works for everyone.” The vote at the Annual Meeting rejected this statement, and adopted the one in the first paragraph.

The RPCL Board will request that the City implement the motion in the first paragraph above while continuing to work with the community and the Baltimore City DOT toward developing a safer “complete street.”

The Roland Park Civic League Officers and Board

Plant a Tree on Earth Day!

In celebration of Earth Day, Baltimore City Department of Forestry will be offering free trees to Roland Park residents on Saturday April 22, 2017 from 9 am -1 pm or until supplies last.  They will be set up in front to Eddies Roland Park, 5113 Roland Avenue

The Department of Forestry will have selections of Viburnums, Sassafras, Swamp White Oak, Red Maple Carolina Silverbell, Yellowwood and Lindens.

These trees are free to residents to plant on their personal property.  These trees are not intended for the “Verge” or city property between the sidewalk and curb. Come early, quantities of each tree are limited!

– Look for a nice, sunny spot with room to grow.
– Don’t forget to deeply water your new tree weekly for the first year.
– Keep the new tree area free of weeds and trash.
– Protect from deer and rabbits.

The Roland Park Landscape Committee and City of Baltimore want you to enjoy Earth Day 2017!