Baltimore City transportation officials say the Roland Avenue resurfacing project is tentatively planned to begin officially in December, when the city would issue a Request For Proposals, or RFP, so that construction companies could bid on the $3.5 million contract.
But pinning down a start date has been difficult because of requests by the greater Roland Park community to expand and change the scope of the project, transportation officials say.
The start date "keeps slipping," said Jamie McDonald, engineering supervisor in the city Department of Transportation. "The biggest problem has been scope creep. I keep saying, 'No more scope creep, no more changes to the project.' If we're adding anything, we have to take things off. Money doesn't grow on trees."
McDonald spoke to reporters during an information session about the project Thursday at Roland Park Elementary/Middle School. There was no formal presentation, but about 30 area residents showed up to look at drawings, watch a continuous slide show presentation about the project, and talk to McDonald and other transportation officials and community leaders.
Before the project begins, "we're trying to get buy-in from the community on this," McDonald said.
He said reaction to the plan has been mostly positive. The project is called for in the Greater Roland Park Master Plan, which the city has approved.
The project has four main components: resurfacing Roland Avenue between West Cold Spring Lane and Northern Parkway; installing a new traffic signal on Northern Parkway between Roland and North Charles Street; modifying and widening the median on Roland in front of Gilman School; and enhancing intersections including Roland and Wyndhurst Avenue and Roland and Cold Spring with curb bumpouts and other traffic-calming measures, as well as aesthetically pleasing crosswalks.
Funding is being provided by the federal and Baltimore City governments, as well as Bryn Mawr and Gilman schools, which are contributing a combined $700,000.
The new traffic light, as well as planned turn lanes into Gilman and Bryn Mawr from Northern Parkway, are designed to reduce traffic tie-ups when students are dropped off in the morning and picked up in the afternoon on school days.
The plan is the result of input from Gilman, Bryn Mawr, nearby Roland Park Country School and Roland Park Elementary/Middle, as well as the league and Department of Transportation.
Bike lanes and special school bus lanes are also planned.
The plan would encourage people to drive more slowly, ride bikes and walk more, and would also make the community more aesthetically pleasing, as well as relieving congestion at the schools, Roland Park Civic League President Phil Spevak said in explaining the plan last November. At that time, the project was expected to start in the fall of 2012.
Original plans called only for a $2.1 road repaving project, but the project expanded as community leaders sensed an opportunity to do something on a larger scale, Spevak said last week.
Transportation officials at Thursday's meeting said actual road work is now tentatively expected to begin in the spring of 2013, with the project expected to be finished about a year after that, in the spring of 2014.