The university has created its own internal website, http://www.fm.jhu.edu/charlesstreetconstruction, to disseminate information. In addition, the university is scheduled to hold a town hall meeting Sept. 7 for the Hopkins staff.
"The meeting will be for JHU personnel to review the North Charles Street reconstruction project, including schedules, closures, detours and applicable information as related to campus operations," Salem Reiner, director of Hopkins' Office of Community Affairs, said in an email.
"It's going to have a pretty major impact on our students and the university as a whole," said Mike Sullivan, senior project manager in Hopkins' office of facilities management. He said students and staff will have to endure temporary crosswalks and blocks at a time being closed as crews relocate utilities among other work. Issues including shuttle bus routes and deliveries to JHU also need to be addressed, he said.
But Sullivan takes the long view of the project.
"The ultimate idea is that there may be some challenges along the way, but in the end, it will be a much safer, nicer, pedestrian-friendly, bicycle-friendly area," Sullivan said.
Not closing down
Hopkins and the nearby Baltimore Museum of Art are doing their best to keep people informed. The BMA has included a note about the project in its members magazine, spokeswoman Anne Mannix said.
The city promises that restaurants and businesses along the street will be accessible during construction and is encouraging the public to patronize them.
"Charles Street is not closing down," Barnes said.
But some parking will be lost during construction, although McGraw said efforts are being made to include some temporary angled parking.
The city is also doing pre-construction surveys of businesses and offices, mostly to determine what kind of physical shape they are in, before construction begins. Barnes said city representatives are "physically walking into every business and institution from 25th Street to University Parkway to tell them about the project, give out our contact information and gather theirs, and just take the time to talk to them and hear their concerns."
She said transportation officials also have had "street teams" handing out information to residents, students, and employees in the area, as well as at the 32nd Street Farmers Market in Waverly, and that officials have met with local businesses, merchants' groups and civic associations.
But Dominion Ice Cream shop owner Donna Calloway has her doubts. She said she expects the loss of parking and foot traffic to Dominion, 3215 North Charles St., which sits at ground zero of the project. She said she specializes in vegetable-based ice cream and draws customers from as far away as Pennsylvania.
She admits that the possibility of the project putting her out of business "does cross my mind from time to time, but I try to be optimistic."
Karen Stokes, executive director of the Greater Homewood Community Corp. at 3513 North Charles St., is worried about the effect on the organization's literacy program because many clients ride the bus and many tutors drive.
"We're all going to be losing parking," she said.
But Stokes commended the city for publicizing the project.
"They have spent a lot of time engaging the community on this," said Stokes, who walks to work from her house in Oakenshawe.
As north Baltimore braces for the project to begin, the BMA's Mannix is taking the start date with a grain of salt, because the city and the media have been reporting for months that the project would be starting soon.
"We've been hearing it was going to start since last spring," Mannix said.