Hopkins shares campus plans with Charles Village leaders


Meeting with Charles Village leaders last night, the Johns Hopkins University unveiled a draft of a new master plan for the Homewood campus in North Baltimore, featuring new parking garages and a pedestrian bridge over Charles Street.

The first update of the university's master plan in 95 years, the document is expected to be complete in May.

The main problem with the campus, Hopkins officials said, is that it is hard to navigate and uninviting.

"We hope the campus is an amenity, but many neighbors don't take advantage of it," said Janet Sanfilippo, the university's director of city and community relations.

Sanfilippo said there is "too sharp a divide" between the campus and the urban setting. "We are moving more and more into Charles Village, so we might as well make it attractive, make it benefit everyone, and open the campus more."

The new master plan, drawn by the Baltimore architectural firm Ayers-Saint-Gross, is part of the university's ambitious building program.

Adam Gross, the principal of ASG, said he decided to build upon the campus' original master plan of 1904.

ASG proposes changing traffic patterns by building strategically located parking garages above and below ground.

"We hear the parking message loud and clear from the community," said Sanfilippo.

Traffic outside the university, especially with hundreds of students crossing Charles Street, can be a hazard. In recent weeks, a jogger was killed in an accident in that area.

To fix that, Sanfilippo said the university hopes to work with the community in implementing the Charles Village master plan, which involves redesigning traffic patterns.

John Spurrier, president of the Charles Village Civic Association, said he expects some opposition to the pedestrian footbridge proposed in the draft.

Sandy Sparks, chairman of the neighborhood design committee reviewing the draft, applauded the parking plans. "I think one of the good points is that parking is distributed so that no one part takes a heavy hit. It shows careful analysis and acknowledges the natural landscape that defines the campus."

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