Streetscape projects planned near JHU, MICA

A nine-block stretch of Charles Street near the Johns Hopkins University's Homewood campus will undergo a $28 million makeover — including new sidewalks, curbs, streetlights and trees—under a deal approved by the city's spending board Wednesday.

Plans for the renovation of the street, which have been in the works for at least seven years, are expected to be completed early next year, transportation department spokeswoman Adrienne Barnes said. Construction is expected to begin next summer.

Under plans prepared for the city by the RK&K design firm, a southbound lane would be widened from one lane to two, bicycle lanes would be added and more trees would be planted.

The university will contribute $2.5 million toward the cost of the renovations and will maintain the grassy areas — trimming and watering plants, removing graffiti and litter — between 29th Street and University Parkway for 15 years after the project is completed, under the deal approved by the spending board.

"It started as a simple repaving job a number of years ago, but it's grown into much more," said Lawrence Kilduff, executive director of facilities for the university. "This will be much better for the university and the neighborhood."

The blocks between 25th and 29th streets will also be renovated, but the university will not be responsible for maintaining for those areas.

The spending board approved a separate deal with the Maryland Institute College of Art for similar streetscape improvements along Mt. Royal Avenue between North Avenue and the lght rail tracks.

Work on that $6.5 million project is expected to begin next summer and last for about 18 months. MICA will maintain the landscaping for 10 years under the agreement.

The city will use federal transportation funds to pay its share of the projects, Barnes said.

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