1 SkatersA decade after local skater Stephanie Murdock started the project by soliciting supporters with a classified ad in City Paper, Hampden's sprawling Skatepark of Baltimore celebrated its official opening last Saturday. The project ultimately earned support from the city, along with the Abell Foundation, the Tony Hawk Foundation, and many others. It's only the second skatepark in the city (joining Carroll Park in Southwest Baltimore) and will no doubt provide much-needed recreation for city kids, and support the area's proud skater tradition. Bonus: It might even boost business at local hospitals!
2 Parking AuthorityThe city is soliciting bids for technology companies to build an app to pay parking meters from drivers' smartphones, like services in D.C., San Francisco, and other cities. The app, which typically requires a driver to register a credit card number and a license plate, allows drivers to repay the meters from their phones, without returning to the car or the paybox. Besides adding convenience, it could be a boon for local businesses, allowing drivers to stay out longer. And hey, who doesn't need one more reason to stare at your phone when you're hanging out with friends?
3 Enoch Pratt LibrariesLast week, the Pratt libraries reinforced the stereotype that there are literature people and math people-clearly, the library does better with books than bookkeeping, as an audit showed they owe the city more than $1 million and were late in reimbursing the city $3.7 million last year. Maybe they hide their money in books. Go for the obvious and look in Marx's Das Kapital.
4 HopkinsIt's been over a year since members of JHU's Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity allegedly gang-raped a Towson University student at the frat house last March, and the university has not only failed to notify students of the criminal investigation, as it is legally required to do, but also failed to act when the fraternity continued to hold parties in violation of the school's own rules. Everyone from Hopkins administrators to the Obama administration talks the talk about taking campus sexual assaults seriously. They should walk the walk. Hopkins could start by banning fraternities once and for all.
5 CSXAfter several deadly accidents and complaints about crumbling infrastructure and trash along its routes in recent years, the train company wasn't exactly popular even before the retaining wall along 26th Street came crashing down last week in a gasp-worthy spectacle. The event has put Baltimore in the international spotlight for all the wrong reasons (again); a video of the collapse has garnered over 6 million hits on YouTube. Meanwhile, block residents-some of whom had been warning CSX of the possibility of such a calamity only to be ignored-are barred from going back to their homes for maybe a month, even as the rail line along the damaged route has already reopened. As long as the money train keeps chugging along.