Whenever I have to make a left turn onto one of Baltimore’s four-lane broad thoroughfares — like 33rd St in Charles Village or or Roland Ave in Roland Park, with their tree-lined medians that block oncoming traffic from view — I want to go back in time, find Frederick Law Olmstead and his progeny, and give them all a slap across the back of the head.
Olmstead designed Roland Park, and his son designed the Johns Hopkins campus. Their style was copied in countless city planning projects over the next century. Whether the tree-lined medians were really his idea, or whether they were put in place to cover the remains of the trolley tracks that once ran down these main drags, matters little to me. All I know is that they’re a pain in the ass.