Baltimore—On August 6, 2014, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined officials from the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore, Visit Baltimore and Amtrak to unveil a new welcome sign with video board at . Funded jointly by the Downtown Partnership of Baltimore and Visit Baltimore, the sign is located on a hillside and is visible from the platforms and trains. New vegetation on the slope, maintained by the Downtown Partnership, adds to the sense of welcome for travelers.
The two organizations will program the video wall with information and messaging designed to include news, trends and events happening in Baltimore. Content will be entertaining and informative to new visitors and the thousands of daily commuters who use the station. In a press release, Tom Noonan, Visit Baltimore President and CEO, commented: “The sign has a blend of messaging and videos that engages visitors with what’s appealing about Baltimore. More people use trains to travel in-and-out of Baltimore than the national average, so this is an important opportunity to create a strong first, second, and even third impression about our city.”
Last year, more than one million Amtrak passengers began or ended journeys at Baltimore Penn Station, making it the eight busiest in the Amtrak national network. It also offers easy connections to Maryland Area Regional Commuter rail, light rail, city buses and the free Charm City Circulator. Over the past four years, Amtrak, the State of Maryland, the City of Baltimore, and other partners have invested more than $9 million to modernize the station. Projects included expansion of the public restrooms, upgrades to the station’s ADA-compliant Passenger Information Display Systems and improvements to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning system.
In summer 2013, the plaza fronting the station was redesigned and transformed into an inviting, vibrant public space for travelers and local residents to relax and socialize. Colorful tables, chairs, umbrellas and seasonal plantings have been arranged around the soaring Male/Female sculpture, and arts-based programming takes place throughout the year.
Amtrak also kicked off a two-year master planning process in fall 2013 that will incorporate three components: State of Good Repair Study, Operations and Facilities Plan and Commercial Development Plan. The ultimate goal of the planning process is to set forth a vision for a first-class, transit-oriented development with optimized rail infrastructure that will provide for overall capacity growth on the Northeast Corridor.