Roads & Highways, Baltimore
There are 3 free buses in Baltimore and on July 4th they added one more free bus with a different route called the Banner. You can take them from Amtrak to your Hotel. They run every 20 min but I believe the last bus leaves at 10pm
On the east side of Baltimore, you have three choices to go from north to south or south to north. There is the Harbor Tunnel, the Fort McHenry Tunnel or the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The website says:
"Crossing the Patapsco River from Hawkins Point" (Baltimore City near the Anne Arundel County border) to Soller Point (Dundalk in Baltimore County), "the Francis Scott Key Bridge arches over the Baltimore Harbor, reaching the height of a 36-story building. On a clear day you can see as far as Towson. Its name reflects its proximity to where Key watched the bombardment of Ft. McHenry, a view that inspired the Star Spangled Banner. Its steelwork has no expansion joints, making it the 2nd longest continuous truss in the United States. It is maintained by the Maryland Transportation Authority. It is between exit 44 and exit 1. It is the only bridge spanning the Harbor and can be seen from Ft. McHenry."
The toll for a two-axle vehicle is $2; each additional axle is $2. The E-ZPassSM electronic-toll-collection system is available at the Francis Scott Key Bridge
It has been awhile since I had to park downtown. The garage for the dental school charges about $25.00/day, but with a ticket giving me the first hour free, I usually pay $6.00 for about 3 hours. If you are going to work, some garages have an early bird rate such as $7.00 for all day if you get there before 7:30 or so.
Other specifics form the Wyndham hotel site.
Parking under the WYNDHAM: Valet park only in 280 spaces available 24 hours a day. Valet parking at the front of the WYNDHAM is $22.00 per 24 hours or $15.00 for day only. Hotel guests get preference when valet parking is tight.
The largest and best underground parking garage open 24 hours is Edison Parking with 650 spaces. Edison is entered by a ramp in the center of Fayette street right in front of the Wyndham, so approach it on Fayette Street from the east. The ramp looks scary the first time you use it, but there are cameras covering the ramp and ticket machine with an attendant waiting to resolve any problem. If lot is full there will be a large sign at top of ramp, however, they tell us that they are almost never full and people who have used them for Balticon have confirmed this. Price is $14.00 per 24 hours Monday-Friday and $7.50 on Sat-Sun. Their address is Edison Parking 100 West Fayette Street, and their phone number is 410-659-5824. This garage, elevator exit and street are under 24 hour security observation.
The second largest underground/multi-level parking garage open 24 hours is Arrow Parking at 210 West Baltimore Street just one block west of the Wyndham. They have 550 spaces and charge $10.00 per 24 hours. Their phone number is 410-727-6811. They have a light up full sign, but also tell us they seldom fill up on a weekend.
Above Ground Parking: Limited Pratt and President streets (Little Italy parking lot) $7.00 per day maximum.
Gilford and Baltimore Street. 3/10th of a mile east on Baltimore Street. $6.00 all day on weekends.
I-95 in Baltimore runs under a 7200-foot-long 8-lane tunnel that passes under the Patapsco River very near historic Fort McHenry. The Fort McHenry tunnel cost about $750 million to build, a figure that used to seem like a lot before the economic stimulus packages of 2009. It opened in 1985 after more than five years of construction, and with 8 lanes it is the widest underwater tunnel in the world. The toll is $2.
Each day the Fort McHenry Tunnel handles some 115,000 vehicles, for an annual load of 44.1 million cars on the vital Interstate 95 corridor between New York City and Washington, DC.
My husband worked at the Maryland Department of the Environment. He commuted to work in his electric car. Unfortunately the MDE didn't want to address electric cars. They were afraid that he would be perceived as receiving special treatment if they recognized the car (which he converted himself). Photo 2 shows it parked in the MDE lot. Unfortunately, this car isn't available for rent.
Photo 3 shows the car plugged in at home.
I remember when this tunnel was first opened. It was in 1957 when I was in college. I never had a problem with the "Baltimore Bottleneck" because I didn't have to drive through the city, but before the tunnel was built Baltimore was considered to be the worst city in the US in taking care of through traffic. (I would have said that was Providence RI personally/)
In 1963, I used to go to the now defunct Ft. Holabird to the commissary. In order to keep from going through the tunnel accidentally, I'd have get off the interstate at the fire academy tower and wend my way through the city to the post. The trip back was easier.
I totally get the two tunnels mixed up. Plus I have a hard time remembering the name of the Ft. McHenry Tunnel because I get that mixed up with the Francis Scott Key Bridge. [Because Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner during the bombardment of Ft. McHenry.]
They are the same price to go through all three of them ($2 for a passenger car). But remember to be aware of the speed limits - there are special tunnel police, and they patrol the entrances and connecting roads.
The Harbor Tunnel is the longer, narrower, but less crowded option to Baltimore's other tunnel, the Fort McHenry Tunnel. The Fort McHenry Tunnel can accomodate more traffic and is wider and shorter, but traffic at the toll booths is horrible. The Fort McHenry tunnel is on I-95, which passes very near the Inner Harbor and the Baltimore downtown. Toll is $2.
The Harbor Tunnel on I-895 runs beneath the Patapsco River south of Baltimore. Toll is $2. The other methods of getting through Baltimore include the I-695 Francis Scott Key Bridge and I-95 Fort McHenry Tunnel.
From the NYC area, it's an easy day trip down 95. It takes approximately 2 1/2 hours driving fairly fast. Watch out for speed traps, especially in Delaware where the state troopers cars are brown and blend into the scenery.
Baltimore is seen best on foot or by water taxi. Buy an all-day water taxi pass for $5 and you can stop at several major tourist areas including the inner harbor and fells point.
Baltimore is located on the Eastern Seaboard of US. It is readily accessible by Plane, train, or car. Even a few passanger ships go there.
The center of Baltimore is a small area. Most of it can be accessed by walking around. A short taxi ride should suffice for the rest.
Drive into the Baltimore area or you can jump on the MTA right at the airport which would probably take you right into the area of your hotel.
Grab yourself a map and travel the MTA or the Lite Line. These two train/trams will take you almost anywhere you want to go.
Or very close to the area.
We arrived by car though Baltimore is one US city that is well serviced by AMTRAK trains, being on the NYC-Philly-DC run. As expensive as parking can be, it's not as pricey as the train!
Baltimore is a fairly compact town. The Inner Harbor area is easily explored on foot and Little Italy is a ten minute walk. Mount Vernon is thirty minutes uphill but well worth the effort. You can catch a water taxi to Fells Point though it is walkable during the day, it's not wise at night. Our friend here seems quite content to stay right where he is. ;)
Car is about the only way to get around this city, unfortunately. There are some sites of interest in and around Inner Harbor within walking distance, but Fell's Point will take a car to access.
To avoid the Baltimore local traffic and having a great view to the city take the I-695 over the Francis Scott Key Bridge. It's an Easterly detour of the major I-95 coastal highway.
My girl got into a little fender bender on the Baltimore Beltway.... this happened at only 15mph during some stop-n-go traffic. Be careful.