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Baltimore's Washington Monument closed because of safety concerns

Sunday, June 13, 2010; F03

B'more monument: Down not up

That other Washington Monument, the one in Baltimore that predates the District's, was closed last week and may be shuttered for some time. The issue: safety.

The closure came after the Mount Vernon Place Conservancy, a nonprofit group, commissioned a study that discovered safety hazards on the viewing balcony at the top, such as missing mortar and rusting metal support brackets. The city has ordered its own assessment, which could take about a month, according to Gwendolyn Burrell, a spokeswoman for the city's Department of Recreation and Parks.

"The balcony wall is 33 inches high," she said. "We want to make sure it's high enough for safety." The commission will also inspect other "wear and tear" on the 128-foot-tall landmark.

Burrell directs visitors needing an aerial fix in the meantime to the Inner Harbor's World Trade Center, which has an observation deck on the 27th floor; Federal Hill; or Druid Hill Park.

A charmed ride

More evidence that buses are taking over the world: Megabus is expanding to Baltimore. Service from Washington kicks off July 21, with fares from $1 one way. The buses to Charm City will depart nine times a day from H and 10th streets NW. Drop-off is at the White Marsh Park & Ride lot, in Baltimore's northern suburbs. MTA buses operate between the stop and downtown.

The low-fare bus line is also adding five trips per day to its Philadelphia schedule. To mark this event, it's giving away free seats on the Philly route for travel from July 21. Limited availability. Use promo code LUVPHL when booking at http://www.megabus.com.

Travel ticker

Carlo's City Hall Bake Shop, made famous by TLC star Buddy "Cake Boss" Valastro, is celebrating its 100th year with a bash in Hoboken, N.J. On Friday, staffers will hand out free cupcakes at the PATH station in Hoboken. The next day, a block party takes over Washington Street, with dessert-decorating stations, a dunk tank and more. Info: http://www.carlosbakery.com.

Reporting: Andrea Sachs. Help feed CoGo. Send travel news to: cogo@washpost.com. By mail: CoGo, Washington Post Travel Section, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071

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