Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Interstates: If Anyone Could Get Rid Of Them It's Baltimore

In the rush to build interstate highways city neighborhoods were torn apart and residents were given meager compensation for their homes and from went middle class to poor in the blink of an eye. Many people in many cities protested them but to no avail, the highways were built and America's cites were drained of their residents and jobs.
Baltimore before, during, and after the interstate frenzy lost many of its middle and upper class residents to the suburbs and many of its manufacturing jobs to machines. Baltimore had a very elaborate plan to build an extensive network of freeways at the time. Unlike America's other cities Baltimore was able to have their freeways lessened and save some its best neighborhoods and parks. Baltimore still had freeways built and still had neighborhoods torn apart because of it. I still feel that Baltimore could benefit if some its smaller freeways were reconfigured into urban boulevards and put back together the neighborhoods they tore apart.If MD-295 were made into an urban boulevard at the city/county line it would reconnect the neighborhoods of Westport, Mount Winans, and Lakeland to Cherry Hill and be an extension of Russel Street. The same could be done with I-895 and the I-895 it would connect Cherry Hill to the Brooklyn/Curtis Bay neighborhood and industrial area.
All these neighborhoods with the exception of Brooklyn/Curtis Bay are severely distressed yet are on the verge of a major comeback because of their waterfront access. Also on the other side of the Harbor Tunnel I-895 crosses I-95 but continues until it ultimately ends at I-95 again.
If this first crossing became the end if I-895 it would reconnect to the up and coming neighborhoods of Greektown, Bayview, and Joseph Lee to the thriving neighborhoods of Highlandtown, Canton, and Little Italy.
There's also the former I-170 (current U.S. 40) which i will discuss in a later post.
Last but not least is I-83 the Jones Falls Expressway (JFX). Many Baltimoreans don't like the JFX and wouldn't have a problem seeing it taken down. First it would be done from Fayette Street to North Avenue connecting the neighborhoods of Mount Vernon Belvedere to Johnston Square, Penn Fallsway and the largely redeveloped Jonestown. Eventually from North Avenue to the city/county line.With the demolition of the aforementioned highways Baltimore can enjoy a broad new spectrum of redevelopment and reinvestment in some of its worst neighborhoods.

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