Monday, May 12, 2008

Early Interstate Maps vs. Baltimore Regional Rail Plan: I see Overlaps

Photo from Roadstothe
In my endless research of Baltimore I have found some coincidences that I thought I would share with my loyal and not so loyal followers. I use the Baltimore Regional Rail Plan all the time for references almost daily whether it stays accurate in the long term or not. Every once in a while I'll look at the early interstate planning maps and see what was proposed and what was actually built. Truth be told only a fraction of what was on the drawing board was built. Baltimore was on the forefront of interstate rebellions winning two big victories although one still had repercussions on surrounding neighborhoods. There are still other interstate plans that few ever heard of or were scaled back so much that you could hardly tell that it was once proposed to be an expressway. It was quite obvious when the MTA came out with its "Baltimore Regional Rail Plan" in 2002 and its current right of ways for existing lines that old interstate and expressway right of ways were used and are continuing to be used for rail lines.
Photo from
I-70 was supposed to extend from Cooks Lane to I-95 with an I-170 spur just east of Edmondson Village. The Red Line uses part of the killed I-70 project except that it joins route 40 at the Cooks Lane intercection rather then east of Edmondson Village.
I-83 was supposed to be extended past Fayette St. and go along Boston St. and meet I-95. The eastern portion of the Red Line is proposed to run along Boston St.
Photo From Google Earth
The northern portion of I-83 has the Light Rail Line running parallel to it.
There was a proposal to build the "Windlass Freeway" which was to be an extension of Moravia Road east of I-95 to White Marsh Boulevard. Part of I-695 used the Windlass Freeway right of way as does the MARC Line and the future more localized Purple Line.
There was a proposal to build a "Southwest Expressway" which would spur off of I-170 and use the MARC Penn Line alignment. This was kind of used as MLK Boulevard in the city and Southwestern Boulevard in the county but the two don't connect.
The Green Line does and will run along current and killed freeway rights of way. I-795 from Owings Mills to I-695 uses the same right of way. I-795 was supposed to go inside the Beltway and meet Wabash Avenue. I-795 never did but the Green Line does and travels above Wabash Avenue.
Perring Parkway is a scaled back version of "The Perring Freeway." I have no evidence to back this up but I believe that Mt. Pleasant Park and Golf Course were interchange right of ways to be used as part of the Perring Freeway. The Green Line extended Northeast from Hopkins will use this right of way.

These coincidences are too many and too interesting to ignore. As Mass Transit becomes the only alternative to get away from rising gas prices it will be interesting to see these freeways come to life as transit lines.


Anonymous said...

You cite MARC lines using old road rights-of-way. MARC lines do not. They run over existing railroad tracks owned by Amtrak or CSX. Amtrak operates the Penn MARC line under contract over it's own lines.

Also, the line along Boston St. would either be a surface line on Boston St. or a subway under Boston St. There is no "use" of an only freeway right-of-way.

Most, but not all of these routes have nothing to do with the freeway rights-of-way. The reason that most of them "overlap" is because they are corridors that STILL need a better form of transportation. The roads weren't built, so maybe the rail lines can be.

Baltimore is a beltway city, but beltways work POORLY when they have no "through" spokes, which is the problem with traffic in Baltimore.

Spence Lean said...

That was the point of the whole point of the post. The facts that the freeways weren't built and the State and/or Feds used them as building blocks for a transit system which is good because they don't have to buy land for it. As for the right of way of MARC I am aware of the fact they use the CSX/Amtrak right of way but it could have been a proposed freeway alignment all the same. I'm just pointing where freeways were going to go and where transit are slated to go and they're similar in many cases.

Anonymous said...

I recently looked in an old 1958 Baltimore County book which shows a plan for an outer beltway including a plan for a bridge over southern part of Back River. One bad feature of the city is still limited truck routes to various industries.

Anonymous said...

they should have completed i-70 and connected it to i-95 and i-170 (which is not rt 40 again). would have relieved much congestion on the west side of the city.