Wait a minute, before you fill up on Natty Boh, may I remind you that this is the City's answer to Lombard St. and Downtown traffic woes as a whole is not mine. The City and I tend to clash on certain issues especially transit especially the Red Line especially option 4C. The City is using the Community Compact signed this past year as fuel to get MTA and possibly Economic Stimulus funding for the Red Line option 4C whether or not it's "shovel ready."I want to know who in the "Community" signed the Compact. Nobody along the Red Line corridor or in the City as a whole likes it. Cooks Lane residents don't want it to be routed on their street, Edmondson Village residents want tunnels because they've seen the bad effects of surface transit on Howard St., Nobody cares about Franklin Mulberry except Gerry Neily, and Pete Tocco who came up with a great plan which can be seen at http://www.baltimorphosis.com/ which I highly recommend visiting. Then it goes under MLK Boulevard until Lombard St. cutting off crucial stops at Lexington Market, UMB, and the Westside of Downtown. Then it goes along Lombard St. in a tunnel which, like the MLK misses out on crucial connections. It needs to be a block south at surface level along Pratt St. to further show case the Inner Harbor. After that it goes under Fleet St. which Fels Point residents don't like and then surface level along Boston St. which Canton residents don't like.
Now the Southeast solution is something that the MTA and City Hall are actually addressing. Well they're addressing the Charles St. Trolley but not the Yellow Line and a complete over haul of the current Light Rail to upgrade to overhead line free trains. The City is ready to build the Red Line and an East Baltimore MARC Station. Southeasterners looking to go Downtown or the Harbor can use the Red Line wherever it may be. Those looking to go further can take the Red Line to Orangeville to catch the MARC Penn Line, the Amtrak, or the Purple Line. Want to access the MARC Camden Line from the Southeast? Just take the Red Line to the Blue Line and transfer at Camden Yards and there you are.
Now all these transit lines effecting Lombard St. should we see a decrease in vehicular traffic? I should hope so. What I'm proposing for Lombard St. and all of Downtown Baltimore as a whole is to make it as car unfriendly as possible and transit, pedestrian, and bike friendly as possible. With all these new transit lines either built or rebuilt the need for such wide "boulevards" like Lombard, Pratt, President, and MLK will cease to exist. In narrowing streets it will almost force somebody who drives everywhere to use mass transit. Lombard St. will lose at least two lanes of traffic in favor of on street parking. Speaking of parking aren't there an awful lot of parking garages along Lombard St? More than say retail, office, or residential space? In addition to narrowing streets that should never been as wide as they are in the first place another way to force transit ridership and decease vehicular traffic is to decrease parking ie tearing down parking garages. Since this is Lomabrd St's. primary function for several blocks redvelopment will turn Lombard St. into yet another destination in Baltimore.
Right now tourism traffic be it whatever mode thinks of Lombard St. as its northern border. This blocks sections of Downtown like Charles Center, City Center, and the Westside of Downtown from any tourist traffic. Charles Center for one closes itself off from the outside world which was the order of the dy in the 1960s which I'll address in an upcoming post. Baltimore's tourist reach can go all the way up to North Avenue with Mount Vernon, State Center/Cultural Center, and Station North Arts & Entertainment District. But with a street like Lombard no one will know it's there. But with the extra space freed up from parking garages and traffic night mares remedied by mass transit. All of Downtown will shine. Mass Transit will indeed save Lombard St. and all of Downtown as a whole.