If done right, the JFX tear down will reconnect East Baltimore to the Central Business District and the Inner Harbor, and encourage the redevelopment of Old Town Mall while highlighting the many attractions of Historic Jonestown. If done wrong, traffic on President St. will get even more congested (if that's possible.) In this post I will weigh the pros and cons of the current plan and offer suggestions to turn the cons into pros. The cons far out weigh the pros which this endeavor a FAIL.
The Jones Falls is the namesake water way the JFX covers and with its demolition, the opportunity has opened up to make the Jones Falls a treasure yet again. It's ironic because everything in Baltimore has to be "on the water" so reopening the JFX as a attractive water way "playground" and an extension of the Inner Harbor only seems natural. My Colleague Peter Tocco is a native of Indianapolis and has documented how redevelopment of a water way similar to the Jones Falls has benefited the area surrounding it.
I think the redevelopment of the Indianapolis Waterfront's success should be used as a blue print for the Jones Falls. They did a great job there. There was a rendering of what Baltimore could look like in 2010 drawn in 1985. It was a clipping from a Magazine Article that a reader of this Blog sent to me. It had a lot more water. Not only did it have the JFX re exposed but there was a second similar water way going up the Westside of Downtown around Lexington Market. This "Second Jones Falls" probably will never be a reality but the first one is a hidden reality just waiting to be realized.
The Yellow Line will start from the exising Light Rail at Camden Yards while slowly migrating (tunneled) northeast to Calvert St. just one block west of the JFX. This first phase will end at Penn Station where, for the time being, it can rejoin the Central Light Rail. This Central Light Rail "spur" will be eliminated when future phases of the Yellow Line are completed north of Penn Station.