Monday, November 7, 2016

Rerouting Route 1

Before the interstate era, Route 1 was known as the road that traveled from Maine to Florida. These days we traveling from Maine to Florida by car we take I-95 since it doesn't have any traffic lights. Route 1 is not a straight shot from Maine to Florida because as Cities have grown around it, it's gotten chopped up and rerouted. It has been given bypasses and alternate routes so that older sections of the road that can't be widened aren't overwhelmed with thru traffic.
Route 1's journey through Baltimore City is no different. It uses many different monikers upon entering the City from the Southwest as "Washington Boulevard" before taking the route of Monroe St./Fulton Ave., then North Ave, before turning Northeast as Belair Road to leave the City. When entering the City as Washington Boulevard, and as Monroe St./Fulton Avenue, it's assigned the moniker "Alt Route 1." 
This is because the road splits in two in Halethorpe. The other Route 1 takes on the moniker "Southwestern Boulevard" which is a wider limited access Route 1 that goes through Halethorpe and Arbutus before entering the City and joining Wilkins Avenue. Wilkins Avenue doubles as Route before meeting Monroe St/Fulton Avenue where Route 1 joins Alt. Route 1. This is the complete journey of Route 1 in Baltimore City.
The purpose of this post is to re-route 1 Route 1 with the goal of connecting Washington Boulevard to Belair Road. This will be a one way Northbound connection while southbound will go via North Avenue and Monroe St. between Belair Road and Washington Boulevard. To start this transformation, I will switch the monikers when the splits off in Halethorpe. Southwestern Boulevard will now be known as "Alt Route 1" and Washington Boulevard will simply remain "Route 1."
Currently, Washington Boulevard loses its Route 1 moniker after its intersection with Monroe St. Washington Boulevard will now remain as Route 1 all the way through Pigtown. Currently when Washington Boulevard meets MLK Boulevard, all traffic must turn onto MLK since Washington Boulevard is a one way Southbound St. between Paca St. and MLK. I will turn Washington Boulevard into a one way Northbound St. between Paca St, and MLK to continue Route 1 as a straight shot though the City Northbound.
Washington Boulevard ends rather unceremoniously at Russell St. and Pratt. St. Now that Washington Boulevard is a northbound one way street through Ridgely's Delight, Route 1 can continue on down Pratt St until it meets Gay St. just past the Harbor. Gay St. ends at Old Town Mall and blends into Ensor St. currently. It used to continue through Old Town Mall and connect to the other end of Gay St. at Broadway. I will dedicate another post on how to execute rebuilding and reconnecting Gay St. Gay St. ultimately meets North Avenue and on the other side of North Avenue becomes Belair Road and regains the Route 1 moniker. The entire length of Gay St., once rebuilt will once again employ the Route 1 moniker.  
Now I'm sure you're wondering why rerouting Route 1 is necessary. I believe that giving it a more homogeneous path will allow for further reinvestment and redevelopment in the Neighborhoods it travels through. I also believe that traffic on more congested routes in the City may experience relief if more cars recognized the rerouted Route 1 as a viable path.    

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