Sunday, April 24, 2016

Dismantling the JFX I: Southbound

There's a large elephant in the room that's keeping development from moving eastbound filling the neglected space between Downtown and Hopkins. That elephant is named the JFX. West of the JFX lies Downtown and Mount Vernon. Both areas are considered the best the City has to offer. East of the JFX lies the struggling Neighborhood of Johnston Square and the vast suburban style surface parking lots owned by Edison Properties.
The plan to demolish the JFX is nothing new but so far it's been all talk. Plans that show a redevelopment plan for areas east of the JFX show an extended Downtown on the Edison lots, a completely revitalized Oldtown Mall and a redeveloped Somerset Homes which was demolished in 2008 but whose site remains barren to this day. This plan shows the JFX demolished however it's shown as a very long term goal of this plan. According to this plan, the other redevelopment plans come first. I would argue that the other redevelopment can't occur until the JFX is demolished and the market for redeveloping the areas east of it can create a demand for themselves. So with that, lets demolish the JFX! This post will focus on the southbound lanes.
First we start at Mount Royal Avenue just east of Calvert St. The southbound lanes on the JFX run parallel to this stretch of Mount Royal Avenue which proves crucial to the beginning of the JFX demolition. Just east of Calvert St., all southbound JFX traffic will merge onto what is now westbound Mount Royal Avenue making for a wider one way eastbound Mount Royal Avenue. At this point, all southbound lanes will travel down Guilford Avenue which will be renamed N. President St. Lane widths will remain the same.
As we continue down Guilford Avenue/President St., many of the signalized intersections Guilford Avenue currently has will be used just like they are now for the JFX. In some cases, existing ramps from the former JFX may play a role as surface level turn lanes on N. President St. N. President St. may narrow as it continues south as some lanes may become turn lanes as well. One intersection change will be that of Eager St. which currently stops and starts up again at either side of the JFX. With the JFX dismantled, Eager St. will continue across the ruins of the JFX to connect to itself.
One casualty of dismantling of the JFX will be the Orleans St. viaduct. With the JFX dismantled and Orleans St. meeting all other north-south cross-streets at surface level, the need for the viaduct is now gone. When meeting Pleasant St./Hillen St./Harford Road/MD.147 President St. will break off from its Guilford Ave. Alignment and will go at surface level at roughly the same location as the JFX but at surface level. Beyond Pleasant St., Guilford Avenue will be renamed South St. which is what the street is named further south. It will also be a state road with the moniker MD. 147. This is the same route number as Harford Road. Why I'm doing this will be explained in a later posts.

Meanwhile N. President St., will continue a few blocks surface level until the JFX currrently ends at Fayette St. After that, President St. will continue as a surface level boulevard going into Historic Jonestown, Little Italy, and Harbor East. like it already does. In order to dismantle the southbound section of the JFX it will take a few existing right of ways but the pieces are there to put it back together as N. President St. Stay tuned for the northbound post.      

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