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Old March 14th, 2007, 01:42 AM   #1
MountVEE
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WHAT IF we could build a park OVER the JFX?

I was driving to Hampden today to get a haircut and I thought, what if we could cover the portion of the JFX from Chase Street to Howard Street and build something on top of it? Like say...a park. That section is already well below grade and is mostly covered by bridges. You could just build a platform at street level. I think it could be such a great green space there with the Train Station facing it. Plus it would help stitch the neighborhoods of Mount Vernon/Midtown with Station North. What would it take to get a bold move like this made? I'm sure alot of hard effort and time. But really.....WHAT IF?!!
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Old March 14th, 2007, 02:25 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountVEE View Post
I was driving to Hampden today to get a haircut and I thought, what if we could cover the portion of the JFX from Chase Street to Howard Street and build something on top of it? Like say...a park. That section is already well below grade and is mostly covered by bridges. You could just build a platform at street level. I think it could be such a great green space there with the Train Station facing it. Plus it would help stitch the neighborhoods of Mount Vernon/Midtown with Station North. What would it take to get a bold move like this made? I'm sure alot of hard effort and time. But really.....WHAT IF?!!
I might be wrong, but I think this might have been suggested about 10 years ago. I totally agree with you. It would be very nice.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 04:32 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountVEE View Post
I was driving to Hampden today to get a haircut and I thought, what if we could cover the portion of the JFX from Chase Street to Howard Street and build something on top of it? Like say...a park. That section is already well below grade and is mostly covered by bridges. You could just build a platform at street level. I think it could be such a great green space there with the Train Station facing it. Plus it would help stitch the neighborhoods of Mount Vernon/Midtown with Station North. What would it take to get a bold move like this made? I'm sure alot of hard effort and time. But really.....WHAT IF?!!
It's sort of the opposite of the Big Dig. It would be interesting and bold, but probably very expensive.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 03:26 PM   #4
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I was reading a while back that similar plans for being considered for below-grade highways in Portland. I got the impression that it's not a majorly expensive endeavor, but would probably take a long while to plan out. I would definitely be in favor of a project like this. Restoring the urban fabric of Baltimore should be a top priority.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 04:46 PM   #5
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this was proposed as far back as the jfx's original planning in the 50's. i actually have a rendering of it. at the time, the thinking was that the residential focus of the city would be north of the bdc in midtown/mt.royal/bolton hill/etc. so the park made good sense. i don't know why it never came to fruition. i'll try to post a photo of the rendering tonight.
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Old March 14th, 2007, 09:33 PM   #6
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Paging President Bogomolny ...

It's a great idea. Seen these in Philly, Hartford, CT, and Quincy, MA.

Should be integrated into the University of Baltimore's capital plan ...

For example, they're going to build a library on the NE corner of Charles and Mt. Royal. A park could (with some $) connect the library with the Penn Station Plaza. Similarly, Bolton Yards could be designed so that it doesn't show its "arse" (i.e. an open side of its parking garage) to the JFX, allowing development of a park there at some point.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 12:44 AM   #7
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Sounds cool!

But, given my predispostions, money to do that is better spent on transit capital projects first. That will make the City better overall than the park, though I do like the idea!

Nate
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Old March 15th, 2007, 05:13 AM   #8
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I would be in favor of having this done in front of Penn Station on either side of Charles Street. It would highlight the station and make it more pedestrian friendly to walk there... which would lead to increased interest in Station North and Mount Vernon as Transit Oriented Development. Not to mention the attractiveness to DC MARC commuters.
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Old March 15th, 2007, 06:21 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quabex View Post
this was proposed as far back as the jfx's original planning in the 50's. i actually have a rendering of it. at the time, the thinking was that the residential focus of the city would be north of the bdc in midtown/mt.royal/bolton hill/etc. so the park made good sense. i don't know why it never came to fruition. i'll try to post a photo of the rendering tonight.
Would love to see that rendering if you can find it.
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Old March 16th, 2007, 12:10 AM   #10
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This is my 1st attempt at posting a photo, so please excuse the potential of a bunch of mistakes! this rendering is from a poster created in 1959 showing the potential future of baltimore. it is a birds eye view of the bdc from about key highway to north avenue. i've cropped the image substantially in order to show detail. the "shadow" from the buildings are part of the poster...nothing i can do about them. i've also added, in red, some local landmarks so you'd be able to get a feel for what you're looking at. as you can see from the rendering, this would have been a PHENOMONAL park setting! lots of water features and pathways. i'm sure this would've not only kept some people in the city during the urban flight years, but it would've created a very sustainable, livable neighborhood. i'm all for trying to complete this vision still!
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Old March 16th, 2007, 12:12 AM   #11
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nuts... try, try again....


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Old March 16th, 2007, 12:18 AM   #12
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...and again......




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Old March 16th, 2007, 12:31 AM   #13
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well... just follow the link to my flickr photo's page. check it out there.

http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne...2480611&size=o
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Old March 16th, 2007, 08:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quabex View Post
well... just follow the link to my flickr photo's page. check it out there.

http://www.flickr.com/photo_zoom.gne...2480611&size=o
that's one funky looking old-school rendering. It's like a bird's eye of Baltimore....if it were on Mars. I was thinking alot less hardscape FOR SURE. Mid-century architects loved their windswept plazas (ala Legg Mason Plaza). that's for sure...haha. They were so brutal back then. I dunno what they were thinking. Probably the worst period of architecture EVER. 1950-1980
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Old March 16th, 2007, 02:05 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MountVEE View Post
that's one funky looking old-school rendering. It's like a bird's eye of Baltimore....if it were on Mars.
Yes, or a circuit board.

If the JFX could be covered, the result probably wouldn't be too different from the Big Dig tunnel heading south off the Zakim Bridge: city above knitted back together; highway below a scene of spastic jousting as drivers simultaneously adjust to the change from sunlight to tunnel light and try to hit their exit. Then again, spastic jousting describes driving pretty much anywhere in Boston.

The I-170 spur-to-nowhere west of downtown SSA would be a good candidate for a park covering, too.
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Old March 16th, 2007, 05:16 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by quabex View Post
This is my 1st attempt at posting a photo, so please excuse the potential of a bunch of mistakes! this rendering is from a poster created in 1959 showing the potential future of baltimore. it is a birds eye view of the bdc from about key highway to north avenue. i've cropped the image substantially in order to show detail. the "shadow" from the buildings are part of the poster...nothing i can do about them. i've also added, in red, some local landmarks so you'd be able to get a feel for what you're looking at. as you can see from the rendering, this would have been a PHENOMONAL park setting! lots of water features and pathways. i'm sure this would've not only kept some people in the city during the urban flight years, but it would've created a very sustainable, livable neighborhood. i'm all for trying to complete this vision still!
Thanks ever so much for posting that. I would love to see the entire poster; sounds fascinating. Where did you get it?

Jamie, it reminded me of a circuit board too. Certainly a bizarre design, but I like the idea.

I have never been as scared as I was driving in Boston. Roads on top of roads; out of the tunnel and onto a double-deck bridge. London's notorious traffic is positively tame in comparison!
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Old March 16th, 2007, 06:53 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by jeremai View Post
Thanks ever so much for posting that. I would love to see the entire poster; sounds fascinating. Where did you get it?

Jamie, it reminded me of a circuit board too. Certainly a bizarre design, but I like the idea.

I have never been as scared as I was driving in Boston. Roads on top of roads; out of the tunnel and onto a double-deck bridge. London's notorious traffic is positively tame in comparison!
That poster is part of a series created over a 25-year period; they simply were titled "MetroCenter" and provided highlights of current and future development. The last one was created about 1986.

If no one has them in digital format, I could post them here...
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Old March 16th, 2007, 07:05 PM   #18
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^ If you have time, that would be great. Those used to be distributed at the old City Fairs -- it's interesting comparing their "vision" with what actually happened.

E.g., if memory serves, Piers 3, 4 and 5 at the Inner Harbor were going to sprout square high-rise residential towers, a la the Charles Towers on the SW corner of Charles and Saratoga & at one point in the 70s, Camden Yards was tabbed for a Minneapolis Metrodome-like domed multipurpose stadium. We'd be discussing tearing that down now, if it hadn't already been ...

UPDATE: Come to think of it, those towers ended up on Boston Harbor. They're now due for a multi-million dollar reno because of numerous problems. Condo owners, naturally, are bummed.

http://www.bostonharbortowers.com/

Last edited by jamie_hunt; March 16th, 2007 at 07:13 PM. Reason: update post
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Old March 16th, 2007, 09:39 PM   #19
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my understanding of the posters is that the dept of planning did one every 10 years between 1960 and 1990. i have the 1960, 1980, and 1990 versions. i've seen the 1970 poster but don't have it. i really IS fun to look at them now! the last one was produced in 1989 and distributed in 1990. i called the dept. of plannin in 1999 and asked if they had produced a "baltimore 2050" poster. they said they had wanted to do a similar project but it wasn't in the budget.
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Old March 16th, 2007, 09:58 PM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eerik View Post
That poster is part of a series created over a 25-year period; they simply were titled "MetroCenter" and provided highlights of current and future development. The last one was created about 1986.

If no one has them in digital format, I could post them here...
It would be wonderful if you could. They sound great. I'll have to keep an eye out on eBay for them, although I'm sure they'd go for a lot of money.
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