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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I posted something about Howard Street in a different thread, and thought I would start another based on the idea. I also posted a thread about Howard Street on the Baltimore Sun forums that was mostly hijacked by anti-Baltimore people who take any opportunity to trash Baltimore.

Anyway, here is what I posted on the Sun board. I'd love to know what everyone's thoughts are here:

Why is Howard Street still a ghost town?

The light rail runs right up/down it. You'd think that in the age of smart growth that there would be some trendy shops and some good restaurants with outdoor seating all up and down the entire street. But nope. Aside from a Subway, 7-11, Dunkin Donuts and Rite Aid, there's your usual poverty retail: Dollar Stores, Cell Phone stores, Bail Bonds, Shoe stores...

I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that, but Howard Street could be a bustling tree-lined avenue. Maybe things would have changed if the whole west-side redevelopment plan that was going on circa 2005...kept going, but with a down economy, I guess we'll just have to keep looking at Howard Street and thinking about "what it could be".
Later on in that thread I said that Howard Street could be similar to Crescent Street in Montreal -- or even Lincoln Road in Miami if the street was closed to car traffic.

What are your thoughts?

Here is the Sun thread for reference...

http://talk.baltimoresun.com/showthread.php?t=262135&highlight=howard+street
 

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I posted something about Howard Street in a different thread, and thought I would start another based on the idea. I also posted a thread about Howard Street on the Baltimore Sun forums that was mostly hijacked by anti-Baltimore people who take any opportunity to trash Baltimore.

Anyway, here is what I posted on the Sun board. I'd love to know what everyone's thoughts are here:



Later on in that thread I said that Howard Street could be similar to Crescent Street in Montreal -- or even Lincoln Road in Miami if the street was closed to car traffic.

What are your thoughts?

Here is the Sun thread for reference...

http://talk.baltimoresun.com/showthread.php?t=262135&highlight=howard+street
I work close by and whenever I ride the Light Rail down Howard, I have to almost close my eyes. I'm not that optimistic about anything happening soon. The city doesn't have a lot of money that this would take. A billion or so has been spent on the "Westside" so far and it's only made a dent on Howard. It also set the whole thing back when the big change was made from the original design which would have cleared large plots for new development. In subsequent years those "historic" dumps that were saved have gotten much worse. Unfortunately, I just don't see enough demand for new development in the current economy that anything will happen in this very challenging area. By the time the economy improves and demand grows, those buildings will be even worse and the preservationists even more strident. My fear is that we will be having this same conversation 20 years from now. The best we can hope for is a really bad fire.
 

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Gotta love those ignorant anti-transit posts in that Sun thread you posted. The Baltimore Sun message board is full of shitheads in general.
 

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If the new arena is finally built on the current site, we may see some improvement for a couple blocks north of it. Beyond that, I don't think I'm going to live long enough to see significant change. Maybe in time some positive change will bleed south from the State Center project.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I read that the owners of many of the buildings on Howard Street (maybe the same owner) have been reluctant to sell or rent space out for new businesses. Some people who weren't shitting on the city in the Sun thread brought this up. Does anyone know if this is the case?

I remember news about North Ave. getting a makeover -- and I do agree that it needs one but I think Howard Street should be the area that gets that attention first. Considering all the factors in and around the area -- it just makes the most sense.
 

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I don't have big hopes for that area. I'd actually like to see the light rail tunneled at least under that Howard Street corridor (it will be expensive and all but well worth it in the end) to help revive that area. Traffic gets clogged because of how narrow it is through there and the light rail is literally on top of all of the buildings. It's almost claustrophobic.
 

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I don't have big hopes for that area. I'd actually like to see the light rail tunneled at least under that Howard Street corridor (it will be expensive and all but well worth it in the end) to help revive that area. Traffic gets clogged because of how narrow it is through there and the light rail is literally on top of all of the buildings. It's almost claustrophobic.
The tunnel is already there. The only catch is that CSX owns it and uses it all the time. In another of those "all you need to do" propositions, all we need to do is to build another line for CSX somewhere else. That idea's been tossed around a lot over the years (especially after the tunnel fire back in 2001 or whatever), but nobody has the billions or the will to do it.
 

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I work close by and whenever I ride the Light Rail down Howard, I have to almost close my eyes. I'm not that optimistic about anything happening soon. The city doesn't have a lot of money that this would take. A billion or so has been spent on the "Westside" so far and it's only made a dent on Howard. It also set the whole thing back when the big change was made from the original design which would have cleared large plots for new development. In subsequent years those "historic" dumps that were saved have gotten much worse. Unfortunately, I just don't see enough demand for new development in the current economy that anything will happen in this very challenging area. By the time the economy improves and demand grows, those buildings will be even worse and the preservationists even more strident. My fear is that we will be having this same conversation 20 years from now. The best we can hope for is a really bad fire.
It will have to take some pissed off tax payers to change their lazy voting habits and vote in some New Blood that won't take shit from those anti-Growth Preservationist Communists Groups and will support Demolishing ALL of those worthless old buildings eye soaring along Howard Street.........
 

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Gotta love those ignorant anti-transit posts in that Sun thread you posted. The Baltimore Sun message board is full of shitheads in general.
Its no different from the ignorant anti-Highways and anti-Upscale MEGA Mall posts the I see on here and the Baltimore Sun Message Boards.........
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I don't have big hopes for that area. I'd actually like to see the light rail tunneled at least under that Howard Street corridor (it will be expensive and all but well worth it in the end) to help revive that area. Traffic gets clogged because of how narrow it is through there and the light rail is literally on top of all of the buildings. It's almost claustrophobic.
You can close Howard Street off to north/south traffic from Pratt to Mulberry Street. There are plenty of other streets to travel north and south through Baltimore on.
 

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Closing degraded inner-city streets to traffic does not make things worse. The streets and the traffic brought on to them by heavy suburban and highway investment are often a large factor in the decline of inner city neighborhoods. I'm not anti-car and I recognize the usefulness of cars, but I don't see how cars are doing anything to help Howard Street. Transit malls have been very successful in other cities, for example Portland and Minneapolis, and I think making Howard Street a transit mall downtown would both attract retailers and boost transit ridership, both of which greatly increase the desirability of the neighborhood.
 

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I posted something about Howard Street in a different thread, and thought I would start another based on the idea. ...
Crescent and Lincoln are beautiful roads. And wide. And level. And surrounded by more or less prosperous neighborhoods. Neither seems to have ever hit the crapper quite as badly as Howard has.

Howard has been a lab for nearly every urban improvement scheme that has come along. Lighted arches. Light rail. Light this that and the other. Lexington Street near where it crosses Howard was pedestrianized for a couple decades and is, of course, in the process of being completely reopened to traffic.

Despite Uptownbillabong's fulminations, the architecture of the neighborhood--which covers pretty much every American style since the Revolution--will be its salvation. Change is coming.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Crescent and Lincoln are beautiful roads. And wide. And level. And surrounded by more or less prosperous neighborhoods. Neither seems to have ever hit the crapper quite as badly as Howard has.

Howard has been a lab for nearly every urban improvement scheme that has come along. Lighted arches. Light rail. Light this that and the other. Lexington Street near where it crosses Howard was pedestrianized for a couple decades and is, of course, in the process of being completely reopened to traffic.

Despite Uptownbillabong's fulminations, the architecture of the neighborhood--which covers pretty much every American style since the Revolution--will be its salvation. Change is coming.
They have put lipstick on a pig with those improvements. Until there are better retail and restaurants on Howard, there is no reason to go to go to Baltimore and hang out on Howard Street unless you want something from a pawn shop that looks like it's stuck in Harlem, circa 1978.

And Crescent Street has some elevation toward Mount Royal, from what I remember....
 

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.... Until there are better retail and restaurants on Howard, there is no reason to go to go to Baltimore and hang out on Howard Street ...
Yeah. Nonetheless, it's still vastly improved over a decade ago, and will not be the place it is now in less than a decade.
 

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NorthaBmore;66966739[B said:
]Closing degraded inner-city streets to traffic does not make things worse.[/B] The streets and the traffic brought on to them by heavy suburban and highway investment are often a large factor in the decline of inner city neighborhoods. I'm not anti-car and I recognize the usefulness of cars, but I don't see how cars are doing anything to help Howard Street. Transit malls have been very successful in other cities, for example Portland and Minneapolis, and I think making Howard Street a transit mall downtown would both attract retailers and boost transit ridership, both of which greatly increase the desirability of the neighborhood.
Then why aren't they doing that in ALL Major US Cities that are doing better than Baltimore in Business Growth and Economic Wealth........

And using Portland is a VERY POOR example to help your argument against building Highways in Baltimore, retaining old buildings in downtown Baltimore, and closing off major streets in Baltimore......

The only agenda I see in that suggestion is the Goal of making Baltimore the anti-Growth and anti-Business City........

I tell you what the day they Demolish The Freeways in Downtown/Midtown Atlanta and Shut Down the Entire stretch of Peachtree Street in Atlanta while Business/Economic/Population continues to grow in Atlanta then I can see some valid's in your argument.........
 

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Then why aren't they doing that in ALL Major US Cities that are doing better than Baltimore in Business Growth and Economic Wealth........

And using Portland is a VERY POOR example to help your argument against building Highways in Baltimore, retaining old buildings in downtown Baltimore, and closing off major streets in Baltimore......

The only agenda I see in that suggestion is the Goal of making Baltimore the anti-Growth and anti-Business City........

I tell you what the day they Demolish The Freeways in Downtown/Midtown Atlanta and Shut Down the Entire stretch of Peachtree Street in Atlanta while Business/Economic/Population continues to grow in Atlanta then I can see some valid's in your argument.........
Um, there's many examples of removing highways from downtown areas and how it results in better use of urban space and increased land values (particularly when removing elevated highways and replacing them with tree-lined boulevards). You should watch the short video posted here about the removal of San Francisco's elevated Embarcadero Freeway (and they also mention the removal of NYC's elevated West Side Highway. So clearly building more and more highways isn't always the answer.
 

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Yeah. Nonetheless, it's still vastly improved over a decade ago, and will not be the place it is now in less than a decade.
About a block and a half is better, but once you get past the DHR building (the old Hutzler's), the rest of Howard up to Antique Row is much worse than it was a decade ago. A lot of them look like they are getting close to the point of no return, with birds coming and going from vacant upper story windows. If you look up, you can see daylight coming down from the roof of upper story windows. I'm surprised that the front of the old Mayfair is still standing considering that trees are growing out of the back.
 

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...the entire roof of the Mayfair has actually collapsed...the whole interior is open to the sky. There were pics posted on here of that some time ago. There was some talk of rehabbing it, but it looks so bad to me that it should just be razed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Then why aren't they doing that in ALL Major US Cities that are doing better than Baltimore in Business Growth and Economic Wealth........

And using Portland is a VERY POOR example to help your argument against building Highways in Baltimore, retaining old buildings in downtown Baltimore, and closing off major streets in Baltimore......

The only agenda I see in that suggestion is the Goal of making Baltimore the anti-Growth and anti-Business City........

I tell you what the day they Demolish The Freeways in Downtown/Midtown Atlanta and Shut Down the Entire stretch of Peachtree Street in Atlanta while Business/Economic/Population continues to grow in Atlanta then I can see some valid's in your argument.........

There was recent talk in Baltimore of leveling a stretch of I-83 in downtown Baltimore and making it standard city street with traffic lights like MLK Blvd and putting up retail shops served by the metro's Shot Tower station as well as the future red line.
 
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