The two-mile stretch of Baltimore Avenue (Route 1) from the Northgate of campus to the Beltway could easily be mistaken for a Hooverville. The prevalence of abandoned and blighted properties combined with the unforgiving traffic congestion and safety concerns make traveling this section of road a dread. Fortunately, the state has drawn up plans to spend $110 million to reconstruct this entire length of Route 1.
We obtained from the State Highway Administration (SHA) the design document for the reconstruction project. Though the scope of the project extends from College Avenue all the way to just north the of Beltway, the project has yet to receive full funding. To make reconstruction more fiscally palatable to the state, both the City Council and University recommended that just the section nearest the campus (from College Avenue to MD-193, specifically) receive priority for the project. If the state declares this portion too ambitious for the state treasury, the University would settle for just College Avenue to just north of Paint Branch Parkway.
Besides the array of safety statistics and pedestrian volume diagrams, the SHA design document includes the following features for Route 1:
- Replacement of the center turn-lane (often colorfully called “the suicide lane”) with a tree-studded median. Occasional left-turn lanes will be cut into the median at certain points to consolidate all left-turning traffic.
- Inclusion of occasional cut-outs for bus stops. Currently, stopped buses on Route 1 tie up traffic. The state hopes to mitigate the blockage with cut-outs like the one adjacent the Nymburu Amphitheater on Campus Drive.
- Continuous sidewalks set back from the roadway. Sidewalk coverage on Route 1 is spotty at best and those that do exist often require pedestrians to walk within two feet of speeding traffic. The design document shows most stretches of sidewalk separated from the roadway by a strip of grass, itself occasionally studded with trees. (See below for the SHA rendering)
- Elimination of the ridiculous intersection at The View. The View would no longer need the land underneath #1 Liquor to connect to Route 1 properly. The state proposes eliminating the light and left-turn onto Navahoe Street but keeping the intersection at Berwyn House Road, opposite The View’s northern Route 1 driveway (though the driveway and Berwyn House Road do not meet cleanly, one can resolve this easily) . Since the drawings were put together before the construction of The View they neglect to place a light at the Berwyn House Road-Route 1-View driveway intersection. This is easily resolved. (See below)
Above: The portion of Route 1 in front of The View and McDonald’s.
Below: Section drawings for what Route 1 will look like. Hopefully all utilities will be buried.