A new path for the 'Highway to Nowhere'

September 13, 2010

Baltimore's demolition of the western end of the infamous "Highway to Nowhere" is a major step forward for the surrounding communities, but also marks the demise of a cautionary relic of Baltimore history ("The 'Highway to Nowhere' is now headed for the dump," Sept. 11).

The road is an eerie and tragic sight to behold. Standing at the expressway's end is like glimpsing into a version of the future that never arrived. Six lanes that abruptly halt in mid-air, complete with exit signs and streetlights hanging above roadways that have never carried traffic. The highway acts like a monolithic work of art from the age of brutalism nestled amongst a dystopian urban reality.

The grand, and ultimately unrealized, ambition of city planners is juxtaposed by the very real havoc wreaked on the surrounding neighborhoods. Demolition is only the first step in physically correcting the highway's injustice. It will take far more public and private investment to restore the neighborhood. The Red Line light rail project offers a brighter vision for the area's future. City and State officials need to ensure that the project gets built and is done right. Although the "Highway to Nowhere" isn't history in need of preservation, the lessons learned and emotion evoked are worthy of remembrance.

Harry M. Seidman, Baltimore

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