I can see the Jones Falls Expressway from my living room. As I write this, tail lights streak through the trees, accompanied by the whine of motorcycles ripping up the road. During rush hour, the noise kind of blurs together into an approximation of flowing water. The sound of the actual river running between building and road is drowned out by the traffic. In between the river and the road runs the Light Rail, zipping back and forth rather indifferently.
Each morning I take the JFX out of the city to my suburban office. On the other side, heading into the city, traffic backs up all the way to the Beltway. The road, originally designed for 200,000 cars a day, can barely handle 120,000, due to various design flaws and spikes in usage. Largely elevated, the highway cuts a twisted path, making for tight turns, narrow shoulders, and complex exits. This, in turn, slows down traffic, lowers visibility, and increases accidents. For much of its ten-mile route, the JFX buries or shades the river it's named for, making for a grim, post-apocalyptic corridor that I've described before.
So why was it built? And why might it be taken out?Read More