September 11, 2012

World's Widest Waterfall?

Inspired by 9/11:
A water feature inside the Highway to Nowhere

It is September 11th. I just turned on the TV and it hit me. In my last post, I asserted that fixing Baltimore's "Highway to Nowhere" will require superior design, as well as creative planning. As great as the wanton destruction which has been wrought there, New York has a far larger and more profound wound to heal at 9/11 Memorial at the World Trade Center Ground Zero.

Baltimore needs the same kind of design vision, and I believe I mean that literally. A water feature that frames the destructive hole in the ground at the Highway to Nowhere ditch would be a compelling way to transform and unify the ditch, turning its blight into a focal point and preparing it for redevelopment. The sound of a waterfall thousands of feet wide would create the perfect "white noise" to aurally mask the traffic and create a soothing urban ambiance.

This photo taken inside the ditch during the half-year Highway to Nowhere closure shows a small piece of the south retaining wall, which could be converted into a waterfall. The up-close view across the grassy median and the eastbound roadway conveys how this scene does not need to be the oppressive environment that it currently feels like from a motorist's windshield or the urban wasteland above.

The world's widest waterfall at Franklin-Mulberry? It's possible. We simply need to unleash our collective creative juices instead of the heavy-handed construction machine that brought us The Highway to Nowhere in the first place, and is now trying to foist the Red Line upon us.

1 comment:

  1. Time for a factual footnote: The retaining wall is actually about 4500 feet long, from about Payson to Poppleton. That might make the widest URBAN waterfall or the widest MAN-MADE waterfall or even the widest AMERICAN waterfall. It's usually possible to come up with the appropriate qualifications to make anything superlative. But this would not be the World's Widest Waterfall. That's why I used a question mark. According to the World Waterfall Database: www.worldwaterfalldatabase.com/largest-waterfalls/total-width , that distinction goes to Chutes de Khone on the Mekong in Laos at 35,000 feet (whew!) But the widest American waterfall, Celilo Falls on the Columbia River at 5800 feet has been "inundated" (yay, salmon!) so the latest leader now "falls" all the way down to 1700 feet - Willamette Falls. Darn that Portland; they have the best and yuppiest and most righteous of everything. So the Low Line Falls would certainly stomp that. Now to just convince the falls arbiters that the Low Line Falls would qualify to be the widest and the greatest. And then convince the City Czars that it's worth building. But geez, if they fell for the Grand Prix, they should certainly fall for the falls.

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