MORE ON BREAKING UP THE BELTWAY
I got my Beltway article published in the Baltimore Sun in an attempt to expose my blog to a wider audience. Check it out at:
The Sun published the Baltimore InnerSpace blog address, although in the online version, blogspot is shown as blog-spot, so I don't know if that is to blame for the lack of a huge upturn in my website hits.
Anyway, below are a couple photographs of the north and south ends of the "new" Interstate 83 that would replace the west side of the Beltway.
Above is southbound I-83 just north of the Beltway. The only sign change necessary would be to get rid of the I-695 West label just above the word "Baltimore", which would make the sign much less confusing anyway. "I-695 West" could be replaced with "I-183 South" for the new number of the Jones Falls Expressway, which would make the sign even clearer.
On the northbound ramps, there would be no changes at this point.
Here is the existing split for southbound I-97 and eastbound I-695 south of Baltimore. Currently, all sorts of motorist consternation is caused by the fact that I-97, in the middle lanes of the interchange and on the left side of the split, is considered the thru road at this point. Beltway drivers have difficulty reconciling the the fact that they are the ones who have to keep right and then "exit", just in order to keep going on the Beltway.
If I-97 and the west side of the Beltway were both renumbered as I-83, there would be no more issues with this. I-83 would be the through road, and the customary rules of the road dictate that through traffic is supposed to keep left on expressways. Traffic wishing to continue on what is now called the Beltway would be exiting I-83 to enter I-695 at its southern origin point. This traffic would take the exit ramp to the right, which would be the origin point of I-695. It makes a lot more sense.
On northbound I-97 at this point, the current signage is even more at odds with common sense, but there is no safe overpass to take a good photograph of it. The biggest ramp is the one that would become the simple northbound I-83 through movement, while all the other movements would be subordinate.
Most importantly, the movement from what is now northbound I-97 to the Harbor Tunnel Thruway should NOT be used just to access the Harbor Tunnel Thruway. It should be possible to go straight through from the highway now called I-97 into Baltimore City on what is now the Harbor Tunnel Thruway. This is explained in my previous blog article of May 2006 called "The Lost Highway". See the May 2006 archives:
or go directly to the labeled photographs:
This "Lost Highway" is now grossly underutilized, and it just happens to be beautiful as well. It could be numbered I-383, and be the southern version of the Jones Falls Expressway.