January 12, 2008

Quarantine Landfill


The mountains meet the sea. The city skyline unfolds before you. A majestic bridge spans the channel. Huge exotic birds congregate to celebrate the bounty.

Welcome to Baltimore's Quarantine Landfill, high above Hawkins Point - a national park in the making. Nature took millions of years to create the Grand Canyon and its surrounding mountain ranges, but mankind's natural predilection for throwing things away should lead to much faster glory.

The Quarantine Landfill actually consists of several mountain peaks, thus emulating its natural counterparts. At least one of them should be opened to tourists and gawkers as soon as possible. Just build a road to the top, with an observation deck and a gift shop. The view of the Chesapeake Bay, the Key Bridge, the Baltimore city skyline and the surroundings will be spectacular.

So also will be the view of the remaining landfill, which is still a work in progress. The surface of the moon doesn't look as alien as this landscape. The chemicals in the air are even more otherworldly. Birds love it. Who says that wildlife is threatened by the chemicals that mankind spews forth?

Once Mount Baltimore National Park Phase I is opened to the public, all eyes will be focused upon the view of adjacent Mount Baltimore National Park Phase II. We should build the remaining landfill as high as possible. The state of the art in advanced soil mechanics should be put to the test to pile the remaining trash higher and higher and higher - a height as near to God as mankind can muster. Melt the wings of Sisyphus as we fly toward the sun.

So as Baltimore begins its latest recycling program, please remember that no piece of trash should be left behind. We should dedicate all of it to making the Quarantine Road landfill as tall and magnificent as possible.

January 5, 2008

Red Line


I must admit that I am all Red Lined out. I've said just about everything here that I have to say about the Red Line, and anything more at this time would simply be a negative dump on the MTA and their entourage. None of that is needed, because the Red Line as they have defined it probably cannot be built and will die under its own weight.

I'm still talking about the Red Line in spite of this, in the context of the Envision Baltimore online forum that I have been plugging in my "links" to the right. This is a more interactive forum, and suits the fact that what we need right now is to reach some kind of actual consensus, and not just have somebody blogging who thinks they have all the answers.

The Red Line is extremely important, most pointedly in order to determine just how and if Baltimore is actually going to GROW in the 21st century. There have been some recent articles and letters in the Sun and elsewhere about what can be done with the Franklin-Mulberry corridor wasteland, and they haven't even mentioned the Red Line !!!!! One guy wanted to put a salt dome there, while another wanted to erect a William Donald Schaefer monument to "arrogant bullheadedness" 1970s planning. Come on folks, let's get serious about the future !!!!!!!

What it all boils down to is that we have built a very nice "new Baltimore" centered around the waterfront that is dependent upon automobiles and monster parking garages. Baltimore has gone pretty much as far as we can go with this idea. It is far too late to build a transit system that is merely an "alternative" to this lifestyle, especially if that transit system is going to be mediocre in any way.

What we need to grow in the Franklin-Mulberry corridor and other places like Westport and the Bayview-Canton Edge City is a whole new environment, where transit is the predominant mode in the same way that elevators are the predominant mode for getting to the 50th floor of a high rise building. For that we need superior transit, tailored specifically for the new environment and connected directly to the ancillary transit system that can take you to Washington DC, New York and other places where it is really starting to get difficult to drive.

I still have lots of things to say about other parts of Baltimore, but 2008 needs to be the year of the Red Line.