September 11, 2012

World's Widest Waterfall?

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

UPDATE 3/8/17: OK folks, Peter Tocco (bless his soul!) did do a photoshop of "The World's Widest Urban Waterfall" for me five year ago, but I never published it. So here it is, finally !!!!

For some stupid reason, I recall trying to convince Peter to do it up with a grand waterfront promenade (e.g. San Antonio's Riverwalk on steroids) and to make it "hydrologically correct" for the widely undulating elevation at the rim of the "Highway to Nowhere". But sheesh, why did I care? I never really decided where the Red Line should go either. I guess along Franklin Street (to the left of the above).

So add this to the "Low Line" proposal portfolio. And consider it an alternative to make Caves Valley's Metro West into a waterfront development and part of the Six-mile West Baltimore Greenway Loop.

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.