West Baltimore United: A Plan to Reconnect Communities

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About the Project

The West Baltimore United (WBU) Project is a collaborative effort between the City of Baltimore, Baltimore City Department of Transportation, Baltimore Department of Planning, Baltimore Development Corporation, and Maryland Transit Administration to advance long-overdue improvements in West Baltimore, where the "Highway to Nowhere" has divided communities for over 50 years.

The WBU project will begin with visioning and goal setting, but will progress to assess existing conditions, opportunities, and constraints, including constructability, multimodal traffic circulation, market demand, and project financing. This project will advance planning elements beyond ideas collected in previous planning studies but will build on previous work to set the communities of West Baltimore on a path to a brighter future. The project will be guided by 5 core principles:

  • Acknowledging the challenges of embarking on a new planning project given the complicated history.
  • Reflecting and honoring the memory of the communities that were damaged by the highway and celebrate the culture of West Baltimore today.
  • Establishing, empowering, and maintaining a Stakeholder Workgroup to inform and guide the decision-making process.
  • Undertaking a transparent process that gains broad public support.
  • Maintaining open dialog with the community throughout the project.

Project Focus Area

Events

Stakeholder Workgroup

The West Baltimore United Stakeholder Workgroup will hold their first meeting on Monday June 3rd at Bon Secours Community Resource Center. The purpose of the Stakeholder Workgroup is to ensure that residents, business owners, and other members of the community have an active role and responsibility in the project. The Workgroup will provide guidance to the project team throughout the approximately 18-month process and serve as a connection to the wider community. Please Note: The Public is welcome to attend Stakeholder Workgroup meetings to observe only.

Monday, June 3, 2024

6PM

Bon Secours Community Resource Center

31 S. Payson Street
Baltimore, MD 21223


Previous Events

On January 25, 2024, and February 10, 2024, Baltimore City Department of Transportation hosted a community workshop to kick-off the WBU project. BCDOT and partnering agencies were joined by more than 75 community members between the two identical workshops where participants learned more about the project process and were able to share their thoughts on opportunities, challenges, and areas of perseveration throughout the corridor as well as share their vision and priorities for this project as it moves forward.

January 25, 2024

Workshop 1

February 10, 2024

Workshop 2

Project History

The Highway to Nowhere is a remnant of past efforts to connect Interstate 70 with Interstates 83 and 95 around Baltimore’s Central Business District. However, those highway connections were never completed. Ultimately, the strong community advocacy of the neighborhoods prevailed; but not before the West Baltimore section of Route 40 was constructed, thus earning the local moniker the "Highway to Nowhere."

Construction resulted in the demolition of 971 homes and 62 businesses, subsequently displacing approximately 1,500 residents, many of whom were Black. Roughly 50 years later, the road remains a physical and symbolic barrier to progress, dividing large swaths of West Baltimore that were once connected.

This 1.4-mile-long trench serves limited value to the transportation network, is a safety hazard with large grade separations and high-speed traffic and is an eyesore dominating the landscape.

Grant Awarded

  • February 21, 2023 - The City of Baltimore receives $2 million in federal funding through the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
  • Learn more about the new grant opportunity here.
  • Be sure to check out the many news stories about this exciting grant here.



For questions or additional information about the Highway to Nowhere, the Reconnecting Communities Planning Study, or the federal grant funding, contact us at DOT-Community@baltimorecity.gov.

About the Project

The West Baltimore United (WBU) Project is a collaborative effort between the City of Baltimore, Baltimore City Department of Transportation, Baltimore Department of Planning, Baltimore Development Corporation, and Maryland Transit Administration to advance long-overdue improvements in West Baltimore, where the "Highway to Nowhere" has divided communities for over 50 years.

The WBU project will begin with visioning and goal setting, but will progress to assess existing conditions, opportunities, and constraints, including constructability, multimodal traffic circulation, market demand, and project financing. This project will advance planning elements beyond ideas collected in previous planning studies but will build on previous work to set the communities of West Baltimore on a path to a brighter future. The project will be guided by 5 core principles:

  • Acknowledging the challenges of embarking on a new planning project given the complicated history.
  • Reflecting and honoring the memory of the communities that were damaged by the highway and celebrate the culture of West Baltimore today.
  • Establishing, empowering, and maintaining a Stakeholder Workgroup to inform and guide the decision-making process.
  • Undertaking a transparent process that gains broad public support.
  • Maintaining open dialog with the community throughout the project.

Project Focus Area

Events

Stakeholder Workgroup

The West Baltimore United Stakeholder Workgroup will hold their first meeting on Monday June 3rd at Bon Secours Community Resource Center. The purpose of the Stakeholder Workgroup is to ensure that residents, business owners, and other members of the community have an active role and responsibility in the project. The Workgroup will provide guidance to the project team throughout the approximately 18-month process and serve as a connection to the wider community. Please Note: The Public is welcome to attend Stakeholder Workgroup meetings to observe only.

Monday, June 3, 2024

6PM

Bon Secours Community Resource Center

31 S. Payson Street
Baltimore, MD 21223


Previous Events

On January 25, 2024, and February 10, 2024, Baltimore City Department of Transportation hosted a community workshop to kick-off the WBU project. BCDOT and partnering agencies were joined by more than 75 community members between the two identical workshops where participants learned more about the project process and were able to share their thoughts on opportunities, challenges, and areas of perseveration throughout the corridor as well as share their vision and priorities for this project as it moves forward.

January 25, 2024

Workshop 1

February 10, 2024

Workshop 2

Project History

The Highway to Nowhere is a remnant of past efforts to connect Interstate 70 with Interstates 83 and 95 around Baltimore’s Central Business District. However, those highway connections were never completed. Ultimately, the strong community advocacy of the neighborhoods prevailed; but not before the West Baltimore section of Route 40 was constructed, thus earning the local moniker the "Highway to Nowhere."

Construction resulted in the demolition of 971 homes and 62 businesses, subsequently displacing approximately 1,500 residents, many of whom were Black. Roughly 50 years later, the road remains a physical and symbolic barrier to progress, dividing large swaths of West Baltimore that were once connected.

This 1.4-mile-long trench serves limited value to the transportation network, is a safety hazard with large grade separations and high-speed traffic and is an eyesore dominating the landscape.

Grant Awarded

  • February 21, 2023 - The City of Baltimore receives $2 million in federal funding through the Reconnecting Communities Pilot Program as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
  • Learn more about the new grant opportunity here.
  • Be sure to check out the many news stories about this exciting grant here.



For questions or additional information about the Highway to Nowhere, the Reconnecting Communities Planning Study, or the federal grant funding, contact us at DOT-Community@baltimorecity.gov.

  • The City of Baltimore, in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration, are coordinating the West Baltimore United Planning project that will set the communities of West Baltimore on a path to a brighter future. This project focuses on stakeholder engagement, vision and goal setting for the corridor, developing measures of success for the future, developing concept plans and initial investment recommendations, and refining a proposed plan for future design and construction opportunities. As this project begins, let us know what you think!

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Page last updated: 17 May 2024, 07:22 AM