So what is the problem then?
The issue of "nowhere" is more one of the street capacity in the area. While the bridge may allow cars to get elegantly on and off the HarborPoint peninsula, the streets are so clogged that they don't have the capacity to take thousands of additional cars, no matter how quickly they can pass the four lane bridge.
|Proposed Bridge design. Source: BBJ/JMT|
|Streetscape rendering Central Avenue |
(Source: City of Baltimore)
The new development on HarborPoint needs access, of course, even more so, after the Red Line with its nearby underground station was cancelled. The prospects for transit are dim: The Baltimore Link bus 2.0 system only touches Harbor East at its northern edge at Eastern Avenue with the exception of the newly extended Express Link 150 with three buses each in the morning and evening servicing the area directly. Of course, there is the Circulator which was created to connect peripheral underused parking and centrally located downtown areas too valuable to build parking. Then there is the water taxi that needs a stop at HarborPoint and is currently in negotiation for a renewal of the license. There is no reason why water access could not become a solid transit connection.
|City dock before the bridge|
Once self driving cars will become common, (hopefully in the form as for-hire service vehicles like automated Uber or taxis) the thousands of spaces planned for HarborpPoint become an obsolete investment and will probably never fully materialize. But the city bridge will be constructed as a monument to failed transportation, just like the "highway to nowhere". In that sense, this, indeed, is already now a "bridge to nowhere", no matter how much UDARP will succeed in making it prettier through tough design review.
Klaus Philipsen, FAIA
Previous article about the bridge on this site making the same point