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Baltimore's highway wars: author E.Evans Paull, with Klaus Philipsen

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A westward view of the never-completed West Baltimore extension to Interstate 70, now known as "the Highway to Nowhere." The massive road project was launched in 1973 but halted in 1979, largely due to environmental and neighborhood activists. Only 1.4 of the slated 2.3 miles of I-170 were ever built. More than 1,500 mostly Black West Baltimore residents were displaced; 971 homes, 62 businesses, and one school were demolished. The area never recovered. Now, plans are in the works to use a federal grant to remove the highway and reconnect the divided neighborhoods. (photo credit Wikimedia Commons)

In his new book, Stop the Road: Stories from the Trenches of Baltimore’s Road Wars, retired city planner E. Evans Paull tells the story of transportation plans that were overtly racist, and disastrously short-sighted. Had it not been for the tenacious efforts of neighborhood activists, some of Baltimore’s most cherished and beloved historic neighborhoods would be very different places today.

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E. Evans Paull is a retired urban planner and the author of "Stop the Road: Stories from the Trenches of Baltimore's Road Wars." (images courtesy E.Paull / Boyle&Dalton Publishers)

Those activists saved places like Fells Point, the Inner Harbor and Canton. Other, mostly Black neighborhoods didn’t survive the onslaught of highways intended to accommodate white suburbanites. Places like Rosemont on the West Side were destroyed. More than 1,500 residents were displaced. Dozens of businesses, even a school were eliminated in the service of a stretch of highway that was begun, but eventually halted after years of organized opposition.

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J. Brough Schamp/© 2021 J. Brough Schamp
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J. Brough Schamp
Klaus Philipsen is an architect and urban planner, and president of ArchPlan Inc., an architecture and urban design firm in Baltimore specializing since 1992 in community revitalization, adaptive re-use, historic preservation and transportation projects. (courtesy photo)

The stories of the infamous Highway to Nowhere and the planned East-West Expressway are chronicled in Stop the RoadAuthor E. Evans Paull joins Tom today in Studio A… 

Klaus Philipsen, an urban planner, community activist and president of the Baltimore architectural firm ArchPlan, Inc., is the author of Baltimore: Reinventing an Industrial Legacy City. He joins us to talk about some of the lessons that can be learned from the mistakes of the past. Klaus Philipsen is with us in Studio A as well…

We welcome your comments and questions. Call 410.662.8780.email: [email protected]. Or Tweet us: @MiddayWYPR.

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Evans Paull will be discussing Stop the Road and signing copies of his book tonight from 7-8:30pm at Snug Books in Baltimore. For directions and more information, click here.

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