Home » Preservation review of the B&P Tunnel project—an important opportunity for community input

From the Preliminary Alternatives Screening Report (2014), B&P Tunnel Project.

Preservation review of the B&P Tunnel project—an important opportunity for community input

As we shared earlier this year, the planned replacement of the B&P Tunnel is a project with major consequences for historic West Baltimore neighborhoods. The current set of proposals could require the demolition of the American Ice Company, the Ward Baking Company building or whole blocks of rowhouses in the Midtown Edmondson neighborhood. When demolition is unavoidable, the preservation review process known as Section 106 can secure an agreement that mitigates the harm the project may bring – by investing in community resources, preserving nearby buildings, or telling the stories of the history lost to demolition. If you live in West Baltimore, your comments on these alternatives are critically important to determining the future of the buildings and community around the proposed rail line.

What is Section 106? Since last fall, the B&P Tunnel project has been working through a review process required by the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Section 106 of the NHPA requires the Federal Railroad Administration to meet with the Maryland Historical Trust and a variety of interested parties and consider the effects of the proposed project on historic buildings and neighborhoods. A Citizen’s Guide to Section 106 Review (PDF) from the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation explains:

Section 106 requires federal agencies to consider the effects of projects they carry out, approve, or fund on historic properties… Section 106 review encourages, but does not mandate, preservation. Sometimes there is no way for a needed project to proceed without harming historic properties. Section 106 review does ensure that preservation values are factored into federal agency planning and decisions.

In meetings in July and August, the Federal Railroad Administration asked Baltimore Heritage and other consulting parties to consider the two remaining alternatives for the B&P Tunnel(with a total of five variations)  and submit comments. What of these alternatives does the least harm? How can the effect of these proposals be mitigated? We’re asking your help in answering these questions by reviewing the alternatives below and sharing your comments with us and with the B&P Tunnel project team.

What are the preservation issues with the proposed alternatives?

Below you will find maps and renderings for each of the alternatives currently under active consideration.We have focused on the impact of the project at the southern portal but it is also important to consider the effect of the mid-tunnel vent plant – a fifty-foot high structure with a 200′ by 100′ footprint that may be located in the middle of Reservoir Hill or in Madison Park.

This same material is available through the project website under Meeting Materials and Section 106 Review. We’ve provided a brief summary of the properties impacted by each alternative (based on this comprehensive table of resources potentially impacted from the B&P Tunnel team). Additional background information on the history of the area and the resources effected by this project is available in the current draft of the Architectural Historic Properties Survey.

Alternative 3A

Alternative 3A impacts 5 resources including the American Stores Company Warehouse (also known as the ACME building) on Lafayette Avenue.

Alternative 3 Option A, South Portal Map
Alternative 3 Option A, South Portal Map

Alternative 3B

Alternative 3B impacts 80 resources including the 800 block of N. Brice Street, 2100 and 2200 blocks of Edmondson Avenue (both east and west of the existing tracks including the Ward Baking Company building, the original B&P Railroad Station building and the station house for Engine Company No. 36), the American Ice Company, the 2000 block of West Lanvale Street, the 900 and 1000 blocks of N. Payson Street, and the 600 and 700 blocks of N. Pulaski Street.

Alternative 3 Option A, South Portal Map
Alternative 3 Option B, South Portal Map

Alternative 3C

Alternative 3C impacts 31 resources including the American Stores Company Warehouse, the 2100 block of Edmondson Avenue (west of the existing tracks including the Ward Baking Company building, the original B&P Railroad Station building and the station house for Engine Company No. 36), and the 2300 block of Lauretta Avenue.

Alternative 3 Option C, South Portal Map
Alternative 3 Option C, South Portal Map

Alternative 11A

Alternative 11A impacts 147 resources including the 500 block of N. Pulaski Street, the 600 blocks of Appleton, Brice, and N. Payson Streets, the 2000 block of Edmondson Avenue, the 1900 block of Harlem Avenue and the American Ice Company Building.

Alternative 11 Option A, South Portal Map
Alternative 11 Option A, South Portal Map

Alternative 11B

Alternative 11B impacts 26 resources including the 2100 block of Edmondson Avenue, the American Ice Company building, and the 500 block of N. Pulaski Street.

Alternative 11 Option B, South Portal Map
Alternative 11 Option B, South Portal Map

How do you share comments? You can submit your comments through the B&P Tunnel Project website, share questions and comments by email at info@bptunnel.com, or by contacting Ms. Odessa Phillip, PE, Environmental Project Manager, Baltimore City Department of Transportation at (410) 396-6856.

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