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News Maryland

Timeline: JFX milestones

Oct. 2, 1956: Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. and state officials break ground for the Jones Falls Expressway.

Dec. 16, 1961: The first, three-mile section opens, from Charles Street at Oliver to Falls Road. An ice storm that evening leads to the first accident on the road.

Dec. 24, 1962: In an article for the American Institute of Architects publication, Baltimore planner George Kostritsky slams highway designers for eschewing a parkway in favor of "a useful but hideous concrete ribbon."

Dec. 26, 1962: First fatal accident on the JFX occurs just north of the city line.

July 14, 1968: Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro III and highway planners label the JFX obsolete. Early projections of a daily capacity of 200,000 vehicles prove wildly optimistic. Even a quarter of that number at rush hour can cause gridlock. (Today, about 100,000 motorists squeeze onto its lanes daily.)

September 1982: Highway planners shelve a proposal to extend the highway from Pleasant Street to I-95. It is considered too disruptive and too expensive.

December 1985: Work begins on a $165 million face lift. The three-year project enrages commuters. Transportation officials try to jolly the public with a bumper-sticker and billboard campaign: "JFX *#@! Driving you crazy for a while."

Sept. 7, 1987: City police begin a two-month blitz to curb speeding. The final tally: 1,995 tickets.

June 4, 1991: A mayoral commission recommends tearing down a section of the JFX to open up a "new frontier" for development on the city's east side. The proposal is deemed too expensive.

Sept. 20, 1998: Officials close off a three-mile section of the JFX for three hours. More than 5,000 bicyclists, rollerbladers and joggers enjoy the first-ever event.

March 9, 2005: Civic leader Walter Sondheim proposes replacing a portion of the JFX with an extension of President Street. The idea is labeled too expensive.

May 2009: The city hires Rummel, Klepper & Kahl LLP to examine the pros and cons of razing the JFX between Chase and Fayette streets and replacing it with a landscaped "urban boulevard."

Dec. 30, 2009: City officials close down the homeless encampment below the JFX, between Madison and Read streets.

June 21, 2011: Officer Teresa Rigby survives a 25-foot fall from the JFX to a parking lot below after a car strikes her police cruiser, which catapults her over the concrete Jersey barrier. She has not returned to duty.

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