Baltimore Grand Prix: How to avoid the looming traffic mess
This is a view of Grand Prix preparation construction on Conway Street between Charles and Light streets. (Barbara Haddock Taylor, Baltimore Sun / June 6, 2011)
If you're coming from the north, west or due east, there shouldn't be much problem. But coming in from the south — from Anne Arundel, eastern Howard or Southwestern Baltimore County — could be a challenge. Light Street, Interstate 395 and Russell Street will all be closed Friday. You might as well avoid them Thursday, too. Martin Luther King Boulevard will be the main route into downtown from the south, but it could become seriously congested.
Coming in from Southeast Baltimore could also be a problem if you're used to using Lombard Street. There are, however, some strategies that could help avoid the worst of it. For the purpose of this, we'll assume a destination of the center of the city (Baltimore and Charles streets) and you can adjust from there. For east-west routes through downtown, less congestion can be expected the farther north you go.
If you come up Light St., Russell St. or Interstate 395:
Caton Avenue. Take the Caton Avenue north exit off Interstate 95. At Wilkens Avenue, continue north until it turns into Hilton Parkway. At U.S. 40, turn right and follow it until it becomes Mulberry Street. Turn right on Maryland Avenue to Baltimore Street.
Beltway-U.S. 40. Take western side of Beltway to U.S. 40 and head east through West Baltimore to Mulberry Street.
Wilkens Avenue. From Beltway, take Wilkens Avenue east through West Baltimore. Take left on Fulton Avenue to U.S. 40 and take a right. Follow U.S. 40 to Mulberry Street.
If you come from the southeast via Lombard St.:
Orleans St. From Lombard, turn right onto Central Ave. Take left on U.S. 40 (Orleans St.). Cross viaduct, where street becomes Franklin. Turn left on Maryland Ave.
If you use Pratt St. to reach Harbor East or Fells Point:
Keith Avenue. Take Interstate 95 through Fort McHenry Tunnel, staying in far right lane. After paying toll, take immediate exit onto Keith Avenue and bear right. Keith Avenue will turn into Clinton Street. Take left onto Boston St. and follow it to Fleet Street, where you bear left to Fells Point or Harbor East.