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       Sunday, January 15, 2006

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Partial Building Collapse in Baltimore Closes Howard Street and Light Rail

Baltimore- Sunday January 15th -
Part of the ornamental facade of an abandoned building on Howard Street collapsed today near Clay Street, falling three stories and nearly hitting commuters waiting at the northbound Lexington Market light rail stop. According to witnesses there were no casualties, but light rail service was shut down for about an hour.

Fire department crews tore down the rest of the old collapsing woodwork and cleared the debris from the tracks and the adjacent sidewalk, as Maryland Transit Police closed Howard Street to all vehicular traffic between West Saratoga Street and West Lexington Street.

The abandoned building is located in an economically depressed area only blocks from the Lexington Market, the Hippodrome Theatre, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, and the University of Maryland Medical Center.

While Westside redevelopment efforts have restored many area buildings for luxury condos, upscale business and the Hippodrome building itself, much of the rest of the neighborhood is boarded up, while landlords presumably sit on the properties waiting for higher prices. Half a century ago, the area was the center of Baltimore's West Downtown shopping district, though renters have steadily been leaving for decades. The construction of the light rail, taking up two of the three former lanes of traffic, coincided with a further neglect of the street from the Lexington Market area north to Maryland General Hospital.

Photos courtesy of Nate Conn. Do not reproduce without permission. simonen26(nospam)

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posted by Simon Fitzgerald at 2:37 PM  


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