Unless the Downtown Development Commission can come up with a workable plan for keeping the Baltimore Street underpass, Mayor Brian Grim should press on with his intent to shut down the tunnel.
As we stated in a previous editorial, the city has long struggled to keep the underpass clean and safe. Despite repeated efforts, the underpass has never been a passage the public has heavily used.
For some, the litter, smell and remoteness of the underpass keeps them from using the route beneath Queen City Drive and CSX tracks. Cameras and patrols by the Cumberland Police Department have done little to reassure the public that the underpass is free of problems.
Grim said last week that the underpass is a “constant nuisance.” He said he thinks the task of managing the underpass is more work and investment than it may be worth.
Although the Downtown Development Commission has expressed reservations about closing the underpass, it has not followed through to meet with the mayor to discuss a solution.
How much of the underpass, which travels underneath CSX railroad tracks at Baltimore Street and Queen City Drive, is owned by the railroad and what is city property appears to be in question. But that should not stop the city from closing off the exits and entrances at both ends of the tunnel. This is a matter of public safety and well-being.
If CSX wants the underpass to remain open, then it needs to work with the city to make the tunnel a safe, suitable route to take.
Unless someone steps forth with a viable plan, it is past the time for the underpass to be closed.