Howard Street (Baltimore)

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Light rail lines along North Howard Street at West Lexington Street
The light rail operating along Howard Street

Howard Street is a major street that runs north-south through the central part of the city of Baltimore, Maryland. The street, which is approximately 2½ miles in length, begins at the north end of I-395 near Oriole Park at Camden Yards and ends near Johns Hopkins University. At this point, this street splits. To the right, it becomes Artmuseum Drive, a one-block street on which the Baltimore Museum of Art is located. To the left, it becomes San Martin Drive, a winding road that runs along the western perimeter of the Johns Hopkins University campus and ends at University Parkway. Howard Street is named in honor of former Maryland governor John Eager Howard.[1] Two other streets in Baltimore, John and Eager Streets, are also named after him.[2]

At one time, Howard Street was a two-way street throughout its entire route. In 1989, when construction began on the Central Light Rail line, Howard Street was made one-way in a northbound direction between Pratt Street and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The Light Rail operates along Howard Street within this area, which is most of Downtown Baltimore, and alongside Howard Street for much of the remainder of the street's route within the downtown area.


Notable landmarks on or near Howard Street include:


In the downtown area, a tunnel owned by CSX runs below Howard Street. This tunnel was first proposed in the 1880s and built in the 1890s as part of the B&O Railroad.[3][4]

Howard Street Bridge[edit]

The Howard Street Bridge, seen from Interstate 83

One of Howard Street's unique features is the twin steel arch-style bridge that crosses over the Jones Falls Expressway, the CSX and Northern Central Railway (and currently the light rail), and Falls Road. Built in 1938 by the J. E. Greiner Company to replace an earlier 19th century iron arch bridge, the 979-foot (298 m) long bridge begins shortly after the Mt. Royal Avenue underpass, and continues to the intersection at North Avenue.[5][6]

At times, there has been debate over what colors to paint the bridge.[7] Request has been made from citizens to get involved in making the decision.[8] Polling has been used as a method to determine the color the bridge should be painted.[9]

On November 17, 2011, Occupy Baltimore protesters marched on the Howard Street Bridge.[10] The bridge was chosen by the protesters because they said it was a symbol of the city's decaying infrastructure and the need to get Americans back to work.[11]


During the 1980s, a series of decorative arches were installed along the downtown part of Howard Street in order to add a unique style to the area and its shops. However, when light rail construction began, most of these arches had to be removed because trains would not have been able to pass underneath.

Howard Street Tunnel fire[edit]

On July 18, 2001, a freight train in the tunnel below Howard Street derailed, causing a chemical fire that raged for six days and did damage to Howard Street and the light rail that took a few months to repair.


  1. ^ Maryland Digital Cultural Heritage : Search Results
  2. ^ Baltimore Jewish Times
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^ Engineer's Guide to Baltimore: Howard Street Bridge
  6. ^ MDSHA: Howard Street Bridge
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^ "Occupy Baltimore to rally on Howard Street Bridge Thursday afternoon". abc2news. 17 November 2011. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "Occupy Baltimore Protesters March Across Howard Street Bridge". CBS Baltimore. Retrieved 17 November 2011. 

Coordinates: 39°17′44″N 76°37′11.35″W / 39.29556°N 76.6198194°W / 39.29556; -76.6198194