The city looked like a prison because of the miles of fencing that ran along major traffic and pedestrian thoroughfares such as Pratt Street — topped with that ever-beautiful mangled wiring. But the race track also served to keep some people inside and others outside.
I can see why visitors — especially die-hard racing fans — might have loved seeing auto races pour through an urban track. But as a resident of Baltimore, I had no desire to be anywhere near it. Because of the logistical hurdles of getting downtown. And because it was just plain ugly.
If Boston is smart, they could stand to learn a few lessons from Baltimore's failed experiment with the annual street race. There are plenty of takeaways: Don’t cut down perfectly healthy trees. Get the community to buy in. Make sure the organizers pay the city what they're supposed to. And don’t be taken in by spreadsheets promising skyrocketing tourism and tax revenue–Baltimore actually lost money on the race.
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