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Running between the eastern boundary of the District of Columbia and Baltimore, Maryland, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway is a 29-mile route that opened for traffic in October 1954. It resulted from the combined efforts of federal and state governments. The cooperation linked the two metropolitan areas along the "fall line" where the Atlantic coastal plain meets the Piedmont region.

The birth of the Baltimore and Washington Parkway, began on August 3rd, 1950 with the introduction of Public Law #643. This act provided for the construction, development and administration of the parkway, in the State of Maryland and its extension into the District of Columbia as a part of the park system of the District of Columbia and it's environs, by the Secretary of Interior.

The purpose of the Parkway was to provide a limited access road as a dignified protected, safe, and suitable approach for passenger vehicle traffic to the Nation's Capital and for an additional means of access between the several Federal Establishments adjacent thereto and the seat of Government in the District of Columbia. To avoid impairment of this purpose the Secretary of Interior with the concurrence of the Secretary of Commerce were empowered to control the location, limit the number of access points, and regulate the use of the parkway by various classes and types of vehicles or traffic.

In November 1953, the United States Park Police assumed jurisdiction and patrol of the the uncompleted roadway and the portions completed subsequently. The remaining portion from Maryland State Route #175 north to Baltimore is under the jurisdiction of Maryland State Police.

At present, the National Park Service manages the nineteen mile section from Fort Meade (Route 32) to the district boundary.

Source: NPS Brochure and Website (undated and 2019)


Baltimore-Washington Parkway — 1975 (incorporated in National Capital Parks)
Baltimore-Washington Parkway — August 3, 1950 (acquired)

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Design Elements: Baltimore-Washington Parkway (February 1984)

Foundation Document Overview, Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Maryland (December 2016)

Traffic Safety Plan, Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Maryland (June 2015)

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Last Updated: 01-May-2021