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I’m Walking Here! 12 Ideas to Improve Public Transit in Baltimore

35 Written by: | Tuesday, Jan 22, 2013 2:02pm

Photo by Sheena Callage.

Photo by Sheena Callage.

This was originally posted on Facebook. Many thanks to Eric Hatch for letting Baltimore Fishbowl repost it!

Relying on public transit in Baltimore makes me feel like Don Quixote, Ignatius Reilly, and “Ratso”  Rizzo all rolled into one. As a rare “choice” rider in this city—someone who could afford a car (albeit a crappy one) but chooses to walk and ride instead—I’m accustomed to ruling out activities in whole chunks of the city. I go out most nights, but this means allocating extra time in each trip for buses that never come, trains that creep at half the speed they could, and long walks to destinations that should have service but don’t.

It doesn’t have to be that way. Literally 100 years ago, Baltimore had one of the best streetcar systems in the world, covering more area and running more frequently than today’s nightmarish bus system. In fact, many neighborhoods of Baltimore were literally developed around streetcar service, built with little walkable commerce since residents could rely on public transit to get them anywhere they needed to go.

We’ve all likely heard about streetcars before, but pause for a minute to let this sink in: 100 years ago a pedestrian in Baltimore could get to more places, and make their trips faster and easier, than we can in 2013. What should’ve been a source of enduring health and pride for the city was demolished after WW2 in the name of “progress,” a gross capitulation to car culture, the suburbs, and corporate power that resulted in inconvenience to me, but real horrors for much of the city. The death of the streetcar led to the creation and exacerbation of food deserts, to name one dire consequence, not to mention a working-class populace that must choose between either building their daily life around an unreliable transit system, or becoming shackled to the barely sustainable expenses of car payments, insurance, gas, and repairs.

streetcars
Baltimore is bouncing back from hard times. In so many quality of life measures that matter to me, things are better than they were when I moved here in 1996.  Despite a still-raging and horribly destructive drug war, most of our city is safer than it was then. Life is also potentially more enjoyable: we have more cafes, more clubs, more movie screens, more art galleries, more bike lanes, and a vibrant music scene that’s become internationally known.

Public transit lags behind. Why? Because almost all of the improvements I just mentioned are things that the people created, not waiting around for the government to get involved. Unfortunately, most expenditures in public transit are on a scale that requires government funding, often all the way to the federal level. This is especially true of “hard rail” (subway) construction.  Moreover, that federal money is often allocated on a Catch-22 basis—not to cities like Baltimore, that show low ridership figures because we have woefully inadequate services, but to cities like DC and NYC that can already demonstrate robust ridership numbers due to their intricate pre-existing systems.

So while studies show that money spent on public transportation creates more jobs (not to mention more sustainable jobs) than money spent on highways on a nearly 2-1 basis and brings a host of environmental and economic benefits, Maryland plows forward with… highways. And then offers the public “outside the box” ideas like slots and a Grand Prix as government’s best hopes to transform the area.

But people can still come forward with ideas, can still vote with their dollars, and can still let the city and the MTA know that what we have now is not just insufficient, it’s unacceptable. The city continually dangles the Red Line (the long-planned east-west light-rail line) as a carrot; I no longer have any faith the city actually intends to build this line, since I’ve witnessed its dangle for more than a decade now with no action. As nothing concrete on that or any other major public-transit project emerges, let’s set the carrot aside for a minute and get discussions going on what else could really happen.

With that in mind, here are a Hatch’s dozen ideas for improving Baltimore’s public transit that come from a daily rider who’s spent almost 20 years (!) of my life relying on something utterly unreliable.  Some of them would cost many millions, some wouldn’t cost a penny; I hope all are good food for thought, and hope some will happen.

1) Extend the Baltimore Subway with stops at The Rotunda, 32nd  and St. Paul in Charles Village, and Memorial Stadium. Yes, Baltimore has a subway; if you live in Baltimore and didn’t know this, don’t be ashamed: you’re not alone. Intended to be a system comparable to DC’s metro, we ended up with one line that serves a few suburbs and a few areas of downtown well, but serves no one else at all. That said, as a regular rider I can verify that the subway runs about every ten minutes 7 days a week, and actually has plenty of people on it (especially between Lexington Market and Mondawmin). If it became a full-fledged system rather than one line, that ridership would unquestionably skyrocket.

At the moment, there’s a remarkable window of opportunity in the form of three prime locations that have ample space for subway construction, but probably won’t for long: the parking lot of the Rotunda; the block of St. Paul St. next to Hopkins in Charles Village that was demolished to build condos and became a vacant lot; and the site of former Memorial Stadium. Connect these to the Mondawmin Mall subway on the West and the Hopkins Hospital stop on the East, ideally with more new stops in between these existing stops and the new ones I’ve mentioned, and you have a game-changer for the city not just in ridership, but also in housing and commerce in all the areas impacted.

subway_baltimore

People approach the expansion of the Baltimore subway like it’s a science-fiction idea. Certainly, the cost is massive, but this country has pulled off public works on a scale that make ideas like this crumbs in comparison. Further, it’s a myth that Baltimore’s subway has been static. Subway planning began in the mid-60s, construction began in the 70s, and the bulk of our line opened in 1983, but stations were added in the late 80s (Owings Mills) and mid-90s (Hopkins hospital). That’s 30 years of activity through a variety of economic and political climates, and it’s counterproductive, provincial thinking to think that, just 15 years later, we’re stuck with these and only these stations for all eternity.

2) Add a light rail stop at Druid Hill Park/South Hampden. My first idea was an extremely expensive one: here’s an extremely cheap no-brainer. The light rail stops every few blocks from the stadiums downtown to North Avenue, and then has a painfully large gap between its next stop at Woodberry. Surprisingly, during this gap there is a walkway from the Wyman Park Drive Bridge extending down to the light rail—but no platform. An inexpensively implemented stop here would service Druid Hill Park (and, therefore, the zoo), south Hampden, and Remington. It would also be basically at the front doors of the Stieff Silver building now owned by Hopkins, and the new condo development at Mt. Vernon Mills (former location of the music/arts venue The G-Spot). I imagine the city would want to serve and please these two wealthy entities, if thousands of working-class residents in these areas aren’t enough motivation.

3) Expand the light rail east-west on North Avenue and south to Harbor East using Central Avenue.  Whether or not the Red Line happens, we need to get movement on light-rail expansion.  During the period the city has talked about (possibly, just maybe, but only if we’re really, really good) building a Red Line, other cities—Minneapolis, Austin, and Salt Lake City, to name a few other cities of comparable or smaller population sizes—have stopped talking and started doing, building impressive systems. To me, it seems obvious that light rails should be built along wide avenues like North Avenue, where east-west light-rail access could spur massive economic redevelopment, and Central Avenue, which would connect Fells Point and Harbor East to other points in the city whether or not the Red Line happens. These avenues are ideal: broad enough that construction would be less disruptive than in many areas of the Red Line, with long stretches that are commercial or industrial rather than residential, and long stretches that are much less heavily trafficked by vehicles than their width could support.

4) Eliminate, or expedite, the non-public light-rail stop at the MTA compound between North and Woodberry. While we’re talking about the light rail, let’s deal with a small but telltale sign of its poor planning: the unmapped, unscheduled stop at the MTA compound. This is not a public stop; it’s a few hundred feet from the North Avenue stop, and the public cannot get on or off here. This stop seems to exist just so light-rail trains can change drivers. I ride the light rail at least 20 times a month, and ~75% of these rides, both north and south, result in a train stoppage at this MTA compound of anywhere from 1 to 10 minutes. It boggles my mind that the drivers are changed so frequently; it further boggles that they are changed mid-route rather than at terminuses, where there would be no inconvenience to riders. Finally, it delivers a colossal coup de boggle that trains invariably still stop and wait at this stop even if the new driver is not ready; that’s not the riders’ problem, that’s the MTA’s problem. Furthermore, on the ~25% of the rides where there there’s no stop at this compound, there’s still a massive slowdown there that can’t be necessary, resulting in inconvenienced riders on 100% of all light-rail trips.

 

I’m used to these stops and slowdowns, but on each and every ride I hear a new light-rail rider experiencing, and rightfully complaining about, them for the first time. These new riders receive it for what it is: a confusing, unscheduled, and unnecessary delay that reflects poorly on the whole system and the degree to which the MTA cares about riders’ time and experience. The MTA needs to see it for what it is, too, and realize that their poor planning creates bad first impressions on potential new riders each and every light-rail trip.

5) Understand that a primary purpose of public transit is to eliminate drunk drivers: keep trains and buses active from midnight until 3a.m. Public transportation should not just save time, it should save lives. Even if the ridership numbers don’t justify it at first, as a public service transit should be active during the hours when bars let out. If this happened in conjunction with other expansions in the areas served, I am beyond confident the ridership numbers would be strong. Worst case scenario, this would be doing something government is supposed to do with our tax dollars: protect and serve its people.

6) Extend the Circulator North from Penn Station, at least to the BMA. This is being discussed, I believe, and I hope it will be implemented in 2013. If the original idea of the circulator was to skirt tourists from the harbor to points of interest, it seems silly to stop fifteen blocks short of the Baltimore Museum of Art. Meanwhile, as the actual impact of the Circulator continues to be giving residents some welcome relief from the MTA’s inefficiency, this would be an excellent improvement.

7) Make neighborhood “shuttle bugs” inter-neighborhood loops; for instance, connect the Hampden Shuttle to Station North and Charles Village. Unless you’re elderly or mobility impaired, most riders don’t need a shuttle to get them from one end of their neighborhood to another. They need shuttles to get them to bordering neighborhoods—particularly in situations where Hopkins University, Druid Hill Park, or other large entities form obstacles for pedestrians trying to get from points in one neighborhood to points in another. As an example, if the current Hampden Shuttle didn’t just have its loop of the Rotunda, Woodberry light rail, Stieff Silver, and south Hampden, but rather extended its loop south to Penn Station (and thus, The Charles Theater and everything Station North has to offer), ran north to JHU, and then headed west along University to the Rotunda and its other existing stops, I expect the growth in ridership would be exponential.

8) Connect our public transit to DC’s in more meaningful ways. Here especially I’d love MARC riders and others who regularly commute to DC to chime in. My impression is that most problems stem from MARC having to rent tracks from Amtrak. The result: MARC can’t meet demand for the number of trains they should supply, doesn’t offer weekend trains, and has to cede tracks to Amtrak trains during (increasingly common) extreme weather or other track anomalies. It’s simply unacceptable in 2013 that two metro areas so close together don’t have cheap, regular, 7-day-a-week public-transportation connections.

9) Take a closer look at the Charles Street “trolley” idea. There’s a proposal floating around to build a trolley up Charles Street, from the inner harbor to University Blvd. It might surprise you to hear that I’m skeptical of this project. Why? For starters, there is one street in Baltimore where one can already reliably catch a variety of northbound buses: downtown Charles Street. It also happens to be a narrow and congested road, and one of the most-used roads by tourists and suburbanites (the drivers least likely to be accustomed to sharing roads with city bikers, pedestrians, and public transit). A route that runs from the Inner Harbor to University Blvd would essentially run the route of the #3 bus, but stop in Charles Village before it turns east into Waverly, resulting in—you guessed it—a quaint, sanitized, less “urban” ride for tourists. As mentioned earlier, this goal could already be accomplished at little cost and no disruption by extending the Circulator to the Baltimore Museum of Art. Spend the money expanding public-transit to an area where it’s lacking, not doubling up on (and possibly additionally clogging) a heavily-serviced artery.

10) Offer light-rail ticket machines on both sides of the tracks; make sure they work. Many of the light-rail stops I use only have ticket-vending machines on one side of the platform, forcing riders to cross the tracks, buy a ticket, and cross back. I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s missed a train due to this configuration, and I’m sure it’s enticed many a rider to jump aboard without a ticket. While we’re at it, make sure the machines work. Both machines at North Ave have had broken credit card machines for at least the last few weeks; in my observation it also has the heaviest presence of transit police checking for tickets. Hmmmm!

11) Don’t forget about the Yellow Line! The controversial Red Line was but one of several color-coded lines proposed about 10 years ago. Taking a second look at the Yellow Line, which would’ve began in Columbia, connected with our current light rail, and then turned into a loop that serviced Mount Vernon and Charles Village, I think we might’ve got hung up on the less-exciting colored proposal. Sure, I’m biased: I grew up in Columbia, and this plan intriguingly connects my childhood neighborhoods with my adult ones. Still, Howard County’s economic and cultural relationship to Baltimore city should be comparable to Montgomery County’s with DC, and the lack of anything close to adequate public transit between the two prevents this.

12) Learn from the Circulator and John Hopkins Shuttle. The success of these free bus systems isn’t just that they’re free. They also have short, efficient routes; take people places they want to go; and stick to clearly defined schedules. These are all essential ingredients of successful public-transit. The Circulator and JHU Shuttle are proof that these things can happen in Baltimore—even if the city bus system hasn’t managed them for many decades.

Leave a Reply

  • James Tarr

    You make some very good (and some expensive) points. It’s a shame that Johns Hopkins and the City of Baltimore have had to step in to fill a void the MTA should be addressing, but I give both credit for taking the bull by the horns and doing something. Your Central Avenue Light Rail Line sounds like a winner, as does your Metro rail extension. I doubt either one would ever be considered by the MTA, but you’re 100% right.

    Thanks for your thoughtful and insightful comments. I grew up in Baltimore and left long ago, but I enjoy reading about what’s going on there.

  • Chris

    I agree with you on looking at the Charles Street trolley proposal. While I like it, agree that choosing another street other than Charles would be better. Calvert would be much better. If there was money you could instead build the yellow line underground through Mount Vernon.

    The light rail extensions along North Avenue and Central would probably be better suited for streetcar lines (think Portland) they could easily use the same tracks on Howard Street.

    You’re dead on about the Hampden Shuttle, it runs ever 40 minutes in one direction and is worthless. One solution would be to have buses travel in both directions, a better one would be to connect it to Penn Station (see Septa’s LUCY for an example).

  • Robbyn Lewis

    All great recommendations, especially for folks who live on the city’s north-south central axis. However, another way to improve Baltimore’s transit is to provide a robust east-west connector, something the city has long been missing. To do this, we need to build the Red Line light rail project, which will–if construction is funded–provide the missing east-west connection. Almost 15 miles long, with 19 stations, this line has the potential to transform our city’s economy and livability for the better. The Red Line will not only create about 10,000 good jobs, but it will also create opportunities to increase desirable amenities around the stations. In order to compete with cities like Washington DC, Portland and San Francisco, Baltimore must attract and retain creative, educated workers. And let’s not forget the Millennial generation, who want to live car-free in urban centers with rich transit networks and lots of walkable amenities. Baltimore can do this. We need to continue expanding and connecting our bike network, and we really need to commit the funding needed to build the Red Line.

    • James

      Robbyn I agree. Baltimore needs to have a extensive and accurate transportation system in order to compete with the cities that you just mentioned.

      • Robbyn Lewis

        James, there is a grassroots movement underway to advocate for the Red Line, called Red Line Now PAC. We’re doing community mobilization and legislative advocacy, exactly as you describe. Feel free to visit our website to learn more, or get involved!

  • K

    I live in the Patterson Park neighborhood, about 4 miles from work. Each morning I ride the bus and it takes me over an hour to get from my front door to my desk. After work I seriously consider walking home to save myself some time.

  • Gabriel Kroiz

    Seoul, Korea (12 million residents) put in a rapid bus system effectively serving the entire city in 2005 for less than the price of Baltimore’s single red line. I’ll suggest that our commitment to rail is irrational and rooted in memories of a Christmas train set rather than a desire to help people get around.

    I often wonder how the average transit rider can hold a job or succeed in school given the high probability that their bus might just not show up. One might call that a ‘stumbling block’.

    Some simple improvements I would add are:

    Dispense Metro Cards that you can buy at any station and use any time like New York or DC.

    Run the buses on time. I have been to four cities this year that all run their buses on time. I think this requires a watch.

    Post a system map at every bus stop and station so new riders to figure out how to get from one route to another.

    Just saying…

  • Joel Boerger

    Thank you Mr. Hatch for expressing your ideas. I’d like to add to your list by suggesting a connection of I-395 to I-83 via a roadway over MLK Jr. Blvd. with on/off ramps at Rt. 40. and somewhere near MICA. I think they should leave I-83 to President’s Street as a spur.

    • itsmyspecialday

      I think you are missing the whole point of this article. Baltimore spends way too much accommodating car commuters, and needs to invest in smart, sustainable public transportation. Not more big highway projects that isolate and ultimately destroy neighborhoods that benefit county residents far more than city residents.

      • Robbyn Lewis

        There are a lot of really great ideas described in this comment thread. For those who are interested in helping to improve Baltimore’s transit infrastructure, your voice is needed now more than ever. During this legislative session, the Maryland state assembly will either commit funds to build the Red Line and other projects (MARC upgrades, Purple Line, etc) or they won’t. For those of us in Baltimore, its get real time. Please get involved in efforts to get funding legislation passed before Maryland misses the Federal deadline this summer. Exercise your civil right, come down to Annapolis and make your voice heard! More info here http://redlinenowgetmarylandmoving.eventbrite.com/ Thanks.

  • Rob

    How ’bout an app? Many cities have apps that you can download. That way you know where your bus is located, how long until it gets to your stop, etc.

  • James

    l like some of these ideas,especially the yellow line. I wish that the community and the politicians realize that in order to have a successful transportation system you are going to have to spend some money and treat it is an investment. I wish I was able to get in touch with the writer of this article ( Eric Hatch) to discuss different ideas and present them to the politicians and to the people in the community.

  • Eric Allen Hatch

    Hi, this is Eric Hatch, the author of this piece. Thanks to everyone who took the time to read this, give feedback, and supply ideas of their own. I look forward to more reactions, and will keep checking back in to see what people are saying about my ideas and those others have added. I hope some of these ideas can make their way to people who make these decisions and implement them.

    • James

      I have question for you Mr Hatch, have you been able to reach out to any of the politicians or other decision makers involving the transportation system here in Maryland?

      • Eric Allen Hatch

        Hi James–Yes, a bit. A few years ago when I was first struck with the idea that the vacant lot at 32nd and St Paul was a prime location for a subway station, I contacted several politicians on the city and state levels and received some enthusiasm. It ultimately resulted in a multi-hour, informative conversation with an MTA PR person who talked to me at length about the relative costs of heavy-rail (subway) and light-rail building. Obviously, none of these conversations resulted in subway construction, but people did spend time taking my idea seriously, and I learned a lot.

        A friend has emailed this article to city councilperson Mary Pat Clarke, highlighting the 29th Street light-rail stop idea. I’ll keep readers here posted.

        • James

          I agree Mr. Hatch, St Paul between 32nd and 33rd Street is a perfect spot for a light rail stop for the yellow line. I wish politicians stop thinking about the cost and have the attitude and mentality that it is and investment for the city and the state and it benefit in the long run. If there is any organization that I can get involved with,please inform me in order to express my views and ideas and to also learn from the process.

  • Tbird5573

    Unfortunately, “investment” has become a dirty word in this country thanks to the Republican Party. China invests in high-speed rail, higher education, etc. We argue about putting in a 20th century train or subway.

    • Rick Saffery

      @Tbird5573, the republicans have plenty of faults. But your laying blame on them with respect to ‘investment’ in general and transit in particular is an absurd mischaracterization. Democrats have been in charge of Maryland and Baltimore for at least the past six decades. According to your partisan prejudice Baltimore should have built a model of mass transit for other cities and countries to emulate under their benevolent stewardship. That it hasn’t done so is quite revealing.

    • Rick Saffery

      I found the author’s transit experience and insight informative. I’m not a transit rider and most likely will never be. As many who’ve commented pointed out, those systems cannot, will not and do not meet the vast majority of commuters transportation needs.

      Regardless, I think it’s refreshing to discover that people are putting some thought in to subsidized mass transit. Some of those commenting shared both pros and cons about these transit ideas. I think a few of the cons may have been omitted, especially this one. The TSA is expanding its needless presence to trains. Checkpoints are now common on DC metro just down the way. MARC lines will follow. People will tend to avoid TSA checkpoints on trains just as many have already opted out of flying. Therefore, I think it’s safe to assert that the critical mass of riders necessary to get real improvements in subsidized mass transit is not likely to materialize. The window of opportunity to do so has arguably come and gone.

      To be candid, I think a more feasible transit solution rests in the successful market adoption of businesses like this:
      http://www.zipcar.com/

  • Arcturus

    I’ve been in Bmore 3 years now, without a car. While I generally oppose privatization of public services, I have to say that the Veolia operated, city owned circulator is light years ahead of the horrifc, anger-inducing non-service operated by the state-owned MTA. I have to assume that nobody with oversight authority at MTA has ever used their local bus “system” on a regular basis. I would love to see the city continue taking over popular transit corridors from the MTA if they can maintain the level of services offered by the circulator- the circulator hasn’t been without problems, but compared to MTA is wonderful.

    In the vein, my best, low-cost, realistic transit improvements: extend purple line to Charles/Hopkins to service BMA, Union Memorial, Guilford residents (jk). Then, a roughly east-west line through charles village that would connect Woodberry, Hampden, JHU, Charles Village, Waverly, Lake Montebello with the upper end of the Purple line.

    And, why the *(#$ they never connected Fels point with the orange line- easy fix. These seem like reasonable, fundable, even possibly profitable proposals that would take clients from the undeserving, MTA and benefit the city.

  • Eric Allen Hatch

    Thanks again to all who’ve read this piece and commented. I’m thrilled that it’s getting lots of conversations started.

    To James, I am not affiliated with any public-transportation advocacy groups; I wrote this just as a civilian who’d piled up some ideas over many years of riding buses, trains, and subways here in Baltimore. That said, any such groups that want to post information here about their organization and the work that they do, I’d be very interested in checking them out.

    To Rick, thank you for your thoughts. I am a fan of companies like Zipcar, especially those that offer fleets of greener vehicles than the average cars on the road. That said, it should be noted that these companies do not replace many essential aspects of public transportation.

    First and foremost, most people cannot afford to rent a car every time they need to make a trip–these are “need” riders of public transportation, who rely on buses and trains for their everyday trips like work and shopping, rather than “choice” riders like myself who could afford car ownership or Zipcar but prefer public transit. A day pass of unlimited rides on the MTA wouldn’t buy an hour of time on a rental car.

    Second, Zipcar is not a practical solution for a daily commute to work, even for “choice” riders; even in rare situations where rental lots are walking distance of both work and home, it is economically inefficient for this use, and does not eliminate additional costs like parking, insurance, and vehicle repairs as public transit does.

    Third, services like Zipcar do not have the many benefits in traffic reduction, safety, and environmental health that public transportation does. If 50 people need to get to one destination, it’s better for traffic and environment that all 50 be in one bus or train than in 50 different vehicles; if 50,000 or 500,000 need to get there, those benefits are exponential.

    Zipcar and such services are a great way for people who live in walking or biking distance of work to augment their life with occasional car rides; but they can’t replace public transportation in moving hundreds of thousands or even millions of people around daily in one metropolitan area.

    • Eric Allen Hatch

      edit to the above: Zipcar does eliminate the expense to the driver of vehicle repairs, of course, if they chose not to own a car at all; the larger point people that those that are able to live their life without car ownership are freed of many regular expenses such as car payments, gas, repairs, insurance, and parking.

  • Ways We Can Make Baltimore More Livable Right Now | Car Free Baltimore

    [...] Eric Hatch’s ideas are gold so I don’t need to repeat them here. I especially liked his points about extending transit operating hours to 3am, adding light rail infill stations, and inter-neighborhood shuttle bugs. Having lived in Hampden for a few months now, I can say the neighborhood is a transit desert and needs better connections to Johns Hopkins and downtown. Baltimore has been car-focused for so long that we have to make transit twice as good to attract more choice riders. Small improvements which show MTA cares about quality are a first step. [...]

  • Melissa

    I would really love a nextbus system like WMTA has. I hate waiting for a scheduled bus without knowing if the bus is right around the corner or I missed it and will have to wait 30+ minutes for the next one. Particularly on rts that run infrequently (the 11, 27 etc). Might even helping with auditing sytem performance

  • Baltobikeboi

    A super important correction to #9 here – The Charles St. Trolley will go no where near Waverly, which is the (cue scary music for CV folks) OTHER SIDE OF GREENMOUNT! And any CV worth their salt knows not to go there. Nope in all their wisdom Greater Homewood Community Corp is spearheading this with Charles Village Community Benefits District to go up Charles St. And then go ONE BLOCK EAST and then down St. Paul. Yup, one block. Instead of servicing two completely different communities it serves only one. This is patently absurd transit planning, and on its not-so-subtle face it’s racist in its application of public access to transportation When it so clearly supports one community dissing the other one. GHCC and CVCBD have been openly criticized about his as plan but are pushing ahead anyway regardless what communities around one want. It serves largely Hopkins and the interests of a romanticized notion that White out of towners will ride from the Inner Harbor to eat at Chipoltle or something. Ridiculous.

    • Eric Allen Hatch

      Hi Baltobikeboi, thanks for reading. I don’t quite understand your correction, as I think you and I are making the exact same point about the trolley. My point was that from downtown until Charles Village, the trolley would be redundant in that it overlaps with several Charles-Street buses, especially the #3 route, but unlike the #3, the trolley would stop in Charles Village and not go into Waverly. I very much agree that this decision has at the very least the appearance of being motivated by race and class, and this is one of the primary points I was trying to make in raising questions about the trolley proposal in this essay.

      • Baltobikeboi

        Oh, I was just noting more the distinction that its not Waverly… That’s Abelll, then Barclay, part of Oakenshawe then Waverly the OTHER side of Greenmount. Yes, we’re on the same page with the rest there. Thanks for a great post – and filled with great solutions, not just talk and gripe! (Leave that to us lol!)

  • Adam Meister

    The non-public light rail stop above North Avenue has to go. Surely the MTA employees can walk down to North Avenue to get on light rail or say hello to their buddies. The Remington/Druid Hill Park stop idea is a good one. There may be some environmental concerns and better lighting will have to be installed near Falls road and on the path up to Stieff Silver. Maybe it could be a daylight hours only stop at first? Extending subway hours will help cut down on drunk driving and bring more county spenders downtown for nightlife activity.

    • Baltobikeboi

      Funny,.. I rode the line going north for the first time a little while back from North Ave. and was desperately late for a meeting in Owings Mills. I was SO pissed and noticing that we’d stopped just north at the MTA… To me it was one more of those stupid Baltimore things that makes me not like living here. for all the good and funky there is a lot to be desired and this just piles onto to that pile of “We just can’t quite seem to get our heads out of our collective selfish asses and do the right thing” problem – like walk 400′ to work, for example.

  • Pete

    How about the cheapest ($0), most immediate, and I say overall best solution: Just make the buses run on time so people can actually finally use them! If this fantasy of buses being punctual and dependable could actually happen, we wouldn’t even need any red line, yellow line, etc. As it is the published schedules seem completely randomly generated for every route I’ve ever taken–after arriving by the scheduled time, I’d say I wait on average more than half an hour. Or alternatively as a second-best solution, enable real-time bus tracking online so riders can at least know when the bus is coming so they aren’t forced to waste so much time standing around outdoors.

  • Emily

    Weekend MARC to DC and keeping light rail/metro open late during events like new years and 4th of July. A few days a year can’t be that expensive and businesses all over the city would benefit.



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