Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Like the Baltimore Regional Rail System Plan

All Photos From Google Earth Unless Otherwise Noted
Photo From the MTA Website
And I welcome the controversy of that statement with open arms. Transportation experts, City planners, and myself have conversed and expressed our opinions and made adaptations to the plan. Politicians however have all but shelved the plan only for a portion of the red line to be built between now and 2035. Instead they favor funding billion dollar automobile oriented sprawl encouraging transportation projects that will just add to the existing congestion.

If you haven't read the Baltimore Regional Rail System Plan I suggest you do so. What this post is dedicated to is how I would tweak the plan to make it picture perfect, at least in my eyes. For one I'd fully fund the plan and put all lines underground to further decrease congestion.
One tweak that has been thought up by Gerald Neily, one of the boldest and most out spoken transit advocates with the credentials to boot as well as my blogging and planning mentor (whether he knows it or not) was to extend the Green Line southeast instead of northeast. True, there is much denser development on the horizon in that part of town and heavy rail transit would suit it well but I'd make the entire Red Line extend in that direction so the Green Line would still be extended northeast.It appears that extending the Green Line northeast has it running along Perring Parkway. Now Perring Parkway is very sparsely populated cue to the fact that it was supposed to be a full fledged highway known as the Perring Freeway. Mount Pleasant, I believe is evidence of this, clearing the land to make way for interchanges that were never built.

My tweak would have the Green Line running under Harford Road. The Neighborhoods of Greater Lauraville and Belair Edison all gained population between 1990 and 2000. Harford Road is ready for a make over, it's currently a wide suburban boulevard with lack luster auto mobile oriented shopping centers with surface level parking. I think Harford Road should be redeveloped with transit oriented mid rise high density buildings with ground floor retail and either apartments and offices above. The road itself can be narrowed for on street parking and landspaced medians. Although Belair Road won't be oriented around the Green Line like Harford Road I think it should be redeveloped in the same way. I have made it very clear that I'm against the Billion dollar I-95 and that Billion Dollars should be spent on rail transit, but hey it's not like the existing transit is over crowded or anything like that. Oh wait, it is.
Other tweaks I'd make is with the Purple Line and Green Line. They almost cross paths in Upton. I'd make this a transfer to encourage reinvestment in Upton.

The Orange and Purple Lines don't incorporate themselves in the city landscape as much as they should. It's a delicate balance since they're MARC and or Amtrak lines as well. The Orange Line for one should have a Mount Winans Stop.

The Purple Line can have a Wilkens Avenue/Violetville stop where gentrification may not be far down the road.

The Green Line needs a Broadway Overlook stop because I foresee massive high density redevelopment in that area.
Still more tweaks, for some odd reason the Blue Line will in addition to its current Howard Street alignment will branch off to join the Yellow Line along Calvert Street from the Inner Harbor to Penn Station. Then the Blue Line will turn west and rejoin its current alignment. Why spend the extra money on this?

The Yellow Line can serve this portion on its own. Penn Station can be a transfer point from the Yellow Line to the Blue Line but the Blue Line doesn't have to go along for the whole ride, it can stay along Howard Street or move to Eutaw St.

Speaking of the Blue Line, when it's being berried underground I would move the Lexingtion Market Station to make a true transfer point that's long over due.

The final tweak includes the Green Line once again. It's above grade level along Wabash Avenue which I of course will have berried underground. I have a whole post about Wabash Avenue and the development that will follow after the line and parking lots are berried underground. After Northern Parkway the line, underground will turn east and align itself directly undeer Reisterstown Road. This will help revitalization efforts of the Glen and Fallstaff communites and Pikesville Town Center in the County. I will dedicate an entire post to Upper Reisterstown Road and all its potential.

Now I know the Original title of this post was that I like the Baltimore Regional Rail System Plan but I sure have a lot of adjustments I would make to it. I still like the plan and I think the adjustment would make it work flawlessly. Now lets get the thing built before 2035.

No comments: