Thursday, July 31, 2008

Yellow Line: Correcting Past Blunders

In the 1980s large cities across the nation began creating regional lines of rail transit connecting the cities to the suburbs who stole their population. At first it was heavy rail transit, the fastest and most efficient method of getting from point A to point B. Heavy rail is also the most expensive method and requires that the tracks be either tunneled or elevated. In the 1990s light rail hit the scene, a more streetcaresque method of rail transit. Light rail can operate at street level and cars can drive on the tracks when trains aren't on them. Light rail at street level can actually create more traffic at street level because it's one more obstacle. Tunneled light rail can solve and it isn't much slower than heavy rail when tunneled but it's a lot less expensive.

Baltimore got a light rail line in the 1990s. It runs north south from Hunt Valley to Glen Burnie. I can only assume that this light rail line was part of a more integral system that involved more lines that never got off the ground. Since its opening in 1993 the light rail has had modest expansions and improvements including double tracking to decrease commuting times. Also, the light rail branches out twice, once to Penn Station and the other to BWI. It appears that the additional lines were a thing of the past.

This is where the yellow line comes in. It allows the existing light rail to resume its job of going from Hunt Valley to Glen Burnie. The yellow line will run from the Dorsey MARC Station at the Howard/Anne Arundel County line to Towson. It will remedy the branches of the existing light rail or "blue line" by stoppin at both BWI and Penn Station. It will parallel to the blue line for a while before branching out to Calvert St. and eventually Greenmount Avenue/York Road where it ends at Towson Town Centre. Noow here's your new Yellow Line. As usual it will be tunneled light rail past the Camden Yards Stop. If this is successful maybe this can be extended to Columbia but that's a long way off.

1 comment:

Peter Duvall said...

This alignment doesn't seem to match the alignment in the 2002 rail plan in the Charles Village area. Is there some explanation for the difference?
Peter Duvall