Monday, February 23, 2009

Transit Fund "Bundling"

All Photos From Google Earth
Well, Baltimore has missed out on Transit Funding from the Stimulus Package. The Stimulus Package is geared towards business as usual projects rather than new and innovative ones. This is across the board not just in transportation. This is a shame because Americans don't want business as usual they want change. However, I'm going on the defense and saying that innovation takes time and that the Stimulus Package was and is an emergency economic bailout that had to be passed so quickly that they couldn't take time to be innovative. The opportunity for such change will present itself but the money won't be as free flowing as it is with the Stimulus Package. What the Stimulus Package does do is fund highways. In Maryland that means the ICC in Montgomery and PG Counties and the I-95 Toll Road/Widening which includes the redesign of I-95's northeast interchanges with I-895 and I-695.
This widening will go from the city/county line to at least White Marsh Boulevard. This project has been nick named the Spaghetti Bowl.
Other projects of note include the redesign of the I-695/I-70 interchange, the expansion of the BW Parkway for the redevelopment of the Westport Waterfront, I-795 Dolfield Boulevard interchange, Reisterstown Road and Owings Mills Boulevard Interchange. JFX/MLK Boulevard interchange and extension, and finally Northern Parkway/JFX interchange redesign. Now with that being said, a fellow "Envision Baltimore" contributor by the name of Brad McCormick came up with the idea of sneaking in transit initiatives with road projects. Basically State, Local, and Federal Governments who have been writing blank checks for highways will see some of that money go toward rail transit lines. Brad, I told you this on Envision Baltimore and I'm telling you this now; you're a genius. I'm taking this idea of yours and I'm running with it giving you full credit of course but not only should Highway projects pay for transit but so should developers and other community stakeholders. So here's how we get Baltimore a 1st class transit system without allocating much money directly towards it. I call this "transit bundling" as in they will be bundling funds for transit in other projects.

Ok, since the Red Line is not "shovel ready" it won't get any Stimulus Dollars. Luckily, it's still a high priority on the MTA's agenda.Too bad option 4C (everyone's preference) is flawed from the get go. Lets use other sources of funding to fix it! The I-695/I-70 interchange redesign runs through the Red Line's path however, this section of the Red Line is not flawed but a little further east it's above ground on Edmondson Avenue from Cooks Lane to I-170.
Lets use some money from the I-695/I-70 interchange to have it tunneled here.
Also after I-170 the Red Line goes along MLK Boulevard until Lombard St. bypassing the Westside of Downtown and UMB. This will decrease ridership.The Red Line needs to stay on Mulberry St. until Paca St. where it will have a Seton Hill Stop, go down Eutaw St. where it will have a Lexington Market Stop, and meet the Green Line. At Eutaw and Baltimore Sts. It will have a UMB/Westside Stop. Funding for this can come from the ever expanding UMB, The redevelopment of 1st Mariner Arena, and other Developers throughout Downtown's Westside. It will then turn down Baltimore St. where it will again meet the Green Line and the future Yellow Line at South Charles Center. It will then travel down Liberty St./Sharp St. until it meets Pratt St. where it will turn east and emerge above ground to have a Convention Center, Inner Harbor, and Pier Six Stop, this can be incorporated into the Pratt St. redesign.
Now the Red Line in option 4C goes down President St. through Aliceanna St. and comes back to street level on Boston St. in Canton. This is one of Baltimore's lowest density areas, it needs to go where it's higher which translates into higher ridership.It should go down Eastern Avenue from President St. to Dundalk Avenue (tunneled of course) where it will have stops at Inner Harbor East, Fels Point, South Patterson Park, Canton, Highlandtown and Greektown. To make up for the cost difference one doesn't have to look far John Paterakis, developer of Inner Harbor East should put some money towards it as should Ed Hale Developer of Canton Crossing. The Developer of 1,000 condos in Greektown should also Pony Up.
Now there's supposed to be an East Baltimore MARC Station in Orangeville. This won't be reached via Eastern Avenue. Instead, the Red Line should branch off at President St. and travel through a tunnel on Pratt St. where it will have stops at Central Avenue, North Patterson Park, and Library Square, finally it will meet the East Baltimore MARC Stop in Orangeville (This is the only part that has funding gaps). Past Orangeville the Red Line will travel south and have a Bayview Stop (they cough up some cash for this), meet the terminus of the Red Line's other branch at Eastern and Dundalk and travel to the redeveloped O'Donnell Heights (developers can fund this) and then the Red Line will end at Fort Holabird.
Now comes the Yellow Line, itching to free itself the clutches of the Blue Line. The Blue Line should only be the Line that goes from Glen Burnie to Hunt Valley and the Yellow Line(in its current state) should go from BWI to Penn Station. It will follow the Blue Line until it gets built fully and here's I'll do it.Anne Arundel County and the Developers of Arundel Mills and Surrounding Areas will pony up to have the Yellow Line meet the Dorsey MARC Station, Arundel Mills Mall and the BWI MARC Station where it meet its current terminus at BWI. Along with the Blue Line the Yellow Line, upon entering Baltimore City will be tunneled. It currently separates the new Westport from existing Westport.Both Patrick Turner (developer of Westport) and the BW Parkway widening to prepare for the Westport development can pay for this.There has been a proposal to get rid of the JFX from Fayette St. to Preston St. this can fund the Yellow Line when it splits from the Blue Line at Camden Yards and it goes up Calvert St. through the Inner Harbor, Charles Center, Mercy Hospital, Mount Vernon, to Penn Station. The Demolition of the JFX will warrant more than enough money for this in fact it will complement the new road design perfectly.
After Penn Station but before North Avenue the Yellow Line will turn northeasterly and will parallel Greenmount Ave. The Station North Developers and the Developers for my Barclay East Baltimore Midway Better Waverly Redevelopment efforts can push the Yellow Line up to 33rd St.
In Towson there are plans being drawn to revitalize its Downtown, that coupled with the ever expanding triple campuses of Towson University, GBMC, and Sheppard Pratt will warrant these efforts to pay for the Yellow Line from the City/County Line along York Road to Towson Town Center, its northern terminus.
The only funding gap is between the city/county line and 33rd St. So that's the Yellow Line.
The MARC lines will include the Orange and Purple Lines and as part of the MARC System's Master Plan it includes "more localized" stops in the city ie the Orange and Purple Lines. The Purple Line however, will leave its MARC tracks south of Halethorpe and meet the BWI MARC Stop and will end at the Dorsey MARC Stop. Instead of Camden Yards being the end of the MARC Camden Line it will be at Hamburg St.
The Orange Line will then extend through South Baltimore and Locust Point making a loop around Locust Point. Developers of Federal Place Harborview, The Ritz Carlton Residences, Harbour Point, McHenry Point, Tide Point, and Silo Point can come together to pay for this. That's the Orange and Purple Lines.After the 2001 explosion under Howard St. it became clear that the CSX line would have to move. This leaves a tunnel vacant where the Blue Line can be placed. I'd rather have it under Eutaw St. but that post got blasted by the crictics. They did suggest underground pedestrian tunnels to connect the Blue and Green Lines. This corrects the mistake of ramming the Light Rail down Howard St. In option 4C of the Red Line makes this mistake seems to be made again twice first with Edmondson Avenue and then with Boston St.
Using funds from the MLK/JFX interchange and the improvements of the Northern Parkway JFX interchange I'd tunnel the Blue Line along the JFX and add a Remington and Reservoir Hill stop. I don't want to do this because it's a very scenic ride along the Jones Falls Valley but wet leaves disrupting service has forced me to change my opinion.
Another point Brad McCormick made was putting Street Car tracks when repaving roads. This can bring about the Charles St. Trolley Line because as luck would have it, a lot of Charles St. being repaved. The Trolley Line would go from Northern Parkway to an expanded Charles St. in Port Covington.

Now we come to the Green Line's norheast expansion.The Johns Hopkins Biotech Park warrants and can fund an expansion from the Hospital to North Avenue with a Madison Sqaure stop.
My Coldstream Homestead Montebello redevelopment plan and Morgan State expansion can push it up Harford Road to Lauraville.
The I-95 Toll Lanes aka the Spaghetti Bowl will have more than enough money to fund the Green Line from the I-695/Harford Road interchange to White Marsh Boulevard where it will have stops at Fullerton, White Marsh, Pulaski Highway, and its eastern terminus at the Middle River MARC Station at Martin State Airport.
The only funding gap is between Lauraville and I-695.

Now to perfect the Green Line, north of Mondawmin I'd tunnel it under Wabash Avenue which is overdue for redvelopment. Said Developers will pay for that.

At Nothern Parkway, which could also use new development it will turn easterly and go up Reisterstown Road. In the county,

Pikesville is trying to revitalize its Town Center, it can relocate its Milford Mill and Old Court stops along here instead of where I-795 was supposed to go.

On Reisterstown Road between I-695 and Painters Mill Road the Green Line will continue rather than along I-795. It will have new stops at Woodholme Shopping Center, The Avalon Community, and McDonough Township. It will go down Painters Mill Road to end at Owings Mills. To pay for the new Green Line above I-695 we can take funds from the I-795 Dolfield Boulevard interchange, the Reisterstown Road/Owings Mills Boulevard interchange and the Owings Mills Metro Station TOD.

Now we've just "bundled" ourselves to a brand new state of the art comprehensive transit system which will create new jobs, housing, population gains, and a great magnet for BRAC families. There are only three funding gaps; The Red Line Branch from President St. to Orangeville above Patterson Park, The Yellow Line from the City/County Line to 33rdSt. along York Road/Greenmount Ave., and the Green Line from Clifton Park to I-695 along Harford Road. If we managed to get funding for everything else secured I don't see a problem with these three little road bumps. Thanks Brad!


Mike said...

I really like this plan, it seems feasible, though having the yellow line going up Greenmount and not having stops from 33rd to the city line seems to be a problem. I'd understand wanting to bypass, say 25th to Monument st, lol but in order for the line to work it should at least stop in Govans and Belvedere square, if you tie that up with the 44 bus line it would work great.

Spence Lean said...

It's a funding "gap" all that means is I don't have an alternate source of funding to pay for that stretch of the Yellow Line, it will have stops between 33rd and Towson they include but aren't limited to; Pen Lucy, Govans, ad Belvedere Square. There are two other funding gaps which is a branch of the red line that goes from Historic Jonestown to Orangeville and the Green Line from Lauraville to I-695. Both those "gap" portions will have additional stops.