Monday, November 23, 2009

How Much Red Line Is Feasible?

The previous post was very dismissive of the Red Line favoring lines or portions of lines that were a lot easier and cheaper to build. Not only that, the lines are laid out properly and will get great ridership and decrease congestion in their respective areas. They also provide opportunity to expand those lines as redevelopment warrants it. One thing about Baltimore is that its north south corridors I've found to be more congested than the east west corridors.
Now, I'm very much in support of the Red Line but I want it done right. Option 4C does not fit my vision of the correct way to do it. The MTA wants to push the entire Line through the legislative process as quickly as possible to qualify for stimulus dollars to make it "shovel ready."
Transit, like any other project should be done very carefully and cost cutting measures are very detrimental to the final product. Now I pose the question which I will attempt to answer; How much Red Line is Feasible?
Now with every transit line, I believe we should start Downtown and go from there. Now I'm telling you right now that any Red Line that I think I deam "correct" will not pass by in its entirety but I've always said that the Red Line, just like all other transit lines should be built in stages.The Red Line Downtown is a joke, it goes along MLK Boulevard from the Road to Nowhere to Lombard St. with just a single stop at Saratoga St.
There are many missed opportunities here to aide in the redevelopment of the Westside of Downtown, the ever expanding UMB, and create a Lexington Market Hub. From the Road to Nowhere the Red Line will gradually descend in a southeast pattern until it meets Pratt St. at Camden Yards.Besides the Lexington Market Hub, there are other stops in my plan that aren't in 4C they include Seton Hill, the Western Edge of Charles Center, UMB/Westside, and Camden/Convention Center.
Once on Pratt St., the Red Line will go be surface level. Unlike Howard St. and Edmondson Avenue, Pratt St. is very wide and traffic will run more efficiently on a narrower street and what better way to showcase Baltimore's Mass Transit than on Pratt St. which is the crown and jewel of the Inner Harbor and the Baltimore Region as a whole.
It will be surface level with an Inner Harbor Stop at a redesigned Light St./Calvert St. intersection and a Pier Six Stop.
At President St. there will be an unbuilt transfer station where the Red Line will branch off into two. The branch is not in the first phase.

What is in the first phase is an Inner Harbor East Stop at Eastern Avenue and President St. I chose Eastern Avenue rather than Fleet St. because it will catch more riders from Little Italy, Perkins Homes, and Upper Fels Point which, if on Fleet St. may not travel the extra block. I also chose Eastern Avenue because surface transit on low density Boston St. is a joke. Canton won't even be in Phase I because Ed Hale's Canton Crossing's future is so uncertain.

Phase I will end at the Fels Point intersection of Eastern Avenue and Broadway one block above the Broadway Market.

Phase II or III will extend the line both east and west but it depends on one word MARC. If the redevlopment of the West Baltimore MARC Station and the creation of an East Baltimore MARC Station come first it will be Phase II if not, it will be Phase III.

Whatever Phase it will be will include the infamous Road to Nowhere from the Social Security Building to the West Baltimore MARC Station. Redeveloping the Road to Nowhere I'd like to see Peter Tocco's Baltimorphosis plan put into effect. Peter Tocco, like myself is a Baltimore Idea Man who resides in West Columbia. I have a link to his labor of love "Baltimorphosis" in my links field where you can see his ieda first hand. Gerry Neilly contributed a lot to Baltimorphosis as well.

The East Baltimore MARC Station located in Orangeville will open the door to massive TOD opportunities and a Red Line Station there is very much warranted. The Orangeville branch will use the President St. transer and that line will continue along Pratt St. through Albemarle Square and will have a stop serving the rapidly gentrifying Washington Hill and Butchers Hill. Then it will slope northeasterly above Patterson Park whose gentrification won't go above Fayette St. into McElderry Park. Hopefully a station here will jump start McElderry Park's gentrification. Lirbrary Square will also have a Red Line Station before ending at the East Baltimore MARC Station at Orangeville. This concludes this Phase whether it's Phase II or III I don't know.

The other Phase II or III depending on the development climate will be extending the Eastern Avenue Branch to Bayview. Highlandtown has some massive redevelopment coming down the pipeline starting with the abandoned factory on the Eastern End.

There will be a new loft district which will connect the neighborhood with Greektown. Obviously Highlandtown and Greektown will share a Station on the Red Line.

Canton will get its saving grace regardless of Canton Crossing with a stop at Eastern Avenue and Clinton St. It will have a shuttle bug with stops at Canton Crossing, Brewers Hill, and the Boston St. Safeway. This branch will end at Bayview.

Phase IV will be Edmondson Avenue. This is flawed because 4C has the Line going surface level along Edmondson Avenue disrupting the already busy street. I say wait until funding becomes available for tunnels under Edmondson Avenue.

Stations will include Edmondson Village (Allendale St.), Rognel Heights (Edmondson Shopping Village), and the new Uplands (Uplands Parkway) and ending at Hunting Ridge (Cooks Lane) concluding Phase IV.

Phase V will be the Orangeville branch making a sharp turn south crossing Bayview for another Red Line transfer Station. Then it will go down Dundalk Avenue to a redevloped O'Donnell Heights/Fort Holabird then meeting its ultimate final eastern terminus at the Industrial Dundalk Sparrows Point Waterfront. Redevelopment may not be far behind. That's Phase V.

Phase VI will be Cooks Lane to the Medicare/Medicaid Offices. Since 4C only allows for one tunnel under Cooks Lane it has to be shelved until funding becomes available for double tracking. Just one set of tracks will be very disruptive to the entire Red Line, it will fall like a row of Dominos. So, under Cooks Lane it will have a stop at the Ingelside Avenue/Forest Park Avenue and I-70 Park & Ride/Security Boulevard Intersection. Now it will travel along Security Boulevard where it will have stops at the Social Security Complex, Security Sqaure Mall, and Medicare/Medicaid Complex. That concludes Phase VI and the Red Line.

Now I can't provide a time line for the completion of all these phases because they depend on the funding of other projects and funding for itself. However, I think I've proposed a great and quality alternative to Option 4C where each Phase was calculated very carefully and added on when it was warranted. Right now Downtown and into Fels Point are the only parts of the Red Line that are needed and are currently feasible. Now that's how much Red Line is feasible.

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