Saturday, December 22, 2012

Rail Transit for Anne Arundel County

It's no secret that most of the job growth in this region is is Anne Arundel County mostly in the Fort Meade area because of BRAC. Granted I'm more than a little disappointed that this job growth isn't in Baltimore City but like most Marylanders, I'm holding out hope that long vacated Residential Neighborhoods in the City will be filled once again with this large population influx.
In order to achieve this growth for the City, Anne Arundel County needs additional Rail Transit. One might say that plenty of lines already run through Anne Arundel County. Although this is true, there are plenty of ways to expand and enhance existing lines using the Baltimore Regional Rail Plan as a guide.
No conversation about planning Rail Lines should be complete without discussing the Yellow Line. Often times I feel like I'm its lone supporter but I happen to find it crucial in supporting growth in Baltimore, Towson, Columbia and all points in between. 
(picture of Penn Station)

Right now the Yellow Line exits in its infancy as the spurs of the Central Light Rail Line from BWI to Penn Station sharing most of its route with the Central Light Rail Line. A lot of these proposed in between points are in Anne Arundel County. Currently, the "Yellow Line" ends at BWI Airport. At the very least it needs to be extended to the Amtrak/MARC Station at BWI roughly a mile away. This new stop will connect the Yellow Line with the MARC Penn Line as well as the Amtrak Line just one stop away from Penn Station. After this very important stop the Yellow Line should continue to the Baltimore Commons Business Park. This is located just north of Arundel Mills Mall, a VERY high growth area of Anne Arundel County. 
The Baltimore Commons area is experiencing plenty of growth of its own with more to come. After that, the Yellow Line will continue south for a stop at the sprawl ridden Arundel Mills Mall and Maryland Live Casino. 
This area has exploded from a rural Glen Burnie suburb to a bustling and congested shopping mecca. People come from all around the Baltimore Metropolitan Area to shop and gamble here so having a Rail Transit stop here is crucial to relieve traffic congestion. The Baltimore Regional Rail Plan calls for the Yellow Line to stop at the Dorsey MARC Station/MTA Orange Line before entering Howard County.
Personally, I think there's another station that needs to see more activity on the MARC Camden Line and that station is Jessup. Jessup is located just north of all the BRAC related growth although that can be serviced by the Savage Station. It is however located directly east of intense residential growth in Elkirdge. 
Route 1 has become very congested with TOD style high density housing but the Rail Transit that warrants this type of development isn't here yet. With that in mind I have decided to put the Yellow Line Stop at Jessup and make that stop into a full fledged station that can hold more than a dozen vehicles. After Jessup, the Yellow Line will go into Howard County ultimately ending at Columbia Town Center. I will write a post that's dedicated to the Yellow Line in Howard County at a later date. 
Now we come to the Central Light Rail Line or the Blue Line as it's also known. According to the Baltimore Regional Rail Plan, this line is complete. After all, it goes all the way from Cromwell Station to Hunt Valley! That's pretty long don't you think? Well, yes that is long but I believe it can go even further into Anne Arundel County.
 Southeast of Cromwell Station lies Glen Burnie Town Center, this early attempt at mixed use development in Glen Burnie is literally at the center of Town straddling the intersection of Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard and Crain Highway. In addition to Retail there's a small residential component along with a branch of Anne Arundel Community College and a Parking Garage. This heavily traveled corridor is the perfect location for a new Light Rail Station. 

After Glen Burnie Town Center, the Blue Line will travel under Ritchie Highway. 
It will have stops at Marley Station, Pasadena, Severna Park, Anne Arundel Community College, and Arnold. 
At the intersection of Ritchie Highway and John Hanson Highway, the Blue Line will branch off into two directions.
One will end at Annapolis Mall while the other will end at Downtown Annapolis. Annapolis should be the ultimate destination of the Blue Line. Annapolis to Hunt Valley imagine the traffic relief with a line that long. 
Now we come to the Purple Line, which is actually a localized MARC Penn Line. Non MARC Stops include Sandtown, Fredrick Avenue, Rosedale, Rossville in Baltimore City and County. This line will meet the extended Yellow Line at the BWI Amtrak/MARC Station. While in Anne Arundel County this line runs roughly parallel to Telegraph Road. Telegraph Road runs right through Severn, a mostly residential town that is right in between Arundel Mills and Fort Meade. Needless to say, given Severn's location, it has seen unprecedented growth with more surely to come. 
Reece Road at Old Meade Camp Road is my proposed location for a "Non MARC" Severn Station. This station would be smaller in comparison to say that of Arundel Mills because Severn is so residential. That being said, Residents living off of Telegraph Road, Reece Road, New Disney Road, Harmans Road, and Severn Road would be very well served by having a Rail Stop so close to home.
The end of the Purple Line's jurisdiction will be at the Odenton MARC Station. Odenton has also experienced major growth over the last 20 years with the construction of Piney Orchard and now the development of a Town Center. The existing MARC Station is strategically located right in between the two new developments and right where Town Center Boulevard is slated to meet Route 175. 
Given how much growth Anne Arundel County is experiencing, it's only right that the Baltimore Regional Rail Plan update itself to reflect this growth. Rail Transit only succeeds when there are stops at all or almost all populated places. If only highway expansion project funds were diverted into Mass Transit.       

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