Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Resurrecting the Red Line II: What Doesn't Work

My last post dealt with what was right with the Red Line. By first building it in West Baltimore and localizing the MARC Stations, the rail transit accessibility would have grown many times over just implementing those changes.
The only change I Made to the western portion of the Red Line was tunneling Edmondson Avenue. This post deals with the rest of the Red Line and how it wouldn't work. Although this improved Red Line will cost much more due to lots more tunneling and a whole other, spur, when our new Governor takes Office in 2019, he or she can take the necessary steps to move it forward.
Now lets talk about what was wrong with the remaining portion. First, it goes along MLK Boulevard which only skirts Downtown and doesn't provide easy access to major institutions like UMB, Lexington Market or Camden Yards. There also aren't any connections to existing transit lines which, is crucial to make a truly comprehensive transit system.
Then, the Red Line goes down Lombard St. Again, its stops don't connect to other transit lines and it doesn't link directly to landmarks like the Convention Center, Harborplace, National Aquarium, Pier 6 Pavilion, Power Plant Building and the Harbor Promenade. All of these are major attractions to Residents and tourists alike and if they have to walk too much (even if it's just one block) they will take their cars instead thereby decreasing ridership and increasing vehicular traffic.
Next, the flawed line goes under Fleet St. where it turns its back on high ridership Neighborhoods to the north such as Patterson Park, Historic Jonestown, Upper Fells Point, Perkins Homes, Butchers Hill, Patterson Place and Washington Hill. These Neighborhoods are compact row house Neighborhoods that are less likely to have multiple vehicles than Harbor East and Fells Point both of which buildings with parking garages.
The line then comes out of its tunnel and runs along Boston St. in Canton. Boston St. contains a low amount of density and is not pedestrian friendly. It's actually like a suburban boulevard than an urban street. I make this point because this portion of the line is at surface level and Boston St. will sacrifice its median and turn lanes and create a traffic nightmare like that seen on Howard St. There was another proposed nightmare by having Edmondson Avenue at surface level but I changed it to be tunneled for that very reason. Furthermore, Canton Residents hate this alignment and have all but promised to boycott the Line should it be built.
After Boston St., the Line joins an existing track that currently is used to get northbound near the old cork and seal factory to have a stop at the Highlandtown and Greektown communities before ultimately ending at Hopkins Bayview which the planned location of the East Baltimore MARC Station.
Now none of this is going to happen since the Red Line was ultimately killed. There are those who want to resurrect the line as do I. I however, don't want to have this particular alignment even if the Line were reinstated. The next post will show exactly how to resurrect the line to increase ridership and accessibility to denser Neighborhoods without disrupting existing vehicular traffic. I'm warning you now though, it will be much more expensive.    

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