Sunday, April 17, 2016

Resurrecting the Red Line III: How I would do it

First, I told you about how the western portion of the Red Line works almost perfectly. Then I told you how and you why the Downtown and eastern portions of the Red Line did not work well at all. Now it's time I told you how the Red Line needs to work in order to have an efficient well connected route through Downtown and Southeast Baltimore.
In southeast Baltimore, there will be a south spur and a north spur for a few stops before coming back together. Just to warn you, my version of the Downtown and eastern portions of the Red Line will be very costly and will include much more tunneling.
At the end of the western portion, there's a stop along the Road to Nowhere at Heritage Crossing and Poppleton. As redevelopment continues in this area, this stop will see a very large increases in ridership as the large Social Security complex that is now vacant is redeveloped and puts feet on the ground again.
Instead of going down MLK Boulevard, The Red Line will tunnel right into Downtown and turn southeast for a stop at Lexington Market. This provides a crucial connection to both the Metro (Green Line) and the Light Rail (Blue Line.) The stop will roughly be at Lexington St. between Eutaw St. and Howard St. so that riders may take a tunnel to get to the Lexington Market stop on the Green Line at Eutaw and Lexington. A tunnel in the opposite diredtion will be master planned into the stop so that if/when the Light Rail is tunneled into the old CSX tunnel under Howard St., there will be a connection as well.
The next stop will be at Howard St.and Pratt St. which will be provide service to those going to Camden Yards, the Convention Center, Harbor Place, UMB, and M&T Bank Stadium. There's an above ground Light Rail Stop here that easily link these two lines again. Like the Lexington Market Stop, a tunnel will be master planned into this stop so that if/when the Howard St. CSX tunnel is vacated, the Light Rail can be tunneled to make a true two tier stop.
For the next several blocks, the Red Line will travel along Pratt St. The line will be at surface level during its Pratt St. run due to the fact that it's traveling through the Inner Harbor which is the City's showcase. I would like the fact that Baltimore's striving for a world class multi-module transit system to be showcased which is why I located this stretch of the line above ground.
On Pratt St., the next stop will be at the Inner Harbor. Pratt St. and Gay St. at Pier III to be exact. This stop will be for those whose destination is the Inner Harbor, National Aquarium, Power Plant, the Harbor Promenade, the Gallery, and the Pier VI Pavilion to name a few. Further down Pratt St, roughly across from Ms, Shirley's Cafe, the line will drop down to be tunneled yet again. This is also the beginning of the north-south spurs.
We'll start with the south spur. By simply moving the line up one block from Fleet St. to Eastern Avenue, I believe we can catch a larger portion of riders in the southeast. The first stop will be at Eastern Avenue and Central Avenue for the Little Italy/Harbor East Stop. This will be the stop for Little Italy and Harbor East and H&S Bakery workers who haven't moved to Hollander Ridge. This stop is in the middle of another large redevelopment zone whose ridership will increase as the area continues to grow.
The next stop will be at Eastern Avenue and Broadway for the Fells Point Stop. This stop will serve the Fells Point Neighborhood, Perkins Homes, and Harbor Point Development under construction as well as the Broadway Market and newly completed Marketplace at Fells Point. Like many other stops on this line, it's in an area where lots of redevelopment is occurring and the ridership will grow as the area does.
At Eastern Avenue and Patterson Park Avenue, I would have the Upper Fells Point Stop. This would also serve the western edge of Canton. The Red Line will not dip down onto Boston St. Instead, it will remain on Eastern Avenue where the homes are densely packed and despite there only being infill housing in terms of new development, the area is still growing as Upper Fells Point is becoming a destination for those looking to rehab a vacant.
The next stop will be at Eastern Avenue and Linwood Avenue for the Canton Stop. Yes, Canton will have a stop on the Red Line however, it will be several blocks to the north. Canton Residents and Patterson Park goers will be the primary users of those stop. This stop is directly north of the Canton Waterfront park.
Next will be the Highlandtown stop. Like Upper Fells Point, Highlandtown is a densely packed row house Neighborhood that is seeing a little it of new development but its growth is coming primarily from vacants getting rehabbed with new Residents moving into them. In addition to Highlandtown proper, this stop also serves the rapidly growing Brewer's Hill Neighborhood which has seen multiple large Apartment communities completed recently. This stop is also not far from Canton Crossing, Baltimore's first big box center with a large office and Residential component soon to come.
The last stop on the south spur of the Red Line before rejoining the north spur will be at Eastern Avenue and Bayview Boulevard for the Greektown/Bayview stop. Greektown is growing very fast with the rehabs and existing row homes but is also being helped two large town home communities being built at the southwestern edge of the Neighborhood. Hopkins Bayview Employees at visitors will be able to use this stop as well. This stretch of Eastern Avenue also has plenty of space for redevelopment.
Now we're going to travel back to Pratt St. and Gay St. This was the location right before the north spur and the south spur split off from one another. The north spur, instead of traveling along Eastern Avenue, will travel north along E. Baltimore St. Tunneled of course. Its goal is to cover a section of East Baltimore that neither the south spur nor the Green Line will cover. This includes the East Baltimore MARC Station.
The first stop of the north spur of the Red Line will be at Lombard St. and Exeter St. Historic Jonestown is quietly experiencing a rebirth and having its own Red Line stop will help Residents and tourists alike find this gem while allowing more growth in this often overlooked Community just north of Little Italy.
The next stop will be at E. Baltimore St. and Broadway. This will serve the growing Washington Hill Community. Washington Hill is located between Hopkins, Butchers Hill, Patterson Park, and Upper Fells Point. Its historic homes are larger than some of its Neighbors and there are new homes being built here as well.
Butchers Hill will host the next stop at E. Baltimore St. and Patterson Park Avenue. Butchers Hill, like Washington Hill contains larger row homes than its Neighbors. Its strategic location away from public housing, industrial ruins, and near both Patterson Park and Hopkins allowed minimal blight in Butchers Hill. For an East Baltimore Neighborhood, this is very rare.
On the other side of Patterson Park is....Patterson Park! The neighborhood named after the park that surrounds will be the next of the Red Line's north spur. As rehabbing row homes in Neighborhoods such as Fells Point and Canton, City Dwellers looked for vacants that were more affordable to rehab and they chose Patterson Park. Patterson Park is densely packed with row homes and is growing fast.

The next stop will be the planned East Baltimore MARC Stop in Orangeville. Though mostly industrial wasteland, Orangeville can one day be a huge mixed use TOD Community. The East Baltimore MARC Station and the Red Line meeting it there will remake this whole area.
The north spur will meet the south spur by traveling down Bayview Boulevard and joining at the Greektown/Bayview stop at Eastern Avenue and Bayview Boulevard. The line would then go southeast along Dundalk Avenue with stops at Graceland Park/O'Donnell Heights, Fort Holabird, and Dundalk Marine Terminal. Dundalk Marine Terminal will be the end of the line until there's enough redevlopment at Sparrow's Point to warrant an extension. Between Dundalk Marine Terminal and Sparrow's Point there will be a stop at Turner's Station which will be part of the Sparrow's Point extension.
This Red Line I have planned will be much more expensive and much larger than anything proposed by the MTA. However, with the amount of areas that will now have stops and the speed of the trains upped because of the additional tunnels, I think this line will have lots of ridership and inspire future lines and expansion of existing lines making Baltimore a 1st class Rail Transit Region.    

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