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Posts Tagged ‘transit’

Red Line Debate at Enoch Pratt

Illustration from Maryland Daily Record

Illustration from Maryland Daily Record

If like us you missed out on celebrating Drop the Pump Day last week, you still have a chance to speak up for petrol-free transit options in Baltimore.

Get thee to the Pratt library on Cathedral street next Wednesday, July 8. From 5:30-7pm in Wheeler Auditorium, Baltimore City, MTA, and Central Maryland Transportation Alliance (CMTA) are hosting a screening and panel discussion on the  documentary short, Transit Around the Nation. Clips on the CMTA site give residents a sense for what the Red Line would offer: a reliable, quick link between Woodline and Greektown including Bayview hospital and Fell’s Point (Avon Barksdale shudders to think, Westside and Eastside united??).

The film title refers to a city tour sponsored by CMTA et al. They invited activists, developers and city officials to learn about how transit projects impact communities and businesses. The group spoke with residents in Seattle, Portland, and … Los Angeles. Yes, even car-crazy Angelenos utilize more light rail than us east coasters–especially shameful here in Baltimore where about 32% of people or more than 200,000 people don’t have access to cars, according to the Abell foundation (which unfortunately concluded that we should give more people cars rather than fix our inefficient and outdated transit system). (more…)

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Iffy logo, great idea

Iffy logo, great idea

The Purple Line is a great concept that has been poorly promoted. The low-budget Web site helpfully points out that “existing roads are highly congested, and commuting times continue to increase [and] existing east-west bus services are unreliable and slow.” Hey, people! We Washingtonians may relish the great radio stations that are born out of the ubiquitos traffic snarls, but my guess is that no one likes a car commute that is on average 30 minutes , and often nears 2 hours.

And while all we see in the ‘burbs are seas of car traffic, Washington, D.C. commuters love public transport. We take more public transportation trips than any metropolitan area aside from New York City.  It’s just darn near impossible to take from one side of the suburbs to the other. [Speaking of NYC, unscientific surveys show that their radio stations are way inferior to ours–more pop oriented–because people in New York listen to iPods on the subway. Luckily, WKYS 39.9 and DC101 won’t lose any listeners because you can get radio on light rail]

According to the project’s Web site , the new 16-mile east-west rapid transit line would connect the major central business districts and “activity centers” of Bethesda, Silver Spring, Takoma/Langley Park, College Park/University of Maryland, and New Carrollton. It would be either light rail or bus rapid transit and would take 3-5 years to complete, opening in 2012 at the earliest. It will not be cheap. However, experts call the project “competitive” which it unfortunately must be to compete for scarce transit funding. According to the Washington Post,

“State officials say their ridership and travel-time projections, as well as the estimated cost of up to $1.75 billion, would make the Purple Line competitive with transit proposals from across the country when it vies for a limited pool of federal transit funds. Projects are judged primarily on cost-effectiveness, or whether they would save enough people enough time to be worth the investment.”

Estimates are that Purple Line will take 68,000 trips per day. And think of the economic benefits of attracting some of the 35% of DC residents who don’t own cars to come spend money in Maryland–like at South Indian cuisine mecca Woodlands , in Langley Park.

Have your say at the MTA feedback site here.

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