Red Line (Baltimore)


Red Line (Baltimore)

Infobox rail line
name = Red Line


image_width = 300px
caption = Map of the proposed line.
type = Bus rapid transit or light rail
system =
status = Proposed
locale = Baltimore, Maryland
start = Woodlawn (west)
end = Patterson Park (east)
stations = Undetermined
routes =
ridership =
open = TBA
close =
owner =
operator = Maryland Transit Administration
character =
stock =
linelength = mi to km|10.5|abbr=yes|wiki=yes|precision=1
tracklength =
notrack =
gauge =
el = Undetermined
speed =
elevation =

The Red Line is a proposed mass transit line for the Baltimore, Maryland area, USA. It is still in the planning stages and its construction is not guaranteed, though most major area elected officials have stated that they are eager to see it built.

Background

An independent commission, appointed by then Secretary of Transportation John Porcari, on Baltimore-area transit made a number of suggestions in 2002 for new lines and expansions of existing lines. The proposals used a unified branding scheme for the existing lines and the proposed new lines, identifying each line by a color, as the Washington Metro and many other transit agencies do. In the commission's report, the Red Line was an east-west line that would begin at the Social Security Administration offices in Woodlawn in Baltimore County; travel through West Baltimore, with an intermodal stop at the West Baltimore MARC station; pass through downtown, intersecting with the existing Metro Subway and Light Rail lines; and passing through East Baltimore, with stops in the newly gentrifying neighborhoods of Fells Point, Canton, and the area around Patterson Park.

Of the commission's proposals, the Red Line was taken up with the most enthusiasm by area officials. Progress was slowed by a debate between state Secretary of Transportation Robert Flanagan and the Baltimore city government and Congressional delegation over the mode: Flanagan favored a bus rapid transit (BRT) solution with separate right-of-way components, like Boston's Silver Line; the other officials favored a light rail or even a heavy rail rapid transit line. In the end, both BRT and light rail possibilities are being considered in the scoping process currently underway, with a mode to be determined by the results of that process.

The debate over whether to include heavy rail still continues, as does the debate over study of an alternative alignment proposed by the Maryland Transit Administrations' Citizens' Advisory Committee (MTA CAC). That alignment would send the Red Line through Irvington and Camden Station, then north along the Baltimore Region Transit Plan's Yellow Line to Pennsylvania Station (Amtrak and MARC connections) and the Baltimore Museum of Art, near Johns Hopkins University's Homewood Campus. Legislation to require study of heavy rail and the MTA CAC proposal was introduced during the 2006 General Assembly Regular Session and passed the state Senate by 45 votes to 1 with an amendment requiring study "to the extent that currently budgeted resources allow"; however, the bill was not considered by the House of Delegates.

No matter what the mode, there are two features that are quite likely to be integrated into the project if it is built:

*Much of the proposed route through West Baltimore runs generally along to Route 40, including that portion built as a divided highway when plans called for the extension of Interstate 70 through West Baltimore to downtown. This highway section was built so as to accommodate a transit line in the median, and the Red Line would most likely use this route so as to achieve grade separation though the area.
*Baltimore city transportation officials have very firmly said that either BRT or light rail would need to be underground through the city center -- from Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard in the west to at least President Street in the east -- due to downtown Baltimore's narrow streets and already crowded traffic conditions.

As is the case with most proposed transit projects, the necessary federal funding for the Red Line is not yet secured. Plans currently call for a final environmental impact statement to be issued by April 2008, with revenue service probably not beginning until at least 2011.

Maryland General Assembly

During the 2006 General Assembly Regular Session, various pieces of legislation creating a Citizens' Advisory Council for the Baltimore Corridor Transit Study - Red Line were proposed, and one was finally passed, receiving unanimous support in the House of Delegates and only one no vote (on the House version of the bill) in the Senate. The bill specified that the 15-member Council would be appointed in the following manner:

*5 members appointed by the President of the state Senate "after consultation with the... [legislative representatives of] districts 41, 44, and 46 and... 10" (Ms. Angela Bethea-Spearman, Ms. Joyce Smith, Ms. Young Kim Robinson, Mr. Robert Keith, and Mr. Edward Cohen were appointed);
*5 members appointed by the Speaker of the House of Delegates "after consultation with the... [legislative representatives of] districts 41, 44, and 46 and... 10"; (Mr. Christopher B. Costello, Mr. John (Jack) Milani, Dr. Rodney A. Orange, Mr. David M. Smallwood, and Mr. Warren Smith were appointed);
*2 members appointed by the Governor or, at his discretion, the Maryland Transit Administrator (Ms. Sandra E. Connor and Mr. George J. Moniodos were appointed);
*2 members appointed by the Mayor of the City of Baltimore to represent the City's Departments of Transportation and Planning (Mr. Alfred H. Foxx, Jr. and Mr. Otis Rolley III were appointed); and
*1 member appointed by the County Executive of Baltimore County (Mr. Emery J. Hines was appointed).

Under the bill, the co-chairs of the Council would be chosen by the Maryland Transit Administrator from two lists of two names, one provided by the Speaker of the House of Delegates and the other by the President of the state Senate. (Ms. Angela Bethea-Spearman and Ms. Joyce Smith were nominated by the state Senate President in 5 September 2006.) All appointments on the Council were to expire at the end of the Council's life, which was specified as the time funding ran out for the Red Line or construction is completed on the route. The bill further required study of "an underground rail option", encouraged the Council to place "a priority on maintaining the Study schedule", and insisted that the "Advisory Council shall limit its review to matters within the scope fo the study and any other matters identified by the Administrator."

Although Secretary of Transportation Robert Flanagan had stated that he had no opposition to the text of the bill (which was altered after that statement), the Governor vetoed the bill on 26 May 2006, calling it "redundant to my Executive Order," which was likewise dated 26 May 2006. The Executive Order created a Red Line Community Advisory Council of 15 members, all appointed by the Governor and serving at his pleasure. The Governor was empowered to appoint a Chair. Ms. Sandra E. Conner and Mr. John A. Heath were appointed Co-Chairs of the Council; the following were also appointed to the Council: The Honorable Clarence "Tiger" Davis, Mr. Lawrence J. Hawkins, Mr. Alvin Levi, Mr. George Moniodos, Rev. Frankie L. Powell, Mr. Daniel F. Rosen, Mr. Ezio Ross, Ms. Angela Spearman, Ms. Cecilia F. Walker, Ms. Alison Welch, and Mr. Stephen D. Whisler.

When the General Assembly returned to a Special Session in late June to consider proposed energy rate hikes, the vetoed bills regarding the creation of a Citizens' Advisory Council were brought up for overrides, and enacted over the Governor's veto by 34 to 13 (12 on the House version of the bill, although both the Senate and House versions were identical) votes in the state Senate and 94 (93 on the House version of the bill) to 43 votes in the House of Delegates.

Executive Order 01.01.2007.12 signed by Governor Martin O'Malley on 30 July 2007 disbanded the Baltimore Red Line Community Advisory Council in favor of the Citizens' Advisory Council for the Baltimore Corridor Transit Study - Red Line. The order rescinds Executive Order 01.01.2006.04 signed by former Governor Robert Ehrlich, leaving in place the Citizens' Advisory Council as the sole advisory council for the Red Line project.

Ms. Joyce Smith has since resigned, and Ms. Angela Bethea-Spearman was appointed to serve as a co-chair with Dr. Rodney Orange.

Baltimore City Involvement

Mayor Sheila Dixon of Baltimore City called a Baltimore Red Line Summit on 10 May 2008, which resulted in the development of a Red Line Community Compact, signed on 12 September 2008.

Red Line Citizens' Advisory Council Report

On 11 September 2008, the Red Line Citizens' Advisory Council voted unanimously to adopt its first report to the General Assembly, which included the statement that "Preparation of a SDEIS [Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement] should begin now, as a collaborative effort between the MTA and the public in finding the best ways to invest over a billion dollars in Baltimore's transportation infrastructure in keeping with the vision of the 2002 Plan."

ee also

*Green Line - Another proposed rail line in Baltimore.

External links

* [http://www.baltimoreredline.com/ Official Project Website]
* [http://www.baltimoreregiontransitplan.com/ Baltimore Region Transit Plan]
* [http://www.teammetrix.com/mvba/mta_cac/ Report of the MTA Citizens' Advisory Committee]
* [http://www.getontrac.org/ Transit Riders Action Council of Metropolitan Baltimore]
* [http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/26excom/defunct/html/04baltred.html/ Baltimore Red Line Community Advisory Council]
* [http://www.msa.md.gov/msa/mdmanual/26excom/html/04baltredline.html/ Baltimore Red Line Citizens' Advisory Council]
* [http://www.gobaltimoreredline.com/ Mayor's Red Line Website]


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