Why We Want the Red Line

A GREAT TRANSIT SYSTEM FOR A GREAT CITY

Baltimore is one of America's great cities, with hard-working residents, great neighborhoods and a proud history.

Unfortunately, unlike the other large cities of the Northeast, Baltimore has struggled far too long with an underdeveloped public transportation system — the lifeblood of any great city. This diminishes us. It cuts off neighborhoods, discourages investment, and hurts residents' abilities to get to jobs, school, doctor's appointments, and all the things important in their lives.

The Red Line is a major, forward-looking investment in our city that will connect tens of thousands of residents and dozens of neighborhoods with the rest of the metropolitan area. It will allow access to jobs. It will revitalize neighborhoods. It will make Baltimore more sustainable and attractive over the long-term.

It is the most important missing piece in Baltimore's public transit system.

Read on to see some of the Red Line's biggest benefits.

BENEFIT #1

The RL will make it easier to get around the entire Baltimore metro area.

Why: It will be fast, it will cut through traffic, it will eliminate the need for parking, and it will be well connected to the rest of the region's transit.

Is anyone else tired of sitting in traffic?

In case you haven't noticed, Baltimore has some of the worst traffic in the nation. This hurts our quality of life, our economic competitiveness, and it leaves us with our legs numb while sitting behind a steering wheel.

Meanwhile, more than one third of Baltimore households don't even own a car. Without an improved public transportation system, this dramatically limits those of us are without cars from job opportunities, educational opportunities, and many of the most important things in life.

This is a serious economic and quality of life problem for our area, and it's not going to get better on its own.

However, with the Red Line up and running, tens of thousands of people will have a fast, affordable, convenient alternative for getting around without a car. This will make more people eligible for more jobs, it will make it easier and less stressful to get around, and it will give a break to those of us stuck behind a steering wheel every day.

BENEFIT #2

The RL will be fast.

Why: The Red Line will have its own dedicated tunnel and right-of-way, which will allow it to operate quickly and independently of traffic and weather conditions.

The Red Line will be faster than any other form of public transit along its east-west corridor, and in many parts of Baltimore at certain times of day, it would actually be faster than driving.

This is because the Red Line doesn't commit the "original sin" of running in mixed surface traffic with cars. (On the other hand, this is a mistake that streetcars make, generally rendering them ineffective.) Instead, it gets its own dedicated lane, and in congested areas downtown, it will run in a subway tunnel. This is a vast improvement over the current light rail on Howard Street, which hits a wall of surface traffic when it gets downtown.

The Red Line's projected travel time from Canton to the West Baltimore MARC station is less than 15 minutes. From Fells Point to Howard Street (the station serving the University of Maryland and Camden Yards), travel time would be less than five minutes.

Unlike driving or taking the bus, traffic and weather conditions won't affect these travel times.

BENEFIT #3

The RL will connect us to jobs.

Why: The Red Line is expected to generate 4,000 local construction-related jobs and will connect to major job centers throughout the region.

The Red Line is all about jobs — both creating new jobs and getting residents to their current jobs.

The project is projected to directly create around 4,000 local jobs during its construction period.

Once it's open, the Red Line will connect residents to jobs at major employment centers downtown, at Charles Center, in Harbor East and Harbor Point, at Johns Hopkins Bayview and at the the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

BENEFIT #4

The RL will connect us to the rest of Baltimore's transit network.

Why: The Red Line will have convenient connections to every other transit mode in Baltimore, including the subway, light rail, MARC, and buses.

The east-west Red Line is going to have convenient connections to the north-south Metro subway and the current light rail. With its connection to the West Baltimore MARC station and the planned Red Line/MARC station at Bayview Hopkins, getting to D.C. from anyhwhere in Baltimore will become easier by magnitudes. It will also connect to many of the city's MTA bus lines, the Charm City Circulator, the water taxis and bike and pedestrian infrastructure.

With the Red Line, Baltimore will for the first time have a full public rail transit network that travels east, west, north and south.

Years of intensive planning and community input have gone into the Red Line. As a result, the Red Line's stops will be better integrated into their surrounding neighborhoods than either the Metro subway or the light rail, making access to Baltimore transit more convenient and attractive.

BENEFIT #5

The RL will drive community revitalization.

Why: The convenience and accessibility the RL creates will also drive demand for new housing and investment in neighborhoods along its corridor.

We've seen it throughout the nation: there is a growing interest in living and working close to public transportation. As a result, walkable neighborhoods with access to quality transit tend to thrive over time and have more stable home values.

We believe new residents and employers will flock to neighborhoods along the Red Line corridor because of the incredible accessiblity and convenience it will provide — and this in turn will drive neighborhood revitalization.

Community leaders in neighborhoods throughout the city, including Highlandtown and Greektown, are eagerly awaiting the Red Line as part of an overall effort to revitalize their communities.

BENEFIT #6

The RL will make Baltimore more competitive.

Why: Integrated transit will help identify Baltimore as a smart, sophisticated city poised to attract new residents.

It's time for Baltimore to shake off its Rust Belt image.

In order to do this, one of several things the city needs to do is to invest in smart, attractive and useful public transit — something that Americans are hungry for.

Even relatively simple transit improvements, when effectively implemented, have been wildly popular and made Baltimore a more attractive place to live and visit. Take the runaway success of the Charm City Circulator and the new MARC train weekend service to D.C., which has had to add more cars to keep up with demand.

Based on these success stories, and on the already heavy east-west transit ridership in Baltimore, we believe the Red Line will be a well-used and loved addition to the city's transportation infrastructure.

In an age when more Americans are looking to live in cities with good public transportation, having a useful, high-quality transit system like the Red Line will help set the city apart from its competition. This will mean more residents, more jobs, and more opportunity for us all.

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