Light rail the future of Baltimore transit

Baltimore Sun

Light rail, not heavy rail or subways, the future of Baltimore transit

lightrail.dublinIt is time for the next generation of transit in Baltimore. The Baltimore Metropolitan area is growing and the demand for a reliable transit option is only increasing.

Earlier this week, and after seven years of working with citizens, community groups, transit advocates, Mayor Sheila Dixon and County Executive James T. Smith Jr., we announced light rail as the preferred alternative for Baltimore’s Red Line.

The Red Line will connect major employment centers, residential communities, other existing transit services, and tourism opportunities. It will run mostly on the surface with tunnels in downtown Baltimore from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Boston Street and a tunnel under Cooks Lane from Edmondson Avenue to I-70. The light rail project we announced this week is unlike the rail projects of old. The Red Line will use sleek, quiet, low-to-the-ground cars, and stations will be designed through a collaborative process with communities so that they become places for people to meet and connect, not places to avoid.

I know the Red Line alternative has strong supporters and equally strong opponents. Both sides care about their communities and about the future health of the region. But I believe that a well-designed light rail line can bring our communities tremendous benefits at a fraction of the cost of other subway options.

This year, new light rail lines will open in Dallas, Portland, Maryland, Seattle and Los Angeles. These cities, like Baltimore, concluded that light rail was the best way to create a transportation strategy based on connecting people.

Achieving this vision will require a lot of work and strong partnerships between communities and the city, county, state and federal governments. With the selection of this preferred alternative, we have determined a clear direction for the Red Line.

Gov. Martin O’Malley, Annapolis

Copyright © 2009, The Baltimore Sun

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One Comment on “Light rail the future of Baltimore transit”

  1. overHere Says:

    I agree. Light rail is far cheaper to build and maintain, and does the job of getting people from A to B. Light rail is far less intrusive, since you don’t need the ugly, massive concrete pylons destroying the landscape.

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