Cities Develop Alternative Bus Networks to Combat Perceived Disadvantages of Mainline Routes

» Baltimore’s new three-line Charm City Circulator only the latest in a series of urban trolleys designed for easier center-city access. But are these systems promoting a problematic hierarchy of service quality?

Hoping to increase transit usage in its downtown core, Baltimore officials began service this week on the Charm City Circulator, a three-line free bus service serving some of downtown’s most popular destinations. Baltimore’s new transit network, which supplements the city’s metro rail, light rail, commuter rail, and bus routes, is the most recent example of a trend that has taken American cities by storm: The creation of auxiliary routes for the inner-city that are designed for frequent, high-quality service with the goal of attracting onto buses people who aren’t used to public transportation.

Though Baltimore’s existing bus and rail operations are sponsored by the State of Maryland’s MTA, the Charm City Circulator is the personal initiative

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Baltimore to Advance Yellow Line Project Ahead of Metro Extension?

» Regional business group suggests a new timeline for transit projects in the city.

Over the past thirty years, Baltimore has expanded its rail system steadily, opening its Metro Subway in 1983, its light rail lines in 1992, and adding extensions to the corridors in 1994 and 1997. Now Maryland’s Department of Transportation, which runs the city’s system, is planning an east-west light rail Red Line that will begin operating as early as 2016 if the state manages to convince the federal government to supply a New Starts transit grant to pay for the project. With that project underway, the city’s leaders are pushing further discussion about the city’s future transit needs. For years, an extension of the Green Line Metro northeast to Morgan State University and Martin State Airport was assumed to be the next step.

But in a recent report, the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance described

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Maryland Governor Supports Light Rail for Red and Purple Lines

Both projects were being considered for bus rapid transit service as well.

Yesterday, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (D) announced that he would support the use of light rail for new transit projects planned for suburban Washington and inner-city Baltimore. Though not surprising, the governor’s commitment ensures that both corridors will receive the state’s long term support as they’re reviewed by the federal government during the New Starts grants funding process. The choice of light rail over bus rapid transit was both a politically necessary move to apease voters in the state’s two population centers and one that will best serve the transit users in each.

Mr. O’Malley’s dual announcements — in New Carrollton, where the Purple Line will terminate, and in West Baltimore, where the Red Line will head — were the conclusion of a long effort by Marylanders to convince their government to support light rail over bus service. Former Governor

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Baltimore Gears Up for Fight on Red Line Transit Plan

Inhabitants of Canton see the line’s proposed route as a potential detriment to their neighborhood’s revival

The Baltimore Sun reported yesterday on the opposition of some residents of the Canton neighborhood of east Baltimore to the proposed routing of the Red Line transit corridor. The line would run 14 miles east-west from Woodlawn west of Baltimore City to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Campus, via downtown. The project, Baltimore’s top public transportation priority and in planning for several years thus far, is currently in the alternatives analysis stage of the New Start federal government funding process. In other words, though if all things go as planned the project would be completed by 2015 or ’16, the final routing of the project has yet to be determined by state planners.

But that doesn’t mean that a clear front-runner amongst the 11 options being considered isn’t yet clear. Rather, among

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Big News Day: DC, Balto, Seattle, SF, Norfolk, NYC

There’s so much news today, we’re just going to summarize it quickly:

Washington‘s Metro is testing new seats on its trains that will be covered with fabric instead of the vinyl it has been using for the last thirty years. There will be more than one color tested.

There’s increasing support in Baltimore for the construction of the $1.6 billion Red Line light rail system. It will run partially underground, partially overground, and complement the existing light and heavy rail systems in the city.

Sound Transit in Seattle got a huge rebate on its plans for an extension of its light rail line underconstruction: bids for the University extension were under estimates by $10 million.

San Francisco will be breaking ground on its Transbay Terminal today, which will serve as the site of a new tower, terminal for bus lines, and eventually as the end of the California High-Speed Rail

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The Site / The Fight

by Yonah Freemark

yfreemark (at) thetransportpolitic (dot) com

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