June 17, 2013


Mike Brenner, Robin Budish, Art Cohen, Charlie Duff, Peter Duvall, Dan Engelberg, Liz Gordon, Tighe Greenhaigh, Adam Gross, Mark Heishman, Billy Hwang, Peter Jackson, Chris Janian, Richard Manekin, Mike Molla, Klaus Philipsen, Wally Pinkard, Jimmy Rouse, Greg Smith, Kristin Speaker, Bill Struever, Ashley Wallace, Michele Whelley

Presentation: Leif Dormsjo, Acting Deputy Secretary MDOT – “Transportation”

  • Successful legislative session this year
  • Pent up and lot of demand for new projects
  • 4.48.billion created in new transportation funding as part of the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act passed by the House of Delegates for all jurisdictions including Baltimore (see attached document) – long list of priorities and how to fund (highways, port, BWI, transit)
  • Purple Line and Red Line projects are priorities for the Governor (Red Line = 2.5 billion.to deliver, Purple Line = 2.2 billion to deliver) – Red Line has a real opportunity to get built and the Purple Line supporters are very organized and vocal
  • The political climate in Maryland is both anti-transit and anti-Baltimore. There is “a wall of resistance” in Annapolis
  • We have a great champion in the Governor
  • Baltimore should make big investment in transit projects
  • Encouraged “Transit Choices” to be more aggressive citing as examples: aggressive lobbies for highways, engineering, developers – they are very powerful, skillful, and sophisticated
  • American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is the transit lobby. APTA is the leading force in advancing public transportation. APTA members are public organizations that are engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne passenger services, and high-speed rail
  • Transit advocates in Baltimore are a muted voice
  • There is growth and spending on transit in Washington – dramatically outpaces Baltimore
  • Wants our group to do a better job of making his life “miserable” by keeping the pressure on
  • Too often groups in Baltimore representing individual modes of transportation pull each other down (crabs in a barrel analogy)
  • We need to organize transit advocates – doesn’t have to be a zero sum game. We should help & work together to “pay it forward” so the next time the power of the group is greater
  • Big transit projects broken into smaller do-able projects
  • In Baltimore, there are too many different advocates: advocates for MARC, bicycles, streetcars, and the Red Line should work together – to build a broader transportation coalition
  • Lot of opportunity – there are resources. Think about timing, flex some muscles, join together
  • Window of opportunity in the next 18 months for the Mayor and Governor to deliver a transit vision – advance issues of importance
  • We are at a pivotal point in the city in terms of the choices the politicians make regarding transit
  • Use our collective energies to develop and define the next 4-8 years in Baltimore

Work Group Updates

  1. Charlie Duff – Transit “Study Area”
    • We should think about a “transit study area” – how to get people out of their cars? This means middle-class people, not the transit-dependent, who have no cars to get out of. It is the middle- class which wields the most political power, and the MTA system in Baltimore today has very few middle-class riders. Why? In part, because middle class people have security fears, but mainly because the system is a bad one. The MTA right now is an inferior good. People with the middle- class skills to form organizations have forgotten that it exists. Even the bicycle group, new and small as it is, is more powerful than the transit riders’ group
    • Most people have written off the MTA
    • In the DC suburbs, now suburbanites want subways and other forms of transit even though they did not want them originally
    • We should focus on the urban core of Baltimore
    • Dc focused on building a good rail system for the urban core 45 years ago. That’s why DC suburbanites want transit today
    • In Baltimore there is no group advocating for transit. Build one by showing middle-class urbanites that good transit can improve their lives
  2. Mike Brenner – “Water Taxi”
    • We should improve the system to serve tourists and commuters
    • Baltimore City transit at present is not google-savvy, and visitors to town cannot use their I-pads and I-phones to get around as in many other cities
    • Handout was distributed
  3. Wally Pinkard – “Biking”
    • Vision:
      Cycling is a way to get somewhere in Baltimore.
      AKA: I can bike there
    • Mission:
      To convince casual riders and those who could become casual riders that biking is a safe, efficient, & practical option for urban transit
    • Biking Benefits Individual
      • Affordability
      • Reliability – biking transit times are consistent regardless of traffic or public transit service disruptions
      • Health benefits
    • Biking Benefits City
      • Eyes on the street reduce crime
      • Reduction of traffic congestion
      • Biking encourages local commerce
      • Better for the Environment
    • Challenges
      • Infrastructure needs work
      • Perception of being unsafe / inconvenient
    • Goals
      • Biking should not be an identity marker, it should be a means to get from point A to point B, just like a car/bus/ etc
      • Get more women biking – Women are an indicator species of overall perception of biking
      • Reach out to other minority groups that are generally not currently involved with transit choice and try and build a broad coalition to highlight the benefits of biking
    • Infrastructure – Nate Evans is doing a good job with this and has bigger plans to move the needle forward
      • Adding places to park
      • Connected network of bicycle routes perceived as safe
      • Way finding, distance and minutes (maps, signage, mobile apps)
      • Bike share that appeals to tourists, tourists commuters, and casual riders
      • Maryland Ave / Mount Royal Cycle Tracks
      • Bike sharing coming to Baltimore

Mike Molla – “Baltimore Collegetown Transit Strategy Meeting”

On Wednesday July 10, 2013 from 9 – 10:30 AM at MICA in the Gateway Building, Room 101 there will be a convening of the Baltimore Collegetown campuses to discuss campus and local transit.The purpose of this meeting is to discuss current campus transit needs, as well as possible collaborations between the Baltimore area campuses. There will be time spent sharing information about a regional transit collaboration in North Carolina that pulls together schedule and tracking information for transit systems in the Research Triangle area.  This meeting is not about the Collegetown Shuttle, although the shuttle is a piece of the larger “local transit” picture for our campuses here in Baltimore.

Jimmy Rouse – “Transit Choices Mission Statement & Signatories”

  • Now is the time to bring in as many voices to the conversation as possible. Let us know who else may be interested
  • Unify the transit voice and vision – include BDC, GBC, DPOB and then sell the vision to the politicians

Other Discussion Points:

  • Michele Whelley – CMTA will be having booths at various events to mobilize transit supporters and invited others to join in. They will have postcards for people to sign which will be sent to politicians, and will also be getting signatures to organize/coalesce a group of people. Michele also stated that the purpose of transit is to get people to jobs and referenced the following article on housing values as they relate to transit service: click here.
  • Adam Gross – GBC recently hosted a daylong conference on what issues they want to focus on in the coming year. Individuals formed separate groups and discussed specific topics: transportation, tax issues and bike programs. Transportation was the second most important issue after tax reform
  • Art Cohen – what is missing from the Transit Choices group right now are the transit riders – the ultimate users of the system need to be included. TRAC (Transit Riders Action Council of Metropolitan Baltimore, Inc.) which used to represent riders, is defunct right now for all practical purposes
  • Richard Manekin – get the business community involved, public relations/media campaign – someone has to pull it all together, strong leadership + raise money
  • Peter Duvall: – perception is that the Red Line project will take all of the money – nothing left for other transportation projects
  • Klaus Philipsen – emulate Denver. It has made a significant transportation investment
  • Bill Struever – build a larger constituency around a transit agenda, need to look at a “bigger or broader tent” than the urban core or the MARC lines. This could be Transit Choices. We need to be excited about ways to get people out of their cars. Additionally, can we get MDOT involved with Water Taxi capital projects?