June 25, 2014

Time: 8:00 – 9:30 AM
Location: Johns Hopkins Charles Commons (10 E 33rd Street)

Darcy Accardi, Kate Anderson, Demetria Barrett, Sherry Bazinet, Robin Budish, Scott Burkholder, Art Cohen, Peter Duvall, Kathy Epstein, Maureen Foy, Gregory Friedman, Liz Gordon, Ben Groff, Paulo Gregory Harris, Mark Heishman, Tom Hewitt, Jeff LaNoue, Benoit Mayaux, Luke Mowbray, Brian O’Malley, Caroline Peri, Klaus Philipsen, Jasmine Bazinet-Phillips, Wally Pinkard, Mark Rice, Michael Romeo, Jimmy Rouse, Martin Schwartz, Greg Smith, Sandy Sparks, Michele Whelley

Moderator: Brian O’Malley, (President & CEO) Central Maryland Transportation Alliance
Brian welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked the attendees for coming. He then introduced the first guest speaker, Martin Schwartz.

Presentation: Martin Schwartz, President – Vehicles for Change
Topic:             “Access to Jobs and Healthy Living”

  •  Marty began his presentation by sharing the mission and goal of Vehicles for Change (VFC) which was founded in 1999: VFC empowers families with financial challenges to achieve economic and personal independence through car ownership and technical training. VHC’s goal is to build a sustainable car award program in the Maryland-Virginia-Washington D.C. region and then replicate that program nationally, aiming to bring independent transportation and training in the automotive field to as many people as possible. For more information visit: www.vehiclesforchange.org
  • VHC is currently awarding 40 to 50 cars per month and in 2013, awarded 500 cars to worthy families.
  • VHC changes lives and is breaking the cycle of poverty and providing a sense of hope for the future: 75% gain or attain a better job – with an average salary increase of $7,000.00. Additionally, there is a dramatic family impact resulting in 90% of children being able to attend after-school, and participating in recreational and athletic activities. Parents are also able to spend an average of 60 minutes more at home.
  • VHC is planning to hold a Transportation Summit in November 2014 to bring to the forefront the impact of the lack of transportation on low income families from a holistic standpoint. Findings from the Brookings Institute state there are 60,000 low income households without a car and little or no access to public transportation in the Baltimore region.
Discussion Points:
  • Paulo Gregory Harris inquired about where the funding came from for the last VHC Baltimore pilot program. Marty responded that VHC has been previously funded by the Annie E. Casey and Weinberg Foundations. Discussions are taking place now with both organizations for additional funding.
  • Robin Budish asked about the criteria used to determine how cars are awarded to individuals and families. Marty responded that VHC works with other organizations such as “Our Daily Bread” to make that determination. Additionally, the individual or family must have a job or the commitment of a job to be eligible to receive a car.
  • Michele Whelley stated that although cars are not the total solution for getting people out of poverty, they are part of the solution.
  • Art Cohen raised the question about the role local economic development plays in getting people out of poverty. Michele Whelley responded that VHC and other similar organizations cannot create jobs for all unemployed Baltimore citizens. However, there are jobs in other counties and VFC provides a short term solution.
  •  A question was raised about the annual VHC car maintenance costs and who is responsible for payment. Marty responded that the family receives a 6 month warranty for their car which they may bring to a VHC garage for maintenance at a reduced cost.
  • Jimmy Rouse asked if VHC is looking at a ZipCar or Uber type of transit model as part of a future program. Marty responded yes, adding that VHC is exploring the possibility of putting a car share and/or bike share program in neighborhoods.

Presentation: Demetria Barrett, Chair – Water Taxi Work Group
Topic: “Baltimore Water Taxi & Beyond: A Future Ferry System for  Maryland”

  • Demetria began her presentation by sharing that she would like to change the name of the working group from Water Taxi to Water Transportation allow the group to explore other water transit modalities such as a ferry system.
  • It was recently announced that the Baltimore Department of Transportation has been awarded a federal grant of more than $850,000 to purchase an electric boat for its free Harbor Connector service in the Inner Harbor. The grant was made possible through a government and private sector collaboration between Barry Robinson, Chief Transit and Marine Services – DOT and Mark Rice, President/CEO – Maritime Applied Physics Corporation. This would be Baltimore’s first electric Water Taxi, a 50 passenger boat which reduces fuel cost and reduces urban non-attainment emissions. The boat will be serviced & maintained by Baltimore City.
  • Why propose a Ferry System? The Chesapeake Bay is an underutilized transportation resource and is the only large body of water in the United States that does not have an operating Ferry System.
  • We need alternative routes for when bridges and road are impaired. Congested roads and building new roads & bridges are increasingly expensive and problematic. The upfront cost of having a ferry system is approximately $10 million dollars but requires no active maintenance. Per the Federal Highway Administration projections provided by the State of Maryland, the cost to repair 333 state and county bridges is $1.6 billion. This cost excludes roads.
  • Proposed Public Ferry Routes:
    • Canton – Rock Hall
    • Baltimore – Rock Hall, Annapolis
    • Annapolis – Saint Michaels
    • Aberdeen – Annapolis
  • Next Steps:
    1. Revisit the original ferry plan given to Governor O’Malley in 2007
    2. Present concept to:
      • Maryland Department of Transportation
      • Maryland Office of Tourism Development
      • Smart Growth Program, Maryland Department of Planning
      • Waterfront Hotels
  •  Promote Public & Private Partnerships in creating a ferry system for Maryland
 Discussion Points:
  •  Paulo Gregory Harris asked if the proposed ferry transport could accommodate both cars and individuals. If no cars are allowed, how do you move individuals once they arrive at a destination. Demetria responded that initially, only individuals would be transported. At each destination, mass transit and other transit modes would be available.
  •  Klaus Philipsen inquired if the working group is doing an analysis on the current water taxi system and looking at what would be reasonable, alternative lines to the current lines for a healthy, robust commuter system? Demetria responded that the water ferry concept needs much more work, comparing the ferry to the present water taxi system. The work group will further research the numbers and report back.
  • Darcy Accardi suggested that “Visit Baltimore” should be contacted as part of the plan for next steps.

Discussion: Land Use Committee, Jimmy Rouse

  • Jimmy began the discussion by stating there is a problem with land use around rail stops which need to be addressed, and asked whether Transit Choices should create another sub-committee and bring developers into the conversation. Jimmy also shared that the Greater Baltimore Committee (GBC) has a transportation committee which meets monthly and has included land use in the discussion.
Discussion Points:
  •  Jeff LaNoue stated that land use is a complex issue when trying to figure out the zoning and market base. To be successful, we need developers and high level sophisticated people to be involved in the discussion. It’s a big lift.
  • Jimmy asked the group if there is land use being planned around the Red Line. Klaus Philipsen responded that often people in transit and people in land use, operate in separate silos. The Red Line stations on the west side is a disinvested area. Everyone needs to come together to make it a success. Transit Choices can make the connection with the siloed agencies.
  • Michele Whelley made the following suggestions prior to making a decision about creating a new sub-committee:
    • Invite someone who has extensive land use experience speak to the group.
    • Look at PG County to see what they are doing with established land use projects.
  • Paulo Gregory Harris mentioned the correlation between land use and community economic development. It should be an important piece of the discussion.
  • Luke Mowbray: the gentrification and displacement issue regarding land use is a separate conversation from TOD. They are two big issues, both inside and outside the city.
  • Sandy Sparks stated that creating a new sub-committee is very important to focus on how we can enhance the land use around rail stops with strong input from developers.
 Other Discussion Points:
  • Jimmy reported that we received great feedback from the MTA and CityDOT on the “Grass Roots” letter which revised accordingly. Further, he stated that the letter will be put on the Transit Choices website and will be used as a vehicle to demonstrate that we have broad community and diverse support. All meeting attendees were asked to let us know if they have strong feelings about modifying the letter.
  • Robin Budish thanked both Brian O’Malley for serving as moderator and Greg Smith on behalf of JHU for providing meeting space.