June 2, 2014

Time: 9:00 – 10:30 AM
Location: Campaign Consultation, Inc. (1001 N. Calvert Street)


Robin Budish, Kelly Cross, Peter Duvall, Kathy Epstein, Robbyn Lewis, Mac McComas, Jimmy Rouse. Sandy Sparks

Welcome and Introductions:

Kelly Cross, Chair welcomed everyone and opened the meeting.

Continued Discussion on MTA and CMTA Presentations (May 5, 2014)

  • Long Term Vision for the Metro and Light Rail – Jimmy Rouse mentioned that in his opinion, the most interesting take a way comment from Henry Kay’s (MTA) presentation was the possible extension of the metro up to North Avenue and the formation of a transit hub which would be similar to Mondawmin. He asked wouldn’t it therefore, make sense that we advocate for a streetcar across North Avenue connecting these hubs? In combination with a Charles St. streetcar, this would give Baltimore a good skeleton of rail transit for a mass transit system. We would have the blue line (north/south), the Red Line (east/west) and the Metro (northwest and northeast) as regional lines. The North Avenue and Charles St. streetcars would be an urban core (north/south, east/west) system. The bus system could be reconfigured to connect to the rail system through the BNIP process. Express buses could be used to connect White Marsh, Towson, Columbia and Annapolis into this system. This system would not be expensive to build as the Metro tunnel already extends well above Hopkins towards North Avenue.
 Discussion Points:
  • Peter Duvall supports the long term vision stated above adding that if it can be done, it should be done. There may be however, a strong feeling within MTA that Baltimore is unique and the people will not accept the solutions that are being done in other cities throughout the country.
  • Kelly Cross recently met with Henry Kay, and Henry’s viewpoint on transit is that it should be focused on regional (suburbs) transportation. Henry also expressed that he feels the circulator is doing a good job for the city.
  •  Sandy Sparks advocates for a streetcar on North Avenue, but stated that the North Ave (US #1) bridge could be a barrier for the potential project. She also reported that the Neighborhood Design Center (NDC) which is comprised of different community groups and neighborhoods, is working on a North Avenue streetscape vision which is already in the city budget. Nick Mosby is the lead contact person at the NDC.
  • Jimmy Rouse suggested that we sell the NDC on the streetcar project for North Avenue.
  • Robbyn Lewis mentioned that Valorie LaCour and Betty Smoot (CityDOT) want to be included in the discussion at the beginning of all design projects because DOT may be able to help with the appropriation of funds for a given project.
  •  Kathy Epstein emphasized the need for creativity and connectivity when designing transit hubs.

    Long Term Vision for MARC Trains

  • Robbyn Lewis, formerly with the Central Maryland Transportation Alliance (CMTA), reported that the organization is working on more MARC cars and later hours of service. Additionally, the CMTA did a study titled “The last Mile” (soon to be released) which is an analysis of connecting city residents to suburban jobs.

Discussion Points:

  • Kelly Cross suggested there should be express MARC service in the morning and evening. Robbyn Lewis responded that we should be advocating for the new MARC station at Bayview.
  • Jimmy Rouse proposed that the bus work group take a look at the viability of Bus Rapid Transit.

Update on meetings with DOT and MTA

  •  Jimmy Rouse reported that the May 15, 2014 meeting with CityDOT went well. They ran through the list of “Quick Hits” and they are making progress on many fronts. Unfortunately, there was no representative from the MTA so this hampered the ability to discuss bus and rail Quick Hits. It is important going forward, that we have attendees from the MTA at each meeting.

Discussion Points:

  • Robbyn Lewis provided an update on the May 7, 2014 meeting with CityDOT to discuss the implementation of creating five feasible pedestrian friendly intersections in the city. Time is of the essence for implementation given the July 1, 2014 CityDOT budget. The four complete streets intersections in the pipeline are:
    1. Mt. Royal Ave. and McMechan
    2. Mt. Royal Ave. and Charles St. @ Penn Station
    3. Howard St. and North Ave.
    4. 33rd St. and Greenmount Ave.
  • Pennsylvania Ave. and North Ave. is part of the NDC vision process
  • Frank Murphy (BCDOT) questioned whether the intersections below have enough pedestrian traffic to be worth doing. Jimmy Rouse responded that these intersections were chosen in order to scatter the complete streets intersections throughout the city:
    1. Druid Park Lake Drive and Eutaw Place
    2. N. Caroline St and Orleans St
    3. E. Fayette St. and N. Linwood Ave.
    4. E. Oliver St. N. Aisquith St. and Harford Ave.
    5. Harford Rd and Glenmore Ave.

Other Discussion Topics :

  • Kelly Cross reported on successful meetings to discuss transit along the North Avenue corridor with city & state government officials, including City Councilman President Jack Young and Nick Mosby, District 7. Kelly has also met with Colin Tarbert, the new deputy mayor for economic and neighborhood development to discuss transit issues.
  • In an effort to promote streetcars as another mass transit mode, Kelly mentioned that he reached out to the DC streetcars folks about their new “H” street project. Kelly was extended an invitation to visit DC to learn more about the program.
  • Jimmy Rouse asked for ways in which we can “introduce” the streetcar to the public and have them embrace the large vision of mass transit to include the streetcar as an idea. It was agreed that a grass roots campaign would help us to get the message out. Robbyn Lewis and Sandy Sparks will craft a grass roots strategy and report back to the group.
  • The Rockefeller Foundation may be a potential source of funding for the $75,000 streetcar study. Kelly Cross spoke with Justin Rockefeller who stated that although the foundation is located in New York City, they are interested in transit projects in other cities.

Action Items:

  • Sandy Sparks will provide a NRC group roster.
  • Robbyn Lewis and Sandy Sparks will craft a grass roots strategy.
  • Mac McComas will schedule a second meeting with Valorie LaCour (CityDOT), Robbyn Lewis and Paulo Gregory Harris to finalize the implementation of the pilot intersection project.
  • Robin Budish will send the May 7, 2014 DOT meeting notes to the group.