May 5, 2014

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


Robin Budish, Art Cohen, Kathy Epstein, Mel Freeman, Bob Hellauer, Jeff LaNoue, Klaus Philipsen, Jimmy Rouse, Jill Sorensen, Sandy Sparks

Welcome and Introductions:

Robin Budish welcomed everyone and opened the meeting. Jimmy Rouse acknowledged guest speakers, Henry Kay (MTA) and Brian O’Malley (CMTA) stating that the group was very fortunate to have them share their respective visions for rail transit in 2014 and beyond.

Long Term Vision for the Metro, Light Rail and MARC Trains

Henry Kay, MTA (Executive Director for Transit Development and Delivery) began his presentation on the long term vision for the Metro and Light Rail by sharing that he has 20 years of experience in transportation planning. Henry distributed a handout (published in 2001) titled “Your Ride is Here” – A Rail System for Baltimore: Status Report on the Red Line. An electronic copy of the report will be made available to all members of the Rail Transit work group.

  • MTA’s current projects include the Red Line, Purple Line and a 14 mile bus rapid transit system in Montgomery County.
  • The MTA looked at Washington, DC and concluded that Baltimore as a mid-size city should have a rail transit system plan which was lacking. Originally, that system was embodied in the map issued in 2002 that included the Red Line, the Yellow Line to Towson and Columbia, and an extension of the Metro line (the Green Line) to White Marsh – since that time, the MTA has concluded that only the Red Line can be built due to the expense of a Light Rail system – plans for the Yellow Line are dormant. There has been some discussion of extending the Metro (the Green Line) from Hopkins to North Avenue, and creating a Mondawmin like transit hub using buses radiating from this point.

What’s Next:

  1. The Red Line project is moving forward. The design for the tunnel is 65% complete, and will be put out to bid for construction in 2015. Additionally, Henry informed the group that the Harbor East Red Line stop has been moved to Exeter Street in Fell’s Point.
  2. MARC – there will be improved stations at Bayview on the east side and Security       Boulevard on the west side. Inner Urban stations could be incorporated into the system however, the challenges to overcome are cost related and the fact that certain communities (Arbutus, Halethorpe…) have not grown.

Henry concluded by saying that he is encouraged by the work Transit Choices and the Rail Transit work group are doing. Further, he stated that Baltimore is a streetcar city and that streetcars are a way to expand the reach of a regional transit system, somewhat inexpensively.

Discussion Points:
  • Bob Hellauer asked about the Red Line full funding agreement. Henry responded that it would be signed soon and that revenue service would take place in late 2022.
  • Jimmy Rouse raised questions about 1) a yellow line to Towson – Henry stated that a potential transit mode could be streetcar vs. light rail, 2) mass transit to Columbia – Henry replied that a possible solution could be buses, 3) green Line – build a North Avenue hub to Morgan, White Marsh – Henry responded that BRT or streetcars could be viable, 4) mass transit to Annapolis and Frederick – Henry replied perhaps a commuter express bus.
  • Klaus Philipsen made the point about connecting with urban centers. Perhaps a BRT system with light rail and streetcars could make for a regional metropolitan transit system.

Brian O’Malley, CMTA (President & CEO) began his presentation by sharing the CMTA vision statement for MARC Trains: “The vision of the Transportation Alliance is a thriving metropolitan area which boasts an array of convenient transportation options, including a coordinated system of highways and interconnected mass transit options providing access and opportunity for employment, housing, educations, services and entertainment. Brian distributed the following presentation materials: “2013 Annual Report”, the executive summary from their forthcoming “The Last Mile report”, and the “Presentation Slides”. Electronic copies of all handouts will be made available to members of the Rail Transit work group. As a point of clarification, one slide has been removed from the presentation.  It incorrectly stated the number of holiday closures on MARC in comparison with other services. In 2014, MARC has reinstated service on the Penn Line on a number of holidays.

  •  It was reported that the expanded MARC Train service on Saturday and Sunday has been successful and has shown increased ridership.
  •  Improvements that will Achieve the CMTA Vision:
    1. Transfers between modes
    2. Station Design
    3. Ticketing
    4. Signage
    5. Maps
  • Use local bus service to provide frequent, efficient service between rail stations and employment centers
  • Accommodate bikes on MARC trains
 Discussion Points:
  • Jimmy Rouse asked if the CMTA is thinking about or planning anything for the Yellow Line. Brian responded that once the Red Line shovel is in the ground, they will revisit the 2002 plan.
  • Sandy Sparks remarked that we need a new round of “revisioning” – don’t go back to 2002.
  • Klaus Philipsen: the Rail Transit work group wants to add land use to the discussion because TOD should be part of the conversation about how commuter service works.