November 4, 2013


Charlie Bond, Robin Budish, Kelly Cross (Chair), Grant Corley, Peter Duvall, Mel Freeman, Paulo Gregory Harris, Bob Hellauer, Mac McComas, Klaus Philipsen, Jimmy Rouse, Jill Sorensen, Sandy Sparks, Maris St. Cyr

Welcome and Introductions:

Kelly Cross welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked the attendees for coming.

“Quick Hits” Review

  • Express Trains – Klaus Philipsen suggested that light rail express trains should be added to the Rail Transit short term improvements “Quick Hits” list. The express trains could bypass local stops such as running a meaningful express train service from Hunt Valley to the airport or Owings Mills to the Airport. Another example could be: the airport to Camden Yards to Penn Station.
    • Mel Freeman commented that the light rail should have early hours of operation to get people to jobs at BWI.
  • Categories of the Rail Transit “Quick Hits List”
    • Speed & reliability
    • Communication
    • Comfort and safety
  • Land Use/TOD – the Red Line has tremendous opportunities for TOD and the City should look at creating a (separate) transit working group to look at potential opportunities.

Population Dotmap – Peter Duvall

  • Dotmap describes where jobs are in Baltimore and where the jobs in are clustered.
  • Streetcars are most effective in corridors with high ridership – where buses would need to have headways under ten minutes simply because of capacity issues.
  • Streetcars are an effective economic development tool because they provide long term access to high quality transit.
  • Potential corridor ridership can be tested with high quality bus service. In general, frequent service outside of peak ridership hours in needed to drive auto independent for choice riders (those that could have access to an auto). Modern streetcars offer better rider comfort than buses.
  • High quality bus service over an extended period could be a viable option for growing transit corridors.
  • We believe that a Charles Street Streetcar would offer excellent start-up ridership along with significant economic development benefits.
  • Some other potential routes, such as North Avenue, probably offer adequate start-up ridership along with longer term, but potentially larger, economic development benefits.
  • Streetcar or light rail service to Southwest Baltimore and north of Patterson Park should be considered as important parts of a complete rail transportation system that serves the densest ten square miles (in both jobs and population) in the State.

Discussion Points:

  • Jimmy Rouse: ridership is important, but we must consider economic development potential when talking about streetcars.
  • Kelly Cross: emphasis should be that streetcars are much more comfortable compared to buses.
  • Art Cohen: streetcars are permanent.
  • Bob Hellauer: how will the streetcar be funded? A streetcar system/project must be economically viable and/or sustainable.
  • Paulo Gregory Harris: when discussing streetcars, we should look at community development as well. How do you build in a process that engages the citizens and communities where you plan to improve transit?
  • Maglev high speed transportation could be a platform to talk about rail. Klaus Philipsen cautioned that the project would be highly expensive, totally incompatible and disruptive to the environment.

Action Items:

  • Jill Sorensen, Paulo Gregory Harris, Art Cohen and Klaus Philipsen will discuss Vision Guiding Principles at the December 2, 2013 meeting.
  • Robin Budish will send the 2014 meeting calendar to the work group.