1. How will the Red Line improve public transit in Baltimore?
he Red Line is the start of a more complete rail system for Baltimore. Right now, there are no transfer stations between the current Metro, Light Rail and MARC stations. The Red Line will cross all three, vastly improving Baltimore’s transit system and making it possible to travel more quickly throughout the city and region.
The Red Line is at the core of the Baltimore Region Rail Plan developed in 2002, which includes a transit system with six lines. The plan was drawn up by an Advisory Committee appointed by the Maryland Secretary of Transportation. The group consisted of 23 members, including elected officials and civic, business, transit and community leaders from the Baltimore Metro area. The Red Line was identified as the #1 priority line to build.
2. Why do we need the Red Line?
The Red Line is the best way to improve transportation in the Baltimore region at this time. The Red Line will be a key east-west transit option that will make travel in this heavily congested route simpler, faster and cheaper.
The Texas Transportation Institute’s (TTI) 2004 Urban Mobility Report shows Baltimore’s commuting problem: Baltimore ranks as the ninth worst city in the nation for growing traffic delays. In 2002, car travelers spent an extra 48 hours a year sitting in traffic. This compares to just nine hours of annual traffic delays in 1982.
By looking at future estimates for car use and congestion, by 2020, many of the major roads and highways will exceed the number of cars for which they were designed. Therefore, increasing public transit is critical to provide peole with options. Further, rail transit has been shown to encourage the highest ridership.
3. What are some health benefits that can arise from the Red Line?
The Red Line will improve health in our city by improving mobility, promoting physical activity and taking cars off the road. For older adults, the Red Line also offers a safer, easier, and cheaper way to get around the city.
Car exhaust is a major cause of pollution. Bad air quality causes thousands of hospital ER visits and asthma attacks every year. The Red Line can reduce dirty air by helping more people leave their cars at home.
For more information on health benefits and how the Red Line will improve the public’s health, see the Red Line Health Impact Assessment.
4. Who will the Red Line serve?
Transfer points from the Red Line to the Light Rail and Metro will give more people in the region access to public transit. The Red Line will also offer transfer to the MARC train and increase Baltimore’s connection with Washington, DC.
The Red Line will serve commuters, older adults, students, parents with children, and people going to recreational activities. All of these groups will benefit from increased access to transit, as well as people who want to go to the Inner Harbor, Little Italy, Fells Point, Canton, Edmondson Village, and Gwynns Fall Park.
5. What is the Community Compact?
The Community Compact is a document created through the Mayor’s Red Line Summit in 2008. The concept behind it was to focus thoughts and efforts on a community discussion about how the Red Line will fit into and benefit Baltimore communities. The Compact sets goals and guidelines for how the project will generate jobs, present economic opportunities and improve housing, while enhancing our unique urban environment, neighborhoods and historic districts.
To learn more about the Community Compact, and the four goals realized by the summit, please click here.
6. How many stations will the Red Line have?
Over the 14.6 mile route, the MTA has proposed 20 stations: 15 surface and 5 underground. Sixteen of these stations will be within the Baltimore city limits. Please see the locally preferred alternative selected by the governor in August 2009 for a complete map of the project.
7. What is the role of the City of Baltimore and the Red Line?
The City of Baltimore’s role during all stages of the Red Line project is to ensure that—first and foremost—the project benefits communities. They also are working to minimize any potential negative impacts from building the project. Together with the state, the City has and will continue to assist in engaging the community, to promote the interests of local businesses along the route and to promote the overall project.
8.Who will pay for this project?
It will take a mix of funding. This will include money from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), the Maryland Department of Transportation, and possibly local governments and the private sector.
The vast majority of federal support for the Red Line will come from the FTA’s Capital Investment Program for “New Starts.” Another large portion of money will come from the Maryland Transportation Trust Fund (TTF). TTF money comes from motor fuel taxes, motor vehicle titling taxes, motor vehicle fees, bond proceeds and revenue from the MD Dept. of Transportation, including transit farebox receipts.
9. What is the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)?
The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) prepared an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Red Line project. This report is mandated by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 (NEPA). The purpose of an EIS is to provide a full review of the environmental issues around a proposed project and to inform decision-makers and the public of options that would avoid or reduce adverse impacts to the Baltimore Metro region. The Draft EIS (known as a DEIS) consisted of an on-line and printed that:
• Identifies and explains the purpose and need for improvements in the corridor
• Develops and describes the alternatives for the proposed action being considered
• Identifies the environmental and community effects of each alternative and measures to avoid, minimize or mitigate adverse impacts of the proposed action
• Describe agency and public coordination efforts
• Serves as the basis for a decision on which route to choose
• Allows opportunities for public and agency input
The DEIS was completed in October of 2008 and can be viewed here.
10. What is the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) and when will it be released?
• The FEIS is a large document that will include all information from the DEIS as well as more detailed information on:
• Each area of impact, including environment, construction, neighborhood A detailed analysis of the locally preferred alternative.
• The FEIS will be released at least 2 years after the DEIS was published, prior to the start of construction.
11. What is Transit Oriented Development (TOD)?
TOD is development around transit stations. In many cases TOD is planned even before a transit project is built. TOD clusters more services, jobs and homes in areas within walking distance of transit stations. The goal is to make transit stations a focal point for community growth. This brings more riders to transit, too. Transit Oriented Development can be important in communities with vacant houses, abandoned retail space, etc., or where land around transit stations is currently empty.
TOD is sometimes aided by government agencies that offer land they own to help stimulate development. In the case of the Red Line, the Maryland Department of Transportation has set aside funds to help communities further their growth goals through TOD. Examples of such win-win partnerships exist in Owings Mills and State Center in the Baltimore area and in Hyattsville, New Carrollton, Savage, and Odenton, Maryland.
12. Would the light rail cars for the Red Line be different than the cars running on the Central Light Rail line?
Yes, the Red Line light rail cars will be different than the current MTA light rail vehicles. The proposed Red Line cars would have low floors, so people can walk directly onto the train from the platform without stairs.
Also, the Red Line light rail cars will have a width of about 8 feet—the width of the current light rail trains is 9 feet, 6 inches. This means the Red Line trains will take up less space and will have less impact on streets and nearby properties. They will fit more naturally into local neighborhoods.
13. Will bikes be allowed on light rail vehicles?
Bicycles will be allowed on Red Line vehicles. MTA’s current policy encourages bicycles on the entire MTA system. MTA currently allows bicycles on local buses, Light Rail, and Metro vehicles. Folding bikes are allowed on MARC trains.
More information on the MTA’s current policy on bicycles aboard transit vehicles is described in a booklet, “Bicycles on the MTA”. This booklet is available on line.
14. What will be the traffic impact during construction?
Depending on the type and location of construction, traffic impact in the Red Line corridor will vary during construction. During this time, the MTA and the City will use a “Maintenance of Traffic” plan to lessen the impact on streets, maintain access to homes and shops, and provide detour routes where necessary. Construction work can be scheduled in segments so the area impacted at any one time is minimized. Some construction can be done during off-peak times to avoid rush hour traffic.
For more information regarding the Red Line Project, please visit the MTA’s project website: www.baltimoreredline.com