Just in case you were getting too cheery about how things are going these days, you should read the recent article in the Washington Post about the death, 5 years ago, of Baltimore’s Red Line transit project at the hands of Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (available here). Seriously, you should read it, because although a major battle was lost then, I for one haven’t given up on the war.
As I have repeatedly said, the Red Line is a success story waiting to happen. The proposed east-west rapid transit line would link major employment and residential centers, generate significant economic activity, transform a set of transit lines into a real network that unites the metropolitan area, partly redress the inequities in transit access in the region, and leverage high-quality urban redevelopment. It is not too much to say that the Red Line is the key to Baltimore’s emergence as a vital 21st century city.
And yet here we are.
Despite a lot of despair in the air, there is a bunch of stuff that supporters of the Red Line can do, such as:
· Salt the Red Line into local and regional planning documents (too many missed opportunities for this),
· Use city planning and zoning powers to orient development around proposed stations,
· Enlist corporate and public “sponsors” to promote transit-ready development at station sites, and
· Continue to encourage the Legislature to support transit in general and the Red Line in particular.
Many people have pointed out that our country is currently facing a “triple crisis” of Climate Change, an outcry for racial justice, and an economic mini-depression. The Red Line can help us make progress on all three fronts at once. We need to get busy!