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Use Your Ingenuity And Creativity For Good And A Chance To Win $10,000
March 14, 2011, 8:55 am
Filed under: News | Tags: , ,

Use Your Ingenuity And Creativity For Good – The Urbanite Project

Returning this year is the Urbanite Project, a scheme set forth last year by the folks at Urbanite to encourage individuals to team up and develop creative ideas to make Baltimore a better place.  This year, Urbanite is taking it up a notch -a BIG notch, and offering a chance to win $10,000 and the opportunity for contestants to bring their ideas to fruition.

The theme of this year’s Urbanite Project circles around Baltimore City’s Red Line, the proposed East-West light rail.

From Urbanite:

We’re inviting self-organized teams to compete for $10,000 in prize money (provided by the MTA) and the chance to implement their solution to a pressing city issue: the quality-of-life issues brought about by the construction of the Red Line.

The proposed Red Line is a 14.5-mile, light rail transit line that will run west-east from Woodlawn through downtown Baltimore, Fells Point, and Canton to the Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center Campus. It will link up with the existing light rail, Metro subway, and MARC train lines, creating a comprehensive transportation system that runs both above-ground, mostly on medians along existing roads, and in underground tunnels.

Baltimore, whose neighborhoods were once connected by a network of streetcars, is now served by one light rail line and one subway line, which do not serve many of the city’s neighborhoods in East and West Baltimore. The Red Line has the potential to not only alleviate traffic and provide all the usual public transit benefits, but also to create connections between communities that are traditionally separate.

Aside from these potential benefits, one major drawback of the Red Line is that construction could dramatically disrupt life in the communities through which it is to pass. Construction is expected to begin in the next five years and could last up to five years after that. Sections of this town are going to be torn up, with traffic stopped or slowed and pedestrian access limited.

While many look at the construction period and see nothing but hassle and inconvenience, this kind of disruption also brings opportunities. We think we can take advantage of this period to create a unique, vibrant, productive urban space. Call it creative urban design, installation art, whatever: We have an opportunity to turn this construction period into an economic benefit, help open up conduits of travel and communication along the route, and potentially leave a lasting positive impact on the city.

The deadline for entries is June 3rd. For more information, CLICK HERE.

Light Rail And MARC Train Under Ehrlich

Light Rail And MARC Train Under Ehrlich

Michael Dresser, from the Baltimore Sun, has done some great sleuthing this week. First, we learned about about Robert Ehrlich’s intentions to scrap the Red and Purple Line if elected.  Dresser reported that, in a small business round table discussion in Montgomery County, Ehrlich explained that he planned to forgo planned light rail projects and instead spend money on the MARC commuter rail system.

Then, according to a post by Dresser today, “that got me to wondering about the relative levels of spending on MARC during the first Ehrlich term and the O’Malley years.”  -And what he discovered is indeed interesting.  In Ehrlich’s four years as Governor of Maryland he spent roughly half of what O’Malley will have spent on the MARC commuter rail system during his term in office.  For the post, CLICK HERE.

On a related note, Dresser also reported today that ridership on the MARC has set a new record.  “The Maryland Transit Administration says the commuter rail line recorded a new high in daily ridership in April with an average of 34,617 boardings a day — up 4.2 percent from the same month last year.”

The positive ridership report has many asking, -Isn’t it time to reinstate weekend communter rail service to the MARC train? -And who can really be relied upon to keep up the success of our commuter systems?


Ehrlich Wants To Scrap Red And Purple Line

Ehrlich To Scrap Red And Purple Line If Elected

According to an article in the Baltimore Sun today, Robert L. Ehrlich, former Maryland Governor and challenger to incumbent Governor Martin O’Malley, announced his intentions to scrap proposed light rail projects during a small business round table discussion in Montgomery County.

From the Baltimore Sun (excerpts):

Ehrlich told the group he would go back to his plan for high-speed buses on the Purple Line in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and be “open to ideas” about Baltimore’s Red Line. He said he would prefer to spend the money on the MARC commuter rail system and the Washington Metro — not on these new light rail lines.

The state has applied to the federal government for funding of the two transit lines  as light rail projects. If approved, the federal share of the cost would likely be 50 percent — leaving Maryland to raise  the other half. The O’Malley administration has put off any decision on funding until its hears from the Federal Transit Administration on whether it will approve either project.

For the full article, CLICK HERE.

Canton Screams NIMBY at Proposed Red Line.
April 27, 2009, 2:59 pm
Filed under: News | Tags: , , ,

Baltimore Red Line OppositionNot In My Back Yard!

That is what the residents of Baltimore’s upscale Canton neighborhood are saying in response to the proposed East-West Red Line light rail, which is the city’s current public transportation priority.

According to a recent article by Michael Dresser in the Baltimore Sun, Canton residents want the light rail to pass underground or not at all.  Dresser states that in the current plan, known as Alternate 4-C, “The line would run in a tunnel under downtown and Fells Point. But it would rise from the depths on Aliceanna Street and run on the surface along Boston Street – the broad avenue that separates the luxury waterfront development to the south from the trendy night spots and the Safeway and Starbucks on the north.”

Canton is organizing to oppose this plan and several residents Dresser interviewed shared their disapproval.  Dresser reports, “Ben Rosenberg, a lawyer who lives along the Canton waterfront, is convinced that Alternative 4-C would ‘debase’ if not ‘destroy’ his neighborhood.”

For the full Baltimore Sun article, CLICK HERE.