Sunday, March 27, 2016

Building A Baltimore Transit System, One Tunnel At A Time

This article about putting restaurants and other retail establishments in the Columbus Circle station of the New York subway system made me think, once again, about the state of public transportation here in Baltimore, where we have two rail systems--a light-rail line that runs north-south and connects the city as well as the  northern and southern suburbs, and a subway system that connects the city with the northwestern suburbs.

Trouble is, they don't directly connect with each other.  And there's no reason that they couldn't, as each system has a station that is only a few hundred feet from the other.

Why not build an underground tunnel to connect those two stations (State Center on the subway, and Cultural Center on the light-rail), and fill it with retail, restaurants, and even London-style buskers? Why not use the revenue generated by such a tunnel toward reviving the Red Line, and using that revenue to pay for the state's portion of the project?  Why not then find ways to use the Red Line to generate more revenue, say, by installing solar panels at each station, with the money to be put toward further expansion of the rail system.  In time, Baltimore could stop being the largest city in the Northeastern United States without a public rail transit system.

This is the kind of thinking that needs a William Donald Schaefer, not a Larry Hogan.  If only we had someone who could say "Do it now!"  And get it done.

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