At last week’s Canton Community Association meeting, Mary Colleen Buettner, the Southeast’s new community liaison for the Baltimore Red Line, gave an update on the proposed 14.1-mile rail line.
In a budget released last month, President Barack Obama requested $100 million for the Red Line in fiscal year 2015, as well as $100 million for Maryland’s Purple Line. Overall, both projects were recommended to receive $900 million each in total through the federal New Starts program.
“These were two of seven transportation projects nationwide (in the president’s budget),” Buettner said.
When and if a federal budget is passed, it will need the approval of the House of Representatives and Senate as well as the president.
Buettner also reported that the Maryland Transit Authority has chosen “Option 3” for the construction of the rail’s Boston St. portal—the point at which the train emerges from underground, near Boston St.’s intersection with Montford Ave.
Option 3 would keep two lanes of traffic on Boston St.—eastbound and westbound—open at all times through the approximate three years it would take to construct the portal and the temporary traffic accommodation measures.
Traffic would be pushed in phases to the north side of Boston St., the south side of Boston St., and the outer edges of Boston St. The cycle would repeat. Both eastbound and westbound traffic would be restricted to right turns only for the length of the portal construction. If a driver heading east on Boston St. wanted to go to Starbucks in the Can Company, for example, he would have to drive past the Can Company entrance and make a U-turn at Lakewood Ave.
Buettner said that the MTA is “looking to start construction in earnest” somewhere between late 2015 and early 2016. The Red Line would be open for revenue service in 2021 or 2022, she added.
A resident asked which portion of the rail would be constructed first. Buettner replied that the portion between the University of Maryland BioPark and the Boston St. portal would be the first to go out to bid.
“Specific phasing still has to be worked out,” she said.
by Erik Zygmont