Red Line would bring tourists to Fell’s Point, Canton
To the Editor:
I am not entirely clear based on your article as to the motives of the two politicians who suddenly want to change the entire concept of the Red Line. (Editor’s note: See “Ferguson and Hammen discuss Red Line alternative with Hogan team,”) Are they really concerned about costs, or do they just simply want to eliminate a project that would make it easier and more convenient for minority citizens of Baltimore to access Fell’s Point and Canton?
As a resident of Canton, I have been very much looking forward to having the Red Line here. Our bus service to downtown Baltimore is very spotty. I frequently wait more than 15 minutes for the bus, and on occasion have waited 50 minutes. In addition to convenient and reliable transport to Harbor East, Fell’s Point and the Inner Harbor, the Red Line as it is proposed would bring more tourists to those areas. A streetcar line circling the harbor would be a boon for tourists and the money they bring to town.
The new Republican governor is on record as opposed to mass transit solutions, including the Red Line and Purple Line. He supports more, wider highways. In other words, more of the same solutions we’ve been using for the past 40 years. He appears to share the ideas of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who killed a desperately needed new Hudson River tunnel for Amtrak and commuter rail.
Go to Asia or Europe to see how far behind the U.S. is in mass transit. In most urban areas in Europe, car ownership is totally unnecessary. Reliable metro, street car, light rail and bus solutions provide convenient transport every 10 minutes, and in many cases, every 5 minutes. And now that we have Lyft, Uber, and Zipcar, even more people would be willing to forego the headaches of car ownership. We could have been entirely energy independent years ago if we had followed through with more and better mass transit after the Arab Oil Embargo of the 70s.
Concerns that federal support is insufficient or might fall through based on the new Republican majorities in the Senate and House are wildly speculative. Besides, if the Republicans continue on the path of angry opposition to every solution requiring government action, and possibly shutting down the government again, those majorities will no longer exist in two more years.
More and wider highways are no longer the solution. Mass transit is the solution. And convenient service to Canton, Fells Point and Harbor East, which have recently and will continue to have enormous growth in housing units, would be a huge boon to those areas. We should not allow the new governor and his Republican cohorts take us back in time to solutions that didn’t work then, and are not working now.