A streetcar named Baltimore, hon

The efforts of the Baltimore Streetcar Campaign, a grassroots group, to attract support for a streetcar line from the Inner Harbor to University Parkway give me hope for the city and reminds me of what citizens groups have done (and not been able to do) in the past ("The Interview: Robin Budish, community organizer for Baltimore Streetcar Campaign," Feb. 4).

In the 1940s and1950s, small groups (mostly streetcar riders) were unable to stop the destruction of the Baltimore Transit Company's streetcar lines as they were systematically demolished by the highway lobby, which had gained control of the company.

But in the 1970s, hundreds from all over the city fought to save Baltimore from death by freeway. We did not win all those battles, but we did manage to save Fells Point, the Inner Harbor, and Leakin Park from execution by concrete.

Now, Baltimore is suffering from its lack of streetcars to provide first-class transportation, encourage development and improve air quality. The Red Line may help a little, although it won't be a streetcar line but a "light rail" line. That means widely spaced stops and much of it placed in tunnels, which increases journey time and makes it much more expensive to build and to operate.

I wish the Baltimore Streetcar Campaign group lots of luck. They will need it to overcome the opposition of those who do not share their vision.

George Tyson, Baltimore

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