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Baltimore needs a transit plan

Your Sunday editorial deplores the untimely demise of Baltimore's Red Line and ponders how the community and state should proceed to address Baltimore's continuing mobility and unemployment problems ("Picking up the pieces after the Red Line," July 26).

This situation is reminiscent of a situation I faced in 1975 after having been appointed by newly-elected Colorado Gov. Richard D. Lamm to head up the Colorado State Department of Highways. Mr. Lamm had run as governor on a number of progressive platforms, one of them the elimination of an interstate beltway around Denver, I-470, because of the fear that it would lead to further suburban sprawl. But the governor didn't simply proceed to kill the project with no other way forward. Instead, he convened a study group comprised of 12 prominent citizens, half in favor of building the beltway and half opposed. The group together with agency staff met weekly for nearly a year, identified the needs for such a project, alternative ways of addressing the needs, impacts and costs of the alternatives and conducted numerous public meetings.

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Finally, a compromise plan was unanimously adopted by the group that was better and less costly than the original proposal. It essentially consisted of a more limited parkway with hiking and bikeway paths and a far smaller number of interchanges. The project was ultimately constructed with full community support and has brought traffic relief and recreational opportunities to the region. I'm certain that a similar effort in Baltimore, bringing together citizens and experts, perhaps under the guidance of the Maryland Department of Transportation and Baltimore Metropolitan Council and designed to explore alternative ways to improve transit mobility from West to East can result in a successful and cost-effective solution.

Jack Kinstlinger, Towson


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