Why we don't need the Red Line

Your article claiming the Red Line will bring jobs to Baltimore is way off base when it comes to providing the kind of public transportation city residents most need ("Mayor, officials say Red Line will bring opportunities Baltimore residents demand," May 12).

If the mayor really wanted to speak to the challenges of the last few weeks, she would support an east-west streetcar service along the five miles of North Avenue, not the route proposed for the Red Line.


North Avenue streetcars could also be easily extended south into the central parts of the city along two wide avenues: Fulton Avenue on the west side and Broadway on the east side.

Streetcar lines along North Avenue, Fulton Avenue, and Broadway would serve many more neighborhood residents who don't own cars and depend on public transportation to get around.

Streetcars would be optimal for residents of central, West and East Baltimore who desperately need better public transportation that connects with multiple bus lines.

The Red Line, by contrast, is primarily designed to serve commuters, most of whom have their own cars. And it makes only two stops in the central part of West Baltimore — Harlem Park and Poppleton.

Streetcars, on the other hand, would make numerous and frequent stops along their routes.

Streetcars are less expensive and can be built faster and more easily than light rail systems such as the Red Line.

Many other cities around the U.S. know this and are adding streetcars. Like the Red Line, streetcars would also provide construction jobs to Baltimore residents. But more important than the short-term job benefits would be a neighborhood-based public transportation system to serve residents for generations to come.

Art Cohen, Baltimore