The Day You Became a Red Line Convert
June 17, 2013 5 Comments
Image source: Ekus Manfredi Architects
Traffic is going to create Red Line supporters. You may support the Red Line because you got a job working on the project or like the idea of not having to move your parked car, but your conversion will probably be a day when you and your car (or bus) do not make it through the traffic light cycle on President, Fleet, or Aliceanna Streets. Baltimoreans will realize the existing streets cannot support the amount of traffic on the way. If it hasn’t happened to you already, it is coming. It might be at rush hour, or when a festival is happening, or an event, or when there is a game at the ball park that is causing the delay. When it happens, you will be aggravated and you will wonder, “Is there any other way? “
It (traffic) is going to get worse, a lot worse. Baltimore City as a whole might be treading population water, but the southeast waterfront neighborhoods are booming with development and downtown is adding many residents. It will mean a lot more people (cars) on the same sclerotic streets we have now.
The impetus for Red Line conversions are going to happen at our clogged intersections. When we put on our “look into the near future glasses” we see:
Thousands more downtown residents (Mechanic site redevelopment pictured below) one of many downtown projects in the works
A full Union Wharf
A bustling Marketplace at Fells Point
A built out Canton Crossing
And of course, the granddaddy of them all, the 2.9 million square feet Harbor Point traffic Armageddon.
All of the above projects will be finished or in progress before the Red Line even breaks ground. All these and future projects will increase traffic. When we put on our 2021 glasses, the year the Red Line is expected to be operational; all evidence points to SE Baltimore being a far denser and economically more important than it is 2013. People are often arguing about the Red Line based on 2013 transportation needs. That is unfortunate. The Red Line is about what we need to do today to be ready for 2021. Between today and 2021, there will be a lot of aggravated people stuck in intersections who will become Red Line converts. Hopefully, we are wise enough in 2013 to keep the project on track!