State transportation officials are asking the public’s input on seven proposed transit routes that would connect Towson to downtown Baltimore.
The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration has unveiled seven options for a new north-south transit line connecting Baltimore County to Baltimore City by light rail, bus or subway. The seven proposed “alternatives” were identified in a feasibility study completed in 2021. The assessment is one of the first of 30 transit corridors the agency will study as part of its 25-year regional transit plan to improve public transportation in central Maryland.
MDOT MTA encourages residents to compare options and provide feedback in an online survey available until November 3. Two public meetings to discuss the proposals will be held from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. on September 22 and October 3.
Towson and Baltimore are connected by four bus routes, including CityLink Red which is one of the busiest routes in the Baltimore service area, according to the MTA. Passengers also frequently use CityLink Green, Silver and LocalLink 52.
“The existing high ridership on these routes is one of many indicators that this is a corridor that would benefit from additional transit investment,” said MDOT MTA spokesman Paul Shepard. in a press release.
The agency wants to hear from passengers and residents about which areas need better access to public transportation and which mode of transportation they prefer. Public feedback is the first phase of the North-South Corridor Plan. Based on public feedback, the agency will narrow down proposals for inclusion in a more detailed study, which will identify where to place specific stations or stops and how to secure funding for a new transit line.
It would take at least five years to complete the planning, environmental review, design and construction of the north-south corridor once a route is chosen. The timing also depends on the availability of federal funds, according to MDOT MTA. “Local priorities and opinions will also help determine the future of the project,” Shepard said in a statement.
Of the seven options, four are bus lines, two are light rail lines, and one is a subway line. Five routes include travel on York Road and Greenmount Avenue.
- Alternative 1, represented by a pink line, is the Light Rail Transit from Lutherville Station in Baltimore County to the University of Maryland Medical Center. It runs on York Road and Greenmount Avenue and crosses the Orleans Street Bridge to connect to St. Paul Street. It ends at UMMC.
- Alternative 2, represented by a dark red line, follows the same route as Alternative 1 but is a rapid bus route rather than a light rail. It runs from Greenmount Avenue to Hillen and Gay streets, terminating at UMMC.
- Alternative 3, represented by a purple line, is a bus route from Towson to Harbor East, which runs on York Road and Greenmount Avenue. The route turns west at Greenmount Avenue to merge with St. Paul Street, taking Pratt Street to Harbor East.
- Alternative 4, represented by a light green line, is an underground subway line called Heavy Rail Transit, or Metro SubwayLink, which runs from Towson to Port Covington along York Road. It turns west to 33rd Street and St. Paul Street to reach Port Covington.
- Alternative 5, represented by a dark green line, is a bus route from Towson to Port Covington. It takes York and Greenmount Roads to connect west on 33rd Street and join St. Paul and Charles Streets. It ends in Port Covington.
- Alternative 6, represented by a blue line, is a light rail line from Lutherville Light Rail Station to Inner Harbor. It takes Goucher Boulevard southeast to Loch Raven Boulevard. It continues south to 25th Street and connects to St. Paul and Charles Streets, terminating at Otterbein.
- Alternative 7, represented by an orange line, is a bus route from Towson to Harbor East. It takes Joppa Road to connect to Loch Raven Boulevard and 33rd Street. It continues up St. Paul and Charles streets to Harbor East. This is the longest route among the options and has the most stations.