Larry Hogan shelved the Red Line earlier this year, saying he would develop his own transit plans for Baltimore. On Thursday, the Maryland governor said that he is focusing on upgrading the city’s bus system.
Hogan unveiled the BaltimoreLink system, which consists of revamped bus routes. The 12 color-coded routes are designed to connect with light rail, subway and other forms of existing transit in the city. The new bus routes will feed into six “transit hubs” targeted around main stops on those other forms of transit.
They’re also designed to move faster. The state wants to build “transit ways” running north-south and east-west that provide direct routes for buses. They also plan to invest in “transit signal priority” technology, which holds green lights for approaching buses.
The plan will also look to bring bikes and car shares into the fold, with an additional 30 trips featuring bike cars on the MARC, more bike racks throughout the system and 23 “targeted car share locations” around the area.
The plan will include an additional $135 million investment on top of the $2.8 billion the state already spends on the city’s transit system, Hogan said.
Some of the provisions of the plan, such as improvements to east-west bus service, will begin within days, but the Republican governor said he would need help from the city.
The entire plan could be fully implemented by June of 2017, but it will require close cooperation and collaboration between the state and the city to bring it fully to fruition in a timely fashion,” Hogan said.
As if to underscore the potential roadblocks, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake did not attend the announcement. However, mayoral candidates like State Sen. Catherine Pugh and Councilman Carl Stokes did attend, as well as City Council President Bernard “Jack” Young.
Baltimore Fishbowl will have more as we digest the full plan.