Phase II – Case Studies

Case Studies – Phase 2

Case Study No. 1: Kirk Avenue Bus Yard

Problem Setting and Description:

The Kirk Avenue bus yard has been a point of contention between the surrounding community and the MTA for some time. The primary complaint has to do with noise and emissions impacts from operations at the yard on the community. The Nov. 5 visit to the site occurred at mid-day, and hence did not reveal a level of activity that would outwardly appear problematic. The bus lot sits in a transitional setting between industrial land uses to the north and east, and residential neighborhoods that seem to have somewhat receded over time on the west and south. What is not clear, of course, is the extent to which operations at Kirk Avenue have directly caused the decline of the neighborhoods.

Case Study No. 2: Public Involvement in US 40/Red Line Corridor

Problem Setting and Description:

The planning process being led by the State for the proposed new Red Line, while generally touted as “exemplary”, appears to have failed to produce high-level community support for the project. Reportedly, the communities in the corridor fear that the BRT and LRT alternatives being considered will not have a positive impact on their situations. Both alternatives are surface systems (not subway), and raise the concern that they will contribute to traffic problems, both during construction and later in operation. A similar type of response has been received in conjunction to the State’s proposal to consider a TOD project at the West MARC station. A recent set of workshops put on by MDOT and MTA drew mainly negative reaction from the community, sufficient that the state has softened its plans to continue the process. The primary concern of the community with the TOD plan is the fear of displacement of existing residents to make way for new and higher-priced housing. Also having an historic tie to these discussions is the long abandoned “highway to nowhere” project along US 40, which destroyed neighborhoods in its path and, ultimately, has served no useful purpose. An interesting twist is that this highway segment may play an important role as right of way in one or more of the proposed Red Line alternatives. This connection between past and present “bad experiences” argues for a case study focused on the public’s role and voice in major transportation and land use planning decisions in the Red Line/US 40 Corridor.

Case Study No. 3: Quality and Adequacy of Transit Service – Lexington Market

Problem Setting and Description:

Lexington Market is not only one of Baltimore’s major attractions for residents and visitors alike, but it is also unofficially one of the major transit hubs in the region. Participants in the Community Workshops identified concerns related to changes in bus service at the Market, most particularly the movement of established bus stops from the entrance to the market to adjacent intersections. It was alleged that this change in service occurred without consultation of the riding public, most of who are minority/low-income individuals who rely on transit to shop at the market. It was suggested that movement of the stops is a major inconvenience to bus users, many of whom may be carrying bags of groceries and shepherding small children, adding additional walking time/distance, and exposing them to additional vehicle traffic, weather, and pollution.

Case Study No. 4: Quality and Adequacy of Transit Service – Cherry Hill

Problem Setting and Description:

At one time Cherry Hill was heralded for its comprehensive display of locally based social welfare, health services, new schools, fire station and a public library. That said, Cherry Hill today is noted for social problems, housing decay and slow progress in achieving quality of life standards.

The Cherry Hill Homes Tenant Council, under the guidance of Shirley Folksy, has recognized the important relationship between housing and transportation. The Tenant Council has played an important leadership role in getting the concerns of Cherry Hill residents included in the planning process. The following community concerns were identified by residents at a June 2004 BREJ&T Listening Session at the Cherry Hill Public Library.