Our guest speaker was Lineta Duren from Baltimore Gas & Electric Community Engagement. She presented about BGE's opportunities for grants related to greening and energy savings. You can watch the meeting including her presentation in the video above.
PPNA does not currently have the bandwidth to apply for any additional grants at this time because we are administering other grants (more on that in a second). If you want to get a tree planted on your block, send an email to email@example.com. We will tell you what to do and connect you with other neighbors who are volunteering their time to make this happen.
Other Recent Activities
During the meeting, Ernest also updated the neighbors on recent activities that PPNA has been conducting. These include:
Arranging for Charm City Land Trust to buy vacant lots on Bradford Street to be kept as a green space in perpetuity
Replacing one of the little free libraries which had been torched by vandals. This time, the new library is fabricated from metal.
Facilitating string lighting projects.
And distributing funds for businesses to purchase security cameras (no pictures for this one because the cameras haven't been installed yet).
We've been busy!
The Red Line
The Maryland Transit Administration is continuing to prepare for construction of the Red Line and is actively taking feedback. The main decision right now is which one of three routes to take, whether it should be above ground or in a tunnel, and whether the mode of transit should be light rail or bus rapid transit. Normally, your PPNA board avoids telling you what to do, but in this case we strongly urge you to contact the MTA to advocate for light rail instead of bus rapid transit. The reasons for this are many (and were articulated during the meeting which you can watch in the recording above):
Bus Rapid Transit is not suitable for a large city. The best examples that MTA could come up with for other cities with BRT were Cleveland, Ohio and Richmond, Virginia. The populations of those cities are approximately 380,000 and 230,000 respectively whereas Baltimore's population is about 580,000.
By contrast, light rail is the transit of choice for Boston, Seattle, DC's Purple Line, San Francisco, Philadelphia, and Minneapolis-St. Paul.
BRT is still a bus system even if it is set apart from other traffic. This means it runs on buses which have more moving parts and less capacity than trains. MTA's own analysis shows that despite costing more upfront, light rail is more cost effective than bus rapid transit. Whereas a surface light rail route has an annualized cost per trip of $14, the equivalent BRT route will cost $18 -- over 28% more.
The only reason to choose Bus Rapid Transit is to save money in the near term. Essentially, BRT is a half-measure, and Baltimore has suffered from decades of underinvestment in its transit system. If Maryland is willing to fund the Purple Line in the DC metro region, it is only just to demand the same level of investment in Baltimore.
You can make your voice known by taking the MTA's survey. The survey will also ask you about other options including whether or not to build a tunnel. The PPNA board takes no position on those options, and you are free to vote for whichever you think is best. The survey will close on December 1.
For more information, we also encourage you to contact the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition.