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Based in Baltimore, Maryland
ENGAGED IN PUBLIC TRANSIT ADVOCACY


Website last updated on: August 5, 2017



TODAY IN 2017, WE CAN FIND WAYS TO BETTER SERVE THOSE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS WHO DEPEND ON PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION, MANY OF WHOM LIVE IN THE NEIGHBORHOODS OF EAST BALTIMORE AND WEST BALTIMORE. WE NEED TO DARE TO DREAM: What do we want our public transportation system to look and function like in the next fifty years?

Only after we have developed a detailed vision for our future public transportation will we be in the position to plan, design, build, operate, maintain AND find the ways to pay for it. This means including and interconnecting all modes of transportation: Metro, light rail, bus, modern streetcar, van, bicycle, and water taxi. It also means making our city more walkable.

It is essential that the young people of Baltimore City be engaged in this visioning process. What is planned and built will be used now and eventually inherited by them. The goal is to have frequent and reliable public transportation throughout Baltimore City and the metropolitan area to get to and from work, school, shopping, health care, recreation, and visiting around town. Ways can be found to engage Baltimore City young people not just in the visioning of public transit, but in planning, designing, building, operating, maintaining and cooperatively owning parts of the public transit system!



Wireless streetcar made by Bombardier

In recent years, considerable innovation has led to modern streetcars WITHOUT OVERHEAD WIRES. There are three basic means:

1) Ground level power supply;
2) Onboard energy storage system; and
3) Onboard power generation system.


There is every reason to consider using this kind of new, advanced techology here in Baltimore along all five miles of North Avenue - making unnecessary the installation and use of unsightly and sometimes troublesome catenary (overhead) wires. Here are two examples of such a wireless streetcar - the one in the photo above is made by Bombardier in Canada; the one in the photo directly below is on the street in Nice, France:

Wireless streetcar in Nice, France

Lots of new developments are being planned with and for NORTH AVENUE. There is BaltimoreLink and its proposed new bus routes; there is the East North Avenue Corridor LINCS (Leveraging Investment in Neighborhood Corridors); there is the Baltimore National Heritage Area; and there are the East North Avenue Streetscape (currently under construction) and the Conceptual Plan for the West North Avenue Streetscape. Finally, there is the federal TIGER grant project "North Avenue Rising".

However, "NORTH AVENUE RISING" is missing one important thing: Five miles of modern streetcar line (shown here imposed on a graphic used for "North Avenue Rising").

Here is a visualization of what the North Avenue Modern Streetcar line might look like, showing the many current and planned features of North Avenue:
Visualization of possible North Avenue Modern Streetcar line in Baltimore City

WHAT IF we invested in a MODERN STREETCAR LINE on NORTH AVENUE? North Avenue has been called the central east-west spine of this city! This could be good for its neighborhood residents who depend on public transportation, and also good for existing and new businesses. Already, the Metro and Light Rail intersect with North Avenue, as do many bus lines! The new streetcar line could look like this:

Modern streetcar proposed for North Avenue in Baltimore City

Now, in the second decade of the 21st Century, why not build a modern streetcar line from one end to the other of NORTH AVENUE? This major east-west avenue in Baltimore is either intersected by or crossed by 89 other streets, at least twenty of which are major streets! North Avenue passes through four City Council Districts: 7, 11, 12, and 13! Streetcars along North Avenue would open up many new opportunities for the residents and merchants around the major Penn-North intersection, for the students at Coppin State University, for the artistic and music community centered around Station North, for the many residents living around Greenmount and North and Broadway and North. After the NORTH AVENUE STREETCAR is going east and west, efforts could be made to cover the north-south routes on the west side with a FULTON AVENUE STREETCAR and on the east side with a BROADWAY STREETCAR. If these two additional routes were built, they would also pass through City Council Districts 1 and 9.

Modern streetcars proposed for North Avenue, Fulton Avenue, and Broadway in Baltimore City

Streetcars have a great reputation in Portland, Oregon - and are also in use in Boston, MA; Little Rock, AR; New Orleans, LA; Memphis, TN; Philadelphia, PA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Tampa, FL; Toronto, ONT; and many other cities and towns. A big new streetcar line plan was announced just this month for New York City from Brooklyn to Queens near the East River. For more information about all of this, see
the list of modern streetcars by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA)
.



This is a call to communities all along North Avenue - "from Milton to Hilton" (passing through four City Council Districts - the 7th, 11th, 12th, and 13th): Which communities want to join us on the NAMS team?

One out of every 13 Baltimore city residents [47,543] lives in the 18 census tracts ranged right along both sides of North Avenue.

In addition to many neighborhood associations and businesses, here are some examples of other STRONG COMMUNITY ASSETS located right along North Avenue, from Milton to Hilton:
  • Coppin State University

  • Innovation Village

  • Arch Social Club

  • Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA)

  • Station North Arts and Entertainment District

  • Impact Hub

  • Headquarters for Baltimore City Public Schools

  • East North Avenue Streetscape

  • The National Great Blacks in Wax Museum

  • Courthouse Square

  • Columbus School Apartments
According to the most recent US Census data, here are some of the defining characteristics of the 47,000 residents who live along North Avenue:
  • 3 out of 10 commute to work using public transportation.

  • Almost half of them do not own an automobile.

  • Almost 1 out of 5 are disabled.

  • 1 out of 8 are 65 years old or older.

  • 1 out of 5 are under 18 years of age.

  • 1 out of 5 has income of less than $10,000 per year.

  • 2 out of 5 receive Food Stamps or SNAP.

  • Almost 1 out of 3 have incomes below the Federal Poverty Level.

  • Almost 2 out of 5 of those under 18 have incomes below the Federal Poverty Level.

  • 4 out of 5 are African-American.
This is clearly a group of Baltimore residents who could benefit substantially from greatly-improved public transportation.

And, North Avenue itself is optimally located to serve the public transit needs of many persons living and working in many parts of Baltimore City!




Here below is a beginning, tentative list of manufacturers of modern streetcars in the USA and around the world. NAMS welcomes any suggestions you may have to add to, correct, or modify this list.

ANY SUGGESTIONS?
If so, you can send them to us by pressing
here
.


NAME (alphabetical - USA first)

BUSINESS CENTER

NATIONALITY

Brookville Equipment Corporation

Brookville, PA

USA

Diversity Matters

Canisteo, NY

USA

Gomaco Trolley Company (heritage trolleys)

Ida Grove, IA

USA

United Streetcar (recently went out of business)

Portland, OR

USA

Bombadier Transportation

Multinational

Canada

CAF

Multinational

Spain

Hitachi Rail

Multinational

Japan

Kawaski Rail Car

Multinational

Japan

Nippon Sharyo

Multinational

Japan

REO

Multinational

Germany

Siemens Industry

Multinational

Germany

Škoda 10T

Multinational

Czechoslovakia

Solaris

Multinational

Poland

Stadler

Multinational

Switzerland

Sumitomo Corporation

Multinational

Japan

TALGO

Multinational

Spain




North Avenue near Pennsylvania Avenue
Plan View of North Avenue and Baltimore City - Google Earth.


North Avenue near Pennsylvania Avenue
Some major north-south streets which cross North Avenue.


North Avenue near Pennsylvania Avenue
Looking west down North Avenue toward Pennsylvania Avenue
[Baltimore City, 2014]


North Avenue at the Station North District between Charles St and Maryland Ave
Looking at the Station North District in the area between Charles Street and Maryland Avenue [Baltimore City, 2014]


Looking from North Avenue south down Broadway
From North Avenue, looking south down Broadway [Baltimore City, 2014]


From up on the Jones Falls Expressway, looking west on North Avenue
From atop the Jones Falls Expressway, looking west along North Avenue [Baltimore City, 2007]



Public engagement in transportation planning Social Justice for West Baltimore

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This website was first opened in October 2006.

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