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Based in Baltimore, Maryland

Website last updated on: FEBRUARY 21, 2017

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.
Here are some of their defining characteristics according to the most recent US Census data:
  • 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 is optimally located to serve the public transit needs of many persons living and working in many parts of Baltimore City!

NOW IN 2017, WE NEED TO LOOK FORWARD AND 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 truly public transportation system to look and function like in the next fifty years? Only after we will have developed a detailed vision for our future public transportation will we be in the position to plan, design, build, operate, and maintain it - AND find the ways to pay for all this. The young people of Baltimore City are essential to all the work needed to be done on this detailed vision. They need to have reliable, interconnected public transportation to get to work, school, shopping, health care, recreation, and visiting around town. And in fifty years, when they are elderly, they will be among those who will need to depend the most on public transportation.

On November 8 of last year - 2016 - the voters of Baltimore City chose Catherine Pugh as their next Mayor and the 15 members of their City Council to represent them over the next four years. These are our local political representatives who must provide the leadership needed to greatly improve Baltimore's public transportation 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 West North Avenue Streetscape and the East 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)

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.

If so, you can send them to us by pressing

NAME (alphabetical - USA first)



Brookville Equipment Corporation

Brookville, PA


Diversity Matters

Canisteo, NY


Gomaco Trolley Company (heritage trolleys)

Ida Grove, IA


United Streetcar (recently went out of business)

Portland, OR


Bombadier Transportation






Hitachi Rail



Kawaski Rail Car



Nippon Sharyo






Siemens Industry









Sumitomo Corporation






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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