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:
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"). As it moves to improve public transportation along North Avenue, it should explore LOCATING A MODERN STREETCAR DOWN THE MIDDLE OF NORTH AVENUE!
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:
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:
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.
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).