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Maryland Transit Agencies Release Likely Red Line Paths

Maryland's transportation agencies released maps depicting potential paths for a renewed Red Line transit project along with alternatives to the original fixed-rail proposal that some developers and landlords supported as a missing link in an inadequate transit system hindering demand for commercial real estate.    

The preliminary alternatives include options for light rail transit and bus rapid transit modes and tunnel construction options. The state released the maps on Thursday and announced four additional open house meetings in November where the state plans to discuss the proposals with residents.   

“The maps of the preliminary alternatives and other information will help stakeholders come to our November open houses fully prepared with questions and comments to keep the Red Line project moving forward,” Maryland Transit Administrator Holly Arnold said in a statement. 

A map depicting the potential path of a renewed Red Line transit project.

The alternatives are three routes dubbed maximum tunnel, maximum surface north and maximum surface south. Each path also has options for a light rail or bus rapid transit line. 

Gov. Wes Moore announced in June that his administration planned to revive the proposed Red Line project connecting western Baltimore County with East Baltimore

The $2.9B project had been in the works for roughly a decade when Moore's predecessor, former Gov. Larry Hogan, nixed it in 2015 shortly after taking office and calling the Red Line a “boondoggle.”

“Government left the city of Baltimore and the Baltimore region and the dreams of the people here behind,” Moore said during the news conference in June announcing plans to restart the state's pursuit of building the Red Line. “Well, today I stand here to say that right now, our state is ready to do big things again.”

Hogan's decision to scrap the Red Line, which already had federal and state dollars allocated for its construction, angered activists and developers alike who have long contended the city's underwhelming transit system hinders economic development.  

One of the major functions envisioned for the Red Line is to bolster transit-oriented development. Backers also contend it would offer better connectivity between disinvested West Baltimore neighborhoods with job centers such as downtown, Harbor Point and Johns Hopkins Hospital. 

Some Baltimore developers have argued for years the city's inadequate mass transit system creates a hurdle to luring tenants to assets ranging from office space to retail.    

Cross Street Partners founder Bill Struever, who is redeveloping Baltimore's Penn Station via a joint venture with Beatty Development Group called Penn Station Partners, previously told Bisnow the JV tried to use that project to leverage transit investment elsewhere and to encourage elected officials to improve what he called Baltimore's “discombobulated, fragmented transit system.”

“We're hopeful that this kind of intense focus on improving transit will continue,” Struever said.


Maximum Tunnel: This alignment mimics the Red Line path from 2015 and includes Cooks Lane and Downtown Tunnel. This route runs from Security Boulevard to Interstate 70, Cooks Lane, Edmondson Avenue, Route 40, Freemont Avenue, Lombard Street, Fleet Street and Boston Street. 

Maximum Surface North: This alignment follows Security Boulevard, Cooks Lane, Edmondson Avenue, Route 40, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Baltimore and Lombard streets couplet, President Street, Eastern Avenue and Fleet Street couplet. 

Maximum Surface South: This alignment follows Security Boulevard, Cooks Lane, Edmondson Avenue, Route 40, Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, Pratt Street, President Street, Eastern Avenue/Fleet Street and Boston Street. 

The Maryland Transit Administration said it is considering several alignment options connecting the Brewers Hill/Highlandtown area to Bayview for all three routes. 


•     6-9 p.m. Nov. 2 at Woodlawn High School, 1801 Woodlawn Drive, Gwynn Oak, Maryland 21207.

•   10 a.m.-1 p.m. Nov. 4 at University of Maryland, Baltimore, SMC Campus Center, 621 West Lombard St., Baltimore, Maryland 21201.

•    6-9 p.m. Nov. 8 at Greektown Square and Event Center, 700 Quail St., Baltimore, Maryland 21224.

•    6-9 p.m. Nov. 9 at  Edmondson Westside High School, 501 North Athol Ave., Baltimore, Maryland 21229.