Charles Village meets Hampden

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Youssef Mahmoud

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Aug 26, 2010, 10:41:46 AM8/26/10
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I recently moved to Charles Village and have a daily commute to Hunt Valley, for which I have started using the Light Rail.  Currently, I ride my bike from my house to the Woodberry stop.  However, when it's too cold, too hot, or too wet, I'd love to have an alternative to biking (I'm not that hardcore).  The Hampden Shuttle (MTA #98) stops just short of picking up Charles Village residents, and to my knowledge, there is no other bus that serves the Woodberry stop (22 misses it by a few LONG blocks).

Maybe my selfish desires are getting the better of me, but I can't help thinking I'm not the only one who could benefit from a truly local bus service that connects Woodberry, light rail, Hampden, Charles Village, and Waverly.  These neighborhoods have a lot to offer each other, and plenty of residents who don't have cars or at least don't like to use them all the time.

What do you think?  Would these neighborhoods benefit from an expanded local shuttle service?  Would you personally benefit from it?  Do you think there's any chance MTA would consider it?  If not them, then the city?  What should the price structure look like?

Jed Weeks

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Aug 26, 2010, 11:28:26 AM8/26/10
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I don't have much constructive to add, but a Hampden/CV/Mondawmin circulator or shuttle bug of some sort would be what I'd suggest. You could get folks over to the target and the Subway, the light rail, and JHU/Charles Village. I think either a $1.00 or $1.60 price point would be fine.

I'm moving up to Hampden from Greenmount West, and I'd personally love some more E/W connectivity.

PETER DUVALL

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Aug 26, 2010, 12:24:03 PM8/26/10
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I have a friend in Charles Village that took the light rail to work in Timonium for her last job.  I believe she rode the #11 to near the State Center Light rail stop.

--- On Thu, 8/26/10, Jed Weeks <jedw...@gmail.com> wrote:

Youssef Mahmoud

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Aug 26, 2010, 12:28:25 PM8/26/10
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I would feel dirty riding south to go north.  I know it's an option but I don't really like it.  Especially since then I have to sit through the driver change and the slower speeds on those hilly, windy tracks north of Mt Royal.  Anyway, I think this shuttle service would be a boon to the communities it serves, not just a way for me to get to the train station.

Gerald Neily

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Aug 26, 2010, 2:14:15 PM8/26/10
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Youssef, you could take the #27 bus on Howard Street northward up to Mount Washington.

If you did take the #11, you would get off at Maryland/Oliver, which is only one block from the UofB light rail stop.

Yes, both options are pretty ridiculous on their face.

The Hampden Shuttle Bug is a proven failure, and is only still around due to inertia and the political power of "neighborhood pride".

To function at their best, shuttle routes need to be longer than the MTA or the City have been willing to make them, and they need to be integrated into the system, which both agencies have a fatal aversion to doing. Loops are also bad, unless they are very tight.

Youssef, Dresser says you "like" the circulator. Aren't you the one who said the city should get rid of all non-essential services to lower taxes?

But then, there is the lady who said the shuttle was a "godsend" (Is Sheila Dixon god?) to allow her to ride up to Penn Station for coffee and a donut. That donut would be expensive if she had to pay $3.20 to the MTA for that round trip.

David Clark of the the MTA was interviewed by Dresser, but seemed oblivious to any desire to serve the short distance market despite the fact that the buses are already there.

Jamie, the 4% cut of the 20% parking tax that goes to the circulator would no doubt be absorbed into the general budget if it didn't go for the buses. Hopefully, it would then go to reduce some other more onerous tax.

Businesses do have a giant loophole to avoid this tax. All they have to do is give their employees free parking.

Unfortunately, now the city knows that if they don't pay for services like swimming pools anymore. They can simply shake down the private/nonprofit sector to pay for them. This will probably lead to increased city govt spending on stuff like the circulator.


Youssef Mahmoud

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Aug 26, 2010, 2:24:26 PM8/26/10
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I'm not sure I was ever so generic as to say that I "like" the circulator (do I like it or do I like-like it?).  What I said was that it is a reasonably well-run service that will probably only get better as they work the bugs out.  Do I think it should take priority over lowering property tax?  Absolutely not, but Dresser didn't really ask me a lot of questions so we never got into a discussion about its merits relative to other city needs.

James Hunt

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Aug 26, 2010, 2:53:24 PM8/26/10
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Not sure how close you are to Greenmount, but the 8 goes to the Lutherville Light Rail stop.

Slowly.

Youssef Mahmoud

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Aug 26, 2010, 2:55:11 PM8/26/10
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HAHA, at that point I might as well just ride my bike the whole way to work!

Nate

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Aug 28, 2010, 12:52:56 PM8/28/10
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My understanding is that the tax for the Circulator is specifically
dedicated to that function under law. Therefore, the City would have
to raise taxes independently of canceling the Circulator to utilized
the same amount of funds.

N
> > Slowly.- Hide quoted text -
>
> - Show quoted text -

Gerald Neily

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Aug 28, 2010, 2:23:51 PM8/28/10
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I'm pretty sure you're wrong, Nate. BCDOT's Jaimie Kendrick and Mark Brown have often commented on this on the record and they've been careful to make the impression of an earmarked tax without actually saying it is legally dedicated. And if you are right, that would mean the City is really stupid to unilaterally put restrictions on itself for no reason.

Nate

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Aug 29, 2010, 11:41:13 AM8/29/10
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AFAIK, the City had to get legislation in Annapolis, which lends
weight to the dedicated funding restriction. It makes sense for the
funds to be separate and dedicated so that it can't be robbed, or
simply becomes another part of the general funding stream simply taken
for granted.
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