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December 7, 2010

A fourth Charm City Circulator route considered

A fourth Charm City Circulator is being considered by the Baltimore Department of Transportation.

After Monday's story on the circulator's potential for barhopping, some readers wondered what was in the cards for the bus. 

Jamie Kendrick, deputy director of the Transportation Department, said the green line, which was supposed to have launched this September, should come online next spring.

The green line would connect City Hall, Harbor East, Fells Point and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Kendrick also added that a fourth line connecting downtown to Locust Point - Fort McHenry is under consideration to be launched in 2012 to coincide with the bicentennial of the War of 1812. 

With a patriotic nod, it is being internally called "the red-white-and-blue line."

Kendrick said there are currently no plans to extend hours for any of the lines, though occasionally, they are extended for special events.

Photo: Jeff Wile getting off a circulator at the Inner Harbor (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)

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Posted by Erik Maza at 10:01 AM | | Comments (29)
Categories: News


red = commie City hall
white = white people's Harbor East
blue = JH Hosiptal

Is that what you mean?

the red-white-and-blue line, would probably be the worst name for a bus line in history.

"Just thake the Red, White and Blue line to Roy's."

"Which busses do I take?'

"The RedWhiteandBlueone!"

"Who's on first?"

How about NOT forgetting about Canton!? We need a route down boston to at least DuBurns Arena.

don't worry Cantonite...this is why they are providing us with the god awful "red line" need to provide free sensible transportation to and from Canton. Who comes up with these ideas???

How about the Star Spangled Route, and paint it up with a 15 star - 15 striper livery

No surprise here. This was announced in March 2010.

They received stimulus money to extend it to Fort McHenry by 2012 for the War of 1812 Bi-Centennial celebration.

So that's why that route is the priority--it's funded.

Oh geez, here's another NIMBY Cantonite whining about light rail. You live in a city, get over it! Go move to Columbia if you want two guaranteed parking spots for your Lincoln Navigator and H3.

It's a stupid idea - just add a couple more buses to the Green Route and have it go all the way to Fort Ave - take the left, and go back and down Fort Ave and return down Charles.

Then add a new route down Fleet and Boston St.

Wow. What an iron clad argument Rusty. Thanks for spewing your wisdom all over the midnight sunners.

Interestingly enough, the original commentor sounds like they are proposing free transportation to Canton which I am sure the people you are railing against would be more inclined to fight then the Red Line.

We need a circulator line to Hampden!

maybe they should get the green line, that was supposed to be started over a year ago now, up and running before they start looking at adding more routes

Rusty Shackleford for mayor!!!!!!!!

Yes yes yes. Canton Canton Canton. We need a Charm Bus that goes to O'Donnel Square and the nursing home on Boston Street.

Just what a broke city needs, more free bus service to white neighborhoods that don't need them.

Someone should inform the transportation department that the city doesn't end at North Avenue anymore, and hasn't since the nineteenth century. A line running through Charles Village, Remmington, and Hampden would make a lot more sense than yet another line in South Baltimore. They might even be able to get Hopkins to chip in, as it would obviate the Hopkins shuttle. Don't get me wrong, I love Locust Point, but the current purple line already gets you to Federal Hill. From there it is a reasonable walk to the point...I know, because I've done it many times. The proposed fourth line would be largely redundant. It's time that the city starts waking up to the fact that North Baltimore is horribly undeserved when it comes to transportation. I know that all the rich Washingtonians are only interested in the areas by the water, but a lot of the city's historically nicer neighborhoods are in the north. And it's not like there is no night life or tourism here either. Parking in Hampden is definitely starting to get scarce during peak hours. It may not have reached Federal Hill/Fells Point proportions yet, but it is getting there.

What they need to do to save money is dump that free circulator water taxi if they aready haven't. Not sure if it went to Canton but that's not really what we had in mind.

You guys are forgetting that this is supposed to be a downtown circulator. It's not going to replace the MTA.

The Canton route to DuBurns Area is called the number 11 bus.

As a resident in Northeast Baltimore, I'd jump at the chance at taking public transportation other than the 19 bus. Maybe if Hopkins builds something in our part of town it will get done.

1) Why am I reading this in Maza's "Midnight Sun" instead of Dresser's "Getting There?"

2) Those of us who still drive here and there are already paying $2 an hour for metered parking instead of $1 an hour to pay for this Circulator, as I recall. Do we REALLY want to drive that to $3 or $4 an hour just to extend a few free bus lines? (I'm wagering that all of you who said "yes!" live along the Circulator route and don't drive much.)

I agree that if there is going to be a free bus, than it should be going to the most popular areas in the city, Canton being one of those areas. While it does not need to be replacing the MTA, it should provide options for those living in that area. The closest stop being about a mile or so from Canton square.
Additionally, disregarding views of the red line, that would not be free, and the point of the circulator is free transportation. As the wesbsite of the circulator says “The backbone of any great city is transportation.” This city does not have the most reliable transportation.

@Alexander - it's on Midnight Sun because peopel are using it to bar hop.

The real question is why does that Getting There blog even exist.

Mr. Mitchell,

The extension is being funded by Federal stimulus dollars. So I don't think you'll see the cost reflected in parking

And yes, you're paying more to drive around, and yes, I consider that a good thing.


The stimulus dollars are paying only for the acquisition of two additional buses themselves. The operating costs--the drivers, etc.--are paid for out of parking fees:
"In addition to the cost of the buses, the city also awarded a $30 million contract to Veolia to operate the shuttle service. The city is paying the tab for the buses and service from parking fees and impact fees paid by developers."

No offense to all you Cantonites, but Canton is not exactly the heart of the city. All of Baltimore's transit decisions don't have to revolve around you. If my neighborhood was getting a light rail line, I would be thrilled, even if it wasn't free and even if it meant a little less parking. As it is, the current light rail seems to go out of its way to miss my neighborhood, and every other sizable neighborhood in North Baltimore. The only criticism I've heard of the red line which seems really valid, is the fact that it doesn't connect with the current rail line via a hub.

@JAMES - oh right, Canton is only a huge chunck of the city's tax base, why should they want to be able to take advantage of one of the few perks this city provides

I'm not sure I agree a line going down to Ft McHenry fits with the spirit of this service, which was supposed to help the downtown area. I would use the extra buses to improve service on the existing lines and maybe extend the Purple to Fort and then extend the Green to a place where it intersects with the Purple.

A Circulator route down Locust Point makes a lot of sense. Currently, it is isolated from the rest of the city, but is growing.

It is serviced by a single bus route (the #1) which only has headways of 25-35 minutes. A circulator, which will only loop through downtown, will be a plus to anyone who wants to use that to commute. Plus it doesnt have to duplicate the mta service, just augment it.

It could serve as a boom to potential businesses in Locust Point, especially McHenry Row, and would be an alternative way for people to get to the parks and Fort McHenry.

I'm with Lissa here. The city should work on making MTA safer and more appealing for us yuppies. I ride MTA occasionally, but it's unreliable time-wise and if I'm out and about without having previously researched the bus lines, I'm stuck. People are consistently horrified that I ride it alone, but it's really not that bad. Instead of more Circulator routes, they should up the safety, PR and route maps/GPS time-to-wait indicators for MTA lines that run through popular areas.

kateebee, I agree with you. see my coment in the earlier post.

Funding for the Circulator is very limited for expansions: we aren't in a position to generate more from parking taxes when the economy is sour.

We need to convine the state that transit is a priority and should be better funded to increase frequency of MTA buses. I had advocated prior to the Circulator that the #61 should run on weekends and also at night at least every 20 minutes south of University Parkway. The #3 used to go all the way to Montgomery St and then got cut back to Conway during the ill-fated Greater Baltimore Bus Initiative (GBBI) during the Ehrlich admin.

What makes the Circulator REALLY work is the high frequency off-peak and at night. At these times, the MTA is simply too infrequent for most choice riders to bother with. The fact that it's free is secondary. The reason many people don't ride the bus isn't because it costs a $1.60.

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About Erik Maza
Erik Maza is a features reporter at the Baltimore Sun. He writes for several sections of the Sun paper and contributes weekly columns on music and nightlife. He also writes and edits the Midnight Sun blog. He often covers entertainment, business, and the business of entertainment. Occasionally, he writes about Four Loko, The Block, the liquor board, and those who practice "simulated sex with a potted palm tree." Before The Sun, he was a reporter at the Miami New Times. He's also written for Miami magazine, the Orlando Sentinel, the Sarasota Herald Tribune and the Gainesville Sun. Got tips? Gripes? Pitches? He's reachable at Click here to keep up with the dumb music he's listening to.

Midnight Sun covers Baltimore music, live entertainment, and nightlife news. On the blog, you'll find, among other things, concert announcements, breaking news, bars closings and openings, up-to-date coverage of crime in nightlife, new music, round-the-clock coverage of Virgin Mobile FreeFest, handy guides on bars staying open past 2 a.m. on New Year's Eve and those that carry Natty Boh on draft. Recurring features include seven-day nightlife guides, Concert News, guest reviews of bars and concerts, Wednesday Corkboard, and photo galleries, as well as reader-submitted photos. Thanks for reading.

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