Charles Street trolley idea looks like a non-starter
Eliminate the Purple Route of the Charm City Circulator in favor of a Charles Street trolley? The idea is being kicked around in Baltimore circles, but it has the smell of a non-starter to me.
Kristin Speaker of the Charles Street Development Corp. told me this week that one of the ideas the group is looking at for the proposed Charles Street trolley service is to introduce a route from the Inner Harbor Visitors Center to University Parkway. Meanwhile, the Purple Route of the Charm City Circulator would be abolished.
This would manage to extend service to Charles Village -- a worthy goal -- but at the expense of lopping off the Federal Hill-Cross Street Market end of the Purple line.
If South Baltimore can't manage to organize to quash that bizarre idea, I'm very wrong about that part of town. Proponents can expect to be haunted by the ghost of Harry McGuirk.
Here's a modest suggestion to the Charles Street folks: Scrap this idea before it can get off the drawing board. Don't seriously propose an idea that pits neighborhood against neighborhood.
Why not run the trolley between Penn Station and Charles Village, using the train station as a transfer point? A shorter line is easier to keep on schedule. Or have a modest overlap of the two routes between Saratoga or Fayette and Penn Station. That would in effect double the number of buses iin the central section of the corridor -- not a bad thing.
Or the Charles Street trolley could venture a little off that street to take in the transit hubs of the State Center Metro and Cultural Center light rail stations as well at Penn Station. There you have instant connectivity between Charles Viilage and parts of the city and suburbs that are inconvenient now.
One thing you don't need in a city shuttle service is long, strung-out routes such as those operated by the MTA. And the simple elegance of the current Purple Route is worth preserving. Back to the drawing board, Charles Street folks.