Here is my planned route for the trolley.
http://maps.google.c... ... 6358&msa=0
It would connect several popular neighborhoods and areas of the city that are lacking in reliable transit: Ft McHenry, Locust Point, Federal Hill, Inner Harbor, Harbor East, Fells Point and Canton. People who work in Federal Hill, Fells Point, and Canton work Downtown or in Harbor East could get there in about 10 mins. My sister makes the commute from Federal Hill to Harbor East daily and drives. It takes her around 30 mins to drive less than 2 miles.
Currently, the Charm City Circulator is enjoying success, however a connection is needed to get from Federal Hill to Harbor East/Fells Point. Despite it being free, the bus still has a negative connotation in Baltimore and transfers are always a pain, especially in bad weather. MTA buses, however, run at 30 min headways and can be dicey based on their unreliability and the people who use them. There are no singular routes that connect these neighborhoods, involving transfers as well.
The Red Line, a planned east-west LRT line is hung up in planning stages and resistance from Edmonson Village and Canton, place that will be impacted by its construction and the road space it will take up. Other critics complain about the street-level path it will take through those neighborhoods which will make it nothing more than a slower bus on tracks. A tunnel through downtown will be expensive and the failure to use the Charles Center platform that was built for a second transit line are also routinely cited. Add to that an estimated $2 billion price-tag that is bound to increase as most transit projects go over budget.
Streetcars have more than charm and romance going for them, however. At $10 million to $15 million per mile to build, they are 20 percent cheaper than light-rail and are scaled down to serve city centers or specific neighborhoods.
Read more: Return of the streetcar - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review http://www.pittsburg... ... z1n1vTkKBg
A trolley could serve the tourist and local market of Baltimore. Especially if it's a classic trolley, similar to what is used in New Orleans or San Francisco. If not, a modern trolley similar to what Portland has would suffice.
The question, as always, is who would pay for it? Based on the calculations above, it would cost $75-100 million (even that sounds low) just to lay the tracks, not including the costs for equipment and upkeep. However, if a private company could foot the bill, and charge $1-2 dollars a ride, I think this could be a huge success.
Cities like Washington DC, Portland, and Little Rock, are either building streetcar lines or maintaining lines. In Europe, cities like Lisbon, Vienna and Prague are jam-packed with trams and trolleys that are always crowded.
If Baltimore is looking for ways to revitalize it's downtown area and the Inner Harbor, why not build a streetcar line to take advantage of not only the tourist market, but the local market as well?