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Capturing the Value of Transit

Mass Transit[Baltimore Spokes: What's wrong with this picture? Where's the congestion, air pollution? This can't be a vibrant city ... or can it?] image
A recent Denver Post story noted property values had increased 4 percent along the Southeast light rail line – the Post called it “the money train” – while declining by 7.5 percent regionwide. Portland’s Pearl District has seen property values increase more than 1,000 percent along its streetcar line since 2001, while Tampa has seen increases of up to 400 percent. Another recent study found property values along the light rail system in Dallas increased 50 percent from 2005 to 2007, noting that existing and planned development near stations would bring in an additional $127 million in tax revenues a year.
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MTA To Introduce Smart Cards In Baltimore Region

Mass TransitBALTIMORE -- The Maryland Transit Administration is aiming to introduce an automated fare card system by October.

But MTA will wait on its goal of making the service interchangeable with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's SmarTrip cards.

MTA spokeswoman Jawauna Greene said the two agencies weren't able to negotiate a revenue sharing agreement. She said the cards for Baltimore-area transit are compatible with the Washington cards and could be integrated in the future.

The cards store credits for fares on an embedded microchip. They will be accepted on MTA's core services: buses, light rail and the Metro subway, but not on MARC trains or commuter buses.

MTA customers would pay an upfront charge for a card and would add value to it by depositing cash at MTA machines around the region.
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Baltimore's transit 15 minute frequency of service map

Mass TransitAll Baltimore transit lines with sub-15 minute headways throughout most of the day.

<a href="http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&amp;hl=en&amp;msa=0&amp;msid=106427532364582407228.000469332a9f785119d44&amp;ll=39.336953,-76.629467&amp;spn=0.083644,0.164623&amp;z=13&amp;mid=1241616694">http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&amp;hl=en&amp;msa=0&amp;msid=106427532364582407228.000469332a9f785119d44&amp;ll=39.336953,-76.629467&amp;spn=0.083644,0.164623&amp;z=13&amp;mid=1241616694</a>;
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Poverty, health and transit riders

Mass TransitA number of recent studies do show that high quality public transit service can improve public health by:
* Reducing per capita traffic fatalities (residents of cities with high quality public transit have about a quarter of the per-capita traffic fatality rates as residents of more automobile-dependent communities)
* Increasing physical activity (people who use public transit on a particular are about 3 times more likely to achieve the basic amount of walking required for public health as people who drive and do not use public transit)
* Increased affordability and therefore less stress and more money left in the household budget for healthy food and other necessities (residents of cities with high quality public transportation spend about 20% small portion of household budgets on transportation, and this effect is probably larger for lower-income households)
* Improved accessibility for non-drivers, and therefore less difficulty reaching medical services and healthy food. These factors cannot overcome other demographic and economic factors that reduce poor people's health, but it does suggest that everybody, particularly poor people, are much better off in a transit oriented community than in an automobile-dependent community.
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Downtown Circulator

Mass TransitThe Baltimore City Department of Transportation today announced the launch of the first leg of a coordinated land and water downtown circulator cost free service featuring a cross-harbor water taxi for commuters, residents, and tourists.

The “Water Taxi Harbor Connector” will begin service on Monday, May 4th between the water taxi dock at Frederick Douglass-Isaac-Myers Maritime Museum (Maritime Park) in Fells Point and the Tide Point Pier in South Baltimore. This fare free service will operate approximately every fifteen minutes from 7:00 AM to 7:00 PM, Monday through Friday.

The Water Taxi Harbor Connector will operate on a “ping-pong” basis with no intermediate stops. A second “Water Taxi Harbor Connector” route is planned to begin operations in late summer providing service, between Canton Water Front Park and Tide Point.
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Public Transit Users Three Times More Likely To Meet Fitness Guidelines

Mass Transit...
The study, published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, finds that people who take public transit are three times more likely than those who don't to meet the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada's suggested daily minimum of physical activity.
...
According to the study, people who drove the most were the least likely to meet the recommended level of physical activity.

&quot;The idea of needing to go to the gym to get your daily dose of exercise is a misperception,&quot; says Frank, the J. Armand Bombardier Chairholder in Sustainable Transportation and a researcher at the UBC Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. &quot;These short walks throughout our day are historically how we have gotten our activity. Unfortunately, we've engineered this activity out of our daily lives.&quot;
...
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Medical benefit of public transit

Mass Transit-&gt; &quot;Use of public transit is associated with more walking, by about 8.3 extra minutes per day. This is not enough walking to halt the spread of obesity, but it could substantially reduce it. The present value of medical expenditure savings per person could be $5500, while the value of reduced disability could be even greater.&quot;
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Mikulski Fiddles with Car Tax Credits While Transit Burns

Mass Transitimage Photo by Voxefx via Flickr
Maryland state lawmakers re-added a $10 million tax break for car purchases at the final stage of their budget negotiations. Legislators had previously decided to remove the credit to help shore up Maryland’s finances until Senator Barbara Mikulski pushed to reinstate it. Mikulski inserted a similar provision into the federal stimulus bill earlier this year.

What could Maryland do with $10 million besides further incentivize people to buy new cars that most of them don’t need? With just half that money, they could restore transit cuts in the DC region. Those cuts threaten to cut off vital service to many residents who don’t have alternatives, or will drive many Marylanders to commute by car instead of transit, increasing traffic, pollution and parking problems. DC and most Virginia jurisdictions came up with extra money to stave off most of their proposed cuts to Metro service, but Maryland remains $4.8 million behind. The other half of the $10 million could restore previous cuts or improve service in Baltimore.
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Follow the Money -- A New Direction for Transportation in Maryland

Mass TransitPanelists:
Secretary John Porcari, Maryland Department of Transportation
Michael Burke, Projects Director for U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin
Ilana Preuss, Outreach and Field Director, Transportation For America
Klaus Philipsen, ArchPlan Inc.

When Thursday, April 02, 2009
4 PM - 6 PM

Where Pier 5 Hotel
711 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21202
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Mass Transit priority for high speed car access not bike/ped

Mass TransitFrom the Gazette about the Shady Grove Metro Station and bike path in Rockville:
...
Johnston said the county\'s Department of Transportation felt there was a need to build the path based on \&quot;worn pathways\&quot; they had seen in the area and community suggestions.

\&quot;We always want to make it easy for people to get to transit centers and this seemed like a very good investment in order to do that,\&quot; he said.

The project had originally included a 200-foot spur that would provide a connection from the path to the Metro station, but Johnston said the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) asked that that part of the project not be built.

Angela Gates, a spokeswoman for WMATA, said in an e-mail message to The Gazette Tuesday morning that Metro decided against the spur for safety reasons.

\&quot;Ultimately, Metro directed the county not to include the crossings because the north-south arterial section of the access road is high-volume with moderate, then accelerating speed,\&quot; she wrote. \&quot;It would be unsafe and inefficient to have a bike path crossing and speed humps across the arterial. Pedestrians and bicyclists can use the existing crossing of the east-west section of the access road.\&quot;

Gates wrote that Metro would consider a bike path crossing of the access road \&quot;if and when Shady Grove Metrorail station facilities are transformed into a transit-oriented development with a grid network of roadways.\&quot; [Baltimore Spokes translation: We\'ll hang onto the old school of thought of not accommodating bike/peds as long as we can and not make it any easier for them.]
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