The unique structure of the Maryland Transit Administration leaves local stakeholders out of decision-making.
A new report from the Eno Center for Transportation highlights the unique nature of the governance of Baltimore's transit system, the only one of the country's 50 largest state-run transit agencies to operate without a board of directors or local funding. Depending exclusively on federal and state funds, writes Alex Holt in Greater Greater Washington, makes Baltimore "uniquely vulnerable to the whims of each passing Maryland governor."
The report strongly recommends reform, emphasizing the importance of transit governance in determining a system's responsiveness to community needs. Governed by a single administrator, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) finds itself at a disadvantage when competing with other state agencies and regions (including the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area) for funding and support. The structure also gives the governor the power to make important decisions about local transit without additional oversight. With transit projects often needing up to a decade to get off the ground, leaving decisions up to governors means many projects get scrapped or forgotten as administrations change.
To remedy the situation, the report presents three possible solutions modeled on Boston, Pittsburgh, and Minneapolis. The suggestions include establishing transit oversight boards, installing a state-level board of directors, and forming a new, more comprehensive transit authority that includes funding and representation from multiple jurisdictions. While some solutions are faster and cheaper than others, the Eno Center report makes clear that the MTA needs drastic reform and more local control in order to effectively serve Baltimore's citizens.
Planning for Congestion Relief
The third and final installment of Planetizen's examination of the role of the planning profession in both perpetuating and solving traffic congestion.
Minneapolis Housing Plan a Success—Not for the Reason You Think
Housing advocates praise the city’s move to eliminate single-family zoning by legalizing triplexes on single-family lots, but that isn’t why housing construction is growing.
‘Mega-Landlords’ Threaten Housing Stability for Renters
As institutional investors buy up a larger share of single-family homes, the families renting them are increasingly vulnerable to rent increases and eviction.
How To Sustain the E-Bike Boom: Make Riders Feel Safe
Riders of electric and non-electric bikes alike agree that they would ride more if they felt safer on city streets, signaling a need for an increased focus on bike infrastructure.
Zoning Stands in the Way of Renewable Energy
Renewable energy is cheap as ever, but zoning isn’t keeping up with the market.
Mixed Use Could Lower Neighborhood Crime Rates
New research shows areas with a heavy concentration of commercial offices experience 40 percent higher crime rates than neighborhoods that mix residential and commercial uses.
City of Redwood City
City of Rohnert Park
City of Hot Springs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.