Anti-Transit Advocates Would Shut Down Light Rail Stops in Maryland

Opposition to construction of rail transit based on concerns about crime is a familiar story to transit planners. Calling for existing transit stops to close is a little less familiar.
August 22, 2018, 10am PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Lucia Graves reports from Glen Burie, Maryland, where Chris and Kim Hahn are leading an effort to reduce public transit service on the Maryland Transit Administration's Baltimore Light RailLink.

The Hahns had moved to the working/middle-class suburb seeking a quiet, safe environment away from the crime and strife of Baltimore, 10 miles away. But, like many in the neighbourhood, they say the city’s woes have seeped into the area via public transport. Specifically, they believe criminals are coming into the suburbs by light rail.

Graves reports that not only does the data not bear out the idea that transit has brought crime to the area, a specific anecdote of crime from the Hahns' history has no connection to public transit.

The calls from locals to close the Cromwell stop in Glen Burie prompted Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (not exactly a friend of rail transit himself) to announce that the state would not close any light rail stops.

"However, organisers from the recently founded Greater FernGlen Community Association, which rallies against the service to light rail stops in northern Anne Arundel county, were not deterred," reports Graves. Their persistence was on display when 60 residents showed up to a rally in July.

As detailed in an editorial by the Baltimore Sun, State Senate candidate John Grasso previously spread the anti-light rail animus by calling transit users "drug addicts, crooks, thieves." According to the editorial, the sentiment matches that of President Donald Trump, who launched his presidential campaign by calling Mexicans rapists.

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Published on Wednesday, August 22, 2018 in The Guardian
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