Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Fast Trains

"And ultimately, when everything works, the fifty-minute ride to Washington on the MARC train isn't bad."

Rona Kobell, "The Third Rail," The Urbanite, No 72, June 2010.

But wouldn't an 18-minute ride on a MAGLEV train be better? Well maybe, but that's hardly time for a nap, catching up on reading, or even a daydream. And when the express, no-stop train use to run in the morning -- it was only 30 minutes to Baltimore on MARC. So, saving 12 minutes a ride for a couple of billion -- and no doubt more -- doesn't seem like such a good deal.

Baltimore has been trying for decades to import Washington developers and Washington development pressures. Its perennial built-environment problem is too much supply and not enough demand. If Baltimore was 18-minutes away in commuting distance, who wouldn't move there to save a buck and buy a rowhouse. Its economic development, stupid!

I had forgotton, or never knew, that O'Malley chased MAGLEV as part of his gameplan to capture the 2012 Olympics. Oh well.

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