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West Baltimore Red Line facility to bring 300 workers

A maintenance facility for the proposed mass transit Red Line would be at the corner of West Franklin Street and North Franklintown Road in West Baltimore, according to plans discussed during Thursday’s meeting of the Baltimore Urban Design and Architectural Review Panel.

Werner Mueller and Charles Belser of the Los Angeles-based firm AECOM explain the design of the proposed Red Line maintenance facility to the Urban Design and Architectural Review Panel Thursday. (Josh Cooper/The Daily Record)

The facility would include the main administration building for the Red Line, as well as a train depot and delivery and storage space.

The city has begun preliminary engineering for the Red Line, and it plans to begin downtown tunnel construction in April 2015. It expects all construction to be completed in late 2020, and to begin Red Line service in early 2021.

AECOM, the Los Angeles-based firm contracted to design the Red Line facilities, unveiled sketches of the project Thursday, and spoke about how it would affect traffic in the area.

The plans would alter the traffic pattern on Franklin Street, making left turns only possible at the intersection with Franklintown Road. Charles Belser, project manager with AECOM, said the intersection might need to be redesigned to accommodate the changes.

“Every Red Line employee, when they come to work, they come to work here,” Belser said.

He estimated that number to be about 300 workers. The plans include two entrances to the facility, one mainly for trains to enter and exit on West Franklin Street, and what would function as the main entrance for employees on Franklintown Road.

Currently, Franklin Street is three lanes in each direction with a median. When the Red Line, which will stretch 14 miles from Security Boulevard near Interstate 695 to the Johns Hopkins Bayview campus, is in place, it will occupy the median and leave two lanes for traffic in each direction.

The 21.5 acres for the maintenance depot is now occupied by different facilities, including several owned by the city, such as a correctional facility and an office of the Baltimore General Services Bureau. Other businesses on the site include a 7-Eleven and a waste recycling corporation.

Other buildings on the site are dilapidated or vacant. Werner Mueller, director of design at AECOM, said the modern building and new landscape will beautify the area.

“I think we’re making a vast improvement to the site,” Mueller said.

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