Baltimore’s Black Butterfly needs to get out of this non-transit cocoon.
A recent study by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition shows that transit equity in the city is not close to being accomplished. The maps of Baltimore in the new study show the areas in the greatest need of transit based on social vulnerability, pollution, and health. Experts say the color-coded visual resembles the residential security map segregating Baltimore’s neighborhoods by race in the 1930s. Lawrence Brown wrote a book on the racial disparity titled “The Black Butterfly: The Harmful Politics of Race and Space in America.”
Baltimore’s most recent example of a Black Butterfly could be addressed through federal funding, and the hope is the study will be used as a guideline.
Back in 2015, Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan cancelled the $2.9 billion east-west Baltimore Red Line light-rail project in favor of more highway projects that served surrounding counties with a strong white population. In contrast, the Red Line would have served more minorities. Officials also want to see the formation of a Baltimore regional transit authority instead of relying on the Maryland Transit Administration, which is led by the governor.
The Johns Hopkins report on Baltimore said there is a potential need for greater investments in transit in the neighborhoods that form the Black Butterfly.