The easiest way to envision the proposed path of the D.C.-Baltimore SCMaglev is to think of BW Parkway on a map.
The floating train would largely follow the same, familiar route.
No homes would be demolished, according to preliminary plans submitted to the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
As backers of the train describe the need to build, engineers and executives ask the public to think of BW Parkway in its most aggravating and enraging state.
Few enjoy the reliably riling routine of driving the parkway in rush hour. Thousands crawl between two cities that seem so close, yet often require more than an hour to reach, with some miraculous maneuvers along the way.
Therein lies one of the motivations for the construction of the SCMaglev, or simply, maglev – a way to open a congested coronary artery.
“We need it because we’re drowning in absolutely abysmal traffic that is ruining our lives,” said Wayne Rogers, chairman and CEO of the private company known as the Northeast Maglev.
“Nearly all our roads fail,” Rogers said. “We have the worst and longest commute in all of America, and I feel confident we’ll get approval from the federal government.”
Rather than relying on Amtrak, whose tracks cannot carry trains at more than 150 mph, Rogers has proposed an entirely new route.
The train operated by the Northeast Maglev would run mostly underground, starting near the recently restored beaux-arts Carnegie Library in D.C.’s Mount Vernon Square.
The end station is proposed for Baltimore’s Camden Yards, or Cherry Hill, a neighborhood three miles from the city’s downtown core.
An underground station at BWI Airport is also planned.
Documents show the maglev’s tunnel would run between 80-260 feet underground, a depth comparable to seven-24 stories below the surface.
The maglev would emerge above ground near the middle of its route, specifically near homes in northern Prince George’s and southern Anne Arundel counties.
Neighborhoods near Proposed Elevated Tracks
According to the proposals, elevated tracks would run along one side of BW Parkway, potentially within feet of backyards in Laurel, Maryland.
The neighborhoods impacted will ultimately depend on which side of BW Parkway authorities select for construction. That is, if the federal government agrees to green-light the project at all.
Neighborhoods Potentially Impacted on the West Side of BW Parkway:
Communities between Laurel and Maryland City potentially impacted:
- Sumner Grove
- Oxford Green
Neighborhoods Potentially Impacted on the East Side of BW Parkway:
Communities between Laurel and Fort Meade potentially impacted:
- Villages of Montpelier
- Birchwood Gardens
- Pheasant Run
- National Security Agency
- Argonne Hills
- Colony Fairfield
Tracks on the west side of the parkway would approach within 65 feet of homes. Tracks on the east side would approach within 80 feet.
Diagrams and construction summaries show no homes or commercial businesses are slated for demolition.
The preliminary measurements and figures are found in the project’s most recent documents, reviewed by WUSA9.
The documents also show 1,117 to 1,204 homes from Washington to Baltimore would be found above the maglev’s main tunnel.
In an interview in Nagoya, Japan, Rogers responded to critics concerned with potential vibrations from future tunnels, as well as those fearful of above-ground maglev noise.
“There won’t be void vibration, there won’t be noise,” Rogers told WUSA9. “They will not even be able to know that project is deep underground, below their homes. I mean we’re talking about depths of more than 100 feet below the ground. So, one wouldn’t even know it.”
While a central goal is to make maglev construction and operation imperceptible at the surface, specific engineering plans addressing underground vibrations have not yet been released.
Details on how the concerns will be addressed are set to be disclosed in a draft environmental impact statement in early 2020.
As for the sound of a maglev near homes – one of the ways to gauge its volume, potential disturbance and integration into a community, is to head to a quiet Japanese village and wait.