Nobody else has a solution, so I'll just have to do it. This plan original appeared in March in Baltimore Brew.
Now the MTA has said they need to save money by building only a single track tunnel under Cooks Lane. Obviously, if the MTA can't build a decent tunnel under Cooks Lane, that means they really can't build a tunnel under Edmondson Avenue either, which has become a non-negotiable demand of the surrounding community. But if the MTA ignores this demand, they will probably end up in court and the Red Line will die a slow death.
So in the spirit of reconciliation, I offer this plan. (I don't know why people think of me as a troublemaker. I only want to help.)
The Red Line should end at Hilton Parkway, where it will still serve the Edmondson communities, but it will not ram its way into them. Then build a terminal station/parking garage/Leakin Park Gateway where part of the obsolete Hilton Parkway interchange now stands on land that once belonged to the park.
I've sketched the rough concept in the Google Earth image above. The colors are:
RED - The Red Line - ending in a widened median of Edmondson Avenue at Hilton Parkway.
YELLOW - A multi-level structure built on what is now the north half of the Hilton Parkway interchange. The top level would be new parkland with a playground, commercial kiosks serving transit riders, and a gateway entrance to the rest of the park. The lower levels would be parking.
This photo shows the grade differential between Hilton Street (above) and Hilton Parkway (below) which enables the construction of an almost invisible parking garage in the hole created by the interchange. The houses in the background would then look out on parkland instead of a highway interchange.
MAGENTA - Hilton Parkway, straightened out and narrowed into the westernmost underpass under Edmondson Avenue. The ramps south of Edmondson would be unchannelized to accommodate traffic now using the ramps to the north.
BLUE - The existing southbound ramp from Hilton Parkway to Edmondson Avenue, which would be adapted to carry two-way traffic including some vehicles now using the ramps. It may be necessary to feed all southbound traffic from the north into this road to nullify the potential conflicts at the north end. A short bridge over the parkway below would provide access to the parking garage.
GREEN - New pedestrian and bike paths through the new parkland on top of the parking deck, leading to the Gwynns Falls Greenway shown in the upper right corner, at the Leon Day Park playfields off of Franklintown Road. Connections to this path would be provided over the top of Hilton from Harlem Avenue (shown, upper left) or Denison Street, as well as inside the existing underpass under Edmondson now used by northbound Hilton Parkway traffic.
Here is the Hilton Parkway underpass seen from the south, with Edmondson Avenue on top. Traffic would be consolidated into the road going through the left tunnel, and the right side would be renovated for pedestrians and bikes. If Edmondson Avenue can be widened sufficiently, a stairway up to the transit station in the Edmondson median could be provided.Gwynns Falls Valley which is now all but invisible and inaccessible to the community because of the interchange. The new pathway from Hilton/Edmondson to the Greenway Trail would be just to the left of this photo and the railroad tracks.
Implementing this plan would enable the Red Line to work with the community instead of tearing it apart. It would also save a ton of money compared with what the MTA wants to do (a squeezed force-fed unworkable Red Line), and two tons of money compared to what the community wants to do (an underground Red Line).