With the Board of Estimates having given its blessings, design work on a new entrance plaza and underground parking garage at Pennsylvania Station can finally begin. When the much-talked about $15.2 million project is finished, it will provide a focal point for improvements taking place in the area of Mount Royal Avenue.
The bad news is that the 550-garage is likely to be too small the day it opens because two nearby open-air lots will be closed. Meanwhile, Amtrak passenger volume is steadily increasing. And the state-operated commuter rail service's dramatic growth promises to continue, particularly with the inauguration soon of a new line serving Eastern Baltimore County and Harford County. Many of the commuters will need parking every day. Add to this the forthcoming light-rail line and its spur to Penn Station and it is easy to see how parking could be a major headache.
This is only one aspect of the surrounding area's parking problem. With the University of Baltimore about to build a new business school, the time may not be far off when 10,000 students are enrolled on its mid-town campus. Already, parking around the university is at a premium as students compete with patrons of the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and Lyric Theater for available spots. The situation is likely to grow worse when the nearby state office complex expands.