Thanks to the efforts of dedicated volunteers, riders will be able to take a load off while they wait for trains at the new light rail station in Glen Burnie.
Before a group of community representatives called the Station Enhancement Committee got into the act, riders would have been left standing around waiting for trains, said committee chairwoman Katherine DeGrange. The Mass Transit Administration, which designed the new station, hadn't planned to provide benches.
Committee members thought the lack of seating was an obvious shortcoming. Through a series of meetings with MTA officials, they managed to secure seating in the form of two large planters.
"The planters will be much more attractive, and it will allow people to sit there," said DeGrange.
The planters, which will cost almost $10,000, will be paid for by a grant the MTA offered to a number of communities getting light rail stations, DeGrange said.
The idea behind the grant program was to let communities have some say about the design of new stations. Although the grant isn't much, it's enough to allow for additional landscaping, benches, trash receptacles or other minor improvements, she said.
Glen Burnie's station, off Dorsey Road and Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard, is to be called Cromwell Station/Glen Burnie. It was to have had four ground-level planters, on the plaza area where riders buy tickets and wait for trains. The MTA plans to install two small, covered waiting areas on the plaza as well, which will have small benches inside but won't accommodate many riders.
The enhancement committee lobbied instead for two large, above-ground planters, which have wide ledges around the exterior for seating. The planters will have cherry trees, ivy and various flowering plants inside, said DeGrange.
Although the committee still has some minor details it wants worked out, such as additional landscaping along Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard, most members are happy with overall plans for the station, DeGrange said.
The committee, which last met with MTA officials May 18, consists of representatives from the Glen Burnie Improvement Association, the Northern Anne Arundel County Chamber of Commerce, the county's Office of Urban Renewal and several community groups in Ferndale.
Another improvement on the committee's wish list is a pedestrian bridge over Dorsey Road, connecting the station to the county's Hiker-Biker Trail. DeGrange said estimates for adding the bridge range from $250,000 to $750,000.
The committee will meet with MTA officials in early June, DeGrange said, to discuss the pedestrian bridge and other issues.
The Glen Burnie terminus, which will include a park-and-ride lot for 750 cars, is expected to be completed in the summer.