Love affair with the automobile be souring...


June 13, 1992

COULD AMERICA'S love affair with the automobile be souring after all these years?

Amtrak, the nation's long-distance passenger train operator, is betting more and more people will abandon gridlocked interstate highways in the 1990s and take trains instead.

It is so confident that it is shopping for a new gateway station in New York, where the original Pennsylvania Station was torn down 30 years ago to make way for office towers and Madison Square Gardens.

"A station is the gateway to the rail service and the city it serves," an Amtrak spokesman said in confirming that the company is shopping for New York's sprawling General Post Office building at 33rd Street and Eighth Avenue.

Like the old Pennsylvania station, the 1913 post office was designed by the architectural firm McKim Mead & White.

"It's desirable for big-city train stations to have the capacity tinspire people, we feel. That was their original purpose," is how the Amtrak spokesman put it.

Amtrak itself clearly has been inspired by the success of Union Station in Washington. After the 80-year-old structure was given a $160 million face lift in 1987, ticket sales rose by 25 percent.

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A New York Times story on research fraud described a man as fitting the "prototype" of the cheating scientist: "an exceptionally intelligent and promising young researcher who has no obvious need to commit fraud." Gallimaufry must be pardoned for asking, if he's so all-fired bright, why couldn't he see that he'd be caught?

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Motorists who cruise ongested areas of Baltimore City, especially in the downtown area are probably aware that parking meters are painted different colors. They may have figured out that each color represents a different time limit for that particular parking space.

But how many know all of the codes, so they can tell without stopping whether the allowable time meets their needs? Here, in handy clip-out form, is the key to the color codes on Baltimore's parking meters:

Red......30 Minutes

White....1 hour

Gray.....2 hours

Blue.....4 hours

Bronze...6 hours

Only the truly observant probably know this, though: The color of the pole on which the meter is resting also gives information.

If it's a yellow pole, there is a peak-hour restriction on parking there.

If the pole is silver, the meter is in effect around the clock.

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