Detours, delays leave drivers putting blame on 'Bill' ORIOLES OPENING DAY '93

April 06, 1993|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,Staff Writer Staff writer Mark Bomster contributed to this article.

Brian D. Cuthie leaned against an upper deck railing between innings of yesterday's Orioles game, his eyes fixed on a stadium parking lot and curses on his lips.

After driving downtown trouble-free on Interstate 95 from his home in Columbia, Cuthie was turned away from the parking lot by a Baltimore City police officer.

Said Cuthie: "I asked the cop why, and he said, 'I can't tell you.' "

Pressing the issue, Cuthie asked the officer: "It's Bill, isn't it?"

It was Bill.

Even though he came from Washington by train, the arrival of President Clinton to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day prompted police to close several expressway off-ramps, parts of Russell and Lee streets and access to stadium parking lots.

If you were lucky enough to drive to Camden Yards before or after the Secret Service ordered the closings, getting to the game was relatively simple.

If you tried to get off I-95 when Cuthie did, about noon, you were not so fortunate.

"They said you have to go this way and re-routed me to Martin Luther King Boulevard and then over to Pratt Street, and then I drove all around downtown before I decided to drive back to the lot where I was in the first place and by then they were letting people in," said Cuthie, who was so angry at the runaround that he called city police from his car phone to complain. "Clinton should have stayed home and watched the game on TV." The only major traffic snarl of the day came about 90 minutes before game time (1:35 p.m.), after a sheet of glass fell from a truck onto northbound Russell Street where the road goes under I-95, said a State Highway Administration spokesman.

Fans who took mass transit to the game, or walked from downtown jobs or nearby neighborhoods, reported no problems making it to the ballpark for the first pitch of the new season.

About 20 percent of the people at the game arrived by mass transit. The Mass Transit Administration said 4,800 fans came by light rail; 1,800 took the bus; 1,200 used the Metro; and 900 arrived on MARC trains, including President Clinton, who rode the rails north from Union Station.

"We've added four more stops to our light rail this year," said James F. Buckley, assistant general manager of the MTA as he surveyed commuters before the game. "Over 50 buses were running straight to the stadium and 24 local bus lines have regular stops within two blocks of here."

An estimated 13,000 vehicles traveled into the area around game time, compared with about 10,000 last year. The city towed about 35 cars parked on Washington Boulevard, along a game-day no-parking area. Those cars were towed to the nearby Mount Clare Station shopping center lot, where their owners could pick them up. The city waived the normal $52 illegal parking citation for those motorists. and did not charge people whose cars were towed.

Not so lucky were the owners of about 20 other illegally parked vehicles that were towed from streets around the park stadium by about 3 p.m. Their cars were ticketed.

Traffic cleared out quickly after the game, and the stadium parking lot was empty within about 40 minutes. In all, illegal parking citations were issued to about 60 vehicles.

But not to Scott and Loretta Stanton. They walked over from their home in Otterbein "just to see the mayhem."

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