That contribute mightily to the appeal of...


August 28, 1993

TWO FEATURES that contribute mightily to the appeal of Oriole Park at Camden Yards are the restored train station and the way advertising melds with the retro-look of the stadium.

The station became a tarnished jewel after it ceased functioning as a rail station. Since receiving a $2 million face-lift with a re-built clock tower, restored woodwork and re-pointed brick, the station adds to the appeal of the whole complex.

Similarly, Camden Yards' designers invested much care into the placement of advertising inside the park -- from the striking scoreboard to the gooseneck lamps that give a 1930s flair.

The obsession toward such detail made the ballpark an instant hit. Yet now two tacky "Nabisco" signs shroud the front and back of Camden Station. The Maryland Stadium Authority reports the signs are part of an agreement between the cookie-maker and the Orioles, and will be gone after baseball season.

It was bad enough when a big Coca-Cola logo was tacked to the station this summer, but that, at least, was a temporary marking for the pre-All Star Game festivities. The Nabisco signs make one wonder if the restored 1850s train station will be treated like some corner liquor store, with the latest "special" plastered out front. One would hope the Babe Ruth Museum, if it achieves a proposal to create a baseball museum annex at the station, will show more respect for the landmark.

The stadium authority and the Orioles surely understand the symmetry they struck in creating a facility so commercial as a big-league stadium and yet one that has enhanced the fabric of this historic city. They must not become sloppy guardians of that delicate balance.

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A READER reminds us (see Saturday Mail Box on the page opposite) that the traffic mess around Pennsylvania Station is more severe than we described here last week. As he notes, drivers approaching the train station from the north on St. Paul Street have no convenient place to drop off or pick up passengers because of the construction project underway in the front of the building.

But it is even worse than our reader complains. Motorists can't go from St. Paul Street to Charles Street on Lanvale Street, immediately north of the station, because it has been made one-way eastbound.

Neither can they readily continue south on St. Paul and swing around to approach on Charles Street, because right turns are prohibited at Mt. Royal Avenue because of the Jones Falls

Expressway exit.

They have to keep going to Preston Street to reach Charles. Or take Lafayette Avenue, north of the station, to Maryland Avenue to reach Charles from the west, then reach Charles on Lanvale above the station or Mt. Royal south of it.

Confused? It seems the traffic planners weren't thinking clearly when this mess was created.

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