Bus rider objects to long walk home forced by early Metro close

INTREPID COMMUTER

April 10, 1995

It's not a matter of being lazy, but Leo Burroughs Jr. wonders why anyone should walk five "county blocks" to get home when a Mass Transit Administration bus stop is less than a block away.

That's Mr. Burroughs' dilemma. He lives on Downey Dale Drive in Randallstown, near the No. 77 bus line, is active in several city organizations and visits the downtown area after work at least three times a week.

From downtown, he catches the Metro at the Charles Center or Lexington Market stop for a somewhat interesting trek home: the Metro to Mondawmin Mall, then a transfer to either the M1 or No. 28 MTA bus for the rest of the trip home, getting off the bus at Liberty Road and Courtleigh Drive, five blocks from his house.

Mondawmin Mall? we asked. Why not just take the Metro to the Old Court Metro station, then take the No. 77 bus to the stop a block from your house?

Because, Mr. Burroughs replied, "the Old Court Metro station closes at 8 p.m. It's the only one that closes at 8 p.m. All of the rest of them stay open 'til midnight."

True, mostly. Of 12 Metro stops, the Old Court station and the State Center station are the only two that close at 8 p.m..

"I want to come as close as possible to home and use public transportation," Mr. Burroughs continued, noting that he once was attacked during the walk home. "If I could catch the Metro to the Old Court station, then it would be an easy trip home on the No. 77."

Hoping to get the Old Court station to remain open later, Mr. Burroughs sent a petition with the names of 176 commuters to the MTA requesting later hours.

Anthony Brown, an MTA spokesman, said the Old Court station began closing at 8 p.m. in January 1993 because of low ridership. Before then, it was open until midnight.

"We constantly do reviews of the scheduling to best serve our riders," Mr. Brown said, adding that changes in bus schedules and other adjustments in MTA procedures normally occur three times a year.

Officials from MTA's Service Planning Committee are reviewing Mr. Burroughs' petition. If the committee approves the Old Court station change, it would become effective in September.

Meanwhile, Mr. Burroughs said he will continue to ride the Metro and MTA buses.

SPEAKING OF RAIL RIDERS:

Commuters who use the light rail system's North Linthicum station in Anne Arundel County will see the number of parking spaces there more than double by September, if all goes well. The state has approved a $380,500 contract to add 170 spaces.

The Central Light Rail Line carries an estimated 20,000 passengers daily on the 22.5 miles between Timonium and Glen Burnie. About 400 commuters board the system at North Linthicum, which has 160 parking spaces now.

"It gets pretty crowded here sometimes," said Richard Aultle, a computer programmer who lives in Linthicum and works downtown. "This might ease the problem until people realize how easy it is to park there then -- and [then] they might have to come back out here and study for more parking again."

Several riders said they feel the lot is convenient, but not always secure. Several reported break-ins or vandalism to cars.

Carol Windham, who lives in Glen Burnie, said her car door was dented during a break-in attempt.

"It's scary. Maybe they need a guard walking around the lot," she said. "It may not be worth the cost to park here and commute if your car gets broken into."

An MTA spokesman said the agency was unaware of security problems at the parking lot.

FORSYTHIA ROADBLOCK:

At Kenwood Avenue and Coco Road in Rosedale are two large forsythia bushes, resplendent these spring days in full, yellow bloom.

The only problem is this: When you approach from Coco, you can't see the traffic on Kenwood because of the springtime flourish, a worried driver writes.

Steve Weber of the Baltimore County Division of Traffic Engineering said his office gets two complaints each week about shrubbery obstructing the view of drivers, somewhere. Most of the time, the incident ends with a pair of pruning shears, he said.

"We notify the property owners, and then we follow up. Usually, the property owners will eventually comply," Mr. Weber said. "Obviously, it's a public safety issue. We're trying to protect everybody."

The forsythias' owner, George N. Eckhardt, said he has agreed to trim the shrubs as a courtesy to motorists, though a county inspection determined that his plants were not at fault, he said.

"The county official who investigated said that whoever complained didn't pull up far enough to the intersection," he said. "But I'll cut the bushes back by half a foot anyway, when they finish blooming."

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