COMING IN off a red-eye at Baltimore- Washington In- ternational Airport? Dealing with jet lag? Lugging kids and their caboodles to or from a flight?
Don't go near the terminal. Park in the remotest remote lot BWI has to offer. In fact, leave the wheels in Towson and cab it over to BWI to save your nerves.
This is the best advice Intrepid has when it comes to dealing with our airport these days. In trying to make the place more convenient for fliers to come and go, the folks at the Maryland Department of Transportation have actually turned it into Mazeland.
Leaving the top, check-in level, drivers must navigate a mess of construction featuring bright orange cones, closed lanes and total confusion over whether to go onto Elm Road or Interstate 195 to head toward the highway. Folks leaving the lower baggage claim level have slightly better luck -- construction there was completed in August.
Most drivers around BWI have that dazed Bambi-in-the- headlights look trying to figure out this routing and rerouting. It's part of a 14-month construction project that will provide 1,000 more spaces in the parking garage across the street from the terminal and move the $13 per day Express Service Parking lot from behind the parking garage to the site of the old daily parking lot.
Don't panic, though. State officials say additional "improvements" to parking and traffic flow are expected to occur before Turkey Day and the peak holiday season thereafter. Pessimistic Intrepid thinks the jury is still out on just how many Tums you'll need during your drive at that time.
Tollbooth exhibit brightens travelers' day
It'll cost you $1, but motor on over to the tollbooths at the Harbor Tunnel to see the best exhibit in town next to the Wyeth paintings at the Baltimore Museum of Art.
At each tollhouse, an autumn still-life arrangement greets travelers. Sunflowers, pumpkins and corn fill large clay pots for the colorful harvest scene arranged by Maryland Transportation Authority maintenance worker Steve Hoskins.
Hoskins, 44, dreamed up the displays, and MdTA administrators gave a green light to proceed and post them outside the old tunnel booths as a trial. The gesture has been noted by many of the 60,000 drivers who pass through the gates daily.
Even the toll takers -- usually a somber bunch with a demeanor that borders on science fiction -- like the change. They wrote Hoskins last week saying, "We would like to express our appreciation on a job well done. There have been thousands of compliments on the fall decorations. You have made the customer's day a little brighter, which in turn makes our day a little brighter. Thanks again, keep up the good work."
Hoskins, a frugal state landscaper for 22 years, says he shopped at the area's craft stores for the best prices. He paid about $60 each for 14 planters -- money that came from toll revenues. He then sprayed the corn and pumpkins with a clear acrylic sealer to guard them against the elements, built the displays and installed them outside the booths Sept. 27. They'll be removed after Thanksgiving.
"The idea was to give people paying tolls something to brighten their day," Hoskins told Intrepid last week. "I was kind of hoping it would go over as big as it did. When we were putting them up, people stopped and told us how nice they were."
Look for the beauty to spread. Tim Reilly, Hoskins' boss, gave the thumbs up last week to decorate booths at Fort McHenry Tunnel and Francis Scott Key Bridge.
Truck's illustration is frightfully rude
Your Intrepid One was a bit shocked the other day while cruising Argonne Drive. Pasted all the way across the windshield of a red truck in the lane ahead was an illustration of a guy holding his crotch with one hand while offering an obscene gesture to fellow drivers with the other. The caption of this "cartoon" read: "Fear Me."
What's this rudeness all about?
Greener pastures benefit state, inmates
A crew of workers mowing median strips in Baltimore County last week arrived in a yellow State Highway Administration truck -- with a gun-toting warden.
The eight-man crew from the Baltimore City Detention Center has been seen around the metro area lately doing landscaping, minor road maintenance and picking up litter as part of a 10-year-old prisoner work agreement between the highway administration and the state Division of Correction.
Inmates are paid $2 per day for eight hours of work. Statewide, 44 crews volunteer for the jobs. Prisoners must receive clearance to leave their jail cells for temporary greener pastures.
Pub Date: 10/07/96