Parking becomes a tight squeeze With fewer spaces nearby, officials urge fans to use public transportation

April 01, 1997|By Jon Morgan | Jon Morgan,SUN STAFF

If you're going out to the ballgame today, you might want to leave your car at home.

Opening Day will be one of six regular-season Orioles games this season when parking will be at apremium. Construction of the Ravens' football stadium on what used to be a parking lot at Camden Yards has eliminated 2,600 of the 5,600 on-site spots south of Oriole Park.

The Maryland Stadium Authority has contracted with nearby property owners and a parking garage off Pratt Street to bring the total back up to about 4,900. But about 1,000 of those spaces will not be available during weekday day games -- such as today's.

That leaves the state -- as it was yesterday -- preaching the value of mass transit.

"If you are downtown, leave your car where it is. If you're not downtown, take mass transit," said stadium authority executive director Bruce Hoffman.

Heads of the stadium authority, the Maryland Transportation Department and the city's public works department convened a news conference yesterday to urge planning without fomenting a full-scale parking panic.

The city has about 15,000 spots in parking lots and garages within six blocks of the stadium, but many of those will be full of commuters at work.

"We hope many people will avail themselves of these fine systems in which we have invested hundreds of millions of dollars," said Maryland Transportation Secretary David L. Winstead.

Among the offerings:

Light rail offers service from Timonium and Glen Burnie and points between. One-way fares are $1.35, and up to two children can ride free with a full-fare adult.

Metro subway runs between Owings Mills and Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Lexington Market and Charles Center stops are within walking distance of the stadium. The one-way fare is $1.35, and many stations have free parking. Beginning 1 1/2 hours before the first pitch, a free shuttle will run every 10 minutes between the park and the Lexington Market station's east entrance on Eutaw Street.

Park and Ride offers express shuttle-bus service to the park from 11 lots spread throughout the area, including White Marsh, Essex, near BWI Airport and Annapolis. Parking is free, and round-trip fares are $5 to $6.

A number of regularly scheduled bus routes connect with the park for a one-way fare of $1.35. For information on light rail, Metro, Park and Ride and bus service, call 410-539-5000.

The MARC commuter rail service connects Oriole Park with the Washington area on weekdays. On weekends and holidays, when MARC is not running, express buses will depart two hours before game time from the Greenbelt station. Round-trip MARC tickets cost $6 to $10.25 and are good for the trains or shuttles. For information: 800-325-RAIL.

Pub Date: 4/01/97

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