Morgan State students earn C for parking snag Tie-up: Illegal stops along southbound Hillen Road are exasperating rush hour drivers, who must squeeze past the campus. Police pledge to crack down on violators.

Intrepid Commuter

April 07, 1997

MORGAN STATE University students eager to get to the head of the parking class often stop by the right lane curb in the 4400 block of southbound Hillen Road beginning around 8: 30 a.m.

Only problem is, parking is illegal there between 7 a.m. and 9 a.m.

This attempt to shirk parking laws has caused a continual bottleneck for rush hour commuters navigating the Northeast Baltimore thoroughfare to get to work or school on time.

"This creates some congestion at times and an accident (if it hasn't happened already) is inevitable," wrote George Walters, a commuter who complained about the problem.

While some students get a passing "C" from your Intrepid One for remaining in their cars until the legal 9 a.m. parking time, their attempt to skirt the law by simply turning on emergency flashers and feigning a problem merits an incomplete grade.

They should instead have to go inside their classrooms and write "I won't park like a college student" 100 times -- or until writer's cramp sets in.

But such discipline may soon not be necessary. Police Maj. Arthur Smith of the city's Northeastern District said he will dispatch patrol cars to the area to monitor the morning traffic -- and the parking scofflaws.

"We'll abate the problem," Smith promised last week.

Worried reader vents about lack of air pumps

When it's time for air in your tires, where do you turn?

That recently perplexed Paul Schneider of Towson, who said he believes air pumps are going the way of the dinosaur at area service stations. (And who can even remember the green, long-necked mascot of the old Sinclair stations?)

"The number of gas stations having air compressors has shrunk to a very few," Schneider opined.

Lea Gilpin, who manages the AAA of Maryland service station certification program, said the pumps may be disappearing because "they are very expensive and hard to maintain."

"It could be a matter of economics," Gilpin said last week.

Some gas-and-go stations don't have air pumps. Others have started charging 25 cents or more for the privilege of using their pressurized air.

But overall, the service remains available. A random survey along the 10-mile York Road stretch from Towson to Hunt Valley last week showed most stations offer air, some under a bold invitation that beckons, "Free Air; Help Yourself."

"We still have full service and air pumps and all that kind of stuff," an attendant at the Ruxton Texaco station said proudly. "We have not cut back or anything."

Knowing this, let's all sleep better tonight.

Fans opt for light rail to reach Orioles' opener

Minus 2,600 parking spaces near Oriole Park at Camden Yards, baseball fans last week sought alternative ways to commute to the green cathedral of sports downtown.

The final score: 12,000 riders took advantage of the Mass Transit Administration's light rail trains for their Opening Day trip, said spokesman Anthony Brown. That's a 50 percent increase in ridership over last year, he added.

Fans are expected to continue to use light rail throughout the season, pleasing the MTA bureaucrats who often grumble that the system is underused and underappreciated by the public. Maybe it'll take the loss of baseball parking to finally root rail ridership in everyday life.

Still overlooked, Brown added, is the Metro system that offers stops near Oriole Park -- at Lexington Market and Charles Center.

The cost of a one-way shot to the park is $1.35 -- cheaper than a ballpark hot dog.

Littering along roadways bugs exasperated motorist

A concerned traveler sent Intrepid a fax last week on the trashy state of Maryland's roads.

"How can we help?" the shocked reader asked, suggesting stiffer law enforcement and fines for littering so "maybe some people would think twice before throwing trash out of the windows of their cars and on the sidewalks as they are walking."

Pub Date: 4/07/97

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