As a lifelong Baltimorean who has nevertheless visited...


November 01, 1997

As a lifelong Baltimorean who has nevertheless visited cities with real transit systems, I have four questions and a suggestion regarding the central light rail extensions (''Light rail expansion may be dud,'' Oct. 19).

How many riders boarding north of Mount Royal travel beyond Linthicum? How many Cromwell and Ferndale boarders continue north of Mount Royal? Is there an Anne Arundel Countian alive who would travel by light rail from Cromwell to BWI under optimum conditions? Do my map reading skills fail me or is the distance from Mount Royal to Penn Station measured in city blocks?

I would suggest running one line from Hunt Valley to BWI, the other from Cromwell to Penn Station. in an ideal world, the professional planners who allocate $6 million for a sports boondoggle would somehow fund a companion walkway from Mount Royal to Penn Station.

Light rail dud? Or duh?

Patrick J. Griffin


Your excellent Oct. 21 editorial (''Two tracks are better than one'') urging the governor to install another set of rails and provide shuttles for the light rail neglected to mention an important needed addition to the system -- bicycle parking.

Many bicycle riders who want to use the light rail are discouraged by the lack of secure bicycle storage (racks and lockers) at the stations. And we need not wait for expansion of the system. There is enough room to install racks immediately.

Surely, if extensive car parking can be planned, built and maintained, then bicycle parking, at a fraction of the cost, can be installed.

Also, when the light rail was first proposed, a paved bicycle path was planned alongside the rails.

The same budget crunch that took out the second set of rails also eliminated the path.

Any plan whose aim is to correct the system with the addition of a second set of rails should also include the bicycle path.

What better way to reduce air pollution than to encourage light-rail riders to leave their cars home and pedal to the station?

William Tashlick


It is hard to understand why such a negative report would be given by officials of the Mass Transit Administration regarding light rail expansion to Hunt Valley and Baltimore-Washington International Airport before these are fully operative, unless it was to encourage support for the improvements needed to make the system as efficient as possible.

I am an avid supporter of light rail and would like to offer the fol-lowing observations and suggestions.

It is unrealistic to expect lighttrail to function as an express train // to BWI. It is a commuter service between the northern and southern suburbs of Baltimore.

Whatever the required time from Hunt Valley to BWI, it would be a convenience considering the time and effort needed to drive through heavy traffic, park at satellite parking lots and take a bus to the terminal.

It would be more convenient, of course, if the trains could travel unhindered on double tracks and pass along Howard Street. It would be better yet not to have to make a change of trains.

Without knowing the plans, I had assumed that the ''through'' train would run between Hunt Valley and BWI, fed by a shuttle train from Penn Station to Mount Royal and a shuttle train from Cromwell Station to the main line. Was this considered?

It seems foolish to let that short spur to Penn Station cause a bottleneck because of a lack of access from the north.

Why doesn't it run its short distance timed to arrive between trains on the main line, with the same arrangement from Cromwell?

Penn Station is only a block from the Mount Royal station.

MTA officials should move as quickly as possible to install the needed double tracks and make other improvements.

Bruce R. Eicher


Pub Date: 11/01/97

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