Another misadventure at the park-and-ride lot Vandalism: Crime continues as budget constraints halt plans to hire security.

Intrepid Commuter

November 10, 1997

IT SOMETIMES amazes your Intrepid One how many comments come in about commuting and travel issues. But this seemed like a good time, dear drivers, to open the mailbag and share comments.

On the matter of commuter parking lots -- particularly crime at Mass Transit Administration Park and Ride areas, as highlighted in last week's column -- a letter arrived Wednesday spelling out a problem at a Carney Park and Ride.

Helen M. Erdman parked there in December to attend a Ravens game at Memorial Stadium, only to return and find her rear passenger window smashed in a halfhearted, unsuccessful attempt to steal her compact disc player. She looked around the lot and noticed three other cars had also been vandalized.

"Miraculously, the vermin did not take my cellular phone so I was able to call the police," Erdman wrote.

After a 30-minute wait, Erdman said MTA police arrived, took her report and told her, "They did not have enough personnel to patrol all the park and rides and that they randomly ride through them.

"They said this was an isolated incident, and it did not happen frequently."

Erdman closed by reporting that it cost her $10 to obtain the MTA police report so she could present the facts to her insurance company.

The company then classified the break-in as vandalism, subject to the $500 deductible on her policy.

"So the victims are victimized once again!" she concluded to Intrepid.

Such a tale of woe seems like just another day of life in the big city. But it should not be.

MTA spokesman Anthony Brown said last week that the agency has considered hiring security to patrol the park-and-ride lots during weekends when professional sporting events draw commuters to park at them and take a $6 bus ride to the stadium.

But Brown said budgetary constraints have halted the plans. Even so, he said, "We routinely step up our patrols when we are made aware of a rash or pattern of incidents at a parking lot. It's a case-by-case situation."

Perhaps the MTA should look a little closer.

Homeland reacts to traffic detours

In Homeland, detours because of the reconstruction of Homeland Avenue have many residents and commuters talking.

Some love the detours and laud them as a method of restoring peace to the stately community on the city's north side.

William Smith of Springlake Way said his street is quiet now that a detour has eliminated cut-through traffic from Charles Street and Northern Parkway.

"Springlake Way became the Jersey Turnpike, with hundreds of cars racing up and down the street at 50 to 60 miles an hour. And not Homeland residents, either " Smith vented in a letter to Intrepid One. "Now we finally have peace. It's like heaven. I hope they never finish their road work."

On the other hand, Dottie Ayers, a 24-year resident of Tunbridge Road, complained about the detours.

City Department of Public Works officials and Homeland Community Association representatives agreed to make two blocks of Tunbridge one-way -- confusing most, and making life a royal pain for Tunbridge residents not living on those two blocks.

"Since this has happened, I have seen firetrucks, cars and trucks all going the wrong way," Ayers said. "While this is an inconvenience now, I do dread when we have a deep snow and only have a couple of options in reaching our homes because the city NEVER plows our streets."

Well, hold the phone -- here's the latest from City Hall: Three petitions from Homeland residents attempting to change the detours in their neighborhood are in the hands of DPW traffic engineers, said Kurt L. Kocher, department spokesman.

"We are looking to mesh the petitions together and go back to the community association to get agreements and some possible changes in the next week and half," Kocher said.

Bridge at Prettyboy closed for 15 months

Just as the leaves are at peak autumn glory, word comes about the 15-month closure of one of the most beautiful vistas in the metropolitan area.

Prettyboy Bridge was closed to traffic last week as private contractors began a $2.7 million reconstruction of the 66-year-old bridge over Prettyboy Reservoir in northern Baltimore County.

The bridge, maintained by the city because it crosses a city water source, had crumbled recently -- at one place a hole opened in the deck large enough for a small child to fall through.

Traffic will detour along Falls Road, then onto Armacost Road to Prettyboy Dam Road.

Pub Date: 11/10/97

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