Travel tips

August 07, 1998

Even on Sunday game days, Ravens fans are urged to plan ahead to avoid traffic and parking hassles. But that is especially true tomorrow when the crowd downtown could swell to 90,000 people. Concerts at the Baltimore Arena and Pier Six are expected to contribute to congestion on the roads and parking lots. Here are some tips:

* Plan your route to the stadium and your parking strategy ahead of time rather than waiting until you arrive downtown. Allow extra time to account for heavy traffic or to give yourself the flexibility to use mass transit. If possible, come early and stay late.

* There is no general parking available in lots surrounding the stadium for Ravens games. You must have a permit (displayed from your rearview mirror) to park in these lots. (For example, Lot H is normally a cash lot for Orioles games but requires a permit for Ravens games.)

* If you don't have a permit, take mass transit or park downtown (see map). You may have to walk about a mile. To catch a bus to approach the stadium, call the MTA for advice ahead of time (410-539-5000). Or catch a cab from a stand located at one of the following hotels: the Hyatt Regency, the Sheraton, the Marriott, the Omni, or the Renaissance Harborplace. To leave the stadium, look for the cab stand on the northbound Russell Street service drive near the will call window.

* Park-and-ride buses are your best choice for mass transit. There are 8,000 free parking spaces available at seven %o park-and-ride lots throughout the metropolitan area (see map). Buses leave for the stadium beginning three hours before game time (4:30 p.m. tomorrow) and are supplied as needed depending on the number of fans who show up at the lots. Pay $6 on the bus ($50 for season pass). Get there before the last bus leaves your lot, approximately at kickoff time.

* Light rail service provides direct access to the stadium at the new Hamburg Street Station, beginning three hours before kickoff. Tomorrow service starts at 4:30 and you can catch the light rail at 33 stations that have a total of 3,300 free spaces. Buy a round-trip pass at the machine before boarding the train, or plan ahead and purchase a season rail pass from the Mass

Transit Administration.

* Metro (subway) service will operate tomorrow and is a great choice for football and concert fans. Service goes until midnight. Use the Charles Center station, which is closest to the Arena and the stadium. (Metro will not operate on Sunday game days.)

* Charter buses sponsored by restaurants, bars and other organizations are also options for Ravens fans. Parking for charter buses is provided close to the stadium. Bus operators must display parking permits.

* Drivers should expect heavy traffic on I-95, I-395 and Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard leading into downtown Baltimore and the area surrounding the Ravens' stadium. Consider alternative routes downtown: I-83, Route 40, Washington Boulevard (Alt. Route 1), Route 2, and Key Highway.

* Come up with a backup plan, and bring your map along in case you find yourself trying to navigate in unfamiliar neighborhoods.

* If you park south of the stadium, cross the railroad tracks only at city streets. CSX trains will be operating. Use caution!

* Parking spaces for disabled fans are located on Lots A, B, C and R. There are 175 spaces available. Valid Maryland handicapped permits must be displayed.

! Pub Date: 8/07/98

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