The game plan changes for next Ravens contest

The Intrepid Commuter

August 17, 1998

SECOND AND 10.

That's what traffic engineers face Aug. 24 when they get another chance to please Ravens fans migrating to the big birds' nest at Camden Yards for the team's National Football League exhibition game against the Eagles.

What happened before the Aug. 8 exhibition opener can only be described as caged madness as gridlock touched air, land and water.

Let's go to the videotape: A perilous traffic jam clogged the air as news helicopters and fixed-wing airplanes towing advertising banners flew 400 to 1,000 feet above the 185-foot-high top deck of the yet-to-be-named stadium; long, slow-moving lines jammed water taxi stands; and in the now-infamous light rail debacle, the little transit system that couldn't stranded thousands of riders before and after the game.

All was observed by Baltimore Department of Public Works chief George G. Balog, who morphed into Gen. George Patton in an attempt to orchestrate a smooth traffic flow as he darted about downtown streets in a city-owned golf cart.

It was enough to make you laugh or cry -- depending on your whereabouts.

Not surprisingly, Intrepid One learned Friday the transit lineup has changed.

Added to the roster will be two new express bus park-and-ride lots on Shawan Road near Hunt Valley Mall and in the city at Poly-Western High School, offering 1,200 additional parking spaces. Such changes will allow 100 additional buses to squire fans to Camden Yards beginning three hours before kickoff for a cost of $6 round trip.

In addition, Mass Transit Administration officials have pledged to appoint -- and this is a first -- "transit ambassadors" to roam the park-and-ride lots and light rail stations to "enhance customer service."

This plan of attack, MTA officials say, is aimed at steering fans toward express bus service to the game rather than rail. About 13,000 passengers rode the light rail Aug. 8, while nearly 7,000 fans took buses -- about 2,000 less than anticipated by bureaucrats.

Under the new plan, buses will carry 14,000 fans.

"Park and ride has been a favorite choice of Baltimore football fans in past seasons," said Diana Rosborough, MTA's deputy administrator. " Park and ride offers express service directly to Camden Yards and, in most cases, is the fastest way to the stadium."

With more than 66,000 fans expected at the Sept. 6 regular-season opener against the Steelers, it's wise to plan a travel route now.

On that date, with the Maryland State Fair in full swing in Timonium, light rail will be in great demand -- and the system's capacity of 8,000 riders per day can't be increased because longer trains would block intersections at red lights.

Giving the nod to public transportation to Camden Yards is one way to avoid sheer panic for city bureaucrats whose idea of a worst-case-scenario is to have too many fans drive into the city for a game, where parking is scarce.

Face lift is scheduled for Liberty Heights bridge

Expect to see the Liberty Heights Avenue bridge get a face lift soon.

The decrepit structure near the Community College of Baltimore campus in Northwest Baltimore is slated for rehabilitation beginning in March, said Bob Murrow, spokesman for the city's Department of Public Works.

Intrepid One seeks stories of Bay Bridge crossings

Intrepid is seeking personal stories about crossing our beloved Bay Bridge this summer. As Labor Day's crush toward the shore looms, your wheelster is interested in hearing from beachgoers with a tale to tell of the span to the Eastern Shore.

Call in stories to 410-783-1800, Ext. 4305, or send an e-mail to: Intrepialtsun.com. Leave your name because stories might be published.

Shortcuts

Reconstruction of the bridge at Prettyboy Dam by the city's Department of Public Works is halfway finished, spokesman Kurt L. Kocher said. The $2.7 million project in Baltimore County, source of most of the water for city residents, is expected to be completed in early February. Interstate 97 was dedicated last week to the memory of the late state Sen. John A. Cade, a 22-year Anne Arundel County legislator who worked to secure funding for the highway. Cade, who died in 1996, was honored after his General Assembly colleagues passed a resolution this year for the memorial designation.

Pub Date: 8/17/98

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