MTA should improve Metro to ease Ravens traffic
I am disturbed by the suggestions that the solution to gridlock on the light rail system during Ravens games is to use park-and-ride lots. The problems with the lots are that there are very few of them, they are all located well outside Interstate 695, they cost substantially more than light rail and they give little opportunity to "come early and stay late."
The Mass Transit Administration has a Metro line relatively close to the stadium, but (as stated by an MTA official during an interview on WBAL radio recently), MTA has no intention of running the subway line on Sundays for Ravens games because few people use the subway for Orioles games.
I tried the Metro line once, during the first year that Camden Yards was open, and was so disappointed that I would never try it again as it currently operates. There was no MTA assistance with the long lines at the stop I boarded, there was a very long walk (with my little children) and, although there were reported to be shuttle buses from the subway stop to the stadium, I never saw a shuttle bus during my long walk to or from. Thus, it is much easier to drive to an Orioles game and park in a convenient and closer location than to arrive by Metro.
I feel that the MTA has the opportunity to develop a profitable operation, and some real enthusiasm for mass transit during the Ravens games. MTA always complains that their transit system is underused but never considers that MTA itself is to blame for this problem. MTA could and should develop a much better plan to utilize light rail and Metro for Ravens games.
Visitors center bigger blight on water than Bubba Gump
Your articles and letters to the editor regarding the location of the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. restaurant in the Inner Harbor brings to mind a greater travesty to the aesthetics of the Inner Harbor -- the visitors center building on the pier in front of the Pratt Street Pavilion at Harborplace.
During the development of Harborplace, the Rouse Company was required to limit the height of the pavilions to preserve views of the harbor from downtown and keep the buildings far enough apart so the public would have uninterrupted vistas of the harbor and the Constellation. Harborplace's architect, Benjamin Thompson & Associates, designed the glassy pavilions (reminiscent of the original warehouses that dotted the harbor) to create as much visibility into and through the buildings as possible.
Then out of nowhere arrives the visitors center building, a solid building mass of no character, blocking views of the harbor and the Constellation and having no design relationship to Harborplace or any other surrounding architecture.
The demolition of the visitors center and relocation of its services to a less obtrusive location would have a much greater impact on the public's enjoyment of the harbor than whether or not Bubba Gump Shrimp comes to Pier Four.
Michael J. Ewing
Pub Date: 8/21/98