Trip by car steers clear of traffic troubles Predictions of gridlock fall incomplete after uneventful ride into city

August 30, 1998|By Edward Lee | Edward Lee,SUN STAFF

Like many of the nearly 66,000 fans who attended the Ravens' first preseason game, I too had heard the dire predictions of traffic gridlock to be caused by the game, a Reba McEntire concert at the Baltimore Arena, and a Pete Fountain concert at Pier 6.

And if there's one thing I can't stand, it's getting caught in congestion.

So I wasn't the happiest camper when my assignment of the day was to clock a drive from the light rail station in Linthicum to a parking garage near the NFL stadium at Camden Yards.

Here's how the drive went:

5 p.m.: Left the parking lot of the light rail station and turned onto Meade Road. Traffic was flowing.

5: 01: Exited Meade Road and entered the inner loop of the Baltimore Beltway. Experienced no problems merging.

5: 02: Exited the Baltimore Beltway and entered the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. There wasn't a car behind me.

5: 03: Passed the "Welcome to Baltimore" sign in the median and noticed some joker had posted "Hon" underneath the phrase.

5: 07: Passed the monstrous, still unnamed Ravens stadium. Had yet to even stop for a traffic light.

5: 10: Passed the first parking lot on Pratt Street. There were no "parking full" signs out front.

5: 11: Passed a second parking lot. Ditto.

5: 13: Parked at the Sheraton parking garage on Conway Street. The cost was $20.

5: 20: Stood before the Hamburg Street gate.

So the journey was less stressful than I imagined. Many fans who drove into the city said the venture was one of the most enjoyable.

"It was a sunny drive through the city," said Richard Ottenheimer, a 41-year-old audio engineer who made it to the stadium from his house in Pikesville in less than 40 minutes. "It was great."

Stadium review

The Ravens have played two preseason games at home, letting fans get an early look at what the new stadium is all about. Now, with the regular-season opener against the Pittsburgh Steelers a week away, this section critiques various aspects -- from getting there, to tailgating, to watching the game. Ratings used are thumbs up, thumbs down and a combination of up and down.

CAR -- UP

Pub Date: 8/30/98

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