Halethorpe parking problems to ease with new MARC lot

430 more spaces expected, 140 during construction

October 09, 2001|By Gerard Shields | Gerard Shields,SUN STAFF

Halethorpe residents and MARC commuters, long engaged in a parking war, may have reached a tentative truce.

Beginning yesterday, riders who had been forced to park along neighborhood streets - to the irritation of residents - may park on land being cleared for a new MARC parking lot.

In addition, a new parking permit system is being planned that would prohibit commuters from parking in front of some homes.

MARC has purchased property next to its station parking lot as part of a $7.8 million expansion that would add 430 spaces, bringing the station's total to 780 by spring.

Under the new agreement, hammered out by state Del. James E. Malone Jr., the Maryland Transit Administration will allow 140 cars to park on the cleared site while the lot is being built.

The MTA conducted a neighborhood survey to determine how many spaces would help relieve the congestion.

"We're thrilled to death," said Joe Kinsey, president of the Halethorpe Improvement Association. "We're hoping that this is going to bring some sort of relief for the people who live there. It's really been a headache."

The station's 350-space lot usually overflows shortly after 7 a.m. Then, cars spill into adjacent streets. Homeowners do everything they can to preserve the parking spots in front of their houses, using handmade signs, trash cans, lawn chairs or nasty notes under windshields.

In another effort to ease the parking problem, Baltimore County plans to impose a parking permit system in the surrounding neighborhoods to prevent commuters from parking there all day.

Under the system, which would cover Carville, Oregon, Maple and Linden avenues, parking in front of homes would be limited to two hours between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Only residents with parking permits would be allowed to park there longer.

The change would allow commuters to park along the median strip of Oregon and Carville avenues. The resolution establishing the parking permit system is expected to go before the County Council on Nov. 5 and go into effect 30 days after approval.

Residents say they hope that the changes will help end the jostling for parking spaces.

"I know the officials are trying to do everything to make it easier," said Judy Kaiser of the 1400 block of Avon Court. "The commuters are going to have to agree to use the parking."

Commuters say they, too, welcome the changes.

"That's a smart move," Jason Kerpelman, a MARC train rider, said of the new spaces.

Charles Oppenheimer of Catonsville, a train rider for six years, said he believes the steps will help reduce tensions.

"No question, it's going to help," Oppenheimer said. "And you won't be fighting with the neighbors."

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