State says bus station site poses pedestrian concerns

Plans unveiled to connect public transportation to Haines Street facility

July 29, 2004|By Matt Whittaker | Matt Whittaker,SUN STAFF

While unveiling plans to connect public transportation to Baltimore's new Greyhound bus station, state Transportation Secretary Robert L. Flanagan accused the city yesterday of ignoring pedestrian safety in the area near the terminal, just southwest of M&T Bank Stadium.

The location, at 2110 Haines St., poses "serious concern about access to the new Greyhound terminal as well as serious safety issues we believe Baltimore City has overlooked," Flanagan said.

The comments came more than a week after Flanagan bristled at requests by Mayor Martin O'Malley and U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings for a Maryland Transportation Administration bus route to the temporary station on Haines Street.

The nearest MTA bus stop is two blocks away from the terminal, requiring passengers to tote their luggage across busy Russell Street.

Flanagan's plan calls for a new bus stop, to be added tomorow, that will be part of the northbound No. 27 route. The stop is near Haines and Warner streets. The stop requires a shorter walk, and passengers will not have to cross streets.

Passengers coming from the north won't have it so easy. They can disembark the No. 27 on Russell near Haines and walk the two blocks, which includes crossing the street. Alternately, they can take light rail from the Camden station south to the Cherry Hill station, where they can pick up the northbound No. 27 to the new stop.

"I personally don't think that's a good solution," said city Transportation Director Al Foxx, adding that Flanagan's route would take more time than one proposed by the city that would have taken buses west of Russell on side streets. "I'm willing to work with MTA."

Flanagan said his route will take less time than the city's and will create less pollution.

The transportation secretary wants the city to add crosswalks and some sidewalks throughout the area near the terminal where passengers will have to cross roadways.

At a June 23 meeting between MTA and city officials, the city said it would mark the crosswalk at Russell and Bayard streets and establish one at Russell and Bush streets, Flanagan said, but the mayor's office has not followed through.

O'Malley spokesman Rick Abbruzzese said the meeting was more about addressing logistical problems than it was about crosswalks, which he said the city is working to install and should have ready by the middle of next month.

At a ribbon-cutting ceremony formally opening the temporary terminal July 19, O'Malley and Cummings pointed out that luggage-burdened travelers would have to walk the distance and cross Russell Street to catch an MTA bus. Flanagan had said no bus route to the terminal was in place because of difficulties getting buses to the location

For example, buses traveling on southbound Russell Street cannot make a left turn onto Haines to reach the terminal. And northbound buses on Russell Street would have to cross CSX railroad tracks, which could cause 15- to 20-minute delays waiting for trains to pass, Flanagan said.

A new permanent station is expected to open in three years at Russell and Bayard streets. The old terminal, in the 200 block of W. Fayette St. downtown, was closed as part of west-side redevelopment.

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