Catching bus is like navigating a minefield

October 02, 2007

THE PROBLEM -- Commuters using a Maryland Transit Administration bus in Southeast Baltimore have to climb over a guardrail to reach their ride.

THE BACKSTORY -- Using public transportation takes patience, but people who want to take the bus from Ponca and O'Donnell streets, near a Royal Farms store, have to put up with far more than delays and missing schedules. They have to fight an urban battlefield.

The stop on eastbound O'Donnell Street is located just past the entrance ramp to Interstate 895 South. To get there, one must cross four busy lanes of O'Donnell Street and in some cases the highway on-ramp, where there is no crosswalk. The median is a foot-wide raised slab of concrete that resembles a balance beam.

Commuters who safely make it across find themselves stranded on a worn patch of grass strewn with litter and sandwiched between O'Donnell Street and the ramp. The stop is marked by a small sign behind a guardrail, presumably to protect people from speeding cars. When the bus comes, riders must either climb over the rail or walk around it.

"I have called the MTA and I stopped at the State Fair booth to report the problem," writes commuter Cindy Ordes. "Nothing has been done to make it safer and pedestrian-friendly."

Rich Solli, a spokesman for the Maryland Transit Administration, said transit officials agree that the stop "appears to be in less than a great spot. ... We don't want anybody to get hurt. We'll find an alternative location that is a better fit."

WHO CAN FIX THIS -- The MTA's Charles Grant, who is in charge of bus stops, at 410-454-7120.

UPDATE

The State Highway Administration is trying to determine who owns part of a rusted pipe that goes under Route 170 near BWI Marshall Airport. The damaged pipe failed to drain, allowing water to collect and create an 8-foot-wide and 4-foot-deep sinkhole.

Instead of repairs, someone put up warning tape, and mowers maneuvered around it. The hole and tape are now obscured by brush. David Buck, an SHA spokesman, said part of the pipe is owned by SHA, but the rusted portion might be owned by the Maryland Aviation Administration, which runs BWI. The appropriate agency will fix the problem, Buck said

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