Bus stop benches unsuitable for sitting

WATCH DOG

June 10, 2008|By LIZ KAY

The problem: A wooden bench at a Towson bus stop has been broken for more than a year.

The backstory: Charles Carrow, who lives in the Courthouse Square apartments on Goucher Boulevard in Towson, relies on the two buses that stop in front of the complex - the No. 3 and the No. 55.

The retiree uses the buses to get around Baltimore County and the city, whether he's visiting a cousin in Canton or grabbing lunch at Cafe Hon in Hampden.

"I have no problem with the bus service itself. It would just be nice if they put a new bench out there," he said.

He says that he and other frequent riders have been reporting a broken bench at that bus stop since last spring. "We've called everywhere trying to [find out] who's responsible for those benches," Carrow said.

One bench completely lacks the planks that form the seat. Passengers can sit on the other one, he said, but it is in poor shape as well, with loose slats.

"I'm surprised someone hasn't really been injured," Carrow said.

He said that Maryland Transit Administration staffers are "always courteous, but we're still waiting." He said riders have called Baltimore County as well.

New bus shelters have been installed across the street and elsewhere along the routes of these buses within the last few weeks, he observed.

Across the street "they tore down an old one and put in a new kiosk," he said. "And here's our bench that's sitting here. It hasn't been touched."

Some locations that did not have a shelter at all now have one, he said.

"You don't have to give us an umbrella - just give us a bench," Carrow said.

Baltimore County is responsible for benches at the county's bus stops, wrote MTA spokeswoman Jawauna M. Greene in an e-mail last week.

The wooden benches in question were installed in the 1970s, said Ray Heil of Baltimore County's Office of Community Conservation.

"We don't have a really good system for replacing them," he said. "We have replaced them in the past when we're informed. We now are informed and we will look into it."

Who can fix this: Ray Heil, revitalization project manager, Baltimore County Office of Community Conservation: 410-887-3317.

Liz F. Kay

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