More MARC parking created

70 spots in Halethorpe on U.S. 1 near station

August 17, 2008|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,Sun reporter

The Maryland State Highway Administration has eased parking restrictions along U.S. 1 in Halethorpe, creating an additional 70 spaces for MARC train commuters - many of whom have been parking in nearby residential areas.

The highway agency said it removed some no-parking signs along the part of U.S. 1 known as Southwestern Boulevard last week after being asked by the Maryland Transit Administration whether it could provide additional parking along the highway, which runs alongside a free MARC lot whose 770 spaces fill up most weekday mornings.

MARC ridership has increased steadily in recent years as high fuel prices and the cost of parking in Washington have prompted more commuters to try mass transit.

The Halethorpe station is one of the most heavily used stops along MARC's busy Penn Line, drawing many riders from Baltimore and western and southwestern Baltimore County.

Commuters who have been unable to find spaces in the MTA lots - as well as some seeking to avoid the long trek from the far reaches of the lot to the platform - have been parking in growing numbers on residential streets in Halethorpe and Arbutus. The practice has led to occasionally angry exchanges between commuters and local residents.

The highway agency said it examined the section of U.S. 1 near the MARC station and determined that sight lines were sufficient and the shoulders were wide enough to allow additional parking.

In addition to removing no-parking signs that had been in place for years, highway officials also restriped some stretches of both sides of the highway to provide additional spaces.

Kellie Boulware, a highway administration spokeswoman, estimated that the changes would create an additional 70 spaces along the highway.

michael.dresser@baltsun.com

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