Before Baltimore hosts the All-Star Game, it needs to fix its broken transit system [Letter]

June 10, 2014

I was puzzled to read that Maryland Office of Sports Marketing Director Terry Hasseltine considers Orioles Park at Camden Yards to be connected to a "world-class transportation system" ("Hosting baseball's All-Star Game in 2016 would boost the Orioles, city of Baltimore," June 3).

I believe many citizens of Baltimore would disagree with that position.

I am O's fan who lives to cheer on the team because I live within walking distance of the Yard and my route is short, safe and stress free.

For people who must travel to get to the Yard, however, the picture is bleaker. After every game, Baltimore's streets are gridlocked with fans going home. For fans using public transit, the bus and light rail systems are not much of an improvement. The closest bus line stops only on Pratt Street. And there is no bus service that connects fans with the park-and-ride lots in the suburbs.

Worse, the light rail is often unreliable or late after a game, and when it does arrive the train is often jammed with too many people squeezed in to allow the doors to close fully. This scene follows most home games, not just the big-ticket events such as Opening Day or when the Yankees are in town.

What will happen when the crowds let out looking to head home after the Home Run Derby or the All-Star Game? I can already image the honking car horns and frustrated fans at the light rail platforms wondering how long it will take them to get to their final destination.

Before we dream about an All-Star game coming back to Baltimore, the city and the state need to take a hard look at Baltimore's transportation system. Before committing, we must ask whether our infrastructure can really provide fans with a positive and safe mode of transportation.

I don't know what can be fixed before 2016, but if we do not address this issue our lack of a modern, reliable transportation system will reinforce many people's impression that Baltimore is a dying city.

Matthew C. Nelson, Baltimore

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