Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Hey, How about Cleaning Up After Deathfest?

Overflowing Dumpter Across from Sonar
This is only a small part of the trash that is leftover from Death Fest at Sonar this past weekend. Sure, yesterday was Memorial Day, but today wasn't, so how about cleaning it up, huh?

Oh, and all the the portajohns are still sitting along Saratoga Street too, in the 90+ degree heat, it sure doesn't smell too pretty by the Hollywood Diner. Anyway, the portajohns are from Gotugo based in Glen Burnie. Feel free to call them at 410-360-1215 or http://www.gotugo.com/ to complain!

Friday, May 20, 2011

More on Linthicum...

Shut Linthicum station, most tell MTA at hearing

This is crazy. They want to take away a walkable station! Many people don't drive, so they don't have the ability to go to other stations. This is what many people were saying at the hearing. People who utilize Linthicum to get back and forth from work, and don't drive. Instead Citizens Against the Linthicum Light Rail, are calling foul, and demanding the hours of the station be cut, or the full station closed.

Linthicum has the potential to be a great walkable station. It is close to neighborhoods and the main drag in Linthicum, but there are definite improvements that need to be made. First, MTA needs to beef up security to ward would be criminals. Second, MTA  needs to make sure this and all stations are clean everyday. Third, have fare inspectors and MTA Police ride trains more frequently to enforce fare collection.  Fourth, add better lighting and directions signage that let potential riders know where the station is. Light rail signs for the most part are not light up at night, and at Linthicum there are no signs on the western approach to the station. Lastly, add bike racks or lockers at this station, and others, and advertise this as an option. Just because it doesn't have a parking lot doesn't make it useless.

Most of all this is also clearly a case of NIMBYism. Neighbors are worried about one crime from kids from Halethorpe? First of all, the light rail doesn't go to Halethorpe and there aren't any bus connections at Linthicum, but I'm sure they didn't know that because they never ride the light rail. So, how do you think the kids got there then?

The real issue here is with the MTA, in my opinion. MTA does not do a great job in maintaining its stations, especially on the light rail. When new signs and route maps were added downtown, this was not done at other place. (Note: most station still have rail maps that show how the line was previous to 2006). Stations rarely have updated schedules posted, nor are they replaced when they are not there. The P.A. system is in shambles, although there are plans to have this all replaced (but then again will MTA decide to use them?).

MTA also does not do a great job in letting people know about the system or its stations. Have you ever read the General Information on the website? It's two short paragraphs. Stations do not have maps or information that tells riders what is near the station, nor do they have bus or rail connection maps to tell you how to say transfer to the Metro or MARC.

This should be a wake up call to the MTA. They need to improve their system, and the custom information process. And they wonder why the Light Rail has never met is daily ridership expectations even after 20 years!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Club One Closes, Sonar Stays Open


Club One has officially closed, and Sonar has reopened in downtown. The block of land that Club One sits on has recently been sold, so what happens next? Maybe some good downtown development that we need!

Friday, May 6, 2011

In Defense of the Linthicum Station

I have to disagree with the service adjustment at the Linthicum Station. The Light Rail already has too few walkable stations along the line. The better solution would be to improve the visibility at the station and allow for better signage. There are no signs along Oakdale Road or Hammonds Ferry Road that alert residents that the station is down the street. The signs along North Camp Meade Road are also poorly visible. The Linthicum Station doesn't have a working PA system, which should be fixed immediately. That and a next-train arrival system which most transit systems in the US already have in operation, would be beneficial to this station and the whole system.

Light Rail stations do not have to be all Park-and-Ride to warrant ridership or access. People who live in Linthicum should not have to drive the extra 1.5 miles to get to the North Linthicum Station. The MTA already does a horrible job in encouraging local riders who have walkable access to the Light Rail to ride. Station upkeep is minimal, signage is limited, and the public information at each station is limited as well. The maps at each station have not been updated in years, and provide little information about what is nearby each station or connections to other modes of transportation. At many stations the posted schedules have not been updated in over 2 years. Light Rail Stations do not have bike racks for the most part, which would also encourage access at more stations.

Limiting access at Linthicum is the wrong solution. There is no proven evidence that transit stations encourage crime, so the community's arguments are debunked easily. Moreover, this action is a stark example of the MTA's own faults in promoting and maintaining its transit system. Fix the problems, and the riders will come. It works for every other city.