Light rail fails rider after Orioles game
Every once and a while I get an email about a breakdown in light rail service after an Orioles game. Since serving baseball fans was one of the original justifications for building the system, that strikes me as a serious lapse. Here's one rider's story, as recounted by Jay Sweren of Pikesville.
And here I thought I was the only one who noticed just how clueless Baltimore’s MTA was. I remember thinking when the Light Rail opened that it was a great way to travel to and from Oriole Park. In fact, if I’m not mistaken, that was one of the reasons to make OPACY a major stop and transfer point. Somehow, though, the geniuses at MTA never seemed to get the message. This past Friday I wanted to join my son and grandsons, who were driving in from Ellicott City for the game and invited me to meet them. With a crowd of 40,000 expected I figured light rail was a far better idea than fighting all that traffic and that Light Rail was the perfect solution.
Unfortunately, each time over the years I have tried that logical solution I end up forgetting the prior experiences and then trying it again. Not any more.
First of all, I’ll be damned if I could find the Mount Washington Station, and I know the area. I guess there are signs somewhere but I never saw one. I ended up at the Falls Road location. No big deal, really. No harm, no foul. But then I had a 20 minute wait for a train, added on to the 10 or so minutes others had already been waiting. Didn’t anyone know about the big crowd they expected? And the trip itself took nearly 40 minutes. I could have walked it in less time.
I don't know if the political re-emergence of William Donald Schaefer is the answer, considering that the light rail system was in many ways his gift to the people of Baltimore. But the MTA certainly should at least maintain normal train intervals at game times. And when there is a problem, it desperately needs some form of notification system at Camden Yards.
But the worst part was the trip home. Just under an hour wait for the train. Again, didn’t anyone know there was a pretty big crowd? Couldn’t anyone figure out that just about all of the folks who made the trip downtown for the game would probably be making the return voyage after the fireworks that followed? Apparently not. Train after train headed north bound only as far as North Avenue, there to be finished for the night. It finally occurred to someone to send one train all the way to Hunt Valley. I don’t know who actually made that executive decision since there did not appear to be anyone in authority in the neighborhood.
I also had the occasion last week to meet a client in downtown DC at the Library of Congress. Here again the DC Metro seemed to be a better option than driving into town and then paying a king’s ransom to park. The experience couldn’t have been more different than the one in Baltimore. Those folks really have their act together, and it is not surprising that the DC system has been far more utilized, and successful, than ours. I hate to admit that DC bureaucrats seem to be a whole lot smarter than Baltimore bureaucrats. Where is Willie Don when we really need him?