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October 6, 2010

State starts '511' service for travelers

The State Highway Administration has announced it will launch a free. round-the-clock "511" telephone service to provide real-time traffic information to travelers in the state.

The new system, provided by Televent of Rockville, under a five-year contract with the state worth $4.7 million, will start up in fall 2011, according to Gov. Martin O'Malley.

The SHA wil manage the statewide service, under which the contractor will collect traffic information from a variety of sources and provide it to travelers who place calls to 511. The informatiion will also be  made available through social network operators and a website. The 511 system is later expected to add a personalized service that will alert subscribers to traffic conditions via text messaging.

 

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 11:55 AM | | Comments (3)
        

December 23, 2009

Top 10 Md. transportation stories: 2000-2009

Apart from disasters, transportation stories tend to unfold over the course of many years. Some of the ones that garner big headlines at the time will be all but forgotten in a few years time. So in choosing the Top 10 Maryland transportation stories of the past decade, it helps to project forward to 2020 or 2030 and look back at what made a lasting difference.

A little disclosure is in order. I have covered transportation for The Sun since 2004 and before that followed many transportation-related stories as a State House Bureau reporter. So there might be a bias in favor of the stories I covered. (Thanks to my colleague Scott Calvert to reminding me of the Howard Street Tunnel fire, which occurred before my time on the beat.)

With those caveats, I present my top 10 in the bottom-to-top format made wildly popular by David Letterman:

10. Light rail double-tracking project completed. When Baltimore's light rail system opened early in the 1990s, it soon became clear that the system had been built on the cheap. The decision to run trains on a single track over long stretches led to constant delays and operational difficulties. Thus, under the Glendening administration, the decision was made to add a second track. The Ehrlich administration then made a tough decision to expedite the work by closing down the southern and northern stretches of the system for periods of about a year. It was a rough time for light rail users, but the project was finally completed in early 2006, and the result has been much more reliable service on this still image-impaired system.

 

                                                                                                 Sun photo/Amy Davis/2006      

Continue reading "Top 10 Md. transportation stories: 2000-2009" »

Posted by Michael Dresser at 7:33 AM | | Comments (7)
        

November 25, 2009

The Schwartzbergs take Manhattan

The Schwartzberg family of Pikesville scored a coup of sorts in their trek to Long Island today: crossing Manhattan in a mere 15 minutes.

Stacey Needle reported the achievement about 6:15 p.m., sortly after she turned the wheel over to her husband, Michael Schwartzberg, in Jersey City after having driven all the way from Pikesville though Pennsylvania and across New Jersey.

As she spoke, the family was about 20-25 miles from their destination in North Hills, Nassau County. But they still faced heavy traffic on the Long Island Expressway.

The Schwartzbergs make the trip to Michael's parents' home every other year. Next Thanksgiving is their year to stay home.

"For me it's actually easier to prepare a meal for all 15 people at my house," Needle said. "I have been looking forward to next year before we even got in the car."

 

 

Posted by Michael Dresser at 6:21 PM |
Categories: Holiday travel
        

It's getting ugly out there

The traffic.com Jam Factor is up to 8 on a scale of 10 between Route 24 (Bel Air) and Route 22 (Perryville) as the flow becomes increasingly sclerotic. Traffic is oozing across the Bay Bridge at well under the speed limit, and there was an accident jamming traffic at the Severn River Bridge. And we're far from the worst.
Posted by Michael Dresser at 1:40 PM |
Categories: Holiday travel
        
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About Michael Dresser
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. He's covered retailing, telecommunications, state politics and wine. Since 2004, he's been The Sun's transportation writer. He lives in Ellicott City with his wife and travel companion, Cindy.

His Getting There column appears on Mondays. Mike's blog will be a forum for all who are interested in highways, transit and other transportation issues affecting Baltimore, Maryland and the region.
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