langwidge at erols.com
Fri Jun 17 17:08:02 EDT 2005
>From the Mayor; posted by Christine Gray
The City of Baltimore has long been encouraging the MTA to take a
comprehensive look at current bus routes, and to develop a plan that
accounts for population shifts and new development. Our people depend on
good bus service to get them to their places of work, education, and
worship. Yet many existing bus lines are more than forty years old - more
reflective of a streetcar era than the modern city we have become. An
efficient and well-planned mass transit system is critical for the continued
growth of businesses and neighborhoods within the City and the region. In
addition, an improved system would encourage residents and visitors to use
mass transit, thereby reducing congestion and air pollution from the growing
number of vehicles crowding our roads.
While I applaud the effort of the MTA to take on the substantial task of
forming a comprehensive plan, there are several issues that concern me.
The time allowed for public comment is insufficient. With such a
comprehensive study, it is in the best of interest of the MTA to listen
carefully to the comments from the public (its customers), and make sound
and reasonable decisions based on their recommendations. The City of
Baltimore and the surrounding region must have time to review MTA's proposed
plan to make sure the needs of our citizens are met.
Less emphasis should be placed on eliminating all branches of service when
ridership is insufficient. Rather, MTA should consider eliminating only
particular runs to branches under such circumstances.
No provisions have been made for the City's senior and disabled population
affected by eliminated or altered routes. In addition, the Baltimore City
students who depend on the MTA for transportation to and from school should
be heavily considered. It is indisputable that the needs of our seniors,
our children, and our disabled be met.
The plan must account for future expansion and development throughout the
City. Major development efforts affecting our neighborhoods, such as the
East Baltimore Development Initiative and the West Side Development Project,
must be considered as MTA implements new routes.
Finally, after careful consideration has been given to the concerns of those
affected, changes should be a phased-in over several months to eliminate
confusion. Such massive changes will require a massive implementation
An examination into our bus routes and the needs of our citizens is long
overdue. The proposed plan, once carefully and thoroughly fleshed out, can
potentially benefit our City and our region significantly. An increase in
the frequency of bus trips throughout the system will lessen wait time.
Combining short segments of bus service into longer corridors allow for a
more unified, comprehensive system. Such a study is certainly needed, and
its objectives are admirable. But a study of such importance deserves to be
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