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I can't speak to the MTA's light rail communication or lack thereof, though as a frequent MARC rider I've always found their train updates helpful. If he's been taking the light rail regularly for the past 6 months, then he must like it; otherwise, why wouldn't he use another means of transportation? I grow weary of asking fellow citizens to be reasonable and to quit making outrageous demands.
I am in disbelief of how people seem to be “demanding” their streets be plowed down to the pavement . During winter, I typically see about 8-20 cars that slid off the highway and now occupy the ditch and are buried in snow. While listening to the radio early this AM, I heard an MTA spokesman initially say light rail was running every 20 min (my thought: isn't that normal?, so I knew something was up). I was riding the subway the past few days to get to work, and at no point were there any station updates about how frequently the trains were running or any service updates.
Good grief, people, you have a roof over your head -- a warm roof since thanks to utility crews most people lost no power -- food in the larder, a job to go to at all, unlike so many thousands around the country, city workers who have been busting their asses for a week straight, many unable to go home to their families while you and yours were munching popcorn in front of a TV and complaining. Do you know how many people around the world wish that was all they had to worry about -- commuting delays?? I've been commuting on MTA buses and the Light Rail for over a decade now, and the past two years I've spent commuting Baltimore-Washington via the MARC.
The fact of the matter is that the MTA simply DOES NOT communicate with riders on its other services, nor does its administration seem to concern itself much with their needs.
To add another anecdotal report of MTA's bungling of our most recent storms, my partner found herself in a situation nearly identical to Ms. I fear that a large part of the disparity in transit in Baltimore can be attributed to a prevailing mindset that public transportation either exists or is dominated by the poor, less fortunate, or the criminal.
My husband walked to work this morning -- 4 miles -- after waiting for a bus that never came.
I really agree that people have something to complain about when it comes to the MTA and the public transit around Baltimore. It's easy for people who don't rely on the public transit to say "stop complaining and count your blessings," but for those of us who have no other options, we have the right to complain and demand better service.
Having been a commuter on both the light rail and the MARC, my experience has been that the light rail is much less reliable, even in good weather. Then perhaps the time to have this discussion is when the MTA is up and running like normal, not when it's crippled and limping from a once-in-a-lifetime snow storm.
In the words of one commuter, "A white woman can't ride the __ bus at night." Well, I'm a white woman and I take that bus every night to get home from work.
Michael Dresser has been an editor, reporter and columnist with The Sun longer than Baltimore's had a subway. Check prices at area gas stations by ZIP code and find the lowest rates in the region with our new interactive gas map. When a big news event breaks, we'll e-mail you the basics with links to up-to-date details.
KAI was the lead consultant for a research project through the Transportation Research Board that culminated in the publication of Guidelines for Providing Access to Public Transportation Stations.
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I hiked down the streets in the blizzard to the BWI terminal so I could eat and hopefully catch the first train north once service was restored, but it never was. But this was such a monumental storm -- rather two storms back to back -- that I can understand how everything and everyone was thrown for a loop.

Chicago can tell me when the last time was that Chicago had 58 inches of snow in five days?
But we get hit with a storm of historic proportions, by anyone's standards, and all he can say is how lousy the light rail is.
While I'm proud of and humbled by the work of city employees throughout this whole mess, I'm also ashamed of so many other people's behavior.
Marylanders need to understand this; after a storm, the snow is plowed but there still remains another layer on top.
Lately (not counting the snow storms) I have seen an improvement in the frequency of some of the major bus lines like the #3 and #8, but in general the buses are not reliable. This is somewhat to be expected, since in Baltimore the light rail runs along city streets and thus is subject to unpredictable delays.
Commuters who own cars, but work downtown would rather take their car and pay for parking than take the local buses because they believe them to be war grounds populated by the criminal. If the MTA were to institute a policy like this, many of the complaints I personally have with the service would disappear.
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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It is patiently trudging through the decades-long process required to build each additional metro line. Social Security Administration overseeing development of policy for the federal entitlement programs as branch chief for representation, appeals, and due process rights. It seems surprisingly yet impressively high and the kind of thing that should be leveraged in tailoring a system to help continue to make owning no cars viable, if not preferable.
There were about 5-10 of us in the same situation, mostly airport employees but a few from nearby. He just said that there was too much snow, the trains weren't working, and they'd have to try again the next day. This is a real issue for people who don't have any other option for getting to work, to the doctor, to school, etc.
I've met some very nice people that are regulars on my bus line who go out of their way to add smiles and pleasant conversation to my day. Station area typologies were developed for the line haul modes of bus rapid transit, light rail, heavy rail, commuter rail, and ferries.
Here you can enjoy the small beach towns and aquatic activities, such as sailing, swimming and boating! Likewise, it is the responsibility of advertisers to determine the suitability and credit worthiness of potential customers prior to any transaction. But while Baltimore waits for its metro system, it did something that most other American cities have not.
Previously, he served at the Departments of Housing and Urban Development and Homeland Security.
One would wonder if the city could attack the same problem at the opposite end to tweak zoning ordinances and create incentives to encourage a migration of buildable density from sprawling suburbs to inside the urban core. In the end, I spent the night in the terminal and then walked back to work on Thursday since the trains were still down. There is no reason I should have to wait an hour and a half outside in the rain for a bus that should be coming every 30 mins.
Researchers at KAI addressed past practices, best practices, cost and benefit tradeoffs, the pros and cons of potentially complimentary or competing access modes and tools to determine the best mix of access modes given the typology of the station area. For a different outdoor adventure, bike along the eastern shores trails or explore the Patuxent wine trail in Calvert County, where you can stop at different wineries for tastings and informational tours. It would really help if there were indicators of some kind at each station to let riders know when the next train is expected to arrive. The research also addressed issues such as transit ridership, land use planning, pricing practice and revenue generation, as well as other factors relevant to ridership and mode of access. Be sure to stay in one of the many bed & breakfasts in wine country during your next Maryland vacation.
Just to hold itself over.Baltimore has endured an up-and-down relationship with public transportation over its nearly 300-year history. The parking lot at the BWI Business District was fully plowed down to pavement and plenty of spaces were available.
For those of you who love to golf, there are plenty of golf courses and golf resorts in central and southern Maryland. The train was headed for the airport, but Avery and most of the other Baltimore-bound passengers boarded. My street has been like this for about a month along with the majority of all side streets. In 1830, the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad began operation as the first passenger rail line in the United States. That way, they could get warm before the train made the return journey toward Hunt Valley on the single track that was in operation.

17 bus was running frequently, with about a half dozen buses on the route stopping at the station while a reporter waited for a train. Be sure to check out the famous Adkins Arboretum in Ridgely that spans 400 acres and hosts many native species. Several decades later, the first American electric streetcar line began operation in Baltimore in 1885.By the late 1920s, private companies had laid over 400 miles of streetcar tracks that crisscrossed the city to form a system that was among the most extensive in the world. Were it still in existence today, it would continue to be one of the most comprehensive public transportation networks anywhere.But as quickly as it was built, the Baltimore streetcar system disappeared. A variety of factors contributed to its demise, and in November 1963 the last two streetcar lines – the numbers 8 and 15 – made their final runs.The only remaining streetcars in Baltimore can be found at the Baltimore Streetcar Museum.
Some rights reserved.)For the twenty years that followed, there was no intra-city rail transit in Baltimore.
It was not until 1983 that the Maryland Transit Administration opened the metro subway, a heavy rail line that now stretches 15 miles with 14 stations.Since then, the region has built three light rail lines that connect the northern and southern suburbs with downtown. An east-west light rail line is set to break ground next year.The system, though, is largely disjointed, both physically and psychologically. The heavy rail and light rail lines do not have a true connection.Consequently, residents mostly view the two, not as components of a single system, but as two independent options that are rarely combined to form a single trip.
Riders may take the subway or the light rail, but rarely will they ever transfer between the two. In conversation, morning commute reports on the radio, and even on the MTA’s own website, they’re spoken about as entirely separate.As a result, the city’s bus system is left to serve the majority of the region. It’s relatively reliable, frequent, affordable, and comprehensive.Nearly a third of Baltimoreans live car-free and the bus system offers them the freedom of mobility that they need. Those long routes make buses vulnerable to delays that get them off schedule.Serving the Baltimore area with just one transit mode presents a challenge. Despite having one of the largest and most densely populated urban cores in the country, Baltimore is also home to suburbs that sprawl for miles outside the city.Working to serve the full metro area stretches the system thin, decreasing frequency and increasing travel times. Despite inadequate funding from the state, the bus system works as well as can be expected for those traveling from the suburbs into downtown. But for those traveling within the city center, it can often be more efficient to walk than to wait for a bus that’s running delayed.To remedy this problem, the City of Baltimore implemented the Charm City Circulator.
Opening in 2010 and expanded under the watch of Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, the system now consists of seven connecting routes – four bus routes and three water taxi routes – that operate exclusively in Baltimore’s urban core.While the four bus routes operate in traffic just like regular MTA buses, their short routes, which cover just a few miles at most, make them much less likely to stray off schedule. The circulator connects the city’s business districts, many of its cultural attractions, five of the city’s colleges, and its two intercity rail stations.Other cities have made similar efforts, but none have achieved quite what Baltimore has. In neighboring Washington, DC, the routes work more as a complement to the existing metro, filling in gaps in the system.In Miami, an impressive “trolley” bus system has been implemented following the success of Baltimore’s circulator. It lacks the capacity of larger systems; ridership is about 12,000 passengers per day, which puts it on par with Portland’s famed streetcar – but is still significantly lower than Baltimore’s other transit options. It has not yet proven to have the same placemaking and economic development benefits of rail.But what the circulator offers is an intermediate transit solution. While Baltimore, like other American cities, awaits funding for a more robust transit system, the circulator offers an efficient, low-cost option that does a really good job of connecting inner city neighborhoods where no such option existed previously.It demonstrates that while some transit plans take decades to implement, others only need a couple of years.
And it offers a lesson that the way we plan travel within the city is not necessarily how we should plan travel around the city.The future of transit in a city like Baltimore is never certain, and the circulator is no outlier. In the near term, it will likely remain in its current form, offering basic service to downtown residents and visitors at relatively little cost to the city.Before even its first run, city visionaries have suggested that it may serve as a foundation for a streetcar revival, with the bus routes eventually being converted to rail lines.
It would also spur economic development that has eluded the circulator thus far but that has been shown to accompany streetcar lines. And tt would be a nice tip of the hat to city’s streetcar heritage.In the long term, the circulator may no longer be necessary, having been replaced by expansions to Baltimore’s high-capacity rapid transit system.
It may morph to resemble DC’s system more closely, filling in the gaps of a robust rapid transit backbone.A Purple Route bus outside of Baltimore's Penn Station. Some rights reserved.)The real charm of the circulator is not in its future but in its present. It’s a custom passed from generation to generation simply because that is how long it takes to make transit a reality in the United States.While not a perfect substitute for rapid transit, the Charm City Circulator offers an intermediate solution for connecting Baltimore’s urban core. It requires no right-of-way and no additional station infrastructure beyond existing bus stops. One of its primary conveniences – its real-time tracking system – utilizes an app that is now standard in transit systems around the world.Unlike the transportation achievements of early Baltimore, there is very little about the circulator that is groundbreaking or mind-blowing.
What is noteworthy about Baltimore’s circulator is the way that existing technologies and ideas converged to offer a practical solution to an enduring problem.It is an innovation of public administration more than it is a tech one. But it may prove just as easily exported to other cities facing the same challenges, of which there are many.
In a country screaming for more transit, Baltimore’s Charm City Circulator shows us what the first step forward looks like.

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