WOODBERRY COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION- Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, March 29 6:30 PM WJZ-TV Conference Room
This meeting was for the express purpose of discussing the proposed bus route traveling lower Druid Park Drive and Clipper Road to the Light Rail station.
Thomas M Hewitt, Jr, AICP – MTA Director of Service Development
Juan C Torrico – MTA Business & Community Development Manager/Off. Gov Affairs
Cori Ramos, Special Assistant – Councilman Nick Mosby
Several officials attending this meeting had made a point of driving the lower Druid Park Drive (DPD) section prior to their arrival at this evening’s meeting.
Unlike DPD from 41st to GreenSpring Ave, which is considered a main thoroughfare, the lower section is a secondary residential street only 24 Ft’ wide.
With parking on the north side, the street is barely adequate for two-way traffic. If numerous vehicles are at the stop light when the bus begins the turn from 41st, the bus often gets wedged at the turn. Until the westbound vehicles exit, the bus is unable to enter lower DPD and continue its route. The turn from DPD to Clipper Rd can also be difficult.
It was noted, that although several parking spots were removed at the top of DPD, when locals have moved RIGHT at the stop light, non-locals often assume they are parked and fill the middle lane, thus blocking 2-way traffic.
MTA reported that the original plan for frequency has been lowered to 30 minutes for non-peak hours (every 15 minutes) which would reduce somewhat the bus traffic.
Q & A
Remove the resident parking – It was argued that many of the homes on the south side of the street (banked into the hill) do not have rear access to their properties and must have street space.
Remove additional parking spots closer to the light – It was argued that although locals did a good job of moving to the side, pulling into empty spots and/or waiting at the bottom of the hill for the bus to clear, non-locals tended to bypass those vehicles and pull straight up resulting in the bottleneck. Removing additional parking at the top was not seen as a solution.
Occasionally 18-wheelers use lower DPD- it was requested by WCA that this be prohibited. It was noted that should an 18-wheeler be in that section – everything would halt until the truck was able to complete and exit that section.
Make the street one way-East bound – Cori Ramos, from Councilman Mosby’s office pointed out that these types of initiatives tend to isolate blocks making them less inclusive in the neighborhood as a whole. Additionally, should lower DPD become one way, by default west bound traffic would be forced onto Clipper Park Rd and thus increase traffic there. Clipper Park Dr also is a speed bump section.
Bus Stop at 2011 DPD – it was noted that although there is a stop there, it is not believed to be one that is actually used. It was also pointed out that should a bus stop in the middle of the block, all traffic both eastbound and westbound could be bottlenecked until the bus resumed its route.
Bus Layover at Millrace Condos and Light Rail Station- Currently the Hampden Shuttle has a lengthy break. During the break the bus is left idling. Additionally it was noted, that often the driver will not allow passengers onto the bus until it is time to leave. Will these issues continue with the proposed new service? Response: the new routes have not actually been timed yet and therefore the amount of time that a bus might spend at this location is currently unknown. As to refusing access to the bus, if the driver is on personal break, the bus would be out of service. However, MTA will ask the drivers to consider passenger comfort during inclement weather and allow access to the bus.
It was shared with MTA that bus and Light Rail drivers seemed to be friendlier than in the past. That if one was running for the bus or the Light Rail, many drivers often wait and allow passengers to board. Juan C Torrico commented that the current Director, Mr. Paul Comfort’s mission was “To provide safe, efficient and reliable transit across Maryland with world-class customer service.”
MTA committed to looking into prohibiting large trucks on the lower DPD and Clipper Road section.
MTA committed to seeking input from current Hampden Shuttle drivers regarding any issues they are experiencing for the section under discussion.
MTA acknowledged our concern and although there was not an immediate remedy identified, they will talk with the drivers, continue dialog with WCA and Councilman Mosby’s office for any improvements that can be implemented.
Based on community meetings throughout Baltimore and the online survey, MTA expects to release July 2016, revisions to the BaltimoreLink plan.