Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Wet Leaves Will Ruin Your Life

Remember that time a tree fell on the tracks and I had to take a $50+ cab to work? Or that time the train got as far as Mount Washington, and midway to the next stop decided to go backwards because there was too much ice on the rail, and so MTA promised a bus bridge, but after almost an hour in the cold (and MTA wouldn’t let us sit inside the heated train!) I called a $40 cab? Or that time it was just too foggy/rainy/cold/windy/pretty outside? Employers, do you remember those frantic e-mails you sent on those mornings? Katherine, you are coming in today, right? And more than once, Hi Katherine? Are you feeling well? We hope everything is okay. Which is definitely worth awwwwing over, as it shows that I had a habit of showing up on time. And they were worried! That says good things about them and me!

Apparently the Katherines left in Baltimore were screwed yesterday as MTA reported that wet leaves caused “major disruptions” for my beloved Light Rail. There were also wheel problems, and The Baltimore Sun notes that a cracked wheel (singular) caused major disruptions last spring. I can't point to which day that was because so many mornings included major disruptions. The wheels slide against the leaves (MTA is calling it "wet rail season" but doesn't include that wet rail season lasts through June) and break the leaves. Expect delays forever because The Baltimore Sun writes:

The transit agency said it expects this round of disruptions, including crowding and late trains, to last for about a week.

While the problem persists, northbound rail service will terminate at Timonium. Shuttle buses will serve the stations between there and Hunt Valley. Service between Mount Royal and Penn Station will also be suspended.

Don't worry guys! I can fix this! Don't get on the Light Rail until North Avenue. If you are coming from north of the stop, find a bus. I think the 8 passes by this area at some point, but the routes have changed since I moved, so call MTA (410) 539-5000 for directions from you area or use the MTA Google Maps. (The operators are very nice as long as you are nice. Program that number into your phone. The Google Maps will map the entire route for you and have a series of options for method, time, and distance.) I know, it makes it seem like the area near Loch Raven Resevoir is safe but that's where the trees are. The area around the reservoir is the reason I ride the rail (and riding parallel to 83 and going under the bridge and then later descending Howard toward Lexington Market) but it is hazardous to your stress until the leaves are gone.

As for the cancelled service to Penn Station, you can walk from the MICA stop. Or you can take the bus (I think the 11 still goes down Charles St.?) there. Several buses will go there, I promise, and one will take you past Sofi's if you are coming from northern Baltimore or Towson.

I forgot about Google Maps. I wish I had Google Maps when I was relying on Light Rail, I could have mapped alternative routes and kept it in my bookbag. Sigh. Now I depend on a city which will likely never have Google Maps! At least you have something on me Baltimore. Google Maps and your friendly, singing loudly on the train, eff-word adverse people.

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