Route 197 bus stop is dangerous place that needs repair [Letter]

The bus stop on south bound Route 197 near the intersection of Muirkirk Road needs to be replaced. The original stop shelter was erected by citizen petition over 20 years ago. During the Baltimore/Washington Parkway/Route 197 upgrade the shelter was replaced again by citizen petition. Unfortunately, the last shelter was destroyed this year by vehicular accident. Enough time has elapsed to replace this important shelter.

The infrastructure is in place: sidewalk and curbing leading to the shelter exists; it is disability accessible; and foundation base remains, although it needs some upgrading to accommodate the new shelter.

Since the accident, the bus stop is a dangerous place. Without the shelter, pedestrians waiting for bus service are less visible to vehicular drivers. Without the shelter, bus patrons risk falling several feet off the edge of the concrete pad. The traffic pattern needs correction. Originally, the northbound right hand lane was a right turn only. It should be returned to that configuration with the exception of buses approaching the northbound bus stop. This correction will slow southbound traffic but it will shift the trajectory of high-speed traffic away from the bus shelter. The bus-only aspect will make it more safe and efficient for bus operation.

The subject bus stop was established two times by citizen petition. Is it necessary to generate a third mandate by our citizens? The citizens of Laurel need and deserve the shelter of safe clean bus stops. The state and county responsible parties need to put aside their differences on the above matter. Do the right thing. Replace the bus stop shelter now. It is in the interest of public safety and thoughtful public transportation accommodation for our citizens.

George Gassner


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