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Viewed from train or bus, the city doesn't put its best foot forward

12:45 PM EDT, April 11, 2013

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Recently I boarded an Amtrak train headed for New York City. But as we embarked on our journey I was struck by the trash and debris strewn along the route. The dilapidated houses, abandoned buildings, discarded furniture and graffiti were more than I could bear.

I wondered what passengers from elsewhere must think of Baltimore as they ride this route. If I were them, I wouldn't see this as a place to live or raise a family, only a place with a lot of crime and poverty. If travelers never got off the train to visit the Inner Harbor or see the cleaner sections of the city they might think that this is all there was.

Not only is the train route atrocious, the route the Bolt bus takes leaving the city is just as repulsive. The bus travels east along North Avenue, and passengers sometimes gasp at the abandoned vacant houses, trash and general unpleasantness.

Such first impressions of Baltimore are lasting. Why wouldn't we want visitors and travelers to have a better introduction to our city?

If Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and Gov. Martin O'Malley were to see firsthand what I saw, perhaps they might be motivated to make the changes necessary to present Baltimore in a better light.

Sharon D. Frierson

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