Arbutus is latest stop for workshops on bus route changes, questioned by riders
(Baltimore Sun)

As the Maryland Transit Administration plans to overhaul bus routes, southwest Baltimore County residents got the chance to learn about the proposed changes in the area during a workshop Wednesday night at the Arbutus library.

In what MTA planning director Kevin Quinn called a fundamental shift in the way the bus system is planned, the agency has created a system of 12 color-coded CityLink routes to help eliminate bottlenecks in downtown Baltimore and better connect passengers to subway and light rail stops — two of which will serve southwest Baltimore County.


Select service for the Yellow Line will start at the Halethorpe MARC commuter rail station and terminate at the Mondawmin Metro station, serving stops that are on current routes 5, 36 and 91. The Purple Line will effectively replace current Route 10 and have select service start at Rolling Road and Route 40 and full service start at Paradise Loop. Service terminates at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

A series of LocalLink routes will provide connections to CityLink routes, Metro and light rail networks that will typically run every half hour during peak periods.

Eight LocalLink routes and two Express BusLink routes are proposed to serve the Catonsville and Arbutus areas, represented by state legislators from District 12. The existing bus network in the district has nine local bus routes and two express bus routes.

The proposal is the second iteration of a plan which originated in the fall. According to Quinn, 86 percent of routes were adjusted because of public feedback.

The District 12 delegation to the state legislature requested the Arbutus workshop because of the area's dependence on public transportation, according to Del. Eric Ebersole. He, along with delegates Terri Hill and Clarence Lam, and Sen. Edward Kasemeyer — all Democrats — attended the public meeting, one of about a dozen scheduled over the summer throughout the region.

Residents expressed concerns about having to make a transfer instead of having direct service into downtown Baltimore.

"I've seen the way the MTA does things," said a Relay resident who declined to give her name. "I just don't see how it's going to work."

Toward the end of the hour-long presentation, Charles McManus of Linthicum pointed out that the location was not accessible by bus. Quinn responded by saying while the MTA does its best to make sure workshop locations are transit accessible, the library is about a 1.25-mile uphill walk from the nearest stop.

This concerned Hill.

"This is a place that ought to be accessible," she said, adding that the Sulphur Spring Road location is also home to a senior center. "This is a library that is part of this community."

For Janet Ruehl of Arbutus, she is a fan of the changes. A frequent rider of local bus Route 35, Ruehl, 60, be able to hop on a new LocalLink route which can take her to the Community College of Baltimore County in Catonsville, which is something she is eager about, as she hopes to take classes there in the future.

"That's really convenient," she said. "I'm more excited for the opportunity to go on the bus."

While Ebersole said he hasn't heard much feedback from his constituents about the changes, he hopes they will voice their thoughts. About 30 people attended the workshop.

The MTA will continue to hold workshops through September and then hold public hearings in December and January. The plan is set to be implemented in June 2017, Quinn said.


"This is not finalized," he said. "They're not just telling you what's going to be happening. Certain things are going to stay, but they can take suggestions and certainly make them part of what they consider to do."

For more information and maps of the proposed routes, visit BaltimoreLink.com