A meeting to discuss bus service in downtown Towson, like that offered in Baltimore via the Charm City Circulator, seen here, will take place on Dec. 9. Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson, is spearheading the project.
A meeting to discuss bus service in downtown Towson, like that offered in Baltimore via the Charm City Circulator, seen here, will take place on Dec. 9. Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson, is spearheading the project. (Cassidy Johnson, Baltimore Sun)

Preliminary recommendations for a Towson Circulator will be the focus of a community meeting Tuesday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m. in the Baltimore County Council chambers.

The original idea was a free bus providing transportation in the core of Towson, but Fifth District Baltimore County Councilman David Marks, who represents Towson, said that during meetings held since summer, that idea has changed a bit.

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Marks formed a committee in July to study what kind of transportation would best service the Towson community. Marks had proposed a bus similar to the free Charm City Circulator that has four routes connecting Baltimore City's central business district.

Getting around Towson's core is easy, either by bike or by foot, but getting to Towson from north of Towson or Stoneleigh or Rodgers Forge can be an obstacle. So it might be better to offer free transit into the core of Towson, he said.

"We also seem to be settling on one or two routes for the most immediate implementation," he said.

One route would follow York Road to the roundabout. A second would go from highrises such as Virginia Towers off Joppa Road — where a heavy concentration of senior citizens live — to Towson Row and the hospitals, University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center and Greater Baltimore Medical Center.

The plan is to offer free and comfortable bus service to anyone who wants to use it.

"We think it might be very useful for them to have free transportationto Towson Row and the hospitals," Marks said.

Del. Steve Lafferty, who represents Towson, said during his recent re-election campaign he heard from constituents concerned about growth and the pressures that come with it. He said he spoke with residents from Wiltondale,Greenbrier and Rodgers Forge who were among those who complained about the difficulty of getting into Towson's core. They are, he said,"interested in a quick and easy way to get into Towson."

Lafferty, who attended several of the circulator meetings, said he plans to attend next week's community meeting and will notify everyone on his email list about it.

Developers of Towson Row — a $300 million multi-use project that will incorporate the National Guard Armory building and feature a WholeFoods market — hope to begin construction in 2015.

Marks said he is hoping the new governor will support funding for a Towson bus.

Now, Marks said, it's time to see whether the community likes their ideas — or needs something else. "We want to know if this is the typeof service people will use," he said.

Implementation of the bus service "Is at least a year or two away,"Marks said.

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