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Aberdeen train station bus stop to be first to get bus shelter as part of county grant

Aberdeen will be the first in a county program to get a bus shelter, or even two, at its heavily-used train st

The bus stop at Aberdeen's train station is the busiest in the county, and it will be the first to get a shelter as part of Harford County's new program to put up shelters at its Harford Transit LINK stops.

Transit officials counted 6,737 passengers using the Aberdeen train station bus stop between April 4 and May 6.

Harford County received a $130,000 federal grant, 10 percent of which the county will match, to install shelters at bus stops, county government spokesperson Cindy Mumby said Wednesday.

Aberdeen could get two shelters because the site is so busy, Mumby said.

"It is by far the most heavily-used bus stop," Mumby said, explaining "five of our routes converge there."

"That is why it has been selected as a first in this long-term project to put shelters in a number of Harford Transit stops," she said.

The second busiest stop, Harford Mall in Bel Air, had 2,566 riders during the same time period, according to statistics from Harford Transit.

After that, five stops – Bel Air's Mary E. Risteau State Office Building, Walgreens in Edgewood, ShopRite in Aberdeen, Aberdeen's Perrywood Drive, Edgewater Village and Edgewood Shopping Plaza – each had between 1,000 and 2,000.

A list distributed to Aberdeen, Havre de Grace and Bel Air town officials at a recent meeting shows the Mary Risteau building as the second priority for a shelter with the three Edgewood stops after that.

Several stops already have shelters, including Harford Mall, according to the list.

A shelter costs anywhere from $8,000 to $20,000 each, and Mumby said it takes three to four months to buy a shelter through the procurement process, which the county plans to undertake.

The shelters are expected to be made of bronze anodized aluminum and glass, she said, although sizes and roofs could vary.

"The whole point behind this is to increase customer service and ridership," Mumby said. "Folks are standing out in all kinds of weather waiting for a bus."

"We believe it's also an economic engine," she added, pointing out Harford County Executive Barry Glassman put Harford Transit under the economic development department. "A lot of our riders are busy going to jobs and going to schools."

Aberdeen Mayor Patrick McGrady was excited about the shelter when he brought it up during a city council meeting Monday.

He called the train station stop "a hub" and said: "We are trying to stay on top of the county."

"Everything moves slowly in government, I am learning," McGrady added.

The Aberdeen train station area has also been the target of a transit-oriented development master plan for Aberdeen's downtown that city leaders launched in 2011 with the Maryland Department of Transportation.

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