More than 600 parking spaces will be added to the Maryland Rail Commuter (MARC) station in Savage by next spring, in a $1.2 million project to accommodate an increase in commuters.
The 279 spaces at the lot on Route 32 near Dorsey Run Road are filled every day by commuters using the Camden line, which runs from the station at Camden Yards in Baltimore to Union Station in Washington, D.C.
"The need for additional spaces lies in the growing use of the mass transit system among commuters from the surrounding areas," said Anthony Brown, a spokesman for the MTA.
The number of commuters using MARC trains increased from 4 million daily riders in 1993 to 5 million in 1994, transportation officials said.
About 450 commuters board at the Savage station, one of three MARC stations in Howard County. The other two stations are at Jessup and Elkridge.
Two other rail lines -- the Penn line, which runs from Perryville, Md., to Washington, and the Brunswick line, which runs from Martinsburg, W. Va. to Washington -- also are part of the MARC system.
Over the past year, the increase in the number of commuters using the train system has prompted expansion of parking lots at the 40 MARC stations in the state. This year, for example, about 800 spaces were added to the Odenton station in Anne Arundel County.
In addition, in November, the Muirkirk station in Prince George's County was opened. And construction has begun on a Dorsey station for MARC's Camden Line by the fall of 1996.
In Savage, the additional spaces will be in a wooded area, north of the existing lot. They will be ready by next April or May.
"With more spaces, those commuters who may have approached the station in the past and left because they were not able to park their cars . . . will now be able to do so," Mr. Brown said. "Expanding the parking lot is making the mass transit system a more attractive option of traveling to and from the cities for commuters."
Transportation authorities also are expanding parking lots at bus park-and-rides and building new ones.
A $1.3 million MTA project will add a new 325-space lot at the park-and-ride near the Route 32 and Broken Land Parkway interchange. That lot will be ready by the end of the year, state transportation officials said.
About 800 Howard County residents use the Route 32 park-and-ride service daily. Commuters can car-pool or take a commuter bus to Baltimore or Washington, a MTA spokesman said.
In addition, the State Highway Administration is building a park-and-ride lot at Route 100 and Long Gate Parkway.
Highway officials recently suspended construction on part of that project at the request of residents from the nearby Columbia Hills neighborhood while archaeologists search for evidence of a historic graveyard that residents claim was in the area.