Steve Schaefer, a Kids over Kiss and Ride supporter, talks about why the group believes the Linthicum Light Rail station should be closed.
A rather histrionic petition, making its points in all capital letters, is circulating now and is to be delivered to Gov. Larry Hogan from “Concerned Residents of Linthicum.” It poses a choice between the safety of “kids” and the continued operation of light rail through Anne Arundel County. It decries light rail for “dumping into our community” people up to no good. It seeks closure of the Linthicum station, plus reduction in services at three other stations because they believe them to be “public safety” problems — a “breeding ground for drug deals, drug use, public indecency, homeless camps, and robbery stashes.”
This despite reporting in The Baltimore Sun (“Amid Light Rail shutdown, some want reduced service in Anne Arundel,” July 24) that last April “county officers boarded more than 1,000 trains, issued 14 fare violations and made only three arrests.” Not much of a crime wave. Nonetheless, the group’s display of local nativism has attracted the attention of County Executive Steve Schuh and candidates from both parties for state Senate. So, what and who are we to trust — police statistics or office seekers using fear of Baltimore City “others” to pander for votes?
Speaking of statistics, The Sun reports average daily boardings (2,287 daily) at the four Anne Arundel light rail stops in question, which comes to 834,755 boardings annually. What of the economic impact of reduction in services when thousands of daily riders can no longer depend on light rail? Are they to lose their rides because of a few problems that public safety, social service and school officials could be handling? Are they supposed to hail an Uber at $15 one-way from Baltimore to BWI-Marshall Airport, versus the light rail fare of $1.80 each way?
That is what the “Concerned Residents” petition suggests they do. Whatever the problems and public policy implications, it is the people using the Anne Arundel portion of the light rail who must defend it or else stops could be lost.