Save Light Rail Stations from Closure in the Baltimore Metro Region
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Dear Governor Hogan,
Recent actions calling to close light rail stops in Anne Arundel County are of concern to the citizens that rely on public transit, particularly those that rely on the light rail to travel between their residence and workplace.
According to data from the US Census Bureau (2013), approximately 589 commuters rely on public transportation to travel from Anne Arundel County to Baltimore County or Baltimore City for work and approximately 2,700 commuters travel via public transportation from Baltimore County and Baltimore City to Anne Arundel County for work. Although the data does not show how many of the riders use light rail as opposed to the MARC train or Bus, the light rail is one of the most efficient and cost-effective ways to travel between these counties. The Baltimore Sun reported that there are 2,287 average daily boardings at the four Anne Arundel light rail stops. This suggests that many of these commuters are using light rail.
Closing any light rail stations would place an undue burden on commuters and add to the gridlock already impacting our highways.
Claims that increased crime around light rail stations are caused by criminals from the city traveling into the suburbs to commit crimes are unfounded. There is no evidence to support these claims. These types of claims are based on racists and classist stereotypes of city residents as criminals. Crime, homelessness, and drug use incidents in Linthicum and other parts of Anne Arundel County are unrelated to travelers using light rail and should be dealt with through police measures and policies within the county. Closing light rail stops will not solve those issues, they will persist with or without light rail stops. In addition, Anne Arundel County police have shown no evidence of an increase in crime at these stations.
We live in a political climate where it is easier to blame the “other” than to deal with the issues affecting our communities by helping those that live in poverty or have an addiction. Closing light rail Stations is blaming "others" who are not truly a part of this problem, and it will not solve any of the issues that residents in Anne Arundel County are concerned with. Closing light rail stations will hurt the transit dependent and those that rely on the light rail to get to work. It will also lead to transit-dependent people losing their jobs in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, and Baltimore City.
In response to concerns that children must cross tracks to get to school; there are warning lights and stop arm gates that close when a train is approaching. Children should be taught not to walk in front of closed gates and to stop when they see trains approaching. Children who cannot follow these directions should be accompanied by responsible adults walking to and from school. There have been no incidents of children being hit by a light rail train walking to school. Citizens of Anne Arundel County calling for the closure of the light rail are using this issue as a means to an end, with no evidence of any legitimate danger.
Governor Hogan, we are calling on you to make a statement that light rail stations in Anne Arundel County and elsewhere will not be closed and that you support the light rail.
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