Baltimore, You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself

Mama, unfortunately, lives in rather a transit hole in what is, shall we say politely, a rather transit disadvantaged city. Though she lives on one of the major North-South routes through the city, there is one bus, that theoretically runs every 45 minutes but is notoriously late. I once waited an hour and a half for the number 27, and when I turned my back for a minute two rushed by in a row without stopping. It’s well known that anyone who relies on that bus to get to work will be late. And people jsut shrug and say, ‘yeah, that’s Baltimore.’

I have been trying to get to the Turkish consulate for two days now. Today I left the house, hesitated between right and left, and then went left up the hill to where I thought I remembered there being a slightly shorter route to the Northern Parkway Lightrail station. Still about a 20 minute walk, but walking to the Coldspring station isn’t pleasant, so why not? I tramped up and down Northern Parkway for about 20 minutes and couldn’t find the entrance to the platform. I found two signs, one pointing straight ahead, and one to a solid row of houses.

It was perhaps a five minute walk to the nearest gas station, so I walked there and asked. The gas station attendant insisted that the nearest Lightrail station was Mt. Washington- perhaps another 25 minutes up the hill. There were two gentlemen in the store who insisted that there wasn’t and never had been a Northern Parkway station. I thanked them and crossed the street to the Shell.

“Sorry, I’ve been out of town for three years. Can you tell me how to get to the Northern Parkway Station?”

There was a soda vendor in there at the time, and he said,

“Sure hon- what you want to do is drive…”

“I’m sorry, I interrupted, “If I were driving I wouldn’t need to take the lightrail.”

He looked puzzled.

“Well, if you WANNA walk…”

“Hon,” a customer said, “It’s real easy. You walk all the way down that hill- you know where Robert E Lee Park is?”

“Yes?” Probably?

“Right before that bridge you just turn off. On the right.”

“Okay. Thank you.”

I walked outside and checked the time. 10:35. I’d been wandering around for the better part of an hour. Assuming I could find the turn off, it might be another 20 minutes until the next lightrail train. Even assuming I were lucky and the train came, in like, 5, 20 more minutes to the train station. From there I could wait anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour for the next train, cause you can never trust the MARC system, into DC. Or I could wait for the 27 for God knows how long, or I could walk another half an hour to the Coldsping station- I saw no solution that would get me to the consulate before it closed.

I gave into self pity and despair.

Tomorrow I will have to get up two hours earlier and turn right.

Please, lord, just let me get back to a place where the government has overt, unmistakable disdain for its citizenry. That’s fightable. This slow suffocation by infrastructure? It’s just really fucking depressing.

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4 Responses to Baltimore, You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself

  1. Yep, we are eternally thankful to ‘someone’ in Turkey for their realisation that public transport needs to be functional and useful. Feel for you. That’s the one thing that really depresses us when we go back to Blighty…and prob why we’ve not been back for a good few years!

  2. Alan says:

    . . it’s the system, comrades! Once Turkey’s property/credit bubble bursts (and it will) it’ll go down the self-same plughole as the rest of the ‘developed’ western ‘democracies’.

  3. Good luck! The public transport system in most US cities is abysmal at best! Yikes! 😉

  4. Heather says:

    Welcome home darlin’. ❤

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