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Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Commuter Karma

In July 2013 the Maryland MTA opened the long awaited Halethorpe commuter rail station. It now had its own dedicated pedestrian over pass, stairs and elevators, full length boarding platforms on both sides.

On August 12, the big-guy all arrived for the Grand Opening ceremony with Governor O'Malley and a host of other dignitaries. What all was still missing was a completed parking lot that included disability accessible permit parking spaces that are wide enough for a driver, or passenger, to park in and get out of the vehicle with a wheelchair. Those parking spaces were still 6 weeks away.

Finally, the week came that the spaces were finished, lines painted and signs posted. The availability of those 24 spaces coincided with the shutdown of the Federal government due to political squabbling over a Continuing Resolution that also for not repeal the Affordable Care Act, wholly or in part. Parking at the new Halethorpe rail station was relatively easy. The easy of access was short lived due to the partial call back of furloughed workers. Then after 16 wasted days of shutdown and bickering the full Federal workforce came back to work and the rail station was back to its capacity conditions.

From one day to the next I was able to or not able to get one of the coveted disability permit spaces. There were just too many Posers and Liars using someone else's permit. The MTA Police Department stations officers there for a couple of days to check on permits and ID cards that go with them. They found a sizable number of violations at Halethorpe as they had earlier at another rail Station. The fear of fines kept the spaces available for a few days after the ID check.

My morning ritual was been to drive to and through the parking lot to see IF a space is available and use one IF there was. I'd leave early enough from home to go there and park or leave and drive on to the BWI rail station where I had been parking for many years.

Early in the week of November 4th, the spaces were available. MTA had actually added 5 narrow spaces to augment the capacity. Nov 6th, all the spaces were used including the new 5. It has been my observation and opinion that they could had 100 spaces designated and within a few days there would be 100 cars and SUVs with HP Plates or placards using them up, unless they continue to patrol.

I left grumbling about the extra 5 miles I'd have to drive to go to BWI and the possibility that I might not have the time to catch my desired #419 train. I did get there and park on the fourth floor (remember the Posers and Liars? There a lot of them at BWI too.) The train was pulling in as I crossed the pedestrian bridge and got the elevator down to the platform "Just in time."

I kept reminding myself that I was at BWI not Halethorpe so I would not forget and go to the wrong station. The MARC Announcement email notifier delivered a message that an elevator at Halethorpe was out of service and that technicians had been dispatched. I realized that it was quite a bit of good fortune or karma that I was not parked at Halethorpe where I had wanted to be. On my usual evening train three people who know me well and two who just know that I go to Halethorpe thought to give me the heads up that the elevator there was broken.

I thanked them and said I happened to be parked at BWI and all was good. I dodged that bullet because of the people who abuse the parking permits. Karma is not all bad.