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Letter to the Editor

May 08, 2009

Don't forget transportation



To the editor:

First, I want to commend everyone for the support they have given to Donald Bowman's plan for the continuing restoration and redevelopment of downtown Hagerstown. Although, as a resident of Alexander House, I would like for his idea for the conversion of Alexander House into a hotel to happen later rather than sooner, if it happens at all.

However, there is one glaring omission in Bowman's plan - that is the provision for an adequate public transportation system. If one looks at the impetus for revitalization of neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., one can readily see that the driving force has been close proximity to a Metro station. Obviously, Hagerstown is a long way from having Metro stations, but attention and consideration must be given to the availability of adequate public transportation when planning for future development in the downtown area.

While the County Commuter provides a vital service to Hagerstown, there are a number of deficiencies in the system that need to be addressed:

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The Long Meadow-Locust Street route needs to be extended to serve the new section of the Long Meadow Shopping Center, including Weis Market and Lowe's.

The Prime Outlets route should be extended to serve the Greyhound station and the Motor Vehicle Administration, including the commuter bus.

The Robinwood route should be expanded to offer Saturday service and, ideally, evening service to HCC when classes are in session. It would also be nice to have Sunday afternoon service to the college for special events.

It would also be nice to have limited Sunday service to Wal-Mart, Valley Mall and Prime Outlets, similar to the present weekday evening service.

But what would really provide the ultimate stimulus to Hagerstown's downtown economy would be a light rail line that would connect Hagerstown to Frederick and Martinsburg, with a station in downtown Hagerstown.

Accordingly, I would like to support Tim Rowland's suggestion that, "Those running for mayor and city council should read every word (of Bowman's plan) and, should they win, be prepared to pay it more than lip service." But in order for this to be successful, they must also add to that plan a provision for a better and more effective public transportation system.

Carolyn E. Watkins
Hagerstown

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