Castle Shannon residents rip Port Authority Light Rail Transit cuts
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It's not just inconvenience that has Castle Shannon residents decrying the Port Authority's Light Rail Transit system cuts.
Several residents keyed safety as a main concern at the Monday night council meeting, and they're worried that walking to alternate stops near busy thoroughfares, Connor Road and Willow Avenue, will be a hazard.
Someone's going to get hit, resident Bill Suvak said. "And it's going to be on the shoulders of the people who made the plan."
Under pressure from county Executive Rich Fitzgerald, the Port Authority announced that on June 25 it would eliminate 13 little-used stops, including two in Castle Shannon that serve both Red and Blue line trains: Martin Villa and Smith Road.
The authority cites low boarding counts and closeness to adjacent stops as reasons the 13 were selected.
The longest distance anyone will have to travel to an alternate stop is about 650 yards, or a 5- to 10-minute walk for most, it has said.
Resident Michael Stout lives near the Smith stop and called the cuts a "travesty of justice" that will hit vulnerable groups, such as seniors and the disabled.
He circulated a sign-up sheet Monday night for people interested in signing petitions or organizing a group to meet with the county executive.
"We need to turn the heat up on Mr. Fitzgerald," he said.
Mayor Don Baumgarten said he will write a letter to Mr. Fitzgerald and copy "all the powers that be" -- including Port Authority CEO Steve Bland, local politicians, and state and U.S. representatives. Mr. Baumgarten also said he would join the group for a meeting with Mr. Fitzgerald.
"Whether they'll ever change their mind, I can't tell you," Mr. Baumgarten said.
Mr. Stout told the roughly 40 people in attendance that he will print the petitions and get in touch within 48 hours.
Borough leaders said they also were concerned eliminating stops would attract fewer people to the area.
"We're just as upset as you," council President Nancy Kovach said.
First Published June 12, 2012 12:00 am