The Labor Day holiday weekend provides Marylanders one last chance to get out and have some end-of-the-summer fun, especially those looking to head to the Eastern Shore.

Last year, more than 354,000 vehicles crossed over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge during the Labor Day weekend. Lower gas prices in 2016 mean that there is a good chance that vehicle volume will increase, and more vehicles mean more traffic.

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC)’s congestion management process analyzes where and when traffic in the Baltimore region tends to pile up and for how long it will stay congested by looking at data from the National Performance Measures Research Data Set (NPMRDS) congestion scans. Looking at 2015 Labor Day weekend data, staff members can conclude that those traveling to the Eastern Shore will hit less traffic by leaving on Thursday, September 1, instead of Friday, September 2.  

BMC provides the following animation from 2015 Labor Day weekend data - from Thursday, September 3, through Monday, September 7 - to show when traffic is heaviest.   You can pan around and zoom in and out on the roads you plan on traveling to get an idea of what traffic may be like this holiday weekend.   Each day’s map refreshes to the same scale and location.

Looking at the following data from the National Performance Measures Research Data Set (NPMRDS) congestion scans we can observe the heaviest traffic  on eastbound US-50 approaching the Bay Bridge between 4 and 6pm on the Thursday before Labor Day in 2015 with backups beginning between I-97 and the MD-2 exit and breaking up near MD-648 before the toll plaza.

Conversely those who chose to leave on that Friday found a longer window of delays on US-50 eastbound from 2 to 9pm with more slowing at the toll plaza.

A Saturday departure shows also shows heavy traffic on US-50 eastbound approaching the Bay Bridge from 7am to almost 7pm with solid backups extending as far back as MD-2 at the midday peak.

Getting home from the beach poses an even more difficult challenge with backups from the Bay Bridge extending as far back as Easton, MD on westbound US-50 beginning at 10am and not ending until after 10pm.

The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) offers travel tips for the Labor Day holiday weekend:

  • Travel off-peak when heading to and from the Eastern Shore. The best times to travel the Bay Bridge this weekend include:
  • Thursday - before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  • Friday - before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  • Saturday - before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m.
  • Sunday - before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
  • Labor Day - before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

Getting around by walking and bicycling saves transportation costs, is good for the environment, and helps keep you in shape. Visit the following pages for information on why and how to use human-powered transportation.

Bicycling:

Why Commute by Bicycle?

Choosing a Bike Route

Accessories

Bike Comfort Tips

Bike Maintenance Tips

Bike to Work Day

The Maryland Department of the Environment estimates that about 30% of the ozone causing pollution in our region comes from motor vehicles. Most of those vehicles carry one person to and from work. If more people decided not to drive alone but ride transit instead, there would be fewer cars and less pollution.

Find out what transit service is available in your neighborhood:
Baltimore City and Surrounding Region | Anne Arundel County | City of Annapolis | Baltimore County | Carroll County | Harford County | Howard County

Baltimore City and Surrounding Area

  • Charm City Circulator - Free bus service in parts of downtown Baltimore City
  • Maryland Transit Administration - Bus service in Baltimore City and parts of Anne Arundel and Baltimore counties, is provided by the Maryland Transit Administration. The MTA provides bus, light rail, heavy rail, and commuter rail options. Information on their services can be accessed on the web site. You will find maps, types of service and how to pay. Or you can call: 410-539-5000 for assistance.

Anne Arundel County

City of Annapolis

Baltimore County

Carroll County

  • Carroll Area Transit System - CATS is a private nonprofit corporation providing dedicated shuttle and demand-response transportation to meet the needs of seniors, people with disabilities, and transportation disadvantaged of Carroll County. Demand-response is a shared ride, door to door, advanced reservation service offered on a space available basis and with driver assistance. Anyone can use CATS, however those who require any type of assistance to board, ride, and/or disembark must notify the dispatcher of their special needs when they schedule their transportation so that the proper vehicle can be scheduled. To schedule a ride on CATS, call toll free at 866-304-2287 or 410-876-RIDE.

Harford County

  • Harford Transit - Use Harford Transit service to travel to Aberdeen, Havre de Grace, Riverside, Edgewood, and Joppatowne. Bus and MARC commuter rail services are available.

Howard County

  • Howard Transit - provides fixed route bus service in Clarksville, Columbia, Ellicott City, North Laurel, Savage and Elkridge. Service is also available to BWI Airport, selected MARC stations, and industrial parks along the US 1 corridor in Howard County. Most routes operate Monday through Saturday, and selected routes offer Sunday services. Bus and MARC commuter rail services are available.
  • Central Maryland Regional Transit - provides daily bus service in the Laurel area with routes that operate between Laurel and Columbia and in the Whiskey Bottom area of Howard County. Stops are available in Savage, Owen Brown, and Kings Contrivance with free transfers to Howard Transit Routes.

In addition, there are a number of travel options for the elderly, people with disabilities and/or others with special mobility needs

Combine your trip with a bicycle: How to Place Your Bike on an MTA Bus

For more information:
Regina Aris, raris@baltometro.org or 410-732-0500 x1046.

There are a number of travel options for the elderly, people with disabilities and/or others with special mobility needs.  Find out what paratransit service is available in your neighborhood!

Baltimore City and Surrounding Area

  • MTA Mobility/Paratransit - Mobility/Paratransit is a specialized, curb-to-curb service for people with disabilities who are not able to ride fixed-route public transportation including lift-equipped buses. Service is provided within 3/4 of a mile of any fixed-route service (bus, light rail, or Subway) in Baltimore City and Baltimore and Anne Arundel counties. Riders must be certified before using services. For full details visit http://www.mtamaryland.com/mobility/ or call 410-727-3535.

Carroll County

  • Carroll Area Transit System - http://www.gobycats.org/ - CATS provides demand-response transportation to meet the needs seniors, people with disabilities, and transportation disadvantaged of Carroll County. Demand-response is a shared ride, door to door, advanced reservation service offered on a space available basis and with driver assistance. If a rider requires any type of assistance to board, ride, and/or disembark must notify the dispatcher of their special needs when they schedule their transportation so that the proper vehicle can be scheduled. To schedule a ride on CATS, call toll free at 866-304-2287 or 410-876-RIDE.

Harford County

  • Harford Services for Citizens with Disabilities - Harford Transit provides services in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Vehicles are wheelchair accessible. For more information, contact the dispatcher by phone at 410-612-1621 or 410-838-2562 or by TTY/TDD at 410-612-1643.

Howard County

  • HT Ride - www.howardtransit.com/htride/Default.asp is a specialized transportation service for individuals who cannot ride fixed-route buses. This service consists of two service components:
    • General Services - HT Ride provides shared ride transportation to medical appointments, senior centers and employment (on a limited basis) to eligible Howard County residents who a) have a disability, b) are age 60 and over, and/or c) are low-income.
    • ADA Services - HT Ride provides general purpose shared ride service to individuals with disabilities who are eligible under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Service is limited to areas that are within 3/4 of a mile of Howard Transit fixed route service.
  • Neighbor Ride - www.neighborride.org. For Howard County’s older residents, this is a reasonably priced, reliable, supplemental transportation service that utilizes community volunteers and resources. For a ride or to learn more, call 410-884-3616.

For more information: 
Regina Aris, raris@baltometro.org or 410-732-0500 x1046.

Air pollution can make breathing difficult for everyone, especially children, the elderly, and people with chronic illness. Children who suffer long-term ozone exposure may develop permanent lung damage and pollutants can also easily aggravate existing medical conditions among people of all ages. That’s why people at-risk, as well as those responsible for their care, need to be aware of air quality conditions.

Air quality chartAlthough the region’s air quality has improved dramatically over the last twenty years, we still experience several days each year when air quality is poor. On these Air Quality Action Days, we are all urged to take actions to protect our health and reduce pollution-causing activities.

The Maryland Department of the Environment and the Clean Air Partners organization have devised a color-coded forecast and action guide for air quality awareness:

  • Code Green (Good) Enjoy outdoor activities!

  • Code Yellow (Moderate) Limit driving!

  • Code Orange (Unhealthy for Sensitive Groups) Kids and adults with chronic illness should limit outdoor activities and ride transit!

  • Code Red (Unhealthy) Everyone limit outdoor activities and drive less!

  • Code Purple (Very unhealthy) Everyone avoid outdoor physical activities!

These actions are simple and usually require little sacrifice, but they can have a big impact on the air we all breathe.  >> Download the Air Quality Action Guide (pdf)


For more information:
Russ Ulrich, rulrich@baltometro.org or 410-732-9575.

Bike to Work!


Begin each day by knowing the Air Quality Forecast. Check the Maryland Department of the Environment’s Web site, www.mde.state.md.us, or visit www.cleanairpartners.net for the latest air quality conditions.   

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