Guest Author - Donna Ledbetter
You've heard of the Triple Crown and seen the movie Seabiscuit (DVD). Now you're ready for the Preakness. Here's how to get there and back without having to endure too much traffic.
Like any other major sporting event, the annual May Preakness race at Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore, Maryland, comes with its fair share of parking and commuting challenges. If you decide to drive to the races, you will find that the traditional designated parking areas surrounding the race track tend to fill up quickly. This leads some drivers to opt for on-street parking. This, too, is limited, of course, and can wind up costing you money if you park in an area without checking the signs.
To avoid these hassles, consider parking farther away from the Pimlico Race Track. The track is located near the corner of Park Heights Avenue and Northern Parkway, just a few short blocks from Reisterstown Plaza on Reisterstown Road. You can beat the crowd by parking at Reisterstown Plaza and then taking the M2 bus from the plaza down to the corner of Reisterstown Road and Northern Parkway. From there, walk down Northern Parkway to the race track. This is not a short walk, but itís convenient and you will be glad to save yourself from the parking hassle later.
An alternative to walking quite so far might also be to consider parking at Mondawnmin Mall in Baltimore and taking the M3 bus from there to the corner of Park Heights and Reisterstown Road.
You might also consider parking on someoneís lawn. Many entrepreneurial home owners in the area rent out space on their lawn each year for visitors to the Preakness. You may do this only with the permission of the home owner, however. To do otherwise could mean that your car will be towed.
On Preakness Day, you will inevitably find awful traffic jams in the hours leading up to the race and immediately after. Residents of the area are accustomed to this yearly occurrence and will often plan their days by not driving at all or by traveling at times when the Preakness crowd has dissipated.
By far, the areas most to be avoided are Northern Parkway and Park Heights Avenue. These streets lead to I-83 and I-695, which many visitors use to get to the Pimlico. If you can by any means wait at the race course until the traffic has subsided, you should do so. However, if you feel you must absolutely brave it all, consider traveling to another exit to get through faster. Most drivers will be inching along trying to get to the I-83 exit on Northern Parkway. But you can also pick up I-83 by driving down Pimlico Road to West Cold Spring Lane. Turn left and in about a mile you will come upon signs for I-83. You may use this route to get to I-695 as well, since I-83 leads into it.
For more travel ideas in the Preakness area, view Experience Pikesville Orthodox Jewish Culture in Maryland.