THE REGION

Bus Commuters Forced to Hoof It

A group of commuters from Suitland set out on foot for the District yesterday morning after waiting more than an hour for a Metrobus that never showed up.

"We had to walk all the way to D.C., with no sidewalks, with cars flying past," said Patricia Moore, 38, a Suitland resident who rides Metrobus to the Potomac Avenue Metrorail station each day. "Thank God I had on my soft shoes and slacks. Another woman had heels on, and she lost an earring. It was awful."

Moore said she and four others walked for more than 20 minutes from Brookfield Drive to the District to find a bus, picking up three more frustrated commuters on the way. She said she was two hours late to her job as a receptionist at the U.S. Department of Justice.

Metro spokeswoman Cheryl Johnson said Metrobuses on Moore's route got stuck in a traffic jam on the Sousa Bridge that backed up westbound traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue two miles to Southern Avenue.

"We're extremely sympathetic to the plight of those passengers," Johnson said. "But the buses travel in the same traffic conditions that everyone else faces."

MARYLAND

Agencies Signal Approval of Pollution Plan

Two federal agencies have signaled that they will approve Maryland's plan to control pollution runoff into the Chesapeake Bay.

Runoff, especially livestock manure used as fertilizer, is a significant problem along the state's coastal areas and in the watersheds that feed into the Chesapeake Bay. Polluted runoff has killed fish, barred watermen from shellfish beds and closed public beaches.

The state proposal under federal consideration would manage manure, septic tanks and potential pollution from coastal marinas. A Federal Register notice published Wednesday said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency intend to grant final approval of Maryland's proposal, although public comments on the plan are to be accepted until Nov. 5.

$25 Million Allotted for Land Preservation

A state board handed out millions of dollars to land preservation proposals throughout the state this week.

The Rural Legacy Board allocated a total of $25 million to 17 projects, expenditures that were approved Tuesday night by Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D).

The largest shares went to Montgomery, Frederick and Calvert counties, each of which received $2 million for the preservation of farmland and Battle Creek. A second proposal by Calvert, to buy land around Leonard's Creek, was rejected.

Anne Arundel County got $1.2 million to start buying a strip of 9,000 acres in the southern county that runs between the Patuxent River and the Chesapeake Bay.

Howard County got $1.5 million for a project to buy land in the Upper Patuxent River watershed.

Civil War Museum Proposal

Construction on a Civil War museum in Hagerstown could begin in 2001 with completion by September of the following year, a group backing the plan told the Hagerstown Chamber of Commerce.

Dennis E. Frye, a member of the Antietam Creek Coalition Inc., said Wednesday that the best location for the $30 million to $40 million museum would be in downtown Hagerstown.

The group is preparing a report, to be completed in December, to answer questions about location and sources of funding. Frye said the group could raise about $20 million from private investors and through admissions and sales. The other $20 million would come from other sources, including the state, he said.

The report will be used to apply for affiliation with the Smithsonian Institution, which would mean the museum could use the Smithsonian name and borrow artifacts.

Frye said that if all goes as planned, the museum's opening in September 2002 would coincide with the 140th anniversary of the Antietam battle.

VIRGINIA

Metro Offers Springfield Shuttle

Metro has launched a shuttle bus service to help ease road congestion around Springfield during reconstruction of the massive interchange called the mixing bowl.

The shuttle runs between the Franconia-Springfield Metrorail station and businesses and residential areas in central Springfield.

Under a one-year pilot program, operated by Metro for the Transportation Association of Greater Springfield, buses with a TAGS logo began running this week between the Metro station and the Hilton Hotel, Springfield Mall and Springfield Plaza as well as other shopping areas. Buses run weekdays from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m., every 15 minutes. The fare is 25 cents.

About 500 parking spaces near Macy's at the mall have been set aside for commuter parking. Those who park there can take the shuttle bus to the Metro station, where parking is at a premium.

Meanwhile in the mixing bowl, northbound traffic flowed well along Interstate 95 yesterday morning, despite the shifting of the travel lanes as part of the project to rebuild the interchange. State police reported no more than the usual delays as motorists negotiated the one-mile stretch between the Franconia-Springfield Parkway and Commerce Street Bridge.

Baby Dies of Car Crash Injuries

A baby has died from injuries suffered when his family's car crashed into a concrete barrier alongside Route 28 in Sterling on Saturday, according to the Loudoun County sheriff's office.

Three-month-old Erik Reyes died Wednesday at Children's Hospital, sheriff's spokesman Deputy Ed Pifer said yesterday.

The car driven by the child's father, Manuel Reyes, 39, of Herndon, went out of control and struck the wall, Pifer said. Reyes, his wife, Marie Oterro, 22, and their 1-year-old son, Kevin, were taken to Reston Hospital Center, where they were treated and released, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

The accident is under investigation, Pifer said. Police are asking anyone who witnessed the crash to call Deputy Jeff Mees at 703-771-5798.

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"The impression is, if you get shot or stabbed, go to D.C. General because they have the best trauma surgeons in town -- but after that, go someplace else. We have to change that."

-- Julius Hobson Jr., vice chairman of the Public Benefit Corp., which operates D.C. General Hospital and is trying to change the public's perception through an ad campaign.