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Here and Now: Ride the Annapolis Circulator

The Annapolis Circulator, which hit the road July 1 on a six-month trial, can take the hell out of Annapolis city traffic.
    The four trolleys that together are the Circulator make it possible, perhaps even easy, for you to park and ride throughout historic Annapolis — with Eastport and West Annapolis just over horizon.
    Here’s how it works: Park at your choice of three Annapolis city garages. Park on the edge of downtown at Gott’s Garage (Cathedral and West streets) and pay a premium $12 for the day. Farther out, pay the bargain price of $5 to park at either Park Place (Westgate Circle) or Knighton garages (Colonial Avenue).

Annapolis Circulator Stops

• Park Place Garage
• Knighton Garage
• Lafayette and West Streets
• Cathedral and West streets (Gott’s Garage)
• County Court House
• City Hall
• Green Street at Market House/City Dock
• Church Circle and School street
• State House/Lawyers Mall
• Calvert and Bladen streets
• Northwest Street (Visitors’ Center)
• Calvert and West streets (Gott’s Garage)
• Park Place Garage

    “In a garage, you park indoors, so on days it’s 100 degrees outside, it won’t be 140 in your car. When it snows, you won’t have to dig out. And for your safety, a garage is always attended,” says Richard Newell, director of the Annapolis Department of Transportation for the past nine months, the man behind the Circulator.
    Or park on the edge of town at the Naval Academy Stadium lot, where the Circulator loop begins.
    Metered on-street parking is more expensive than garage or lot: $1 an hour for a maximum of two hours in most locations. Rare unmetered parking is also limited to two hours, unless you’re a city resident, parking in the zone you live in.
    Metered or zoned, street parking is also more likely to get you a ticket. With the Circulator, Newell says, “Parking enforcement will be unyielding.”
    Wherever you park, garage or Naval Academy Stadium lot, wait a couple of minutes for the next Circulator and climb aboard. Repeat as frequently as desired. With four Circulators running the 27-minute circuit, wait times at each stop average only five minutes.
    As the driver, your ticket from any of the three garages includes a day’s worth of Circulator trips. Stadium parkers pay $1.50. Nonparkers pay 50 cents. The fare — or nonfare — is good all day.
    The Circulator runs seven days a week from 7:30am to midnight Sunday through Thursday and until 2:30am Friday and Saturday. Its 12-stop loop extends from the Naval Academy Stadium lot to Park Place through Church Circle into a bowtie that passes the State Office Buildings on one side and City Hall and City Dock on the other.
    The Circulator may sound like a route, but, according to Newell, it’s a solution.
    “Using the Circulator, we have created accessibility to our parking and increased mobility in the central business district,” Newell says. “It serves the purposes of all who come to work or play — not to mention we who live — in Annapolis.”
    The Circulator is not the whole story. Fine-tuning will improve the brand-new service in the months ahead, and extensions to Eastport and West Annapolis are planned.
    Even improved, the city-supported Circulator is part of a bigger picture. “This is part of Mayor Josh Cohen’s overall transportation imitative,” Newell says.
    From the Circulator, the sky is the limit. Who knows? Transporters may be next.