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Archive (114)
Successful Workshop Report!

 The Bike Maryland Bicycle Friendly University Workshop at Hood College on January 16th, 2014

Bike Maryland gathered staff, faculty, and students from thirteen of Maryland's colleges and universities to Frederick from as far as Salisbury for this half day event to hear a variety of speakers discuss ways to learn how to make their campus increasingly bicycle friendly. The workshop lead up to a lunchtime talk by Valarie Goubeau, Acting Assistant Director of Transportation at the University of Maryland College Park, who discussed some of the challenges and successes leading up to becoming a Silver Level Bicycle Friendly University- the only campus in Maryland to acheive this award. 

Bike Maryland is planning our first annual Bicycle Friendly University Summit for August 2014 so watch for updates in the coming months!

Attendees stayed long after the adjournment of the workshop to ask questions and learn more about how they could make their universities increasingly bicycle friendly.Bike Maryland gives a special thanks to Dave Diehl and Hood College as well as New Belgium Brewery for their help and sponsorship of the event. We would also like to acknowledge and thank the many presenters who shared their eperience for the collective good!!

For more information, contact Katie Lupo, Bike Maryland Bicycle Friendly Maryland Program Coordinator.


 

Meet Nick Rodricks, Bike Maryland's New Employee!

Bike Maryland is pleased to welcome Nick Rodricks to our team. Nick will be serving as a BIke Minded Safety Program Coordinator, establishing partnerships, planning and hosting safety workshops for youth and adult commuters, fund raising and more! Read a little more about Nick's background below and contact him by email here if you have any specifc questions.

Nick was born and raised in Baltimore Maryland, a town he takes great pride in. Nick was introduced to bicycling at a young age and grew up riding all over Maryland, from the NCR trail to the neighborhoods around his family house in the city. After graduating from Friends School of Baltimore, Nick went on to study International Relations and Environmental science at Connecticut College. In college Nick was captain of the lacrosse team, a member of the A Capella group, Vox Cameli, and highly involved with the school newspaper. He left Connecticut College with a deep passion for the environment and a desire to promote alternative forms of energy and transportation. After graduation he spent a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in St.Louis, Missouri teaching a college preparatory course in a public high school.

Nick is extremely excited to join the Bike Maryland team and to have the opportunity to promote a cause he wholeheartedly supports. Green transportation, getting people out of cars and making bike transportation a more realistic and feasible option for local communities are priorities for Nick as he moves forward in his position. Please contact Nick if you would like to schedule a Bike Maryland youth safety rodeo or adult commuter workshop, volunteer, become a bike ambassador, or partner with Bike Maryland.

Jerry Seinfeld Promotes Cycling to Work!

"If you can walk to work or take your bike on a daily basis, I think that's just about the coolest thing that there is. Every morning I listen to the traffic on the radio, and they talk about how they are jammed and I just laugh. I love traffic. I love traffic reports because I'm not in any of them."

- Quote from Jerry Seinfeld on January 6, 2014 from Reddit.com

One of the greatest comedians of our time is also an avid cycling advocate! Great, like we needed another reason to like Seinfeld! 

Top 13 Accomplishments of 2013

Here at Bike Maryland we KNOW we have LOTS to be thankful for in 2013! Most of all the vital support of our great staff, team of volunteers, Board of Directors, and countless partners who have helped us acheive the accomplishments that bring us closer to fulfilling our mission. Here are our favorite 13 benchmarks of '13:

13. Advocating and forming a resolution with MBPAC which urges MARC trains to consider carrying non-folding bicycles.

12. Advocating and bringing together cyclists and helping Maryland reach #16 in the U.S. on the National Bicycle Challenge.

11. Being awarded a grant to help Bike Salisbury install six bicycle racks near Salisbury small businesses.

10. Completing the design and beginning the programming for a new website.

9. Hiring first full time staff person to manage events and fundraising.

8. Successfully hosting three fantastic bicycle tour events that raised funds for our safety, education and awareness workshops.

7. Contributing to a video to educate all Maryland police on bicycle safety, legislation and enforcement.

6. Working with the Legal Resource Center for Public Health Policy at Maryland Carey Law to better understand what laws might improve cyclist safety in Maryland.

5. A successful Bicycle Symposium in February 2013 with over 300 guests who came to learn and network.

4. Supporting the formation of three new local community bicycling advocacy groups in Maryland.

3. Working on development and implementation of a Complete Streets policy throughout Maryland.

2. Educating thousands of youth and adults through our Bike MINDED Safety Program workshops.

1. Launching the Bike Maryland MVA Organizational License Plate program to promote the 3-ft Law.

Thank you for your support in 2013! To make your end of the year donation or to be one of the first to contribute to our 2014 fundraising efforts, click here.
MBPAC Advocates for Bicycles on MARC Trains

The Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (MBPAC) is responsible for advising State government agencies on issues directly related to bicycling and pedestrian activity including funding, public awareness, safety and education.  MBPAC passed a resolution at the December 13, 2013 meeting, which urges the Maryland Area Regional Commuter rail system (MARC) to consider carrying non-folding bicycles on its newly inaugurated week-end service on the Penn Line.

While many commuter rail systems around the United States and the world accommodate bicycles on their trains, MARC does not, with the exception of folding bicycles, which must be folded and encased. The primary reason given for the prohibition of non-folding bicycles has been the lack of available space on the crowded trains. However, MARC has recently inaugurated week-end service on the Penn Line, which has not been as heavily used. Given this newly available space on the trains, and given that there is likely a market for recreational travel between Baltimore and Washington for people who would like to take conventional bicycles with them, the MBPAC urges that MARC consider a pilot program to permit conventional, non-folding bicycles on the week-end service.

Bike Maryland's Executive Director, Carol Silldorff is a participating committee member of MBPAC and encourages MBPAC  to meet with officials of MARC to discuss the issues which affect the ability to offer this service. Bike Maryland will continue to report on this as the organizations come to a resolution.

17th Annual Symposium

Bike Maryland presents the 2014 Annual Bicycle Symposium!

Seize your chance to learn from industry leaders, bicycling advocates, planners, community leaders and legislative officials from Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic region. Experienced representatives will present on current topics with the goal of increasing bicycle safety, awareness, connectivity and accessibility at this free premier event that includes lunch.

RSVP REQUIRED HERE.

8:00 - 9:30 AM  Bicycling Advocates Breakfast - Session for members/leaders or prospective members of existing and planned local/regional advocacy groups to network and discuss how we can use our collective strength

9:45 - 2:30 PM  Symposium Presentations and Lunch Networking Session

The symposium draws over 300 experts, decision-makers, and enthusiasts, from the Mid-Atlantic region, who share an interest in alternative transportation options, innovative infrastructure, and safe practices on roadways and trails.

Brunswick Bicycle Friendly Program Workshop Report

Brunswick Bicycle Friendly Community & Business Workshop

By Katie Lupo, Bike Friendly Program Coordinator

On November 19, 2013 Bike Maryland gathered officials from Frederick County and Brunswick, local business owners, and bicycle enthusiasts for a Bicycle Friendly Community and Business Workshop in Brunswick. A large number of attendees, nearly all of whom ride bicycles for commuting and/or leisure for over 10 years, mingled over refreshments provided by Beans in the Belfry before actively engaging in the workshop. Nestled along the C&O Canal, the city of Brunswick is working hard to improve bicycling infrastructure and access to the town from the towpath for the thousands of bicyclists riding by. Business owners and citizens voiced their desire for signage along the C&O Canal pointing to local businesses, and many desired more commuter education and safety classes for youth and adults. Prior to the workshop, most attendees had not heard of the Bicycle Friendly Community or Business awards, but all were very interested in finding ways to make Brunswick more bicycle friendly!

We are grateful to Potomac Pedalers Touring Club, Race Pace Bicycles, and Beans in the Belfry for their sponsorship of this workshop.

The Simplest Way to Get People Biking

Article by: Emily Badger Posted on The Atlantic Cities originally on November 08, 2013

Because humans are weird and complicated and not always rational, it's not enough to scatter bikes around town if you want people to use them. Changing behavior – especially behavior as deeply embedded as our commuting patterns, or our preference for cars above all – may also require a little nudge.

There's a ridiculously simple way to do this with bikes: Show people how long the exact same trip would take in a car, or on foot, or even by transit. One of Google Maps's smartest innovations has been to make these side-by-side comparisons possible in its trip planner, with alternate routes laid out on the same screen...

See the rest of this INTERESTING article here.

New York Times Op-Ed "Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?"

By DANIEL DUANE
Published: November 9, 2013

Read the New York Times Op-Ed HERE!

Daniel Duane, a newbie to biking the San Francisco streets, decided to investigate what legal consequences befall a driver who kills a cyclist. What he found is this: In most states, and in almost all reported instances, there are almost no consequences. Unless you are driving drunk or completely recklessly, the punishment for killing a cyclist with your car often amounts to a slap on the wrist (often nothing happens, but sometimes drivers are fined or receive community service). Makes you think twice about wearing a helmet, huh? The central question the op-ed aims to answer is this: “Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?” According to Duane, our justice system and the people who enforce its laws are giving everyone the impression that it is.

As you can imagine, the piece made the Internet explode with reactions from bike-lovers to bike-haters to bike-fearers to everyone in between.

(Summary by ADJUA FISHER at PhillyMag.com)

2013 Educator of the Year Award - Accepting Nominations!

We can think of three great educators who deserve this award!! The Bike Maryland Bike MINDED Safety Program Coordinators, Katie Gore, Marla Streb, and Carl Peterson!! Nominate someone today!! 

  

Here is an excerpt from the League of American Bicyclist's article on the Educator of the Year Award.

"Bike educators do the work on the ground to get more people on bikes -- and riding safely and confidently -- every day in communities across the country.

To honor and thank those educators who have gone above and beyond in the past year, we're putting out a call for nominations for the 2013 Educator of the Year Award. We're looking for educators who are current LCIs, active in teaching classes in the past year and have shown innovation in their education work. A team of League staff, board members and education committee members will review the nominations and announce the winner later this year."

Nominations are open until Dec. 6, 2013. You can submit your nomination here, by filling out this short survey.

The winner will receive a free registration to the 2014 National Bike Summit in Washington, D.C.

Read the rest of the article here.

Oct 31 - New Job Opening with Bike Maryland!!!!

Administrative Assistant Job Opening!

Bike Maryland seeks an Administrative Assistant to provides support to the Executive Director and staff. Proficiency working with MS Office and relational databases, strong organizational skills, and the ability to communicate well with organization members, partners, volunteers, and staff from each of the programs at Bike Maryland are essential to the success of the position.

Located at 1209 N. Calvert Street, Baltimore. 30 Hours a week.

Click HERE for more info on how to apply!

New Law Enforcement Video - Bicycle Safety!

Bike Maryland is delighted to announce the new police video to educate police throughout Maryland regarding bicycle laws and the best way to reduce crashes and fatalities. We recommend that you view this highly educational video and share it with both motorists and bicyclists. Bike Maryland partnered with the Maryland State Police, Maryland Department of Transportation, Maryland Motor Vehicle Association, Cycle Maryland to produce this video.

Click here to watch the video.

We would like to give special thanks to John Brandt, Bicycle Coordinator University of Maryland Department of Transportation Services,  Michael Jackson, Department of Transportation Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Access, and Michael Sonnenfeld, Bike Maryland Board Secretary.

October 30th - 4th Annual Howard County Bike Forum

Bicycling Advocates of Howard County (BAHC) invites you to meet and share information with other local cyclists, local and state officials/planners, and regional advocacy groups on issues relating to improving bicycling safety and accessibility in our community. This year the focus will be on accessibility and the Howard County Bicycle Master Plan.

Bike Maryland's Executive Director, Carol Silldorff is thrilled to have the opportunity to present at this forum for the second year in a row, this year as the event's Keynote Speaker!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013, 7:00pm
Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory Building 1, Parsons Auditorium, 11000 Johns Hopkins Road, Laurel, MD 20723
Pre-Registration at Eventbrite
Check-in/Registration begins at 6:30 pm. Presentations/Discussion from 7:00 – 9:10 pm

Agenda:

  • 6:30 Meet, Greet, Sign-In With Subway refreshments
  • 7:00 Greeting Chris Tsien
  • 7:10 Keynote – Legislation Carol Silldorff, Executive Director Bike Maryland
  • 7:30 HoCo Bicycle Master Plan - Ben Pickar, Ho Co Dept Planning & Zoning & Jennifer Toole, Toole Design Group
  • 8:20 Connecting Columbia Jane Dembner, Columbia Association
  • 8:40 Bike Rodeos Carl Peterson, Bike Maryland Bike-MINDED Program
  • 9:00 Thank You Chris Tsien

BACH is an advocacy coalition of local Howard County bicycling clubs. BAHC is a 501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization.

"Heart Disease, Traffic Jams and ADHD Share One Simple Solution: Drive Less"

by Elly Blue

This is an excerpt from “Bikenomics: How Bicycling Can Save the Economy,” by Elly Blue (Microcosm Publishing, December 1, 2013, bikenomics.com).

Car exhaust is no laughing matter. Nearly half of residents in major urban areas in North America live close enough to highways and other large roads to experience serious problems as a result. Exposure to car emissions worsens and may cause asthma and other lung conditions, including lung cancer. There is evidence to suggest that it leads to hardening of the arteries and thence to heart disease. One study has found an increased risk of heart attacks while in traffic, either while driving or using public transportation. Breathing car exhaust may increase the risk of developing diabetes; it is certain, however, that people who have diabetes suffer disproportionately from the effects of air pollution.

The worst effects of breathing polluted air are experienced where it is densest: in traffic. Spending time on and near highways, freeways, and other busy roads is terrible for your health. How near is a question that is still being studied, but researchers believe that the effects are worst within either a fifth or a third of a mile. People in cars or buses are exposed to considerably more air pollution, perhaps because of, rather than despite, being in a closed space. People walking and bicycling on or next to roads breathe more air, but inhale somewhat less pollution; and cyclists have been found to have even less risk if they are on paths that are separated from the road.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE AT DC STREETS BLOG.

A Formal Complete Streets Policy in Maryland is Developed!

Bike Maryland has been working to promote the development and implementation of Complete Streets on the state and local level throughout Maryland. The streets of our cities and towns are an important part of the livability of our communities. They ought to be for everyone, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, or bus rider.

Now, in communities across the country, a movement is growing to complete the streets. States, cities and towns are asking their planners and engineers to build road networks that are safer, more livable, and welcoming to everyone.

Instituting a Complete Streets policy ensures that transportation planners and engineers consistently design and operate the entire roadway with all users in mind – including bicyclists, public transportation vehicles and riders, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

Click here to view "Understanding Complete Streets within MDOT’s  Maryland State Highway Administration"

Bike Friendly Workshop - Columbia

July 17, 2013 - Howard County Bicycle Friendly Business Workshop

Register Here!

Bike Maryland will hold a Bicycle Friendly Business (BFB) Workshop at the Central Branch, Howard County Public Library on July 17 from 1pm to 3pm. This free event was made possible through a grant from Performance Bicycle and is designed to help businesses  encourage and support their employees to commute to work by bicycle.  Each year the League of American Bicyclists awards businesses across the country that have made significant strides in becoming  a more bicycle friendly place to work. This high distinction can help employers set themselves apart by demonstrating their commitment to workplace wellness. Data shows that increased workplace wellness can benefit employers by:

- Reducing healthcare costs by 20 to 55 percent

- Reducing short-term sick leave by six to 32 percent

- Increasing productivity by two to 52 percent

(http://wellnessproposals.com/guide-to-worksite-wellness-programs/benefits-of-worksite-wellness-programs/)

The BFB Workshop will give businesses in the Howard County area the tools they need to improve workplace wellness by providing a conducive environment for bicycle commuting. Please direct any questions to Bike Maryland's Bicycle Friendly Maryland Program Coordinator, Anna Kelso (anna@bikemd.org).

Tour du Port and Larry's Ride Register Now!

Register at www.bikemd.org

Larry's Ride

Larry's ride will take place on September 15, 2013 at Camp Milldale is 5425 Mount Gilead Road, Reisterstown, MD. On site registration and check in begins at 7:00 am.

You will be sure to enjoy the beautiful, scenic and challenging terrain at the Larry's Ride event. Choose from three different bicycle routes! Afterward, come back for a celebration including lunch, music and more.

Tour Du Port: Baltimore's Premier Bicycle Tour.

Tour du Port will take place on September 29, 2013 at Baltimore's Canton Waterfront Park, at the Korean War Memorial. View directions and parking information.

Fort McHenry and the Favorite Aquarium Rest Stop are included in all five routes.

Bring your family and friends to experience Baltimore's premier bicycle tour, Tour du Port! New bicycle routes ranging from 14 to 63 miles travel through historic neighborhoods, charming port areas and beautiful parks throughout Baltimore City, Anne Arundel and Baltimore County. After the ride, enjoy a celebration with live music, exhibitors, lunch, and so much more!

US DOT NHTSA - Enforcing Laws for Bicyclists Video

Check out this great video from NHTSA and learn what you can do to enhance the roads for all user's.

 

Bike Maryland supports Towson Bike Beltway

As a representative of Bike Maryland, Bike Minded coordinator Katie Gore  attended a December 17th public meeting in Towson Maryland, to unveil the proposed Towson bike route.   Please see link below:

Towson Bike Beltway

District Councilman David Marks, a long- standing bicycle champion, stated that we need to "thoughtfully accommodate bicyclist along with motorist". Bike Maryland supports the Towson Beltway proposal and knows that it is a huge step in a positive direction to make one of the highest traffic sections of the county bike friendly.

At the meeting, residents voiced their concerns regarding fast moving traffic, decreasing lane space for cars and parking, as well as, the importance of safety for cyclists. Bike Maryland will actively promote cycling in Towson by holding free commuter workshops in the area to educate both the motorist and cyclist on all aspects of sharing the road. We think this is an amazing opportunity for the colleges and the community. 2013 is going to be an exciting year for cyclists!... Stay tuned.

Baltimore gains new League Certified Instructors

LCI Seminar Flicks on Helmet Headlamps

The League Certification Instructor (LCI) seminar was a sleeper. 

And when I say this, I don't mean we nine students were snoozing during the three days of classroom and on-the-bike drills while learning to become certified League of American Bicyclist instructors Learn about the League.  I mean, the Bike Maryland-hosted workshop actually grew in popularity with the passing of the hours, and it became a surprise hit.

Each of our helmet light bulbs eventually flicked on. 

The main reason: our instructor Jennifer Laurita was one of the most effective teachers my decades old, over-educated past can recall. Not only did Jenni drive down Hurricane Sandy-battered roadways for our benefit, but she kept it upbeat all weekend in the huge but chilly Baltimore City Fireman’s training facility (thanks Julie at CPAT!). 

Oh yeah, and Jenni obviously knew her stuff. 

Having been a cyclist for over 20 years (most as a professional racer), and coaching for 16 of those 20, I thought I knew it all.  But evidently I was wrong!  I was humbled when I realized just because I can ride a bike, it doesn't mean I can effectively teach the League of American Bicyclist principles or the rules of the road or the importance of wearing a helmet to every eager cyclist that comes along.

Sure, I could beat this instructor in a sprint (which I did at one point, whether or not she would agree), and I could illegally hop over the meticulously placed cones during our controlled cornering drills. But Jenni can smoke me when it comes down to conveying to an audience the “Need to Knows”, and in entertaining fashion.

I thought we could teach our bicycle “ABC Quick Check” by droning with a bi-colored powerpoint. But instead, we learned we should engage our future audiences with creative dialogue, sing-a-longs or track-stands on the desk.

We did a bit of sitting over the weekend, but were able to spin around a few times outside on actual bikes (even at night with lights on our helmets), bringing much needed blood flow back from the bottom to the top.

By the way, we all passed.. so go to Bike Maryland and organize your commuter or youth safety workshop with “League Certified Instructors”!

Here is the list of freshly certified instructors and contacts:

Carl Peterson <crossbreeze@comcast.net>
Chris Merriam <chrismerriam@gmail.com>
Chris Tsien <chrisbike@verizon.net>
Joe Piette <joepiette1@yahoo.com>
Kathleen Gore <ktgoremtb@comcast.net>
Kathy Rosen <rosy500@me.com>
Maria De Rijk <mariaderijk@gmail.com>
Marla Streb <marla@bikemd.org>
Hamzat Sani <sani.hamzat@gmail.com>

Commuter Safety

I

f you live in an urban city, your daily commute is most likely accompanied by pedestrians, skaters and bikers all traveling in directions creating the bustling energy of city life. 

Drivers and bikers can clash as communication and awareness of the laws and road courtesies become skewed in the mix of "he said, she said." Like it or not, bikers aren't going anywhere.

According to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, in 2009 the American bike industry sold 5.6 billion in bicycles. In fact, three times as many new bicycles are sold in the US each year than cars. Cities like Seattle, Portland and San Francisco are growing their local bike culture making it safer and easier for people to make their commute by bike. As it saves families money and reduces the amount of pollution and traffic in big cities. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) said in 2008 that 47 percent of Americans said they want more bike facilities in their communities.

As biking dominates as a popular commute, as a driver it's best to take a proactive approach and learn about simple ways to reduce your chances of bicycle collision.

Avoiding Accidents

The cardinal rule to interacting with bikers on the road is that it's better to be safe than sorry. In the unfortunate event of an accident you will probably be at fault and may be looking at a license suspension or even the loss of auto insurance coverage. When in doubt, it's best to be cautious and defensive. Have the same state of mine approaching cyclists as you do pedestrians. You wouldn't try to beat a street walker to a turn, right? One wrong move can be fatal to a cyclist. Have patience and give them a few extra seconds to pass or make a turn.

Respect for Drivers and Bikers

Leave bike lanes for bikers, don't treat them as parking spots. Some cities like, Seattle, block bike lanes off with physical cement dividers, Traffic Bollards or by painting lines and symbols on the streets. Sometimes bikers are forced to stray outside of their designated lanes due to hazardous road blocks like debris, pot holes or drainage. These may not seem like something drivers would be concerned about but these small things can be dangerous to urban bikers.

Understand and Be Aware

It's important for drivers to understand that in urban cities, Bikers are Part of Traffic Flow, not separate from it. They should be treated as an equal on the road but approached with patience and an understanding that they are much more fragile and a wrong turn for them can make a much more severe impact than a wrong turn for a driver.

When you are parking in a designated roadside parking space beware of bikers passing by. Bikers getting "doored" by drivers is a common hazard when an unsuspecting biker collides with a an open car door. Drivers should look for bikers before opening their doors, as bikers may not always be able to see a driver in the vehicle, or be aware that the driver is about to open the door.

-Devin Kline

Annapolis BFC Workshop

The Annapolis Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) Workshop pulled together a diverse crowd of concerned citizens, bicycle advocates, transportation specialists, engineers, and state officials this past Wednesday, July 11th at the Pip Moyer Recreation Center. Working closely with the Annapolis Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner, Iain Banks and the League of American Bicyclists, Bike Maryland put together the workshop in an effort to help the City of Annapolis work toward their goal of becoming a BFC after receiving an honorable mention during the last award cycle. 


Bill Nesper of the League of American Bicyclists and Anna Kelso of Bike Maryland opened the workshop with a presentation on the League's BFC program providing background information on BFC criteria and examples of effective applications of this criteria in communities across the  country. Anna and Bill also provided feedback from the Annapolis BFC application submitted early in the year, calling attention to very specific key opportunities for improvements in the community.


We were also very grateful to have with us MaryLynn Hinde, Chair of Frederick's Ad Hoc Bicycle Advisory Committee (BAC), who presented on Frederick's BAC highlighting how they were formed , what they have done since they were formed, and how these efforts resulted in Frederick's recent bronze level BFC award. Many thanks to MaryLynn for coming to Annapolis!


After a brief pizza break, we reconvened to begin brainstorming on specific things Annapolis can do to become more bicycle friendly according to the League's Five E criteria (Engineering, Encouragement, Education, Enforcement, and Evaluation/Planning. From this session we compiled a list of action items to be accomplished in the short and long term. Bike Maryland will continue to work closely with workshop attendees in an effort to finalize a formal action plan and continue working towards a more bicycle friendly Annapolis.

Salisbury BFC Workshop a Huge Success!

With over 60 people present at last night's Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC) Workshop in Salisbury, MD, the event brought together a wide array of stakeholders from the community as well as the surrounding areas. Those in attendance represented local businesses (both large and small), Salisbury University, local and state government (thanks for making the trip Michael Jackson!), as well as several bike and environmental organizations. We were especially honored to have Mayor Jim Ireton with us. His opening words of support and encouragement set the tone for a productive evening of bicycle advocacy.

The workshop is the result of a combined effort from Bike Maryland, the League of American Bicyclists, and bike-SBY. Together the three bicycle organizations worked to put together an evening aimed at educating the public on the League of American Bicyclists' Bicycle Friendly Community Program, identifying key priority areas in need of improvement in the community, and putting together an action plan as the community puts the BFC process into motion.

Salisbury is certainly not in need of energetic citizens dedicated to making tangible improvements in the community. At the close of the evening workshop participants put together a hefty list of action items to tackle in the long and short term. Bike-SBY founder, Matt Drew, is the spearhead behind the movement in Salisbury and with his leadership we are confident the City will soon become Maryland's next BFC. Please follow developments in Salisbury at bike-SBY!!!

Many thanks to Tri Townsend of Common Grounds for providing his delectable pastries and beverages!

Helmetlessness?

Is that a question?

Everyone’s got an opinion about cycling and helmets.  Most folks that live in the United States agree that wearing a helmet during your ride is not a terrible idea.

But there is also the side that swears the brain bucket is unnecessary, once the kid turns 17 of course when it’s no longer mandatory in Maryland.  And I’ve seen the gangs of under 17 year olds wheelying down the street sin casco, all the more free ‘cause of it.

Just the other day at Downtown Partnership’s bike happy hour, a guy from Amsterdam boasted how NO ONE in his homeland considers donning a helmet as they’re swinging a leg over their steed on the way to work, school, or play (which they do, a lot).

He went on to say that helmets are not as important there, because motorists are not only aware of cyclists, but the motorists ARE cyclists, that happen to be driving a car at that moment.  They actually (gasp!) respect cyclists and pedestrians, and therefore yield to them accordingly.  Oh, and they have bike lanes there with bike signals, and infrastructure and stuff.

Another woman at that same event insisted that the act of not wearing a helmet basically meant that a) you do not love yourself, b) you do not love your family, and/or c) you indeed love your family, but you are unemployable and you have a massive life insurance policy.

My husband, let’s just call him, mm… “Mark”, is in the no-helmet camp.  He feels that wearing a helmet screams out to motorists that thus mentioned rider is a lycra-leaning (and therefore bleeding-heart, left-leaning) bike geek, recreationally riding to some organic veggie joint to convene with other scrawny helmet lycra people to wax dream about complete streets and clean air.  And my husband’s a little right.

The helmet, he feels, is threatening to enemy car drivers, who deftly alternate BK chicken finger with text finger even after the light turns green. Roads are for working people. Not recreatin’ geeks that don’t even have to ride because of a DUI!

We at Bike Maryland emphatically teach the importance of wearing a helmet on every ride, especially because many motorists here are not yet avid cyclists, like in Amsterdam.  But the most important thing we teach the adults at workshops and kids at our rodeos, is to safety check their bike and follow the rules of the road.  That way they’ll hopefully never have to put that helmet to use.

Still in doubt?  Just put really cool stickers on it.

We need bikes!

What do you get when you have 400 grade school kids, only five bikes…and a week of spring rains?  A Bike Rodeo, Bal’mer style, as evidenced by this recent photo taken at Hampstead Hill Academy.

Many times a kid’s first experience riding a bike is during a Rodeo…under the expert guidance of Bike Maryland’s Bike MINDED Ambassadors and steady hands of volunteer making sure that the kids, “ Pedal pedal,  pedal… coast!!! You’re doing it! Great! Lean into the turn!!!  Stop at the cross walk!!!”

Unfortunately, too many times a Rodeo may also be a kid’s last experience safely riding a bike.

Was the weather perfect? Certainly not, and besides, the school needed the playground for recess.  So, we improvised by conducting the rodeo in the school’s gym.  Was 400 too many kids for two days?  No!  Bike Maryland would like to be able to accommodate every kid who shows an interest in two wheels!

The real question is, “Are 5 bikes enough for our prgram?”  Honestly, no…

Certainly Bike Maryland is grateful to WABA, who has graciously made available their bikes and trailer for our Bike Rodeo Program.  However, the logistics, liabilities, and legalities are limiting factors of Bike Maryland’s reliance for kids’ bikes and a trailer.

Taking up (very valuable) space in my tiny parking spot in Fell’s Point is a small, lightweight, trailer with 10 Yakima trays that I will donate to Bike Maryland for events.  And I’ll be reaching out to anyone or any organization able to free up some space in their inventory or budget by donating some kids’ bikes to a very worthy cause.

Anyone have an unwanted bike they can donate?  We’d appreciated it!

Baltimore Bicycle Master Plan Update

From B'More Bikes blog:

The Department of Transportation is updating the 2006 Bicycle Master Plan!  The original bike plan laid out a vision of what a bikeable Baltimore should look like and how to get there.  In these five, almost six, short years, Baltimore has

    developed 3 area bike networks,
    built its 1st bike boulevard
    passed 9 ordinances and resolutions aimed at promoting cycling
    increased bike commuting by 40%

The 2012 Bicycle Master Plan will build on the city’s successes, but not without input from the community.  Let DOT know how you feel about biking in Baltimore:  what’s good, what’s not, what could be better, where you’d like to see more bike facility improvements.

Take this quick online survey and have a say in how Baltimore’s bicycle network & programs develop!

http://www.bmorebikes.com/bike-plan-survey/

Bike MD's Bicycle Symposium

Blog post by Roland Oehme

ANNAPOLIS, MD — I attended the annual Maryland State Bicycle Symposium in the beautiful capitol of Annapolis on February 22. This annual event is open to everyone, and encourages the public to learn the latest in bicycle advocacy issues statewide.

During the symposium, I sensed an appreciation for past accomplishments as well as a strong desire to increase bicycle safety and awareness, and improve bicycle facilities and infrastructure.

In the United States (with the exception of a few regional examples like Portland, Oregon) most people cannot use bicycling as a safe and convenient commuting method. Bicycling is still rather an anomaly, used by only a few strong souls to commute and by suburbanites who recreate by first driving to bicycle trails– and they frequently have to drive many miles, since trails are not always located where people live.

This despite the fact that bicycle-friendly communities in any setting, whether urban, suburban, or rural, promote a stronger connection to local places and people, a healthier lifestyle, and cleaner air.

Have you ever wondered why visiting Americans become enamored with European cities? In general, Europe’s cities are much more compact, and therefore bicycle-friendly, than our sprawling American urban centers. Bicycling to work and to run errands is a normal part of life for many Europeans, and it is possible because public policies are always updated to allow for easy bicycling.

In fact, many European cities (like London) are realizing that they can achieve an even better quality of life by limiting or completely restricting car access to city centers and enhancing the bicycle and pedestrian access. Bike commuting is very feasible in many parts of Asia as well.

Many at the symposium were asking: can our cities place the same value on walking and bicycling as these other places do?

Carol Silldorff, executive director of the organization that runs the symposium, will give her perspective on some of these issues tomorrow. Check back for an in-depth interview!

Roland Oehme is a green and healthy living landscape architect and writer. Read his blog at: http://www.greenharmonydesign2007.blogspot.com/.

© 2012 SCGH, LLC. All rights reserved.

Two Wheels, Two Words...True That!

Two wheels will always keep you rolling.  But when they fail to be true, two words can really make up the difference.

During a recent kids bike safety rodeo at Patterson Park Rec Center, things were not rolling perfectly.  We had more than 60 kids show up at our after school bike rodeo, a free event hosted by Bike Maryland.  But the bikes were an hour late, and the kids were restless!

Katie and I did try to entertain the group as much as possible, being the good Bike MINDED coordinators that we are.  But try explaining how to strap on your helmet safely, how to check the A, B, C’s of your bike, and how to ride safely following the rules of the road when the entire audience just want to ride.  That video we presented of the guy wearing his helmet backwards did little to draw a chuckle from the group.

But finally, when the windowless room’s humidity reached indoor swimming pool thickness, we heard the truck and trailer pull up out back.  YES!

The bikes arrived!  Some of the kids rushed outside to help us unload, and it was two-wheeled game on.

Chaos aside, rodeo course cones managed to get set up on the indoor basketball court, including the little stop sign.  Tires pumped, helmets correctly strapped, and selected rides were straddled.

One last-second rush trip to the trailer outside to lock things up, and I noticed the key had broken off inside the padlock.  Geez!
Then I heard the two little words:  “Thank you”. 

I turned around a saw a little boy around 8 years old standing alone on the sidewalk.  He said the two words again, but louder and added, “My mama told me to always say that.”

I just smiled and thought, two wheels may keep you rolling, but when all else fails, those two words really keep you going!

 

 

 

It's the culture

While we can honestly debate the merits of this and that type of cycling infrastructure improvements, we have to ask ourselves - at the most fundamental level - is any amount of cycling infrastructure going to change the general (read motoring) public's outlook toward people who ride bikes for transportation and/or exercise?  Local cycling advocates wax for Copenhagen's accouterments, but is it the infrastructure that makes Denmark safe for it's cycling practitioners? 

Locally we have the recent incident of young Nathan Krasnopoler, the twenty year old Hopkins student still hospitalized and unconscious after colliding with, then getting run over by an elderly motorist.  The motorist made right turn across Nathan's direction of travel while he was riding in a bike lane.  Internationally, In Brazil we have a disgruntled motorist intentionally ramming his car into a Critical Mass rally, injuring dozens of cyclists, many of them severely.  At least with the second incident the driver was located, detained and charged www.nytimes.com/2011/03/03/world/americas/03brazil.html

Unfortunately, the same can't be said locally.  www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-bicyclist-accident-20110226,0,4632453.story

Dismiss for the moment that an 83 year old's cognition and reaction speed might prohibit the safe operation of motorized transportation.  Other than the age of the driver we don't know all the details regarding the Nathan's incident but this much has been confirmed:  Nathan was riding northwest on University Parkway in the bike lane.  The motorist turned right, Nathan struck the car, fell and then the car ran over him.  And yet the Baltimore City Police have yet to determine fault.  Take a look at the google image below.  You can see the bike lane and the travel lanes.  For argument's sake, lets say that Nathan was riding a motorcycle prior to the city getting all 'bike friendly' and painting the bike lane.  Nathan is now riding his motorcycle in the right-hand travel lane.  The motorist passes Nathan in the left lane, recognizes they are almost at their destination, abruptly turns right crossing the right lane where Nathan strikes the side of the car, falls and is run over by the car.  Would the motorist be charged?  Why is it any different for a cyclist in a bike lane?  It' isn't (except in the minds of the police it seems).  How many times have you been driving down the interstate when a motorist - recognizing at the last second - that their exit is at hand, basically exits the interstate from the middle lane and is luckily that a UPS truck is NOT there to whack some sense into them.  Happens all the time.

 

 

The great thing about the internet is the vast quantity of information that is now available to anybody with a smart phone or a computer.  Why, one can even pilfer a WiFi signal and serf without paying a service fee.  And that brings us to our final two links.  The first is a YouTube video from the Netherlands.  Though not the movie's intent, it none the less depicts in stark detail, the contrast between a civilized country that cares for the common good vs. where we live.  Watch it several times as the English is somewhat mangled and to pick up the nuances of this beautiful transportation paradigm (towards the end, look for the guy in the hand-cranked wheelchair!). www.youtube.com/watch

And lastly, when you come back check out this long and detailed 2008 Rutgers University investigative report on transportational cycling in the three countries - Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands - with the highest percentage of transportational cyclists in the Western world.  It's long but quite detailed: www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a790578015~frm=titlelink You can download the full pdf file from the link, save it and read it at your leisure.  It's an informative read, if only to point out that without the entire program - education, systematic prohibitions and restrictions to auto use, full-scale mass transit systems and restrictive land use policies, a few bike lanes won't make a dent in our auto-centric land of plenty.

York Road Improvements

Hello Bike Maryland! My name is Galen Wallace and I have been invited to pick up the Bike Maryland blog. What I hope to do with the blog submissions is add another – sometimes contrarian - voice to cycling advocacy. I am a 53 year old male who has been a recreational, competitive and utilitarian cyclist since 1987. I have lived in the Baltimore area my entire life. I am a pragmatic person who believes in thoughtful investigation of cycling issues with an eye towards simple and inexpensive solutions. To that end, my first report concerns the recent Maryland State Highway Administration’s roadway widening project of York Road from the Baltimore Beltway overpass north to Ridgeley Road in the Lutherville area of Baltimore County.

 

The main impetus for the SHA’s widening project was to construct a center turn lane so that the lane would be continuous from just north of Towson all the way to Hunt Valley. As a bonus, the state constructed the curb lanes along this stretch of York Road to accommodate bicycle traffic by making them wider than the SHA standard twelve-foot lane.  The actual width of the curb lane varies a little but on average it is approximately fourteen feet wide. During the warmer months of the year, I make a habit of taking York Road southbound from Ridgely Road all the way into Towson, through the Towson Roundabout on my way home from the Oregon Ridge Wednesday night ride. I have found the wide outside lane concept of bicycle integrated infrastructure to be superior to the generally “separate but unequal” segregated concept of bicycle lanes as they are locally implemented. The only portion of this stretch of road which I would consider slightly daunting for a novice would be the I-695 overpass and a bike lane there would not be an improvement. Wherever there is a merge lane you have issues of lateral crossing. Only removal of the merge lanes will alleviate that problem, however any competent cyclist should be able to simply maintain through lane position and motorists getting on or off of the beltway will figure it out. Unfortunately, south of I-695 the wide-lane concept degenerates – mind you, this is an older section of road and past the limit of the widening contract. While the actual paving width south of I-695 is sufficient to accommodate a wide outside lane, the lane markings contradict with the fog line being painted about three feet away from the curb, thus forming a “shoulder” situation which is too narrow to be safe. Also, various excavations, paving patches and failed paving within that “shoulder” render the shoulder much bumpier than north of the interstate. The SHA could remediate these problems by taking up the existing fog line and relocating it next to the curb and improved patching. I find the wide outside lane concept superior to a segregated bike lane for the following reasons:

1) The ambiguity of not having a designated bike lane forces motorists to pay more attention to cyclists;
2) Because the whole lane is a travel lane, even close to the curb the paving is generally free of debris;
3) Motorists seem to have very little trouble moving left within their lane to give a three-foot or wider passing berth;
4) Sharing the wide lane legitimizes cyclists as bona-fide road users;
5) Wrong-way cycling is discouraged;

Naturally, there is room for improvement. First, the width of the outside lane should be standardized and consistent. I think fourteen-and-one-half feet from line to line is sufficient (curb gutterpan width not included) but others might like fifteen feet. The speed limit should also be reduced from the posted 40 MPH to 30 MPH.

With the volume of traffic and the amount of commercial entrances along York Road I would think a lower limit would reduce accidents and their severity. The average speed along most of the road has to be lower than 40 MPH anyway. As a defacto 10 MPH grace margin is pretty much standard for enforcing the speed limit in Maryland, lowering the limit along this stretch of York Road would in reality lower the peak speeds from 50 MPH +/- to 40 MPH.

Additionally, the removal of merge an yield lanes – always the bane of cyclists and pedestrians alike – would be an improvement, as would prohibiting right turns on red.

I would like to see Maryland adopt a wide-outside lane standard for major arterial improvements in high-density areas of the state. After all, utilitarian and commuting cyclists want a direct route to their destination just like motorists. The wide-outside lane concept promotes direct access along historically utilized major roads and safely integrates cyclist into the urban-transportation mix. It’s a win-win in my book. I would suggest area cyclists give York Road a try.
 

3' Rule Enforcement is Essential for Cyclist's Safety

 

The reccent passage of the "3-foot-rule" bill into law must now be enforced in order to prevent crashes.  The Baltimore Sun reports,

"The family of a Baltimore cyclist killed last year in a collision with a tanker truck on Maryland Avenue has settled a $5 million lawsuit against the driver and his employer, the family's attorney said.

John R. "Jack" Yates, 67, was riding behind the truck Aug. 4, 2009, when the vehicle made a right turn onto Lafayette Avenue in the Charles North neighborhood and Yates got caught in its rear wheels, according to city police."

Everyone needs to know that a motorist must give cyclists 3' of space when passing, for the safety of everyone involved.  Send a letter to the editor of your local newspaper to keep roads safe for everyone!

Baltimore and Rockville - 2010 Fall Bicycle Friendly Communities!

                               

                             

The League of American Bicyclists just announced the Bicycle Friendly University application is now online!  The League announced the 2010 Fall Bicycle Friendly Communities (BFC) and the 2010 Fall Bicycle Friendly Businesses (BFB) last month -- Baltimore, MD was recognized as a 2010 Fall Bicycle Friendly Community and Rockville, MD recieved a 2010 Fall Bicycle Friendly Community Honorable Mention. Maryland has moved from 35th most Bike Friendly State in 2008 to 16th most Bike Friendly State in 2009.  Let's keep this momentum going!! 

The League's Bicycle Friendly America campaign promotes bicycle friendly communities, buisnesses and universities across the state.  Guidlines on the applications below are extremely helpful if you are an advocate for the improvement of biking.  If you are interested in developing the 5E's to apply, please contact rachel@bikemd.org.

APPLICATION                                                   DEADLINE

Bicycle Friendly State                                     Feburary 18th, 2011

Bicycle Friendly Community                          Febuary 18th, 2011

Bicycle Friendly Business                                January 14, 2011

Bicycle Friendly University                              January 21, 2011

Think Bike Workshops - Dutch Cycling

 

The Royal Netherlands Embassy, in cooperation with the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) hosted a 2-day event - the Think Bike Workshops - yesterday and today in Washington, DC.  The ThinkBike Workshops brought together Dutch bicycle transportation experts, Washington area transportation planners, engineers and cyclists to plan and discuss how the region can become more bike-friendly.  Reccomendations coming out of the instensive sessions were given by the presenters.

The Netherlands is a model of prioritizing bicycling as a mode of transportation, rather than simply recreation.  “There are 1.1 bicycles per person in the Netherlands, resulting in less traffic, less pollution and a healthier population,” said Renée Jones-Bos, Dutch Ambassador. “The bicycle is the most popular form of transportation for the 16 million people who live in the Netherlands,” added the Ambassador.  Check out this video of bicycle commuters in the Netherlands on a Thursday afternoon.

New Bike Lanes

                  

                    

Next time you are riding down the street in Baltimore, take a moment to appreciate the new bike lanes that are popping up everywhere!  From the contraflow lane on Lanvale to the sharrows in Harbor East, we are witnessing the transformation of Baltimore into a more bikable city. 

Investing in bicyle infastructure certainly gives more bang for the buck than infrastructure for motorized vehices.  The League of American Bicyclists Economic Benefit of Bicycle Infrastructure Report notes,

"In urban areas, where cars and bicyclists travel at similar speeds, bike lanes can accommodate 7 to 12 times as many people per meter of lane per hour than car lanes and bicycles cause less wear on the pavement.  The cost of a bike lane varies depending on the location, the condition of the pavement, lane-painting expenses, changing traffic-light signalization, and other factors, but can cost as little as $5,000 a mile.  It is most cost-effective to create a bike lane when an existing road is being repaired or a new road is put in. 

California is on the expensive end of the spectrum.  Using state-wide averages and local cost history, the city of Roseville, Calif. estimates the cost of signage and striping for a mile of a standard bike lane in California to be $60,000.  In contrast, the California Department of Transportation (CalTrans) is paying $75 million to repave, not rebuild, just three miles of Interstate 710 in Los Angeles.  Thus, for the cost of repaving 3 miles of rough pavement on Interstate 710, CalTrans could sign and stripe 1,250 miles of California roads for bike lanes.  That’s more than the distance from Los Angeles to Seattle, Wash. "

For thier smart transportation initiatives, Baltimore, Rockville and Anappolis have been distinguished as Bicycle Freindly Communities by the League of American Bicyclists.  Please thank Nate Evans, Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner for Baltimore City, Matt Folden, Transportation Planner for the City of Rockville and Iain Banks, City of Annapolis Personal Transportation and Parking Specialist, for making a little go a long way!

Cyclists Bill of Rights ADOPTED!

 

Last night, Baltimore City Council showed support of three important pieces of bicycle legislation: 

09-0176R - The Cyclist's Bill of Rights -ADOPTED!!

09-0429 - Required Parking for Bicycles - 3rd Reading 

09-0433 - Street and Transportation Projects - Complete Streets - 3rd Reading

The next Baltimore City Council meeting, to hear the 3rd readings of 09-0433 and 09-0429, will be on November 15th at 5pm in the City Council Chambers, 4th Floor Baltimore City Hall. This meeting is open to the public but will not hear public testimony.  Please contact your City Council member to thank the member for supporting the Cyclist's Bill of Rights and to show your support of 09-0433 and 09-0429!  

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       

 

Recommended Changes to the Maryland Driver's Handbook

 

                                 

Statement of Purpose
The Maryland Driver’s Handbook should clarify how automobile drivers interact with bicycles. Goal 4 of Maryland’s Twenty Year Bicycle and Pedestrian Access Master Plan states. "Develop education and encouragement programs that will increase levels of bicycling and walking and foster a pro-bicycle and pro-pedestrian ethic in individuals, private sector organizations, and all levels of government." We strongly urge adopting the following language to clarify how drivers of automobiles should safely anticipate and interact with bicyclists.

The general public, including drivers, bicyclists, and police officers, use the Maryland Drivers' Handbook as the basis for learning how to use our roadways. However, experience over the past decades has shown the Handbook to be out of date. For example, bicyclists have been told to ride as far right as practical, but that has given motorists the mistaken impression that they can then easily pass a bicyclist within the same lane which has resulted in an astounding two-thirds of all bicyclist fatalities happening in non-intersection areas. We believe that we must bring the Drivers’ Handbook up to date to clarify everyone’s expectations, educate all parties, and foster a more positive cycling and driving experience. Simply put, we must get all rightful roadway users on the same page.

Guiding Principles
• Clarification of Maryland’s “dueling handbooks.” We consider Safe Bicycling in Maryland to be the de facto bicyclists’ roadway handbook. Thus, when MVA's Drivers' Handbook sets forth a rule for cyclists, there must be a reference explaining how to obtain a more complete set rules and guidelines. Also, both the Drivers’ Handbook and Safe Bicycling in Maryland must clarify and reconcile any conflicts between them.
• Clear Identification of Bicycling Rules. The Drivers’ Handbook is generally intended for new drivers, so to the extent that the Handbook sets forth general rules specifically for cyclists, we urge MVA to clearly and separately identify those rules.
• Continued Communication. We hope to see continued involvement with the bicycling community and we very much appreciate MVA's first draft and the respect it shows to bicyclists.

Signed:
Carol Silldorff - Bike Maryland
Shane Farthing - Washington Area Bicycle Association
Jon Morrison - Montgomery Bicycle Advocates  
Jack Guarneri - Bicycling Advocates of Howard County
Barry Childress - Baltimore Spokes

These recommendations have been approved by MBPAC - Please contact MBPAC to thank them for supporting these changes!!

Baltimore City Council Supports Bicyclists Bill of Rights and Complete Streets

 

 

Today, Baltimore City Council Community Development Subcommittee passed two important pieces of legislation for cyclists:  The Cyclist's Bill of Rights Resolution and Street and Transportation Projects - Complete Streets Resolution.  These two resolutions mark a significant change in legal attitude toward cyclists and bicycle infrastructure.  Thanks to the support of Baltimore City government, positive steps were made in establishing the legitimacy of cycling as a mode of transportation.  Please take a moment to ask your representative in City Council to support our right to bike in the full council hearing on Monday !!

B'More Streets for People!

 

Baltimore's SECOND B'More Streets for People was a huge success on Sunday!!  Cyclists, skateboarders, walkers and spectators came out to see 2km of Southbound Roland Avenue closed off to motor vehicles.  What a fantastic way to enjoy a leisurely Sunday morning and make a bold statement about the need for sustainable transportation!  Please take a moment to thank Mike McQuestion and Councilwoman Mary Pat Clark for making this wonderful event happen here in Baltimore!!

The inspiration for B'More Streets for People is credited to Bogota, Colombia where they close of streets weekly to hold "Ciclovias".

Windup Space-Baltimore Smart Transportation Design

 

Although the topic of “Parking” may seem mundane to some, it ensued in
a heated debate during last week’s Design Center conversation (#23 for
those of you that follow Baltimore’s DCenter). Architect and Design
Center President, Klaus Phillipsen, kicked off the convo by shedding
some light on this issue with a statistically saturated report on
parking in the U.S. Did you know that your car has three reserved
spots somewhere in the United States?

Greg Hinchcliffe, Chair, Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee, gave a stellar address on everything you
could possibly care to know about bicycle parking. His presentation
featured various examples of European cities where cycling is clearly
favored over automobile use, putting our cities to shame...Finally,
Shannon Sanders McDonald, author of 'The Parking Garage’, gave
in-depth coverage of the past, present, and future state of parking
garages and methods within the U.S.

The outcome of the discussion was left open-ended. Despite being in a
room full of avid cyclists, it seems as if Baltimore likes its cars.
No doubt there is a certain luxury in being able to jump in the car
and go wherever and whenever you want to go, sometimes its just
practical. But if there is a better and more efficient way to travel,
why are we hesitant to abandon our cars? Is it an issue of time,
safety, comfort, or all of the above? We, the citizens, need to
advocate for and enlighten ourselves on the alternative transit
methods: busses, bicycles, walking... There is a certain strength in
numbers that opens eyes and enlightens others, from both a community
and political standpoint. We need to plague the city with bicyclist
and pedestrians, letting cars know that we do in fact exist and intend
to coexist on the streets of Baltimore.

Having said that, in order for Baltimore to further transition into a
sustainable transit oriented City, our planners and designers need to
consider these issues from a design point of view to better provide
opportunity for us to explore these options, especially to the point
where we don’t consider it an inconvenience and can adopt these
practices into our lifestyles.

As Greg Hincliffe, Chair of the Mayor’s Bicycle Committee, so
appropriately quoted, “If you build it... they will come”. This
statement is undeniably a two-fold solution to the greater dilemma our
City is dealing with. Either we provide adequate bike lanes, reliable
mass transit, and safer sidewalks for pedestrians, or we continue as
is with a surplus of parking lots and further promote and encourage
the use of the automobile as the predominant form of transit for
America. It’s as simple as that.

-Mandy Palasik, Arch Plan

Bike Bills Baltimore City

“Bike Bills” Update by Nate Evans (from Bike Baltimore)

Published on August 31, 2010 in Programs. View Comments
Yesterday’s work session & vote on 3 of the bike bills went smoothly and with little debate. Attending the Community Development Subcommittee meeting were Councilmembers Cole, Stokes, Kraft & bills sponsor Mary Pat Clarke. Several members of Baltimore’s cycling community were present as well.

The 3 bills passed by the Community Development subcommitte include:

09-0175R Informational Hearing – Baltimore Police Department – Police and Cyclists
09-0430 Transit and Traffic – Bike Lanes
09-0431 City Streets – Bike-Safe Grates

09-0175R passed without debate with the official hearing being held sometime in October

09-0430 passed with one amendment citing not only the Manual for Uniform Traffic Contral Devices (MUTCD) for the creation of bike lanes, but also “other nationally recognized standards” which will include NACTO’s “Urban Bikeway Design Guide”. There was limited debate on the amount of the fine set at $75, (an increase over the proposed $50 fine) whereas a Blocking and Obstructing Traffic fine carries $250. While the cycling community does support a higher fine, the non-cycling community does not. Also, Councilman Cole stated that police would more likely write a $75 ticket over a $250 ticket.

09-0431 also passed without debate.

These bills will be presented to City Council on Monday, September 20th, 5 pm at City Hall.

For more coverage on these bills, visit Baltimore Brew - for more details and Bike Maryland's comments.
 

Tour du Port 2010 Register Now

October 3 2010 TOUR DU PORT Bike Event - Get the Discounted Rate Now!

Baltimore’s Canton Waterfront Park, October 3rd, 2010 - Registration 7 to 9am, Register HERE. Route lengths: 12, 26, 40, 50 and 63-mile options. Join thousands of bicyclists for the 17th Annual Tour du Port! A super cool bicycle event for a terrific cause! The Tour travels through 12+ historic neighborhoods, waterfront areas and scenic parks. The Tour includes rest stops with food, interesting exhibits, sag support and a celebration featuring lunch provided by Whole Foods Harbor East and Whole Foods Mount Washington locations and live music! All proceeds support Bike Maryland, a non-profit organization dedicated to walking, bicycling and mass transit alternatives. Your support helped us pass the 3 foot law and makes it possible for us to focus on bicycling safety legislation and infrastructure! This is Baltimore's Premier Bicycle Event - the 17th Annual Tour du Port is Here - a Super Cool Event for a Super Cool Cause! Lots of great custom merchandise for sale too.

Cities for Cycling/Bike Maryland Fall Forum 2010

September 30 – October 1 Cities For Cycling/Bike Maryland Fall Bicycle Forum

Bike Maryland has partnered with the Baltimore Department of Transportation to host the National Association of City Transportation Officials Cities for Cycling (C4C) summit. The September 30th event is an important step toward a smart, clean and green commuter friendly Baltimore. Traditionally, the Bike Maryland Fall Forum is held prior to the start of the Maryland General Assembly session to bring together leadership, advocacy groups and the general public to discuss city, county and state bicycle advocacy and program opportunities. The September 30th Thursday Evening Forum will be interactive, educational, free, and open to the general public. It will include an array of bicycle infrastructure, advocacy initiatives and programs that have been successful in other cities with a Q&A session at the end. Friday, October 1st will include meeting opportunities followed by a bicycle tour of recently improved Baltimore bike facilities. Times and locations to be posted soon.

 

Upcoming September 8th Music Event!

September 8th, MUSIC EVENT - Ben Sollee's Ditch The Van Tour!

Hosted by Bike Maryland, doors open 7:30pm, 8:30 performance, 2640 (a cooperative events venue located at 2640 Saint Paul Street, Baltimore). Sollee takes on his largest challenge yet as the Ditch the Van Tour 2010, is a transcontinental endeavor not reliant on the traditional modes of touring. Four regional tours, in which all touring members ride without the use of support vehicles, are linked together. The Ditch the Van Tour is about much more than going car-free though. Sure, it's a reaction to the massive carbon footprint that many tours leave behind (particularly the fleet of 53' trucks required to haul an elaborate U2 stage) and an awareness-raising project for the nation's elaborate series of Adventure Cycling-advocated bike highways and communities where bike infrastructure is lacking. However, Ben also sees the bike tour as an opportunity to acquaint himself with a myriad of towns and communities across our nation - a "beautiful limitation" he calls it - that can only present itself when you slow down the pace of life by traveling by bike rather than bus or plane, as Ben tells National Geographic in a recent interview. “I'll sum up (Ben Sollee’s) performance in one word: astounding.” “Sollee plays the cello like it’s more than just an orchestral instrument. He plays it like a rock star!” Learn more here. $10 fee.

Mice Amoung the Elephants

A Fable of Fragile People and Fast Cars
Or…
The Mice amongst the Elephants

A Tale from India Adapted by Greg Cantori

Once upon a time people lived in great fear of cars. Whenever the cars drove through the communities with their enormous size and loud, powerful engines, many people were frequently injured or killed. Cars killed and injured more children than anything else. One day, the people went to the Leaders of the State and said, "If you help to spare our lives from these huge scary cars, we will in turn help you in a time of need." Although very skeptical of these little human powered folk, The State Leaders eventually agreed. They ordered the cars to be very careful, to slow down, stay in their lanes, pass only if there was at least three feet of room, and never to hurt human empowered people again.

From that day forth, the cars paid extra attention and drove very carefully around people, avoiding any harm to their fragile friends. They slowed down and even stopped to keep people safe in their neighborhoods.
Until one day, cars become hopelessly trapped on the roads. More and more cars were getting caught in huge traffic jams. They sat and stewed. They ranted and raved. They could do nothing but sit there, trapped.
The State Leaders were very sad. Then, they remembered the promise of the human powered people and sent for their fragile friends. The pedestrians, bicyclists and mass transit riders arrived and listened to the State Leaders story.

Then the Active Transit Leaders called everyone together. Thousands of pedestrians, bicyclists and mass transit users gathered to discuss how they might help free the cars from their traffic ensnared nightmare. No one had forgotten how their huge motorized friends had spared their lives. They made a plan.
The active people formed into groups that found ways to use less cars by simply having the fragile people inside join them! Then the active transit people all took to the roads. By doing so, they freed up thousands more cars. Soon, all the cars were again free and everyone rejoiced!

The State Leaders were very grateful. They granted many more concessions to the active transit people and decreed that from that day forth, cars and people would be the best of friends. And to this day, they all still get along just fine, happily ever after....

Bicycling is UP again in the Big Apple!

On the heels of 2008's unprecedented growth of 35% in commuter cycling, this year the New York City Department of Transportation measured an additional gain of 26%, putting the total 2007 to 2009 increase at a whopping 66%!

Of course much of that can be attributed to NYC installing 200 miles of bike routes in the past three years, including innovative amenities such as the 8th and 9th Avenue cycletracks that separate car traffic from bikers. Safer streets encourage more people to ride, more riders encourage more people to ride, more riders on the road means cyclists are more visible. It's a cycling mathematical equation that I'm sure "Cycling Al" Einstein would have approved of.

In fact, the numbers of cyclists on the roads have tripled since the year 2000. So we thought it would be good to get a reality check from riders as to how it is going out there. Overwhelmingly, folks we interviewed said it is getting quite crowded out there on our streets and bridges and in most ways that's a good thing!

http://www.streetfilms.org/bicycling-is-up-again-in-the-big-apple/

To help cut busing costs, Fairfax officials suggest getting more kids to walk to school

By Fredrick Kunkle - Washington Post Staff Writer

Almost everyone has a grandparent who claims to have walked two miles to school every morning. Uphill. In the snow. Etc.

In Fairfax County, it could soon be your 12-year-old trudging to school.

Hard times have a way of making old ideas seem new. With nothing but grim budgets ahead, some members of the Fairfax Board of Supervisors want the county's schools to save money on buses by encouraging more kids to walk to school, perhaps by moving back the boundaries for bus-riding eligibility.

It's an idea that has received more attention nationwide in recent years as a way to fight child obesity, reduce air pollution and ease traffic. It became especially popular when diesel fuel prices climbed to $4 a gallon a year ago, and it's popular now as governments struggle through the worst recession in generations.

The cost of putting a school bus on the street is approximately equal to keeping a teacher on staff, said Linda P. Farbry, director of transportation for Fairfax public schools.

It also doesn't hurt that the campaign -- especially the "Walking School Bus" that encourages parents to coordinate neighborhood routes, wear safety vests and share escort duty -- fits with the baby boomer habit of reviving childhood practices. An oft-quoted study found that in 1969, 41 percent of students walked or bicycled to school. By 2001, that figure had dropped to 13 percent.

Supervisor Jeff C. McKay (D-Lee) has his own childhood memories.

"The schools do nothing to teach the benefits of walking and biking to school," McKay said. "Somehow we got away from that, because when I went through the schools, they had presentations by police and others talking about the importance of walking and biking to school."

McKay's suggestion that more kids walk also reflects the growing financial tensions between the School Board, which sets school policies and answers mostly to parents, and the Board of Supervisors, which controls school funding and answers mostly to taxpayers. McKay said that one of the biggest complaints he hears from constituents is about the number of half-full school buses they see.

But there are also plenty of reasons why bucking a 40-year trend of transporting kids to school is not going to be easy. Fairfax, which occupies 400 square miles, was built around the automobile.

Noreen C. McDonald, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill who studies children's transportation habits, said that walking has declined as distances to schools have increased, the percentage of working mothers has doubled and attitudes about safety have changed.

"People have some very strong fears about leaving their children unsupervised," McDonald said.

Susan Mosios, 47, a substitute teacher and jewelry designer who lives in Lorton, said she allows her 9-year-old son, Jacob, to walk to school, but only so far. "I'd like it to be like the old days, when people could walk. But I worry about the people who could take the child," she said outside Laurel Hill Elementary School.

Fairfax transportation officials said they understand the concern. "We're already having difficulty with parents who live inside these boundaries, saying it's already too far for a kindergartner to walk a mile," Farbry said. "And we don't dispute that."

Under current regulations, elementary students ride the bus if they live more than a mile from school. Middle and high school students can use buses if they live more than 1 1/2 miles from school. And about 10,000 students who live inside the boundaries are eligible for busing because they face particular safety hazards on their route, such as a major highway crossing, or they have disabilities or belong to special programs.

The Fairfax district, which buses about 64 percent of its students, has tried to squeeze savings on buses, often to parents' dismay. It has eliminated some neighborhood stops and tweaked schools' daily schedules. The goal is to cut its fleet by 90 buses, or about 8 percent, from 1,150 last year, Farbry said. So far, the district has taken 54 buses off the street.

Two years ago, a district study suggested that extending the distance that middle and high school students walk by half a mile would save $975,000 a year.

Montgomery County's school board also explored a similar maneuver to save money, voting in June 2008 to grant officials emergency powers to extend the bus boundaries if fuel prices rose further.

Brian Edwards, a schools spokesman, said that no change has been necessary and that the system continues to use boundaries of one mile for elementary school children, 1 1/2 miles for middle school students and two miles for high school students.

Fairfax is hunting for any savings in the face of a $315.6 million gap in fiscal 2010 that has forced County Executive Anthony H. Griffin to call for cuts up to 15 percent.

Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova (D) said she supports the idea of having more children walk if they can do so safely and said that considerable sums have been invested in trail and pedestrian improvements.

At Laurel Hill Elementary, three-quarters of its population walks, largely because it's close to residential housing. Principal Suzie Montgomery said that about 600 of 800 students walk.

"I think it fosters a sense of community," said Christine Morin, 39, a Laurel Hill parent who has coordinated a schedule with four other families to escort their children to school, including her second-graders, twins Ben and Chase.

On a blustery day last week, Morin gathered her gang at the school entrance and headed into a light rain.

"Everybody here? One, two, three, four, five, six -- okay," she said to herself, after negotiating an intersection with help from a crossing guard. Hidden under rain-whipped umbrellas, the six young walkers looked like walking backpacks as they headed down Western Hemlock Way into a subdivision so new that it's still mostly treeless.

Meghan Wommack, 8, braving puddles in sneakers and a fuchsia slicker, said she liked walking, even in the rain, and certainly more than taking the bus, as the kids used to. For one thing, she didn't have to bother with older kids.

Ben Morin, 8, agreed. "Walking is better, because people on the bus were cursing all the time," he said.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/17/AR2009111701665_pf.html

Annapolis Bicycle Friendly Community Feedback

Feedback on Annapolis’ application to be designated a Bicycle Friendly Community

The League of American Bicyclists is please to present Annapolis with an honorable mention in response to its Bicycle Friendly Community application. Reviewers were impressed with the potential and commitment to make Annapolis a great place for bicyclists, though considerable work remains to be done. Highlights of the application included hiring of a bicycle coordinator for the city; Safe Routes to School programming in 11 Annapolis schools; Bike Loaner program; and the Mayor’s proclamation and participation in Bike to Work Day.

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Columbia (Mo.) mayor says it's time to put pedal to metal

Says Columbia (Md.) needs to develop its bicycling potential

By Sarah Breitenbach - Colombia Flier

Columbia could learn a thing or two from a Missouri city that shares its name.

Darwin Hindman, the mayor of Columbia, Mo., visited Columbia, Md., Wednesday to tour the area and to talk about strategies for making Howard County more bike-friendly.

Hindman was invited to town as a guest of Columbia Tomorrow, a nonprofit dedicated to revamping downtown Columbia.

His visit included a two-wheeled tour on area bike paths and roads, and a lunch with representatives from nonprofits, businesses and local government.

“One of the things you've got to do if it’s going to work is take the people who don’t ride bikes now and get them interested in it,” he said.

Hindman told the group of 30 how his city used a $22.5-million federal grant to build bike paths, improve intersections and host city-sponsored bicycle safety courses.

“It’s beautiful here,” he said. “You’ve got an awful lot to build on.”

Hindman emphasized the health benefits of biking and its ability to decrease congestion when used as a means of commuting.

David Yungmann, founder of Columbia 2.0, an organization that seeks to involve younger people in the downtown redevelopment process, and a participant in the morning bike ride, said Columbia’s roads are not conducive to commuters on bikes.

“We were in people's way,” he said. “People are trying to park, trying to drive.”

County councilwoman Jennifer Terrasa, a Democrat who lives in Kings Contrivance, said while the county’s roughly 100 miles of bike paths are great for recreation, routes are not well connected.

“It’s almost like a strategic plan,” she said. “You have to go ‘OK, how am I going to get across (U.S. Route) 29? I can get over here, but how am I going to get across that road?' ’”

Terrasa said funds are not readily available to develop more bike paths or create dedicated lanes for cyclists, but bike usage will be a part of the planning process to redevelop downtown Columbia.

Earlier this week, the Howard County Council introduced legislation outlining General Growth Properties Inc.’s plan to bring 5,000 residential units, 5 million square feet of office space and 1.25 million square feet of retail space to downtown Columbia.

http://www.explorehoward.com/news/66732/columbia-mo-mayor-says-its-time-put-pedal-metal/

Cycling is safe - a point of view

Last Sunday Baltimore cyclists gathered to honor a cyclist that was killed (Baltimore Sun coverage) by a right turning truck (that did not signal) and a lot of conversation was about how dangerous it is to bike in the city.  And if you look at all traffic fatalities in the city it does indeed look like a very frightening place to ride.

Map of all traffic fatalities 2003-2007:
All Baltimore traffic fatalities map

 

But the world I see when I bike is this:

Map of Cycling fatalities 2003-2007:
Cycling fatalities Baltimore map

That's what cycling fatalities look like here.  And the tragically ironic bit is too many of our bicycle crashes are because people feel unsafe cycling on our streets so they try their best to stay out of the way of cars by adopting unsafe practices like riding against traffic or even worse, riding against traffic on the sidewalk where no motorist is looking for traffic. So while it may feel initially safe to be out of the area of attention of motorist or to be able to "see it coming" the cold hard fact is for safety we need to ride our bikes as part of traffic, not invisible or contrary to traffic. Aggressive motoring calls for assertive cycling, timid cycling on an aggressive motorist road/time of day just does not work, that's the basic law of the jungle. 

Being assertive is often considered rude but being a aggressive motorists is even more rude.  So the question is how do we cope and ride safe in this environment? My first recommendation is reading a few articles on Ken Kifer's site and then watch the video produced by MDOT filmed mostly in Baltimore and hosted by Bike Maryland (note there are 5 parts to the video, when done with one part click the next part under the video.)

From conversations I have had, the people that are still reluctant to ride because they feel that the more people that ride the more bike crashes and fatalities will happen. But there is ever increasing evidence that is not the case, as one example, data from Portland, OR which has seen tremendous increase in cycling yet their cycling crashes remain fairly constant:
Portland's bike use and bike crash data

In conclusion: Cycling is good for you, your health and the environment and the more people that ride, the safer it is for everyone.  So while some "street smarts" is required for safety, it's not rocket science.  Oh ya, it's also fun and practical way to go places, get things done and enjoy life.

Which cities are the safest for pedestrians? Which are dangerous?

Some of the most dangerous places for pedestrians, according to a new report, are cities in the South – in areas that built streets mainly for automobiles. Not surprisingly, the safest cities have many miles of bike lanes or sidewalks.

By Ron Scherer | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

New York - Some of the most dangerous places to walk or ride a bicycle in America are in the South – in fast-growing metropolitan areas that have built their streets mainly for automobiles.

In fact, four of the five worst metro areas for walking or biking are in Florida: Orlando-Kissimmee, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Miami-Fort Lauderdale, and Jacksonville. The other metro area in this group of five is Memphis, Tenn.

This list of the most dangerous metro areas – as well as the safest – was part of a report released Monday by Transportation for America and the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, both advocates for what they term "complete" streets. These include separate areas for walking or biking, or at least roads with clearly marked space for other forms of transportation.

The metro areas that are the most hazardous were designed after World War II and are mostly automobile-oriented, says Anne Canby, executive director of the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership. "Walkers and bicycles were not considered, leaving those who wish to walk with unsafe situations," she said in a conference call Monday with reporters.

If cities promote walking and bicycling, it might also help them cope with health issues such as obesity and heart disease, said Linda Degutis, former president of the American Public Health Association.

"When people don't feel safe and comfortable, they do not get out to exercise and bike," Dr. Degutis said in the conference call. "A lot of communities need to think about retrofitting their streets not only to make them safer places, but also to improve public health."

Adding sidewalks and bike paths could especially help the elderly, said Elinor Ginzler, director for livable cities at AARP, another participant in the conference call. "The infrastructure is not geared towards older individuals, which contributes to their higher death rate," she said.

The report cites a California case in which an 82-year-old woman was given a $114 ticket for crossing the street too slowly.

One goal of the groups is to get more money spent on pedestrian and bicycle safety. According to Geoff Anderson, co-chair of Transportation for America, pedestrian deaths represent 11.8 percent of all traffic fatalities [Maryland is 19.4], but only 2 percent [Maryland is 0.6%] of highway funds are spent for pedestrian safety. "We think they need to dedicate a proportional amount," said Mr. Anderson, noting that several bills before Congress would fund "complete-street programs" (read: here and here).

Perhaps it's not surprising, but the safest cities for walking and biking have many miles of bike lanes or sidewalks. According to the report, the top five safest metro areas are Minneapolis, Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, and Seattle.

"When you look at those that are safest, they are mostly older cities – except for those who have focused on a full variety of options," Ms. Canby said. "Minneapolis, for example, is one of those places that has spent a lot of money to make it safer to walk and bike."

Some cities that ranked low in past reports show improvement in the new study. One is St. Petersburg, Fla. Since embarking on a "Vision 2000" plan, the city has installed 83 miles of infrastructure for bicycles, added 13 miles of sidewalks, and improved crosswalk safety.

St. Pete has reduced pedestrian crashes by more than 50 percent since 2000, and serious injuries are down even more.

http://www.csmonitor.com/2009/1110/p02s10-usgn.html

Montgomery draws a car-free blueprint for growth

By Miranda S. Spivack - Washington Post

The County Council, after weeks of intense debate over the county's growth policy, unanimously agreed to give developers discounts to build dense developments near transit stations as long as they also construct bike paths and walkways, put shops and other amenities nearby, and use environmentally friendly construction methods.

Most suburban growth plans -- including Montgomery's, until Tuesday -- discourage development in congested areas, including those near public transit, and encourage construction in more sparsely populated communities, on the theory that new developments should arise where traffic is still tolerable.

But Montgomery's new plan takes a different tack, one that smart-growth advocates say is long overdue. With the population nearing 1 million, the Washington suburb is substantially larger than the big city to its south but is still managing growth as if everyone can hop in a car and quickly get where they want to go.
...

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/10/AR2009111009846.html

Dangerous by Design - Transportation For America's Report

Solving the Epidemic of Preventable Pedestrian Deaths (and Making Great Neighborhoods)

Transportation For America issued a report Dangerous by Design in which it highlighted that Maryland ranked 49 out of 50 for per capita spending on bicycling and walking projects. As well as ranking the Baltimore metro area 45 out of 52 for per capita spending of Federal money for biking and walking. Additionally the Fatality Analysis and Reporting System ranked Maryland the 6th wost for the pedestrian fatality rate.

Per the Baltimore Sun the State explains how the money they do spend on bike/ped projects is under reported, while this is true but as the old joke sort of goes: twice of next to nothing is still next to nothing but the real question is the State doing what is necessary to reduce the pedestrian fatality rate which is now at an all time high? In the League of American's Bicyclists report they highlighted how no Congestion Management and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds were spent on bike/ped projects in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area and these funds must be spent in areas whose air quality is classified as non-attainment such as the Baltimore Metropolitan Area. But wait there's more, the State failed to commit $14.5 million in CMAQ funds so that went back to the Federal Government.

We also have to question Douglas H. Simmons, deputy state highway administrator statement "For smaller-scale projects it's a little easier to go through the state process." especially in light that most of the Baltimore County bike master plan is not implemented because of the lack of funds. Where can we find a few million dollars to start moving this stuff along when the State under commits spending Federal dollars that can be used for bicycle and pedestrian projects? As an example Baltimore County tried to get funding through a bond for a trail but it failed. This is exactly the kind of stuff that Federal Aid is supposed to help with but State policies that are out of line with Federal polices are causing significant problems throughout the State.

The good news there is additional support that is coming. At the last Baltimore Regional Transportation Board Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Group Sylivia Ramsy presented the latest in Maryland's Trails: Strategic Implementation Plan which should go on-line soon. Highlights are a statewide bicycle network for transportation as well as areas for recreation. The Plan also highlights areas of need which Baltimore Metro has several. Additionally in the presentation Ramsy noted the problem with the State's 50:50 match (Federal Policy is 20:80.) In general we are excited to see more attention to biking and walking issues by Maryland Department of Transportation and State Highways but the arbitrary boundary between State roads and local roads has to go, all roads need to accommodate biking and walking traffic especially where there is need. We need to turn the emphasis to locate barriers to biking and walking and then find the appropriate remedy whither it is a trail or on-road facilities. Just spending something somewhere is not cutting it, the State needs to get smarter on how it is spending its money and where it is spending its money and One Less Car is working to make that happen.
2009 Honorable Mentions for being a Bicycle Friendly Community
Annapolis, MD; Baltimore, MD; ... Cumberland, MD; ... Rockville, MD;...
The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle-friendly America. The League represents the interests of America's 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates. For more information visit www.bikeleague.org.

http://www.bikeleague.org/programs/bicyclefriendlyamerica/pdfs/bfc_fall2009_pr.pdf

Congratulations and thanks to these cities for helping to make Maryland a better place to bike!

Mr. Blumenauer goes to New York City to ride bikes

It's not everyday that you get to ride bikes in a big metropolis with a member of Congress, even one who loves to bicycle whenever he can.

Rep. Earl Blumenauer dropped by Transportation Alternatives' offices to take a quick excursion around mid-town with Executive Director, Paul Steely White, and Senior Policy Director, Noah Budnick. They checked out a few standard (painted) bike lanes and some of the newer (physically separated) facilities, of which the latter Mr. Blumenauer thought were superior. Along the way he offered much commentary about the state of biking and livable streets in the nation.

With a new, Congressional transportation bill due to percolate to the surface sometime in the near future, Mr. Blumenauer believes the next decade will be the one when we can finally achieve some balance for pedestrians, bikes, and livable streets. For the sake of our planet, our health, and the green growth of our cities - cheers to that.
 

http://www.streetfilms.org/mr-blumenauer-goes-to-new-york-city-to-ride-bikes/

Baltimore Bicycle Friendly Community Feedback

Thanks again for applying for the BFC designation and congratulations on your honorable mention. I know Baltimore is going to get the bronze soon, so keep up all your excellent work! I have attached feedback that was compiled from the application review. You will find a few significant measures that should be taken to improve the community’s bicycle friendliness in addition to program and policy measures in each of the Five E’s. The BFC application is broad and no one right or wrong answer will put a community over the edge either way. In our experience, it takes a breadth of programs across each category to make a truly Bicycle Friendly Community.

Each question of the BFC application is designed to point the community to a good measure for improving cycling. So, please use this document in conjunction with the BFC application as a roadmap to building a great community for cycling.  

Best regards,

Bill Nesper
Director, Bicycle Friendly America Program
League of American Bicyclists


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MBPAC Resolution and Cover Letter to Maryland State Police

We would like to thank the members of the Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee for the following action and resolution and helping to clarify that cyclists do not have to ride in a shoulder no matter how narrow, and cyclists should not be weaving in and out of shoulders with multiple hazards.

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Coverage of the original "accident" by the Washington Post

Cycling or Walking to School Will Not Be Tolerated!

By William Volk - Huffington Post

According to the Surgeon General, more than 12.5 million children -- 17.1% of children and adolescents 2 to 19 years of age -- are overweight in the U.S., up from 13 % in 1999.

So, one would expect schools to be encouraging students to exercise more. Perhaps to even walk or bicycle to school. Hey, it could save some energy ... even reduce CO2 emissions a bit.

One would be sadly mistaken.

I first noted this a few years ago when our neighborhood school removed the bike parking. Then I stumbled upon this gem.

In Saratoga Springs, New York students are banned from walking or cycling to the Maple Avenue Middle School.

Recently Seventh-grader Adam Marino and his mother, Janette Kaddo Marino decided to challenge this policy by biking to Maple Avenue Middle School on Route 9.

The biking debate started last spring, when school district officials told Kaddo Marino that Adam was violating school rules by biking to class. Walking to the school also is not permitted.

Kaddo Marino challenged the policy and asked the school board to change it. The district charged a committee to review the rule, which was instituted in 1994.

At the start of school in September, Kaddo Marino thought that she had a nonverbal agreement with school officials to allow her son to ride his bike until a new policy was resolved. But on the night before classes started, school authorities called parents to say that walking and biking to school would not be tolerated.

Odds are good that the lunchroom's got a soda machine with the local beverage distributor kicking back funds to the school.

Getting people out of their cars and into public transit, or on bikes, makes them less fat, according to research from Rutgers University urban planning professor John Puche.

2009-09-30-driving_vs_obesity.gif

Amazing isn't it?

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-volk/cycling-or-walking-to-sch_b_305429.html

America’s top bike minds ask for (and receive) advice from Europe

[A trimmed down version from Bike Portland's blog:]

...
Jeff Olson, a planner with Alta Planning and Design asked:
If you were able to ask Mayors of large cities in the U.S. to go and ask Congress for anything, what should they ask for?

Niels Jensen:

“I’d ask for money”

Hans Voerknecht:

“Two things: Change the guidelines, and second would be parking. Change dramatically the way of parking. Allow no more parking in the streets 1/2 mile from homes and businesses so you remove all the short trips and people will know they don’t have the car in front of their door. You would also remove all this traffic noise and small particles in the air.

I don’t know if it’s true but I’ve heard Americans even use a car to post a letter around the corner. If you had to walk a 1/2 mile to get your car you wouldn’t do that anymore.”


City Traffic Engineer Rob Burchfield got the last question of the night (and it was a good one):

I want to ask about pricing the use of the automobile. In most of your countries and cities, it’s expensive to purchase a car, to get fuel, to park — and in addition, you’ve put restrictions on cars within your city. It’s simply not convenient to drive.

In the the U.S., that pricing is very absent. There’s very little political will to disincentivize the use of the automobile. We’re concerned that our goals for reaching higher mode split will be difficult to reach because of our inability to put price disincentives on car use. Is that a valid concern? How is it that you’ve come to have that political will?

Geert-Pieter Wagenmakers:

“While in Beaverton I saw all of these enormous rooms for all these cars… even a parking garage for cars! I asked, are you subsidizing this? If so, it’s socialism. You’re subsidizing a parking lot… and that’s out of the mouth of somebody from the business community.

In our country, every square meter is money and you have to use it as good as possible so it gains as much money as possible. And I know one thing, parking cars is not a beneficial way of industry.

Why are the tariffs for parking in the city so high [In Amsterdam, they're about $7 an hour, 24-hours a day]. First, it’s good for quality of life and second, for the people who really need to be in the city — like the people with their big Mercedes to go to the Gucci shop, or the business man who needs to go to an important meeting — now he has a place to park. In the old days, when parking was much cheaper, they had to search for a spot… so that’s good for business.”

Hans Voerknecht:

“One of the things is, if you would ask the Dutch public, ‘Would you rather pay less tax on your cars and pay less tax on your fuel,’ everybody would say ‘Oh yes!’ But the thing is we don’t ask them!

You shouldn’t ask all the time, ‘Do you want to spend money?’ Of course they say no. The thing is, if people are so narrow-minded, you need politicians… Democracy is not about doing the will of the people; it’s about choosing the best men and women out of the people who make the wisest decisions.

The costs of maintaining a road network is high and the users should pay for them… there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Fees work very well to affect the behavior of the people, but it also works well is to reward the people who do the desired behavior. In some cities, they have sort of a reverse congestion pricing: People whose cars aren’t seen in rush hour get up to 8 euros a day.”

Adelheid Byttebier chose not to directly answer the question, but instead shared some general advice for how to promote bicycling:

“Maybe we should look for best practices not only in the field of mobility or cycling but best practices that have worked in a completely separate field. What we have with our mobility problem is the means of transport itself — the car. It’s very socially accepted, it’s — certainly here in America — not so expensive, you can get everywhere with one, etc… On the other hand we know it’s not good for your health or for society in terms of sustainable living and so on.

This reminded me of the debate we’ve all had on smoking.

My father was a smoker and it was very social, not so expensive and it was about having a good time. But, at a certain moment, the decision was made to no longer have ads for smoking and to make it an issue and talk about the health aspects. it’s been a long struggle, but in Belgium we’ve just had a report on health and heart attacks and they’ve found we’ve had great results since we’ve restricted smoking.

Perhaps that experience will give us a good inspiration to try and do it a similar way concerning better modes of being mobile.”


As Portland (and the rest of America) strives to emulate places like Copenhagen and Amsterdam, we’ll come face to face with some of these hard truths about our transportation culture. Are we ready to face them? Are there limits to how much we can emulate Northern Europe?

These questions are sure to play out in the coming years.

http://bikeportland.org/2009/10/20/americas-top-bike-minds-ask-for-and-receive-advice-from-europe/

Baltimore County Could Make Schools Walkable.

From the Baltimore Sun:

I would like to thank the Baltimore Sun for its coverage of International Walk to School Month, as celebrated at Stoneleigh Elementary School and elsewhere throughout Maryland.

In many neighborhoods, it is impractical or unsafe for children to get to school unless they ride the bus or get dropped off by their parents. Joppa View Elementary School in Perry Hall, where our son attends, is a perfect example. Built in 1990, the school is isolated from many surrounding neighborhoods by Honeygo Boulevard. Children who live 50 feet away cannot walk to school.

Reconstructing places like Honeygo Boulevard would be expensive, but in this era of limited local resources, there are relatively low-cost ways Baltimore County could improve pedestrian safety.

The county could better scrutinize proposed developments so they connect to existing neighborhoods. The county could also tap into underutilized federal resources, such as the Safe Routes to School program, which provides grants to local jurisdictions. The county could consider creating a version of the Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee, which recommends ways to better connect neighborhoods and improve pedestrian safety. Walking and bicycling are not just good physical fitness. These types of activities can also reduce automobile use and lower congestion. Baltimore County should work to make its neighborhoods accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists.

David Marks, Perry Hall

The writer is a former chief of staff at the Maryland Department of Transportation and a former member of the Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bal-walkingletter1019b,0,2026320.story

Better planning needed for kids to walk to school

From the Baltimore Sun:

The benefits of students being able to walk to school with their parents or their friends are undeniable. As Joe Burris wrote in his Oct. 15 article, "Trying to get kids to walk to school," the practice makes for healthier kids and healthier communities. Programs like International Walk to School Month, where Maryland is the top participant among Mid-Atlantic states, are helping change behaviors.

But we also need greater attention toward building communities where people can live, work and play in the same proximity. In fiscal year 2008, 40 percent of school construction was outside of existing population centers, the so-called Priority Funding Areas. Typically, few youngsters would be able to reasonably walk to those schools.

Officials and school boards need to design and build new schools as integral parts of designated community growth areas and to reinvest in existing schools in our existing neighborhoods. That's smart growth. Giving families better options to make that walk would save public dollars, the environment -- and a few pounds to boot.

Richard Eberhart Hall, Baltimore

The writer is secretary of the Maryland Department of Planning

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bal-walkingletter1019,0,4077477.story

Follow up on Distracted Driving Summit

“Secretary LaHood pledged to work with Congress to ensure that the issue of distracted driving is appropriately addressed.  He also announced a number of immediate actions the Department is taking to combat distracted driving, including the Department’s plan to create three separate rulemakings that would consider:

  • Making permanent restrictions on the use of cell phones and other electronic devices in rail operations.
  • Banning text messaging altogether, and restrict the use of cell phones by truck and interstate bus operators.
  • Disqualifying school bus drivers convicted of texting while driving, from maintaining their commercial driver’s licenses.”


Please read the full summary at:  <http://www.dot.gov/affairs/2009/dot15609.htm>  and The League’s Distracted Driving Summit <http://www.bikeleague.org/blog/2009/09/distracted-driving-summit/>  blog.

There is plenty of work ahead of us at the state and local level.  We will continue to keep you updated as we move forward.

Chanda Causer
Grants Manager & Training Coordinator
Alliance for Biking & Walking


A brief highlight of the Leagues page:

"Noah Budnick of Transportation Alternatives in New York City offers a complete analysis in the Executive Order report, which recommends 20 measures covering enforcement, adjudication, transparency, investigation and prosecution all aimed at changing driver behavior to improve safety."

2008 Commuting Trends by City

Bike Pittsburgh has compiled the following data for 60 of the major US cities. So I'll highlight Baltimore's ranking:

  • 30 - Commuting by bicycle
  • 10 - Commuting by walking
  •  9 - Commuting by driving alone
  •  8 - Commuting by mass transit
  •  6 - No car available
  • 28 - Females that commute by bike (indicator of bike friendliness)

To toggle between the different modes, click on the tabs at the bottom of the chart

Bicycle Commuting Trends by Gender

You can sort by Overall, male, and female using the tabs at the bottom


If you want to compare the past few years, you can find the data here:

Source: http://bike-pgh.org/2009/09/2008-city-commuting-trends-are-in-how-does-pittsburgh-stack-up-nationally/

Ray LaHood's AARP interview

"Look, we built the interstate system. That's done. Now we're trying other things so you don't have to get in a car every time you want to go somewhere."

 

The interview is at: http://bulletin.aarp.org/yourworld/gettingaround/articles/living_in_a_post_car_world.html

Greg Cantori, President of Bike Maryland on the Marc Steiner show

Synopsis: 
Baltimore bikers get no respect navigating the mean streets of Baltimore.

Greg Cantori, President of the Board of Directors of Bike Maryland,  and Marc talk about the challenges and dangers of biking through the streets of B-More. Nate Evans, bike and pedestrian planner for the city of Baltimore, shares what's next for making Baltimore more biker friendly.

http://www.steinershow.org/radio/the-marc-steiner-show/october-1-2009-hour-2

What Maryland traffic fatalities look like

This may take a bit to load.

This website is utilizing FARS data from 2003 - 2007 (the most currently available).

All traffic fatalities:

View Larger Map

Speeding traffic fatalities:

View Larger Map

Pedestrian traffic fatalities:

View Larger Map

Bicycling traffic fatalities:

View Larger Map

16 and under traffic fatalities:

View Larger Map

Source: http://www.saferoadmaps.org/maps/index.htm#fragment-5

Bicycle safety event in Annapolis, October 29th

The City of Annapolis in partnership with the Annapolis Bicycle Racing Team (ABRT) invites you to join us at the…

BE BRIGHT, BE SEEN Safety Rally
City Dock, Market House
Thursday, October 29, 2009, 4:30 - 6:30 PM

REGISTER AT: www.annapolis.gov/BikeAnnapolis

  • The first 80 registrants to attend* will receive a bicycle light set (front and rear light).
  •  Free bicycle tune-ups and assistance mounting light set provided by local bike shops
  •  See latest cycling products for the new season
  •  Door prizes and discount coupons for bicycle safety items
  •  Refreshments courtesy of Hard Bean Coffee & Booksellers and Atwaters.

*An additional 20 light sets will be distributed at random to all remaining registrants at the event at 6:00pm.

Register in advance until October 28th at: www.annapolis.gov/BikeAnnapolis

On-site registration available but pre-registration is encouraged!

For further information, contact Iain Banks at ibanks@annapolis.gov

MAKE SURE THAT YOU ARE SAFE WHEN RIDING AT NIGHT, USE LIGHTS AND REFLECTIVE CLOTHING.
 

Roland Park Civic League Sustainability Weekend: 23-25 October 2009

Sustainability Weekend: 23-25 October 2009

The Roland Park Civic League will kick of its Sustainability Initiative with three-days of community activities. The event will be one of thousands of actions orchestrated globally by the virtual organization 350.org to raise awareness about climate change (www.350.org). It will involve surrounding communities and local schools and churches. This will be the first of three Sustainability Weekends slated through July 2010.

  • On Friday, 23 October, local students will walk or bike to school. Adults will find alternative ways to get to work. That week, students will prepare artwork and presentations on various sustainability issues: biodiversity, energy conservation, recycling, eco-friendly design, climate change and other themes. Students will earn community service credits for their work.

  • Saturday 24 October will be a sustainability “teach-in” and work day. Southbound Roland Avenue will be cordoned off from Deepdene Road to Indian Lane from 9AM until noon. Tables and booths will be set up in front of the Roland Park Library. The RPCL will have a table where citizens can make personal sustainability pledges and sign up for various sustainability-related activities. The Office of Sustainability, local vendors and other community organizations will have displays and materials on sustainability themes. Students will display their sustainability artwork and presentations. In the afternoon students will go door-to-door to drop sustainability leaflets and schedule homeowners for visits by the Baltimore Neighborhood Energy Challenge (BNEC) Program captains. The movie “Kilowatt Ours” will be shown continuously that afternoon in the RP Library.

  • On Sunday, 25 October, Roland Park will host “Sunday Streets” (cyclovia). Southbound Roland Avenue will be blocked at Northern Parkway and Cold Spring Road. All westbound lateral streets will be barricaded. The street will be reserved for pedestrians, cyclists, skaters and skateboarders from 8AM until 1PM. Students and other volunteers will be trained and deployed as safety officers. People from nearby communities will be invited to walk or ride to Roland Avenue. If successful, a larger Sunday Streets event will be organized in March 2010, connecting Roland Park, Lake Montibello and Druid Hill Park (the “Lake to Lake” pilot route).

  • For more information contact the Roland Park Civic League (Marni) 410-464-2525. To volunteer, contact Sustainability Initiative co-chairs Mike McQuestion (443-912-7655) or Rita Walters (443-610-3403).

People Powered Movement Photo Contest!

Even if you are not interested in the photo contest the video is very inspirational.

Bicycle and pedestrian advocates need high quality images of biking and walking to better communicate their work. The Alliance is building a Biking & Walking Advocacy Library that will provide free high quality images of biking and walking to Alliance organizations, and we need your help!

Support grassroots advocacy by submitting your best biking and walking photos for use in the Alliance's photo library, and enter the People Powered Movement Photo Contest.

You could win an all-expense paid bike trip to Tuscany and a year's supply of Clif Bars. Two runners-up will win great new commuter bikes – a brand new Breezer Uptown 8 or a Dahon folding commuter. There are also first, second, and third place prizes in each of seven categories: Biking, Walking, Biking and Walking, Complete Streets, Advocates in Action, Youth, Inspirational.

  • All Photographers welcome!
  • Submit up to 20 images in 7 categories
  • Winning images will be published in the 2010 March/April issue of Momentum Magazine
  • Just for entering, you can receive a trial subscription to Momentum Magazine and Bicycle Times Magazine
  • Prizes totaling $10,000

http://www.peoplepoweredmovement.org/site/index.php/site/photo-contest/welcome

7 Classic Blunders of Sidewalkdom

See full size image

Yes we did, because we can.  Enjoy!

 

Who Goes There?

Nonexistent sidewalks help with population control.

 

The Disappearing Act

sidewalk ends

If you ever find yourself in this situation, turn around.

 

Neighborhood Skatepark

Moms, buy strollers with very big wheels.

 

The Gesture

It’s the thought that counts.

 

Missing In Action

Roundup anyone?

 

The “What The?”

Caution, stare at this picture long enough and you can actually lose intelligence.

 

The Obstructed and Narrow

Narrow sidewalk by Philly Bike Coalition.

There is nothing righteous about this.  I think the fence is there to hold on to.

...

http://sidburgess.com/classic-blunders-of-sidewalkdom/
Baltimore lawyer bikes to work from Owings Mills
CARYN TAMBER
September 18, 2009 7:15 PM

image

During rush hour, H. Mark Stichel says, his 14-mile commute takes about the same time on two wheels as on four — although going home takes a little longer on the bike, because it’s uphill.

 

His name is H. Mark Stichel, but drivers who take Falls Road to work may know him as that blur on a speeding bike who’s making better time than they are.

Stichel, a litigator with Gohn, Hankey & Stichel LLP in downtown Baltimore, bikes to work two or three days a week from his home in Owings Mills, about 14½ miles away. It takes him under an hour to get to work, a little longer to get back because he’s riding uphill.

“What I discovered is, it didn’t take me much longer to ride my bike to work than it did to drive, especially in rush hour,” Stichel said.

“For an extra 20, 25 minutes, I get a workout,” he said.

Stichel starts his commute at about 8 a.m. on narrow, no-shoulder roads in Baltimore County. The roads’ advantage is that they are lightly trafficked.

After that, Stichel takes Falls Road down through the county and into the city. That road has more cars, but it’s also wider.

He said he gets heckled occasionally by drivers who honk at him or shout things. One man called him a “young punk,” apparently unaware that the “punk” was actually a middle-aged lawyer.

“Do you realize I’m probably older than you are?” Stichel remembers thinking.

Stichel carries no briefcase or backpack with him when he bikes. He keeps a substantial chunk of his wardrobe at the office, and when he gets there, he washes up and changes in the men’s room.

“It would be nice to have a shower” in the building, but “no one’s complained” to him about his post-ride hygiene, he said. That said, he generally doesn’t bike in on days when he has an important meeting.

Stichel, 50, said he’s in much better shape now than he was before 2001, when he began riding to work.

“Before I started riding, I was 20 pounds heavier than I am now,” he said. “I can remember, this was about 10 years ago, [when] I went running after a bus, trudging through an airport with suitcases, I would get out of breath. Now, 10 years later, that doesn’t happen. …”



Stichel was hit by a car once on his way home. He was on Falls Road when a relatively slow-moving car came around a bend and hit him.

“I was just riding along, and all of a sudden I was flying off my bike,” Stichel said.

The driver stayed with Stichel until the police got there. Stichel’s hip was bruised and swollen but nothing was broken, and he broke a tooth, but that was the extent of his injuries.

His bike helmet, on the other hand, was destroyed, reinforcing his fervent belief in wearing one.

“Anyone who looked at that helmet after that accident would never go without a helmet as well,” Stichel said.

Another time, he fell on Saratoga Street, right near his office, because a construction crew had left sand on the road.

Still, he has no plans to stop.

“I would have to say that my family and my partners probably think I’m crazy and roll their eyes about my bike-commuting, but President George W. Bush almost choked on a pretzel while lying on a sofa watching a football game,” he said.
http://mddailyrecord.com/article.cfm?id=13420&type=UTTM

Bicycle Commuter Guide for Employees and Employers

 

  • Bicycle Commuter Guide for Employees and Employers

    Cycling is a healthy, clean, economical and fun way to get to work. If you are an employee interested in commuting by bike, download our "Bicycle Commuter Guide for the Baltimore Region" and find out how you can get ready to ride safely to work. 

    We've also got a great companion guide - Employer Guide to Bicycle Commuting:  Establishing a Bike-friendly Workplace for your Baltimore region Employees - for employers in the region who want to bicycle friendly employer.

Download your copy today! >>> 

Regional Leaders Launch "Street Smart" Pedestrian Safety Campaign
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Regional Leaders Launch "Street Smart" Pedestrian Safety Campaign

Baltimore, MD (September 16, 2009) The Baltimore region averages 1,700 crashes involving pedestrians each year. In 2008, 44 pedestrians were killed. There were also 500 crashes involving bicycles, with 4 fatalities.

"Road safety is a concern that has no boundaries," said Baltimore Mayor Dixon, Vice Chair of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council. "It is important that we are united in our efforts to protect the lives of our residents on the streets and in the crosswalks."

In an effort to educate pedestrians, cyclists and drivers - and save lives - the Maryland State Highway Administration's Safety Office is partnering with the Baltimore Metropolitan Council to introduce the Street Smart traffic safety campaign in the Baltimore region. Street Smart is an element of SHA's "Choose Safety for Life" umbrella campaign and has been used successfully in the Washington, DC, area since 2002.

"It doesn't matter how you travel -- by car, by transit, by bicycle, or on foot -- at some point in the day, every one is a pedestrian," said Maryland State Highway Administrator and Governor's Highway Safety Representative Neil J. Pedersen. "Each year in Maryland, an average of 100 people are killed just trying to walk across a street. We appreciate the partnership with the Baltimore Metropolitan Council in campaigns such as Street Smart to raise awareness that lives can be saved by simply following the rules of the road and looking out for one another."

The Street Smart campaign in the Baltimore region includes billboards, print ads, transit ads, radio spots and posters, all carrying the message "Cross like your life depends on it." Pedestrians are urged to use crosswalks, obey signals, and look left, right and left again before crossing the street. Transit ads and posters were produced in English and Spanish. An additional handout carries the message "Use the crosswalks" in English, Spanish, Russian, French, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese and Amharic.

Education is only one component of Street Smart, though. Local police are also stepping up enforcement of safety laws in Baltimore City and throughout the region. Fines for jaywalking, speeding and failure to stop for a pedestrian can range anywhere from $80 to $500.

"BMC takes highway and traffic safety seriously," said Executive Director Larry W. Klimovitz. "In the past, BMC has been involved in campaigns targeting impaired driving, running red lights and, most recently, distracted driving. Crashes that injure and kill pedestrians and cyclists can be prevented if everyone uses common sense, practices common courtesy and obeys the law."

For more information about Street Smart, visit www.drivesafebaltimore.com.

###

 

Baltimore Metropolitan Council
Working to improve the quality of life in the Baltimore region.

www.baltometro.org

The Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) is the organization of the region's elected executives who are committed to identifying regional interests and developing collaborative strategies, plans and programs which will improve the quality of life and economic vitality throughout the region.

                       

 

FY10 Transportation Appropriations Bill

For those of you following this important federal legislation for funding of bikeways and other alternate forms of transportation we have won this victory! Special thanks go out to our Senators Ben Cardin and Barbara Mikulski who voted to oppose this amendment.

 
----- Forwarded Message ----

NEWS FLASH
 
 
FY10 Transportation Appropriations Bill
Coburn Amendment Goes Down in the Senate!
Transportation Enhancements Saved for Now
 
 
 
Thank you for your help this week in fighting Senator Coburn's (R-OK) amendments to strip funding for Transportation Enhancements in the FY10 Transportation Appropriations Bill. 
 
We would like to take this opportunity to inform you that Senator Coburn withdrew one of his amendments (S. Amendment 2370), therefore it was not voted on.   The Senator's other amendment (S.Amendment 2371), failed by a vote of 39-59.  Had this amendment passed it would have eliminated the 10% set-aside for the Transportation Enhancement (TE) program, thereby effectively decimating federal funding for hundreds of trail projects, sidewalks, bicyclist education programs, bike rack on bus programs, and roadway improvements for bicyclists.  
 
Your calls to let Senators know we are watching were tremendously helpful in holding back this latest attack on funding for non-motorized projects. However, we can be sure that this will not be the last time that Senator Coburn, and others will seek to cut, or even eliminate, funding for programs that are important to the non-motorized community such as TE. 
 
Now is the time to thank the Senators who voting with us and to let those who voted against us know we disagree with their vote and we are paying attention.
 
Please follow up with your Senators today.
Street Smart Campaign Launch 09/16

JOIN! Mayor Sheila Dixon, Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith, Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold, Empowered Representatives from the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board, Baltimore City Department of Transportation & Safety Division, and Regional Safety Representatives this Wednesday, September 16th at 11:00 AM at Patterson Avenue & Reisterstown Plaza.

Thirty-five percent of all pedestrian and bicycle crashes in Maryland occur in Baltimore City. The Baltimore metropolitan region averages 1,700 pedestrian and 500 bicycle crashes each year, resulting in an average of 50 fatalities per year.

See Street Smart Enforcement Operations in Effect at the Event!

http://bikemd.org/files/public/documents/stsmart_invite09.pdf

Future new school construction in Maryland will be both Smart Growth Oriented and Green

This is posted with permission from David T. Whitaker, AICP, the Deputy Director of Infrastructure Planning in Maryland about today's story.

The Maryland Department of Planning is aware of the site and funding situation for Evergreen Elementary School in St. Mary's County. While Evergreen Elementary exemplifies the highest category of LEED, it falls a bit short of the mark in terms of being a community oriented, walkable elementary school per Maryland's Smart Growth model. This was not from lack of effort on the part of St. Mary's County and by the Maryland Interagency Committee on School Construction (IAC) which assisted in the funding of over $12.3 million of the $26+ million cost of construction of Evergreen Elementary School.

The Maryland Department of Planning worked with St. Mary's County in the 2004/2005 time period to locate a suitable site within a certified Priority Funding Area (PFA) for the future Evergreen Elementary School. Maryland's Priority Funding Areas: http://www.mdp.state.md.us/fundingact.htm

St. Mary's County had grown extensively over the preceding decade due to unprecedented residential growth at the Patuxent Naval Air Base. The county had not land banked school sites in anticipation of the major increase in residential growth and then the county found themselves in the difficult position of obtaining a school site in the then aggressive real estate market in Southern Maryland. The Maryland Department of Planning spent many hours reviewing different site proposals from St. Mary's County for a new elementary school. Maryland had a policy of encouraging new sites for public school construction projects into planned growth areas or PFAs, but there was no regulatory mechanism at the time in Maryland to make certain that this was the case. Ultimately, the County opted for the best site that it could locate and made a commitment to build to the highest LEED standard while using the Green technology at the future Evergreen Elementary School as a instructional tool. The Maryland Department of Planning and the IAC agreed to this site at that time since Maryland was then in a period of examining and reassessing capital expenditures for public school construction in terms of Maryland's Smart Growth and neighborhood conservation initiatives and regulatory framework.

We have completed this examination and recommendations are currently being forwarded to the Governor's "Task Force on the Future for Growth and Development in Maryland" to address school siting/funding issues related to Smart Growth community schools, walkability, site needs, land banking, adequate public facilities, community oriented design, and continuity of State funding commitments to public school construction. The recommendations to the Task Force focus on three specific areas: 1. PFA Review of New School Construction; 2. Vertical Schools (urban oriented site design); and 3. Six Year CIP (Commitments of State funding in future years).

My agency has also worked to improve overall coordination of school planning functions between St. Mary's County Public Schools and St. Mary's County Department of Planning and Zoning. The current Planning Director for St. Mary's County is a member of the Task Force and he is chairing a work group developing recommendations on PFA Review of Schools, Vertical Schools and the use of Six Year CIPs.

A link to the Task Force on the Future for Growth and Development in Maryland: http://www.mdp.state.md.us/future_growth.html

A link to MDP's Models and Guidelines No. 27 - Smart Growth, Community Planning and Public School Construction: http://www.mdp.state.md.us/pdf/MG27.pdf

We in Maryland have learned a lot about school siting, school capacity as a factor in residential growth, school sites and design, long term land banking, renovation and replacement, school site inflation, as well as funding and timing for school related capital expenditures since the 2004/2005 time period. As a result, it is a good bet that in the future new school construction in Maryland will be both Smart Growth Oriented and Green.

David

David T. Whitaker, AICP
Deputy Director of Infrastructure Planning

Maryland Department of Planning

Three Cities Applying for a Bike Friendly Community Award

We are proud to see that three Maryland cities have applied for the League of American Bicyclists Bicycle Friendly Community Award. Those cities are:

  • Annapolis
  • Baltimore City
  • Rockville

It is really great to see more cities interested in making biking apart of daily life. Best of luck to you all!

School speed cameras get Balto. County nod

Drivers can expect to see speed-monitoring cameras operating soon in about a dozen school zones in Baltimore County, and those caught exceeding the posted speed limit by 12 mph will face a $40 fine.

The County Council authorized the speed cameras in a 6-1 vote Tuesday. The council added amendments limiting the number of cameras to 15 and requiring an annual report. Councilman T. Bryan McIntire dissented, saying, "I think it's more effective to have police on duty."

Administrators will have to negotiate a contract for leasing the equipment and bring that back to the council, before the cameras are installed.

Source: Baltimore Sun


The point is no one likes living in the 6th highest pedestrian fatality rate state and something needs to be done. And if the raking is not enough, the chart below shows that Maryland is now 43% higher then the national average for the pedestrian fatality rate:

chart


Baltimore County 2008 Crash Facts

14,259 crashes resulting in 70 lives lost and 6,972 people injured


Choose Safety for life

Each year in Maryland, more than 630 people die in traffic crashes - most, if not all, caused by at least one poor decision. In fact, 93% of all traffic crashes are caused by driver error. Choose Safety for Life represents a coalition of safety partners and calls upon drivers, pedestrians and cyclists to make safe, sound decisions when traveling Maryland roadways. By making the right choices, you can save lives and prevent injuries.


Maryland Strategic Highway Safety Plan

Emphasis Area #3d – Make Walking and Crossing Streets Safer

Typically, between 95 and 110 pedestrians are fatally injured on Maryland’s streets and highways each year. Pedestrian fatalities comprise about 20 percent of all traffic deaths. About 12 percent of fatally injured pedestrians are 15 years or younger and another 19 percent are 65 years or older. Nearly 3,000 pedestrians are injured annually, more than one-third of which occur in Baltimore City and more than another one-third of which occur in Baltimore, Montgomery, and Prince George’s Counties. Pedestrians 15 years of age and younger are particularly vulnerable to being injured – over 30 percent of injured pedestrians are in this age group.

Shared Space


Watch CBS Videos Online

One Dutch community made an attempt to change the rules of the road by implementing no traffic lights or street signs. Mark Phillips has the story of a Dutch town's shared roadway.

Bicycle Boulevard Planning & Design

I strongly urge transportation planners and engineers in our region, especially Balt City and County, to take a look at this innovative new set of tools and consider local implementation. Conventional painted bike lanes and other "weak" measures including sharrows and off-road bike paths, that do little to create complete streets, IMO, are all inadequate tools for enabling a fundamental shift towards widespread "transportational" bicycle use in the region. The dense, interconnected grid of streets in Baltimore could easily accommodate a network of bike boulevards.

- SS on EnvisionBaltimore.

What are Bicycle Boulevards?

Bicycle boulevards take the shared roadway bike facility to a new level, creating an attractive, convenient, and comfortable cycling environment that is welcoming to cyclists of all ages and skill levels.

In essence, bicycle boulevards are low-volume and low-speed streets that have been optimized for bicycle travel through treatments such as traffic calming and traffic reduction, signage and pavement markings, and intersection crossing treatments. These treatments allow through movements for cyclists while discouraging similar through trips by nonlocal motorized traffic. Motor vehicle access to properties along the route is maintained.

Download the Bicycle Boulevard Guidebook

http://www.ibpi.usp.pdx.edu/guidebook.php

TRB Report "Driving and the Built Environment" released today

The TRB report that was mandated under the 2005 Energy Policy Act . The report, press release, and a summary are available at http://www.trb.org/Publications/Public/Blurbs/162093.aspx.
...

Finally, the report underestimates the data and real-world examples showing clearly that significant reductions in vehicle miles traveled result from better designed, more walkable communities with real transportation choices. More than 200 studies have been conducted in recent years on the connection between development patterns and vehicle miles traveled, and there are examples around the country of communities that have seen reductions in VMT, greenhouse gas emissions, and oil usage due to better community design. Here’s just a sampling:

  • Portland has a 20 percent lower vehicle miles traveled per capita, due to its investment in walkable, compact neighborhoods and public transportation choices. At the same time, the city saves thee equivalent of $2.6 billion annually in gasoline and time because of these measures, according to a CEOs for Cities report.
  • In Georgia, the Atlantic Station redevelopment project in Atlanta has 30 percent lower driving rates compared to surrounding developments.
  • A Seattle study found that households located in the most interconnected areas of the city generated less than half the VMT of households located in the least-connected areas of the region, holding true after adjusting for household size, income, and vehicle ownership.
  • A study in the Bay Area of California by the Metropolitan Transportation Commission found that for people who both live and work within a half-mile of a rail or ferry stop, 42 percent commute by transit. For those who neither work nor live near these transit stations, only 4 percent commute by transit.
  • The Center for Neighborhood Technology has an analysis of the CO2 levels per acre and household for 55 regions. Looking at the CO2 per household figures for each of the regions clearly shows the dramatic difference between center cities and out-lying suburbs, due to increasing amounts of auto travel: http://htaindex.cnt.org
     

http://1000friends-ct.blogspot.com/2009/09/driving-and-built-environment.html


Recommendation 1: Policies that support more compact, mixed-use development and reinforce its ability to reduce VMT, energy use, and CO2 emissions should be encouraged.

New Resource Addressing School Bicycling and Walking Policies

Chapel Hill, NC – Children across the US are back in school, and many communities are seeing the traffic jams that result from parents driving their children to schools. To help encourage more walking and bicycling, the Safe Routes to School National Partnership and the National Center for Safe Routes to School have released a jointly-developed resource, School Bicycling and Walking Policies: Addressing Policies that Hinder and Implementing Policies that Help, available at www.saferoutesinfo.org/resources/program-development_tip-sheets.cfm. This tip sheet was developed in response to numerous requests from across the country.

School policies that encourage and support bicycling and walking can substantially boost a Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program, both within individual schools and throughout the community. In contrast, a policy that discourages or prohibits bicycling or walking can stop a SRTS program in its tracks. The tip sheet provides simple steps explaining how to approach and overturn barrier policies that prohibit walking and/or bicycling to school, and encouraging supportive policies, which support and enable bicycling and walking to school programs.

A day without cars: Bikes, pedestrians take control of downtown streets

By DEBORAH ZIFF - Wisconsin State Journal

Looking down East Washington Avenue from the Capitol Square on Sunday morning, one would have observed a rare sight — bicyclists riding fearlessly in the middle of the street, nary a car in view.

Part of the usually car-clogged thoroughfare was closed to motorized traffic Sunday because of the first-ever “Ride the Drive,” an event co-sponsored by the city of Madison and Trek Bicycle Corporation to promote alternatives to driving, like biking, skating or walking.

  	  Participants in "Ride the Drive" can walk or ride in the street without worry of motorized traffic, as part of the car-free, six-mile loop.(ANDY MANIS -- for the State Journal)

“It’s an extraordinary feeling to get on your bike and ride down the middle of East Washington,” said Steve Silverberg, 52, who was riding with his 6-year-old son, Jack. “All of a sudden, it’s freer. The room is there.”

The event consisted of a car-free, six-mile loop — mostly Downtown and along John Nolen Drive — with live music, food, parades and children’s activities along the way.

Mayor Dave Cieslewicz, who was instrumental in creating the event, said this was part of an effort to make Madison one of the best biking cities in the U.S. The city has been recognized as a gold-certified Bike Friendly City, but is working toward platinum, the highest designation and one held by only three cities.

Cieslewicz, who rides an orange, Trek brand commuter road bike (sometimes even to work), said a number of cities have similar events.

Event organizers estimated that thousands of people took part in the event, which occurred, to their delight, on a day with near perfect weather. Temperatures hovered in the mid-60s and blue skies were dotted with feathery clouds.

There were some walkers and runners, but the course was crowded mostly with bicycles: road bikes and hybrid, recumbent and beach cruisers, tandems, triple-tandems, trick bikes, trail-a-bikes, and some draped with streamers.

Angela Richardson, of Madison, got dressed up for the Art Bike Parade during "Ride the Drive" Sunday.(ANDY MANIS -- for the State Journal)

One of the highlights was the roughly dozen members of the Wisconsin contingent of Wheelmen, or people who ride high wheels, 1880s and '90s style bikes where the front wheel rises four feet above ground while a smaller wheel trails behind.
At times, the event took on the feel of a giant block party.

A biker rides a high wheel, a style of bicycle popular in the 1880s and '90s, during Madison's 'Ride the Drive' on Sunday.(ANDY MANIS -- for the State Journal)

“You know what this reminds me of?” asked Laurie Koch, 41, of Sun Prairie, who was riding with her two children. “It reminds me of going back to being a kid.”

Participants in "Ride the Drive" make their way up East Washington Avenue on Sunday, part of a six-mile loop.(ANDY MANIS -- for the State Journal)

http://www.madison.com/wsj/home/local/463892

 

Bike to Work Save Money, Reduce Your Carbon Footprint, Lose Weight

Each year more and more Americans are learning what the Europeans have known for years, cycling to work can be fun, save you money, great for your physical health, and also reduce one’s carbon footprint. According to Trek Bicycle’s Bicycle division, the average person looses 13 pounds in the first year that they commute by bicycle. Trek also claims that cycling just 3 days each week reduces a person’s risk for heart disease by 50%! While savings over commuting by car vary by distance traveled, type of vehicle, and the price of gas and parking, the Bike Commuter website has a great series of tools to show you the savings you will reap by cycling to work check it out here: www.bikecommuters.com In addition to seeing the money you will save on gas, just remember all the maintenance, parking, and insurance savings you will reap by riding a bike rather than driving.

Bicycle Commuter Benefit Extended to Federal Employees



 

Did you know that a recent ruling by the GAO has opened the door for Federal employees to take part in the Bicycle Commuting Benefit.

With all the legal stuff aside Federal Employees can now take advantage
of the bicycle commuter benefit in 2 ways; one by providing receipts for
reimbursement or by requesting the Commuter Check for Bicycling voucher.

  cc_for_bicycling_voucher_void.jpg


The voucher is a GAO & IRS compliant voucher similar to the Federal transit voucher for use on mass transit.  It is accepted at over 350 bicycle shops nationwide for the purchase of bicycle commute related products and bicycle storage.

To get the voucher contact Commuter Check today at 800.531.2828 or visit www.commutercheck.com for more information.

Here is the background taken from a posting on the GAO website by Daniel I. Gordon, Acting General Counsel.

NIGC participates in the federal government's transportation fringe benefit program under 5 U.S.C. sect. 7905 and Executive Order No. 13150, Federal Workforce Transportation, Apr. 21, 2000, by providing monthly transit passes to employees who certify that they use mass transit to commute to and from work. Several NIGC employees who commute by bicycle and do not participate in the transit pass program have asked whether they can obtain commuting subsidies. They point out that Congress, in 2008, amended the Internal Revenue Code to permit employers to provide up to $20 per month to those employees who commute to work by bicycle to cover the costs of a new bicycle, bicycle improvements and repairs, and storage.

Because the provisions in 26 U.S.C. sect. 132(f) do not specify whether the bicycle reimbursement is available to federal employees, the certifying officer asked if NIGC can extend its transit program to include a $20 cash reimbursement for employees who regularly commute to work by bicycle. 

And the Ruling from the same posting.

In our [GAO's] view, the National Indian Gaming Commission (NIGC) may expand its program to provide a $20 per month cash reimbursement to those employees who use their bicycles to commute to and from work. In designing and executing its program, NIGC should be mindful of the criteria in the Internal Revenue Code and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance.

 
Germany's City of the Future Built to be Green


Eco-friendly town bans cars and residents live carbon neutral (they actually get money back from the electric company as the produce more electricity then what they use.)

Looking for a better way to get around downtown Baltimore?

A brand-new transportation system is coming to the downtown area soon. To better connect Baltimore residents, workers, businesses, and visitors, twenty-one hybrid EcoSaver IV buses will circulate on three downtown routes, seven days a week-with no fare or boarding fee. The circulator routes will run south to north from the Inner Harbor Visitor Center to Penn Station, and east to west from Harbor East to the B&O Railroad Museum. With buses arriving approximately every ten minutes, the circulator system is planned to connect with Amtrak, MARC, Light Rail, Metro Subway, MTA bus lines, two water connectors (Maritime Park to Tide Point and Canton Waterfront Park to Tide Point), and parking garages located on the fringes of downtown. For more information, visit www.yournameyourride.com.

Baltimore City's marked bike routes and trails

View Larger Map
Just when you thought cycling couldn't get any greener

The Alliance for Biking & Walking list serve put out this wonderful idea, recycle sign shop waste. You know that reflective material they put on signs (basically a vinyl sheet with adhesive back) with the excess scraps going to the landfills will be collected and will be made available to decorate your bike, helmet or whatever and help make you more visible at night.

The word has gone out and we are getting the various sign shops to start collecting the scraps for use as safety giveaways. Our thanks go out to the many fine folks in government who helped to promote this idea.

Create a better Maryland with clunkers program

Now that the "Cash for Clunkers" program has ended you maybe wondering what else you can do to help the environment with that old clunker. Your old car can help support Bike Maryland's mission of improving the quality of life by supporting alternate transportation and it's tax deductible! (Related: There is an interesting op-ed in the Boston Globe The truth about ‘Cash for Clunkers’)


Bike Maryland, Inc

A free, convenient service for converting that extra car, truck, or RV into a tax deductable donation benefiting Bike Maryland, Inc. You can donate online or call 877-999-8322 to make your donation.

Don't donate your car or truck to some charity you have never heard of. Our trusted service makes sure your vehicle is properly handled so you get your tax deduction and your charity, Bike Maryland, Inc, gets the benefit of your donation.

Start now by clicking on "Donate Now" below. If you are not ready to donate, find out about donating your vehicle by browsing all the valuable information and links on our site.


Or call 1-877-999-8322
Bike Maryland acts to support the Complete Streets Act

The Honorable Benjamin L. Cardin
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator Cardin:

I am writing to you to encourage you to cosponsor S. 584, the Complete Streets Act of 2009. As the Executive Director of Bike Maryland, a Maryland non-profit organization with over 12,000 members, I strongly believe in the importance of providing a wide variety of transportation options. At Bike Maryland, we are working to make Maryland an example of the economic and social good that comes from a society where everyone regardless of age, physical condition or economic background has the opportunity to bike, walk or use mass transit to get where they need to go. The Complete Streets Act is an important first step in making that happen.

I strongly encourage urge you to co-sponsor the Complete Streets Act and support complete streets throughout the development of the next transportation authorization bill. This important piece of legislation would ensure that future transportation investments made by state Departments of Transportation (DOT) and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPO) create appropriate and safe transportation facilities for all those using the road motorists, transit vehicles and riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

As you may know, the Complete Streets Act of 2009 is based on existing successful state and local policies. The bill directs state DOTs and MPOs to adopt such policies and apply them to upcoming transportation projects receiving federal funds. The resulting policies will be flexible and cost effective, with a process that clarifies appropriate situations in which a street would be exempted from being covered under the policy, including issues of prohibitive costs. Streets designed for all users are safer, can ease congestion, are less costly in the long run, and spur economic development. Complete streets also make important contributions towards alleviating the serious national challenges of energy security, climate change and obesity. Complete streets promote clean air, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and help children and adults get more physical activity by providing safe, convenient alternatives to driving.

Please show your support for addressing these critical problems by contacting Richard Bender (richard_bender@harkin.senate.gov) in Senator Harkin’s office to co-sponsor S. 584, the Complete Streets Act of 2009.

Thank you,

Carol Silldorff
Executive Director
Bike Maryland

Walk Appeal

Homes in walkable neighborhoods sell for more: study

By Amy Hoak, MarketWatch

CHICAGO (MarketWatch) -- Homes located within walking distance of amenities such as schools, parks and shopping aren't only more convenient for their owners, often they're also worth more than homes in neighborhoods where driving is the rule, according to a new study released Tuesday.

The report looked at 94,000 real-estate transactions in 15 markets. In 13 of those markets, higher levels of "walkability" were directly linked to higher home values.
Bond guru Bill Gross living large in California

WSJ's Sara Lin and Kelsey Hubbard on Pimco's Bill Gross', known as the "Bond Guru," new big home purchase in California.

The report, "Walking the Walk: How Walkability Raises Housing Values in U.S. Cities," was commissioned by CEOs for Cities, a national network of urban leaders from the civic, business, academic and philanthropic sectors.

It's an important point for home-buyers who are trying to identify which homes will hold their value, said Joseph Cortright, the report's author and a senior policy adviser to CEOs for Cities. Cortright is an economist and president of Impresa, a Portland, Ore.-based consulting firm.

Walkable places have some of the best chances of performing well in years ahead, he said.

The analysis used transaction information from ZipRealty. It calculated walkability of the homes using the Walk Score algorithm, which grades addresses based on amenities that are nearby, from restaurants and coffee shops to parks and libraries. Scores range from 0 to 100, with 100 being the most walkable; a score higher than 70 indicates it's possible to get around in the area without using a car.

Controlling for other factors including a home's size, the number of bathrooms and bedrooms, age, neighborhood income levels, distance from the Central Business District and access to jobs, the study found that a one-point increase in Walk Score is linked to an increase in home value between $500 and $3,000, depending on the market, according to the study.

The premium for homes in neighborhoods with above-average Walk Scores ranged from $4,000 to $34,000, according to the report.
Exceptions to the rule

But that premium wasn't found everywhere. In Las Vegas, walkability correlated with lower housing values. Bakersfield, Calif., showed no statistically significant connection between walkability and home prices, according to the study. The report didn't investigate why homes in walkable neighborhoods didn't bring a premium in those two places.

It's speculative, but in Las Vegas, "it may be that those neighborhoods that have the highest walkability are not the most attractive areas" in the metropolitan area, Cortright said.

Matt Lerner, chief technology officer of Front Seat, the software company behind Walk Score, said Bakersfield is somewhat sprawling and perhaps never developed a healthy city center or clusters of walkable neighborhoods.

Or it could be that the volume of foreclosures and the macroeconomic trends with which these cities are dealing are overwhelming any positive effects that walkability might have on home prices, said Pat Lashinsky, chief executive of ZipRealty.

"The effect is being masked," he said.

Even in areas where walkability does statistically matter, the premium it affords isn't the same from place to place. Dense urban areas such as Chicago and San Francisco showed higher price gains based on higher Walk Scores; in less dense markets like Tuscon and Fresno, home prices didn't jump as much due to higher walkability.

Other metropolitan areas included in the study were: Arlington, Va.; Austin, Texas; Charlotte, N.C.; Dallas, Texas; Jacksonville, Fla.; Phoenix, Ariz.; Sacramento, Calif.; Seattle, Wash.; and Stockton, Calif.
Money talks, people walk

There are environmental and health benefits from living in a place where the car can stay parked. In promoting Walk Score, Lerner said his firm emphasizes how walking rather than driving can play a part in preventing global warming and how people who live in walkable areas weigh seven pounds less, on average, than those who don't. Places with higher Walk Scores also often have better mass transit services, according to the report.

This study, however, puts the focus squarely on housing values.

"I don't know of any other study that has put a dollar value on walkability," he said.

Consider two neighborhoods in Charlotte, N.C. In Ashley Park, with a typical Walk Score of 54, the median home price was $280,000. In Wilmore, where the average score was 71, a similar home would be valued at $314,000, according to the report.

While convenience does play a roll in the desirability of walkable neighborhoods, consumers still haven't forgotten the days of $4-a-gallon gas -- and that scar is influencing where they want to buy a home, Lashinsky said.

"When people are looking to buy a house now, they know in the back of their mind that there is a risk that gas prices can be higher than they are right now," Cortright said.

"This is not about people having to live without cars." Rather, it's about giving people the option to use them less often. "They don't need to use them for every single trip, and when they do have to, they don't have to drive as far," he said.

The findings are also important for policy makers, said Carol Coletta, president of CEOs for Cities, in a news release.

"They tell us that if urban leaders are intentional about developing and redeveloping their cities to make them more walkable," she said, "it will not only enhance the local tax base but will also contribute to individual wealth by increasing the value of what is, for most people, their biggest asset."
 

Roads that are designed to kill

By By Mark Rosenberg - Boston Globe

THREE YEARS AGO, I was driving in Atlanta early one morning when I saw a body on the road. It was a young female runner. I called 911 and then ran to her. She had a horrendous head injury but still had a heart beat. I started CPR, but her injuries were too severe. She died in my hands. I wrote a column in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution about what happened to the runner, and a flood of letters came in.

Half blamed the runner, saying she should not have been running in the street at that hour. Half blamed the driver, for not paying close enough attention. Not a single writer blamed the road.

I took a photograph of the scene where I had found the runner. When I showed this picture to friends from Sweden they asked, “This is where you live? This is your neighborhood? Your streets are designed to kill people.’’ They said that the thin painted white lines at the intersection could not be seen at dawn, nor was there a raised bump to or a narrowing of the road to demarcate the intersection and slow down traffic. They said the speed limit should be 30 kilometers per hour (about 18.6 miles per hour) or less if we wanted pedestrians to have much of a chance of surviving. They also said traffic lights increased the number of deaths because people often speed up when the light turns yellow.
...
Most people think we are doing all that can be done to keep our roads safe. They are wrong. Road traffic injuries kill more than a million people a year worldwide, including 40,000 a year in the United States. We will continue to have drivers who are too young or too old, too distracted, or too bold, but we can change our roads so they help protect both drivers and pedestrians. Reaching Vision Zero may take us a while but how in the world could we ever justify not starting now?

The full article

WMATA Survey

Passing this on:


WMATA is in the midst of undertaking a project to study metro station area bicycle and pedestreian access.

The project website is here: http://www.tooledesign.com/metro/index.html

They are seeking input from cyclists and pedestrians who use metro to help them understand their access and mobility needs.

To provide WMATA valuable feedback from the community, please take a few minutes to fill out their quick survey (below).

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=Sh78QMSfJB9QPsAxvgoKlg_3d_3d

Thank you very much.

David

Twenty is plenty
 

A pedestrian hit by a car at 40 mph has a 95% chance of being killed, at 30 mph this becomes 50% and at 20 mph it becomes 5%.

Dr. Stephen J. Watkins, National Health Service, Stockport, UK

Speed contributes to causing accidents and it also increases their severity.

A pedestrian hit by a car at 40 mph has a 95% chance of being killed, at 30 mph this becomes 50% and at 20 mph it becomes 5%.

Most child pedestrian road deaths would be averted if people drove at 20mph in side streets. As few places are more than a mile from a main road, few journeys involve more than two miles on side roads (a mile at each end). The difference between driving two miles at 20mph and at 40mph is 3 minutes.

We are killing our children to save less than three minutes on our journeys.

In residential side roads 20 is plenty.

To enforce this policy we need
• A 20mph speed limit in residential side streets

• A recognition that motorists are solely responsible for the injuries that occur in accidents in residential side streets to the extent that they exceed those that might have been expected at 20mph. The concept of contributory negligence by pedestrians should apply only to injuries that would have been likely to have occurred anyway at 20mph. Any excess over that should be the motorist’s fault.

• Ideally we need to reshape streets so that they are used primarily for community use and the vehicle is a guest.

The Dutch concept of the “Woonerf” (living street) (often called Home Zones in the UK, although the Woonerf is more radical than many Home Zones) divides up the street for community use. Car parking spaces are provided, usually in nose to kerb car parking places so that the parked cars add to the obstacles to traffic. Space is allocated to gardens, trees, communal meeting space and play areas. The carriageway becomes simply the gap between obstacles and is usually arranged in chicanes to slow traffic down.

This concept has other advantages as well as slowing traffic down. It increases community networking and social support (the Appleyard & LIntell study in San Francisco, recently replicated in the UK, has shown that people know more of their neighbours in lightly-trafficked streets). It improves environments. It creates usable greenspace. It increases the aesthetic attractiveness of the street so as to encourage walking.

Dr. Stephen J. Watkins,
Stockport Primary Care Trust
National Health Service, Stockport, UK

http://newmobilityagenda.blogspot.com/2009/08/twenty-is-plenty.html
Carmaggeddon Averted as Broadway Comes to Life

When New York City opened up new pedestrian zones in the heart of Midtown this summer, naysayers predicted a traffic nightmare. Nearly two months later, we're still waiting for the much-feared Carmaggedon.

In this video, Streetfilms funder Mark Gorton takes us on a tour of Broadway's car-free squares and boulevard-style blocks, where conditions have improved dramatically for pedestrians, cyclists, and, yes, delivery truck drivers. As Mark says, the counterintuitive truth is that taking away space for cars can improve traffic while making the city safer and more enjoyable for everyone on foot. There are sound theories that help explain why this happens -- concepts like traffic shrinkage and Braess's paradox which are getting more and more attention thanks to projects like this one. While traffic statistics are still being collected by NYCDOT, there's already a convincing argument that Midtown streets are functioning better than before: To understand it, just take a walk down Broadway.

http://www.streetfilms.org/archives/on-herald-squares-transformation-and-disappearing-traffic/

Baltimore Metro Bicycle Commuter Guide


Is now available through Baltimore Metropolitan Council. Contact Stephanie Yanovitz syanovitz@baltometro.org 410-732-0500 x1055

SAFETY!

Thanks to the efforts of Bike Maryland and others raising concern for cyclists and pedestrians safety Streets Smarts campaign is coming to the Baltimore Metro Area. From Baltimore Metropolitan Council BikePed Becon:

Street Smart Campaign coming in September....

Street Smart Region MapStatewide in 2007 there were a total of 615 lives lost and 51,729 persons injured in 588 fatal crashes and 34,866 injury crashes (totaling 35,424 crashes).  Another 65,519 crahses were property damage only (PDO) for a total of 100,943 reported crashes with the possibility of even more injuries unknown or unreported. 
 
Statewide 110 lives lost were pedestrians and 2,667 pedestrians were injured, in a total of 2,928 crashes.  Statewide 7 Bicyclist lives were loss and another 662 injured in a total of 809 bicyclist involved crahses.
 
In our Baltimore region we represent 39% of the toal fatalities and more than half the crashes and injuries across the state.
 
Street Smart is aimed to target local law enforcement to locations where enforcement can raise the awareness of the rights and responsibilities of drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists to look out for one another on the roadway.  Drivers should stop for pedestrians in crosswalks.  Pedestrians should use crosswalks, obey signals and cross at intersections.  Learning to be Street Smart reminds us of the importance to use crosswalks, obey signals and Share the Road before it's too late.
 
In 2007 in the Baltimore region:
  • 237 lives were lost
  • 25,004 people were injured
  • 52,898 crashes were reported
  • 50 pedestrians lost their lives
  • 2 bicyclists died

>>> Visit Drive Safe Baltimore

Traffic is awful, parking is dismal so what'cha gonna do?

Bike parking at Artscape

Well bike of course! Hundreds of cyclist found out just how convenient it was to bike to Artscape and thanks to the free bike parking courtesy of the University Baltimore it was safe and secure. Volunteers from the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee as well as Bike Maryland helped distribute bike safety materials from State Highways as well as bike maps from the State, Jones Fall Trail and Gwynns Falls Trail. The Friends of the Charles Street Trolley were there as well talking about the advantages of mass transit in an urban core.

Family of 4 on bikes

Biking is just fun, practical and a great way to do things! 

Newsletter archive

We are now archiving our newsletters, so if there is something you missed or would like to share with friends and family.

http://bikemd.org/page.php?id=203

Active Commuting is really really good for you!

Commuting by Bike or Foot Provides Heart Help for Men in Study

By Nicole Ostrow

July 13 (Bloomberg) -- Men who walk or bike to work are less likely to be obese and more likely to have healthier blood pressure and insulin levels, research showed.

Men whose commute involved such exercise were half as likely to be obese as those who drove or took public transportation, said Penny Gordon-Larsen, lead author of the study in today’s Archives of Internal Medicine. Cardiovascular benefits found for women in the study weren’t statistically significant, she said.

About two-thirds of U.S. adults are overweight or obese, according to the National Institutes of Health. Obesity raises the risk of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke and osteoarthritis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, based in Atlanta. For most adults, walking 60 minutes a day at a brisk pace meets U.S. guidelines for avoiding weight gain, according to the article.

“Even if you adjust for other forms of physical activity, walking or biking to work really does add an additional benefit,” said Gordon-Larsen, an associate professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in a telephone interview today. “It really shows that working physical activity in, even if you can’t get to a gym, could have beneficial health outcomes for people.”

Researchers included 2,364 people enrolled in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study who worked outside the home. They looked at the time, distance and mode of commuting along with body weight, obesity, fitness, blood pressure, insulin levels and blood fat levels.

Active Commuters

Of the study participants, 192 men, or 18 percent, and 203 women, or about 16 percent, were considered active commuters. Most of the active commuters walked to work, the researchers found.

The average commute for the bikers and walkers was 5 miles, compared with 14 miles for nonactive male commuters and 10 miles for women in that category.

Gordon-Larsen said the heart benefits may not have been seen in women because they didn’t walk or bike at a high enough intensity or fewer actively commuted, so the study wasn’t able to achieve significant results.

Future studies are needed to investigate the amount of active commuting needed to benefit health, the authors said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Nicole Ostrow in New York at nostrow1@bloomberg.net.
 

Maryland's First Annual Motoring Report Card:

What Motoring is doing to us in Maryland

Air:
Our region’s Air Pollution is among the worst in the Nation (Straight ‘F’s in Ozone pollution and nearly the same for dangerous fine particulates)

www.stateoftheair.org/2009/states/maryland/

Traffic:
Our region’s Traffic Congestion is our Nations second worst (Baltimore/Washington area drivers waste 62 hours and 42 gallons of gas, or about $1,700 out the window a year just sitting there. (That's on top of the average annual auto operating costs of over $9,600)
mobility.tamu.edu/ums/congestion_data/tables/national/table_1.pdf

Obesity:
Obesity is increasingly linked not only to poor diets and lack of exercise, but to the time spent sitting inside motor vehicles- take a look at this animated map - amazing! :
www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html

Accidents:
Our region wins the absolute worst Traffic Accident Rate award in the country. This is truly breathtaking: We rank 192 and 193 out of 193 regions in crashes.
assets.bizjournals.com/cms_media/atlanta/pdf/2009_Drivers_Report.pdf

Deaths:
Speaking of crashes, Motor Vehicles are the Number One killer of our young ages 3-33, by far, in the USA. Our region ranks in the middle nationally. Perhaps because we're mostly sitting in traffic and hitting each other at lower speeds…..?
www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/810936.PDF


Meanwhile, we build more roads and provide more parking… that’ll fix it.

 

Why Baltimore is Parking Itself into a corner

Parking garages are sprouting up like skunk cabbages. By adding to the parking glut, Baltimore continues to suburbanize itself with cheap easy parking encouraging even more people to drive into the city in lieu of public transit or bicycling.

it works like this: Auto oriented transit planning = Reduced travel options = Alternative modes are stigmatized = Suburbanization = More auto oriented land planning = Generous Parking and supply = More Dispersed Development = Increased Car ownership rates = more auto oriented planning and so on......

Car-driven society poses risk to Americans' health


Well - We kinda already figured this one out, but it's still sobering. Another related fact: 56% of car trips are less then 5 miles.

Tue Jun 2, 2009 By Matthew Bigg

ATLANTA (Reuters) - When Seema Shrikhande goes to work, she drives. When she takes her son to school, they drive. And when she goes shopping, to the bank or to visit friends, she gets into her car, buckles up and hits the road.

Driving is a way of life for Americans but researchers say the national habit of driving everywhere is bad for health.

The more you drive, the less you walk. Walking provides exercise without really trying.

Read more: www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE55051620090601

 

Bicycle still beats subway & taxi 5 years in a row

And that's in "Real-time" not counting the  "Effective Speed" (total time minus your wages to pay for that transit mode) which would show a much larger winning gap.

BY Chloe Rosenberg and Sarah Armaghan
DAILY NEWS WRITERS

Friday, May 22nd 2009, 12:39 PM

And they're off! Competitors take off for the Transportation Alternatives' annual commuter race.
When it comes to getting around the city, two wheels are still better than four.

For the fifth year in a row, cycling ruled the road in Transportation Alternatives' annual commuter race Thursday, with a biker beating a straphanger and a cabbie.

It took librarian Rachel Myers 20 minutes and 15 seconds to pedal 4.2 miles from Sunnyside, Queens, to Columbus Circle during the morning rush.

"Woo hoo!" the 29-year-old Brooklynite shouted, pumping her fist in the air. "Just goes to show that bikes rule this city!"

Subway rider Dan Hendrick - who hopped the No. 7 in Sunnyside and transferred to the No. 1 at Times Square - arrived 15 minutes later.

Hendrick, 38, usually rides the rails to work at the New York League of Conservation Voters, but he may be switching to pedal power.

"Twenty minutes saved is a lot in the morning," he said. "I could really use that time to get a latte or something."

A yellow cab rolled up to the finish line 27 minutes after Myers, costing passenger Willie Thompson $30 and precious commuting time.

"I always thought [cabs] were the fastest," said Thompson, 30, a nonprofit e-marketer from Flatbush, Brooklyn.

"But it was so slow, it was brutal. I'm exhausted from sitting so long!"

The bike, of course, is also the most environmentally friendly option with no carbon emissions, compared with 2pounds for the subway and 6pounds for the cab.

Wiley Norvell of Transportation Alternatives reminded commuters that with more than 600miles of bike paths in the city, cycling is more efficient than ever.

"I think there's no commodity more important to New Yorkers than their time," said Norvell. "And clearly, if you've got somewhere to be in a hurry, riding a bike is the way to go."

 

Imagine if we spent $3.8 billlion on smart transportation solutions instead of destroying yet another 1,000 watershed acres for the ICC....

Product Service Systems: The Future of Mobility Services
Sarah Kuck - www.Worldchanging.com
May 13, 2009 8:15 AM

From Zipcar to CityCareShare, I-GO to Citywheels, carsharing companies have been offering urbanites access to share-cars for decades. Now, some people are riffing on these models, tweaking the collaborative services and using them to play by their own rules. Innovative individuals are harnessing the power of information technology to set up personalized, on-demand hubs, turning their own cars into share-cars, and more. Here are a few of our favorite examples:

Read more : www.worldchanging.com/archives/009760.html

 

Bike Commuting - Fun, Fast and practically Free!

Bike riding is often faster than driving in urban areas, especially if you look at the effective speed (the speed you travel minus the hours you must work to pay for that mode of travel).

Average actual urban car speeds are 15-21 mph in real-time (or only 5-11 mph effective speeds for an average wage worker), versus average bike speeds of 10-16 mph (and about the same in effective speed) since bikes are very  inexpensive to own and operate (about $300/yr vs. a car at nearly $10,000/year).

So effectively, bikes are as fast, or faster than, motorized vehicles with the added benefit of zero emissions, less parking garages needed, thousands of dollars saved and thousands of calories burned (Fitter, faster and nearly free!)

So the big question is: Why does bicycling account for only 0.4% of trips in the Baltimore area whereas it’s now 40% in Copenhagen and Amsterdam (cities with worse weather by the way)?
More to the point: Why aren’t you riding your bike to work?


Even if you can’t ride to work, theres a great chance you can ride DURING work! We now have a “Company Bike” to use for local appointments/errands in business cloths, no biking gear needed. The bike is an Amsterdam style (Torker) with 7 speeds, mud and chain guards and hub brakes for safe stopping. It's a great employee wellness tool.

Someday you may find, as we bike commuters have, that getting Fitter, Faster and Financially Free is just a handle bar and a big smile away!

Bike Maryland Benchmarks

We believe that Reducing car use by INCREASING walking, biking, carpooling, public transit, telecommuting, and flex scheduling are very smart choices.

Maryland is still using outdated concepts in its futile attempts to build its way out of congestion. Prime example is the $3.2 billion 18 mile Inter County Connector. There is little doubt it will encourage car use and sprawl. We’ve come to accept single occupancy vehicles as a given with few genuine efforts to change that behavior. Instead, we keep accommodating increasing numbers of vehicles rather then reducing the need to use them in the first place. That’s like doing multiple heart bypasses over and over again, instead of addressing the underlying reasons and preventative solutions to our collective heart disease. Walkers, bicyclists, telecommuters and mass transit riders are the ‘good cholesterol’ that prevent those clogged highway arteries, while motorized traffic is the fat and cholesterol that causes congestion, clots, and eventually gridlock (a heart attack).

Bike Maryland is confident we’ve found a solution, and like all nonprofits, our task and burden is in getting people to change their behaviors towards that solution. We believe most of us share the same values of less traffic congestion, safer roads, and therefore more livable communities.

Our task is to find ways for more people to drive less, or at least drive more safely, so that walking, biking, carpooling and public transit can flourish. We all win – Drivers and transit users get to their destinations faster and safer; walkers and bicyclists feel safer and enjoy their trips more. We all save gas, money, aggravation, the environment, and even our own health. Let’s look at Maryland’s current situation (from the 2000 US Census rounded off and updated to 2005) and Bike Maryland draft

  • We’ll ‘grade’ the state, the public, and ourselves based on these goals.
  • We still need to translate these percentages into number of car trips and lives saved, traffic delays avoided (time and money saved), pollution reduced as measurable outcome of our work…..Our State has tons of data but no real goals much less accountability in meeting them…YET! We recognize that single occupancy trips vary greatly by region (in urban areas it’s as low as 60% in rural areas 85%)and will make allowances for that.
  • We believe that by increasing the percentages of trips by alternatives to motor vehicles (Many Less Cars Bike Maryland At A Time), we will experience benefits that include better health, cleaner air, less noise, less congestion, money saved and fewer road deaths and injuries.

Goal 1: Less Cars – 2% reduction in Maryland SOV trips by 2010
How - Increase the percentage of trips by other modes
Objective 1 - Increase car and van pooling by 2%
Objective 2 – Increase the percentage of bicycle trips by 1.3%
Objective 3 – Increase the percentage of those who walk/run to their destination by 1.2%
Objective 4 - Increase the percentage of transit trips by 2%
Objective 5 - Increase the percentage of telecommuters/Flex timers/Part-timers 2%

Goal 2: Safer Streets (in support of Goal #1, Less Cars)
What’s the number one complaint to police departments statewide? — Speeding cars
What’s the number one killer of kids and young adults (ages 3-33)? —Speeding cars
What’s being done about it? Not much –some cameras here, some bumps there, not much at all —Howeve PACE CAR has the potential to empower individuals and communities with rolling traffic calming.

Goals: Percentage (%) who currently

  2009 Actuals 2010 Goal 2011 Goal 2012 Goal 2013 Goal 2014 Goal
Drive Alone 74 72* 70 66 65 64
Carpool 11 12 13 14 15 16
Bus 3 4 5 6 7 8
Telecommute 3 4 5 6 7 8
Walk 3 4 5 6 7 8
Taxi 2 2 2 3 3 3
Rail 1 2 3 4 5 6
Run <1 1 1 1 1 1
Bike <1 1 2 3 4 5
Motorcycle <1 1 1 1 1 1

 

Footnotes

Percentage (%) of those who drove alone (including margin of error) SOV Trips

Maryland

73.6 +/-0.5

Allegany County

81.9 +/-3.9

Anne Arundel County

80.1 +/-1.7

Baltimore County

80.3 +/-1.3

Calvert County

78.0 +/-3.8

Carroll County

80.1 +/-2.4

Cecil County

83.3 +/-3.2

Charles County

78.7 +/-2.8

Frederick County

79.1 +/-2.2

Harford County

84.2 +/-2.1

Howard County

80.3 +/-1.9

Montgomery County

66.9 +/-1.3

Prince George's County

63.7 +/-1.7

St. Mary's County

81.6 +/-3.4

Washington County

81.2 +/-2.9

Wicomico County

80.9 +/-3.9

Baltimore city

59.9

 

Baltimore Bike Blast Speeches



Bike Maryland recognized by Mayor Sheila Dixon for its help in the Baltimore Bike Master Plan.

Let's encourage people to buy new cars?!

"Mikulski fiddles with car tax credits while transit burns

Maryland state lawmakers re-added a $10 million tax break for car purchases at the final stage of their budget negotiations. Legislators had previously decided to remove the credit to help shore up Maryland's finances until Senator Barbara Mikulski pushed to reinstate it. Mikulski inserted a similar provision into the federal stimulus bill earlier this year.
What could Maryland do with $10 million besides further incentivize people to buy new cars that most of them don't need? With just half that money, they could restore transit cuts in the Washington region and Baltimore. Those cuts threaten to cut off vital service to many residents who don't have alternatives, or will drive many Marylanders to commute by car instead of transit, increasing traffic, pollution and parking problems. DC and most Virginia jurisdictions came up with extra money to stave off most of their proposed cuts to Metro service, but Maryland remains $4.8 million behind. The other half of the $10 million could restore previous cuts or improve service in Baltimore.

Instead of preserving this vital transportation choice, Mikulski is intent on propping up an auto industry that has quite simply overproduced cars for the current economy. Americans would do just fine simply keeping their current cars a little longer. Meanwhile, cutting transit service not only destroys jobs, but harms many residents' ability to get to their jobs.

Mikulski made an early name for herself in politics by opposing freeways that would have cut through Baltimore and destroyed historic neighborhoods. Sadly, like many freeway warriors of her era, she doesn't realize that the ever-expanding freeways outside Baltimore hurt that city's vitality almost as much as bulldozing a neighborhood, by driving development ever outward and removing jobs from downtown. Nor does she see how other governmental policies, like tax subsidies for car ownership, put cities at a disadvantage by drawing potential riders away from transit and forcing even more service cuts.

The Baltimore-Washington area is one of our nation's greatest metropolitan regions, including some of the best transit systems in the nation and a wide range of walkable, transit-oriented communities in and around two major cities. It's too bad Maryland's senior Senator seems intent on dismantling her state's existing advantages through her policy priorities. Her legacy may well be to bring about the very same form of destruction to Maryland's communities she fought to stop a generation ago." What do you think?
Posted by David Alpert on Apr 13, 2009 7:36 am
 

Why BIKE MARYLAND?

As my daughter Andrea and I sat in over an hour of traffic last year to get to her school 16 miles away in Annapolis, she turned to me and said: “Dad, if we’d ridden our bikes, we’d be there by now.”

Traffic Congestion has been ranked as a major issue facing Maryland. So who is directly addressing all this traffic congestion? No one really – traffic engineers tinker with it, only looking at vehicle speeds and volume without much regard to the impact on our collective quality of life when speed and volume is the primary focus. Others look at safety. Where are the goals with real, tangible and accountable benchmarks to hold our collective feet to the fire? Are we keeping our promises to our children in giving them a better future? That's why we want to see Bike Maryland not only succeed, but do it in a big way. Despite the hurting car industry, Less Cars are truely in all our long term best interests.
 

New Website

Welcome to the new Bike Maryland web-site. We're adding new content this month.

Soon to come: A new newletter, more ways to contact your law makers, more blog posts, Tour Du Port early registration information, and more!

If you have pictures from a recent Bike Maryland event, please contact us.

Bike Maryland News we can Use

Clean living could cut third of many cancers
By Michael Kahn

LONDON (Reuters) – Healthier living could prevent about a third of the most common cancers in rich countries and about a quarter in poorer ones, international researchers said on Thursday.

Better diets, more exercise and controlling weight could also prevent more than 40 percent of colon and breast cancer cases in some countries, according to the study which urged governments and individuals to do more to cut the number of global cancer deaths each year.

"At the time of publication, roughly 11 million people worldwide are diagnosed with cancer and nearly eight million people die from cancer each year," said Michael Marmot, who led the study from the World Cancer Research Fund and the American Institute for Cancer Research.

"However, cancer is mostly preventable."

The study involved 23 experts who analyzed both the incidence of 12 common cancers across the world and data on diet, exercise and weight to see how these factors contributed to kidney, mouth, lung, gallbladder and the other cancers.

The researchers found that healthier living would prevent 43 percent of colon cancer cases and 42 percent of breast cancer cases in Britain, and 45 percent of bowel cancer and 38 percent of breast cancer cases in the United States.

The findings follow the same groups' study in 2007 that showed how quickly people grow and what they eat are both significant causes of cancer.

They recommended -- in line with what health experts, including governments and the U.N. World Health Organization, have long been advising -- that people follow diets based on fruits, vegetables and whole grains and go easy on red meats, dairy products and fats.

The team also looked at China and Brazil as representatives of low- and middle-income countries, respectively.

Overall improving diet, exercise and weight would in the United States prevent more than a third of the 12 most common cancers -- which also included stomach, womb (uterus), prostate, pancreas and esophagus tumors.

This amounted to 39 percent of the cancers in Britain, 30 percent in Brazil and 27 percent in China.

"This report shows that by making relatively straightforward changes, we could significantly reduce the number of cancer cases around the world," Marmot said in a statement.

"On a global level every year, there are millions of cancer cases that could have been prevented and this is why we need to act now before the situation gets even worse."

(Reporting by Michael Kahn, Editing by Will Dunham)

Greg's Blog: Sunday Streets!

Happiness is Sunday Streets

Three years ago, my wife and I got to know an amazing 12 year old girl as a summer host family through www.Kidsave.org . When we traveled to Bogota to complete the adoption, people told us not to miss their Ciclovia. Every Sunday from 7am-2pm over 90 miles of roads are ‘opened’ to the people. Most walk, some jog, many ride bikes or rollerblade. Others simply enjoy watching the river of 700,000 (that's not a misprint) people going by. Every 8 miles or so, we would hear music. As we approached, we saw hundreds of people of all ages dancing along with aerobics instructors. Smiles and laughter abounded. Happiness. Happiness in a city once known only for its’ violence, poverty and despair.

I asked people in Bogota what they would do if Ciclovia were taken away. They always reacted with shock at such a thought. They look at Ciclovia as an essential part of city living. As their mayor, Enrique Penalosa said: “As a bird needs to fly… people need to walk.”

I wondered which cities in the United States provided this great event for all ages, incomes, backgrounds, abilities.. Imagine my surprise to learn that there wasn’t a single one! (Until recently. El Paso, held the first Ciclovia in the US for four Sundays.)
Back in Baltimore, my daughter wondered why there was no Ciclovia here. We now have an opportunity to realize hers, and our mayors, vision of a cleaner, healthier, greener, and safer city with Ciclovia. Baltimore will someday launch Ciclovia, now called Sunday Streets. I envision Sunday Streets as our very own physical internet; An open network of human interactions that allows everyone full access in attaining our inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. There’s that word again. Happiness.

The possibilities are limitless: micro entrepreneurs selling their services, community tours, exercise classes , biking and skating classes, matinee performances, and a venue for our hardworking nonprofits to hold special events.
Depending on how much we all participate, we may see it become a city fixture with increasing mileage and different routes into the future. I see many opportunities for my fellow bloggers and their audacious ideas to play a role as well….Now it’s time for us all to get outside and have some fun together!

The 12th Annual Maryland Bicycle Symposium

The 12th Annual Bike Symposium in Annapolis on February 4th was a huge success!

Although the weather caused school closings in many counties approximately 400 to 500 people attended.  Additionally, there were twenty exhibitors displaying projects and engaging the audience.   The high attendance indicates that people care deeply about promoting bicycling as a means of alternative transportation.  As our population grows it is critical that a safe infrastructure, along with laws protecting bicyclists, are intact.

John Porcari, Maryland Secretary of Transportation, gave an upbeat report on MDOT’s work on Bike Projects in Maryland and Delegate Jon Cardin Chair of the Legislative Bike Caucus gave an overview of the many Bike Bills being considered this session in Annapolis. Jim Swift, Chairman of the Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (MBPAC), gave a presentation on MBPAC. Presenters Charlie Denney of Alta Planning + Design, Stephanie Yanovitz of VHB, and Bill Schultheiss of Toole Design kept all the audience in their seats before lunch by educating the attendees on bicycle safety and answering questions.

Senator Jim Rosapepe presented Senator Brian Frosh with an outstanding Bike Accomplishment award from Bike Maryland and Jim and Jane Hudnall received a special Bike Maryland Award for all their many years of making these Symposia successful. Bill Kelly was presented a Senate Proclamation by Senator Rosapepe for his many years of Bike Service to the Maryland. The symposium takes place because of the many hours of volunteer service Bill and Jim dedicate to the coordination of the event.  The awards were followed by interesting and informative talks from Eric Gilliland of WABA, Sergeant Chris Davala of the Maryland State Police and the International Police Mountain Bike Association, and Caron Whitaker of America Bikes.

The symposium was taped by John Wetmore and the recording will be linked to the Bike Maryland website.  Bike Maryland’s new website will be up by month’s end with exciting opportunities for interacting with you through a blog, action alerts and more!

Bike Maryland is a non-profit organization that really needs your help during this tough period to continue to advocate and produce events like the Symposium that are free to the public.  To make a donation by check please make the check payable to Bike Maryland and mail to:  Bike Maryland, 1209 North Calvert Street, Baltimore, MD 21202.  To donate via credit card visit  https://www.z2systems.com/np/clients/onelesscar/donation.jsp.

Save the date of October 4th 2009 for this year’s Tour du Port - Baltimore’s Premier Bicycling Event!  There will be rides from 14 to 40 miles and we are working to develop a 63-mile metric century as well.  All proceeds go to Bike Maryland to promote bicycle use and safety.  On the day after Tour Du Port, (Monday Oct, 5, 2009) the Fall Bike Forum will take place at John Hopkins Applied Physics Lab in Laurel, MD from 6 to 9 p.m.

Thank you all!

Carol Silldorff, M.P.A.
Executive Director
Bike Maryland
1209 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
410-960-6493 direct
carol at onelesscar dot org
www.bikemd.org