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Category: bicycling
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.

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

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/

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:

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Speeding traffic fatalities:

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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

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! >>> 

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!

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

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.

 
Baltimore City's marked bike routes and trails

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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.

Baltimore Metro Bicycle Commuter Guide


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

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! 

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!

Baltimore Bike Blast Speeches



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