Archive 2009 (70)
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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.


Amazing isn't it?

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.

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.,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,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:  <>  and The League’s 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:


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:

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

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.

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:

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Bicycling traffic fatalities:

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16 and under traffic fatalities:

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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…

City Dock, Market House
Thursday, October 29, 2009, 4:30 - 6:30 PM


  • 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:

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

For further information, contact Iain Banks at


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 to raise awareness about climate change ( 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

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.

Baltimore lawyer bikes to work from Owings Mills
September 18, 2009 7:15 PM


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.

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


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



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

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 ----

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!

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:

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:

A link to MDP's Models and Guidelines No. 27 - Smart Growth, Community Planning and Public School Construction:

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 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:


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

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

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:

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 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)


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: 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.


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 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

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 ( 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:

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).

Thank you very much.


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
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.

Baltimore Metro Bicycle Commuter Guide

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


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.

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

Maryland's First Annual Motoring Report Card:

What Motoring is doing to us in Maryland

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)

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)

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! :

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.

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…..?

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:


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

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 -
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 :


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



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


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



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


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 . 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

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