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Friday, July 25 2014 @ 05:16 AM UTC

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Bike tour of Baltimore's community gardens!

Biking in BaltimoreRegister for the Charm City Garden Tour! Enjoy a nine mile leisurely ride to some of Baltimore's most beautiful community gardens and urban farms. August 16, 8:30 am, starts at the Druid Hill Park City Farm. This year's ride will feature some of North-Central Baltimore's creatively designed and maintained greenspaces. The tour concludes for a celebratory swim at Druid Hill Park pool!

For more information or to register: http://charmcitygardentoursupper.wordpress.com/
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Baltimore County Needs to Reduce Pedestrian Fatilities

Biking in the Metro AreaBy Jeffrey H. Marks

The Baltimore Sun's article "Walk this Way" is right in pointing out that a comprehensive program with a director and budget is needed to reduce the County's high rate of pedestrian fatalities. As the Sun states, other jurisdictions like Ocean City mounted a campaign to reduce pedestrian fatalities - at a cost of $400,000. The result was that the number of pedestrian crashes was cut in half!

It's unacceptable for Exec Kamenetz to simply blame these crashes on the pedestrian by saying that he failed to use the crosswalk. When someone takes the bus or walks, the nearest crosswalk may be 1/2 mile away. Is it reasonable to expect the pedestrian to walk an extra mile to cross the street? And even if the pedestrian uses the crosswalk, the motorist may still fail to yield..

Baltimore County needs a comprehensive plan that involves pedestrian and motorist education, police enforcement, and engineering to improve safety. The County should design Complete streets that accommodate pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars; rather than just cars. The County should follow the City's good example of gradually accommodating non motorized travel; including bike paths, bikelanes , wide curblanes, and even rebuilding a hazardous stretch of Charles Street near the Johns Hopkins Univ campus. If the City, with its lower tax base, can design complete streets, why not the County? I thank the first responders (fire, police, and rescue personnel) for taking the lead in urging the County to make our streets safer for pedestrians and bicyclists. Please hear our plea, Exec Kamenetz.

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Let's force pedestrians to cross where they are getting killed for safety - Route 1 in College Park

Biking in the Metro AreaBy Jamie Forzato, WTOP


...
University of Maryland President Wallace Loh recommended SHA, which owns and maintains the highway, approve a median barrier along Route 1 from Knox Road to Guilford Road -- a three-block stretch that is home to several popular bars and restaurants that get a high level of foot traffic on weekend nights.

"It is possibly one of the most dangerous stretches of state highway in the entire state," Loh says.

The barrier is a priority and Loh hopes it's among the upcoming improvements.

"We would like that barrier immediately," he says. "As soon as possible. Even [if] it's ugly. Even [if] it's temporary. We've been talking about this for a long time."

College Park City Councilman Patrick Wojahn (District 1) agrees: "There will likely be a barrier placed in the median on Route 1 in that area where there have been these pedestrian deaths."

But he wants to consider the plans carefully.

"We want to make sure that it's not something that will negatively impact the appearance of the Route 1 corridor," Wojahn says. "We don't want it to be something that will make it feel like a divided highway, which may cause traffic to move more quickly and may put more risk to the pedestrians that are crossing at the intersections where they should be crossing."

Still, Loh says, the need to protect pedestrians outweighs the need for a pleasant landscape.

"Quite honestly, there are people in the city who do not want the barrier because they think it's unsightly," he says. "I think safety of the students take precedence. After three deaths in the span of six months, I think safety is taking precedence over aesthetics."

Councilman Fazlul Kabir (District 1) calls Route 1 a "deathtrap" and says residents have told him they are discouraged from visiting the downtown College Park area because the highway is unsafe.

Three young adults were killed along this stretch since the beginning of the year, the most recent was 21-year-old Janelle Oni, who was killed last week by a drunk driver. [B' Spokes: Like a median fence is going to do something about drunk drivers. :/ ]

In January, University of Maryland student Cory Hubbard, 22, was struck and killed while crossing Route 1 near Knox Road. [B' Spokes: Per Google maps this has near invisible crosswalks.]

Three months later at the same intersection, George Washington University student Carlos Pacanins, 23, was struck and killed while near a crosswalk.
...

http://www.wtop.com/?nid=893&sid=3661916
*************************************************************
[B' Spokes: Let me state this as emphatically as I can, without police doing pedestrian crosswalk stings, crossing at intersections is unsafe!

Even when pedestrians have the right-of-way motorists feel their hurry is more important and will scare, intimidate, hit and even kill pedestrians because we all know pedestrians should not be "Dead right." So when crossing at an intersection yield: to traffic behind you, in front of you as well as to your left and right.

I will strongly assert if you take as a given that motorist do not yield to pedestrians in crosswalks then jaywalking is the safest way to cross a road and this project does nothing for better safety at intersections and removes the possibility for safer crossing as well as increase the perception the road is only for cars, cars going fast.

********************************************************************************
Near invisible crosswalks:
"We conclude that, because high-visibility markings are more easily detected by motorists and have been shown to lead to a reduction in pedestrian-vehicle collisions when compared to [the type of markings that Maryland generally does.]"
http://www.baltimorespokes.org/article.php?story=20130922203722411
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When Road Rage Strikes: Taking Control

Biking ElsewhereGood advice from Bob Mionske

http://blogs.bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/when-road-rage-strikes-taking-control

"And too often, when the aggressive driver’s target is a cyclist, our society’s response to that behavior is insultingly inadequate for the wrong committed."
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Bicycle Rules Featured In New Walk Smart! Safety Campaign; Delaware Embracing Effort As Welll

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: This article starts off better then most, keeps up some good messaging scattered throughout but then ends with bad advice for cyclists.]
******************************************************************************************************************************************************************
by DispatchAdmin, Joanne Shriner

OCEAN CITY – State and local leaders officially launched the 2014 Walk Smart! Campaign in Ocean City this week, announcing the effort will be reaching out to Delaware beaches for the first time.

Officials hope to continue the success of last year’s efforts that contributed to a reduction in pedestrian crashes. This summer Walk Smart! partners are expanding the effort in Ocean City and planning to hit Delaware’s beaches.

The Walk Smart!Campaign reminds residents and visitors of roadway basics, such as using crosswalks and signals, and because pedestrian safety is a two-way street, the effort also includes messages directed to drivers to stay alert and stop for pedestrians.
[B' Spokes: note the also directed to drivers bit.]

Last year’s campaign saw a 50-percent decrease in pedestrian-related crashes as well as no pedestrian fatalities along Coastal Highway.
...

According to Peters, SHA is continuing its engineering efforts to increase pedestrian safety with additional signing, timing signals, curb markings and this spring a mid-block pedestrian signal crosswalk on Coastal Highway at 54th Street was added.
[B' Spokes: Accommodating pedestrian desire lines with a mid-block signalized crossing!!! Well that's great news (that I would love to see more of) and that it has been noticed as reducing fatalities.]
...

Vigilant police enforcement and education by Town of Ocean City Police, Maryland State Police and agencies in Delaware will address drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians who are not following the rules of the road.
[B' Spokes: Wow, they are still addressing everyone. Usually they start of this way then quickly degrade to just blaming the victims.]
...

The simple act of our officers approaching pedestrians that have crossed streets unsafely has proven to get the message across.
[B' Spokes: What? No tickets? That's nice.]
...

There are three tips for cyclists to remember. Always ride with the flow of traffic, ride as far to the right of the road as possible, and last but not least follow all the rules of the road,”
[B' Spokes: To be clear, if there is space to be safely out of cars way, then by all means I encourage cyclists to ride there. But to imply riding far right as *possible* is the law is wrong. It is doubly wrong to say this without any plain cloths officers riding as far right as possible and siting drivers who violate the 3' passing law. Fair is far, if we are far right, then cars need to be far left when passing.]
...

http://mdcoastdispatch.com/2014/06/12/bicycle-rules-featured-in-new-walk-smart-safety-campaign-delaware-embracing-effort-as-welll/
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Complete Streets Save NYC Taxpayers Money

Biking Elsewhereby Stephen Miller, Streets Blog

Each year, the city comptroller issues a report on claims settled for and against the city, showing how much New York spends on personal injury and property-damage judgments. Every year, there’s a similar story: Damages from crashes involving drivers of city vehicles rank as one of the top money-losers for taxpayers. A report issued this week by Comptroller Scott Stringer [PDF] is no exception, singling out complete streets as a tool to reduce claims.

While claims against the city have held mostly steady since 2003, motor vehicle claims are down 13 percent to $91.2 million during fiscal year 2013. One potential factor: street design. “NYC DOT has been a national leader in working to transform our roads into ‘complete streets’ that serve a variety of users,” the report says. ”This is not only smart transportation policy, it is also an intelligent way to drive down claims costs.”

Stringer cites a 2006 Federal Highway Administration report on risk management: ”With every passing year, the courts become less and less sympathetic to agencies that have not understood the message: bicyclists and pedestrians are intended users of the roadway.”
...

http://www.streetsblog.org/2014/07/11/stringer-complete-streets-save-city-money/
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Reisterstown Road Streetscape update (addressing our concerns)

Biking in BaltimoreTo follow up on the Reisterstown Road meeting regarding the video detection for bicyclists and the pedestrian phases at key intersections, we have had a meeting with STV consultants, Traffic, and TEC. The following has been discussed and addressed:

· STV and Traffic confirmed that the signal phasing allows for green time for the side streets for every cycle, the video detection will only impact the amount of green time that will be given to the side street. In other words, video detection will not impact WHETHER cyclists on the side street will get green time but how much time is allotted to the green time for the side streets.
· Given there will always be a green phase, this means bicycle detection is not completely necessary. Video detection can be programmed for bicycle detection. However, after doing some research and talking with several other Cities (I spoke with staff at San Francisco, Portland, Chicago) who have used video detection they indicated video is not the optimal type of bicycle detection. Planning is recommending Traffic and TEC consider inductive loop detection for bicyclists and bicycle-friendly push buttons as part of future projects and a possible addition at key locations along this corridor in the future.
· At the meeting, we discussed that the Pedestrian Walk phase should be part of every phase in the cycle and not require actuation with a push button for several key locations along the corridor. Traffic has agreed that they can look into this and accommodate where possible. I will provide them a list of the prioritized intersections.

Many thanks,

Caitlin Doolin
Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner
Baltimore City Department of Transportation
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Why isn’t LAPD ticketing drivers in the crosswalk?

Biking Elsewhere[B' Spokes: I wonder if this is our problem as well?]
********************************************************
Via Los Angeles Walks

Earlier this year, we published a response to the LAPD jaywalking crackdown asking officers to please focus their energy on ticketing drivers who were blocking or in some cases blatantly driving through a crosswalk while pedestrians were present—something we saw and documented as a far bigger safety issue on downtown streets. Two weeks ago, Melanie Freeland was verbally berated and nearly hit by a driver who purposely sped through a crosswalk, then dismissed by a police officer who saw the entire incident. We asked Melanie to share her story, as well as the letter she sent to LAPD.
...

He said, “I did. Did you hear me hit my PA?” I said no, at which time he asked if I was okay and why I was “blocking traffic.” To be clear, he specifically asked if I was on any medication.

I explained I was in the crosswalk to cross the street with a clear walk signal—he was at the same red light waiting—and that the car nearly hit me, then threatened me verbally and threatened me with his vehicle. He explained that he had seen the driver lean out the window but couldn’t hear what he said or the events preceeding, that so had assumed I was blocking traffic, thus why he had hit the PA.
...

He told me that unless someone was injured then a ticket could not be issued. I requested a follow up and left him with my information and the information of the car and driver.
...

http://www.losangeleswalks.org/why-isnt-lapd-ticketing-drivers-in-the-crosswalk/
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"Bicycle Bully" Column Prompts Protest at Post

Biking ElsewhereVia CSN Baltimore

Dozens of bicyclists protested outside The Washington Post Thursday over a Courtland Milloy column that they say incited violence against them.
...

"I thought the article was an incitement to violence," said Jim McCarthy, a D.C. cyclist. "I'd like to see Milloy be fired. I thought the article was totally irresponsible."
...

Mike Forster, the protest organizer, said that the protesters "don't want to be characterized by lazy opinion writers."
...


http://www.csnbaltimore.com/article/bicycle-bully-column-prompts-protest-post
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Four surprising ways a video camera could be your most valuable riding partner

Biking ElsewhereBy Bob Mionske, Bicycling

I call it the SWSS, or Single-Witness Suicide Swerve: A careless driver injures a cyclist, then claims that the rider careened into his or her car. With no witnesses, it's difficult for the cyclist to prove what happened. Sometimes the rider is knocked unconscious and has no recollection of the collision, and the driver's version of the story is the only one that ends up in the police report. Then there's that minority of drivers who use their automobiles to bully and assault cyclists. Unless there are independent observers, calling the police on these motorized criminals likely won't accomplish anything; officers usually will not file charges against a driver if it's a case of the cyclist's word against the motorist's. But if you bring a video camera along for the ride, the balance of power may change. Here are four compelling reasons to hit "record" the next time you hit the road.
...

http://blogs.bicycling.com/blogs/roadrights/its-playback-time
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