A strange thing just happened to me riding my bike home yesterday. Some guy in a car almost ran me over. Not that there’s anything strange about that, unfortunately. It was his ultimate reasoning for doing it that was utterly baffling to me.
And here’s where it gets bizarre. What do you think he said to me? He said :
“You were going way too fast.”
Now, I know exactly how fast I ride around Baltimore. On average it’s about 13 mph.
The Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (MBPAC) is responsible for advising State government agencies on issues directly related to bicycling and pedestrian activity including funding, public awareness, safety and education. MBPAC passed a resolution at the December 13, 2013 meeting, which urges the Maryland Area Regional Commuter rail system (MARC) to consider carrying non-folding bicycles on its newly inaugurated week-end service on the Penn Line.
While many commuter rail systems around the United States and the world accommodate bicycles on their trains, MARC does not, with the exception of folding bicycles, which must be folded and encased. The primary reason given for the prohibition of non-folding bicycles has been the lack of available space on the crowded trains. However, MARC has recently inaugurated week-end service on the Penn Line, which has not been as heavily used. Given this newly available space on the trains, and given that there is likely a market for recreational travel between Baltimore and Washington for people who would like to take conventional bicycles with them, the MBPAC urges that MARC consider a pilot program to permit conventional, non-folding bicycles on the week-end service.
Bike Maryland's Executive Director, Carol Silldorff is a participating committee member of MBPAC and encourages MBPAC to meet with officials of MARC to discuss the issues which affect the ability to offer this service. Bike Maryland will continue to report on this as the organizations come to a resolution.
[B' Spokes: The major problem with adding bikeways to roads is the limited right-of-way but we have miles and miles of under utilized right-of-way under power lines that would make excellent connections for cyclist. But the utility companies in Maryland have no interest in even allowing accommodations for cyclists This needs to be corrected!!!]
How does a trail benefit a utility company?
Paved trails give utilities a free access road for their maintenance
Trail users act like a volunteer security patrol, discouraging illicit
activity like vandalism just by their presence.
With laws and agreements shielding the utilities from any liability
and costs for the trails, there is virtually no down side.
"In our 35 years of planning, designing and constructing trails,
we have always found the utility companies around here to understand
that the trail users constitute unpaid "eyes and ears" to
deter vandalism. Further when we design trails we often facilitate
their use by the utility companies for maintenance of their lines.
With a good trail, restored or replacement bridges and the like, the
companies realize their cooperation will save them money." Bob
Thomas, Campbell Thomas & Co., Philadelphia PA
With trails providing mutual benefits to both the public and the utility
companies, why do some utility companies embrace trails, while other utility
companies with identical ROWs oppose them?
Simply put, the main obstacle to building trails along power lines is
the attitude of the utility company.
If the utility company sees the public as friends and neighbors, and
it wants its ROW to be a positive amenity for the surrounding community,
it will find a way to allow trails to be built. It will take full advantage
of its state's Recreational Use Statute. It will reach out to local governments
looking for opportunities to build trails along the ROWs, and actively
negotiate agreements that protect and benefit all sides. Trail inclusion
becomes the default condition, instead of being the rare exception.
If the utility company sees the public as a threat, or it just doesn't
care about the surrounding community, it will find an endless list of
objections to building any trail. Opportunities will be squandered. Sadly,
its ROWs will be as attractive as living next to a state prison, with
nothing but No Trespassing signs to greet you.
[B' Spokes: This is why I support bicycling... not many really want to live in a place where you "need" a car to get around. Now add to that getting around by car here is misery. Instead of using anything close to a grid road system there is some rule here that east west roads cannot be longer than a few miles and they idealize lollipop development (too many minor streets close off when they reach a development), too much stress that business cannot share parking lots unless a strip mall and each business "needs" at least two bidirectional driveways but ideally three or four. All this makes for a very unpleasant biking and walking experience as well as an unpleasant driving experience, too many opportunities for conflicting movements. Being overly car centric not only hurts biking and walking it creates driving misery as well.]
Via Maryland Reporter
... with Maryland losing $5.5 billion in taxable income along with 66,000 residents. [Ranking of 43, that's really bad.]
Jimmy Fallon was a great choice to host Saturday Night Live’s Christmas episode, mostly because he loves to sing and was obviously going to do a whole lot of it. In his monologue, the late-night star explained that he was supposed to perform with three of his idols — David Bowie, Bob Dylan and Paul McCartney — but they were all stuck in traffic and couldn’t make it. Knowing that the show must go on, however, Fallon busted out some of his famous musical impersonations to sing their parts.
But then, a twist: as Fallon began to impersonate Paul McCartney, the legend himself appeared on stage. (He beat the traffic by hopping on a Citi Bike.)
A cycling advocate had the county executive and much of the room laughing during his testimony. Bill Kelly did get to the point though, he said he has been testifying since 2007 to improve cyclist safety in the county, but nothing has been done.
"The bicycle master plan has been on your desk for two years," said Kelly, "and nothing has been done."
He asked Ulman to put $250,000 in the budget to begin implementing the plan that would add bike lanes and signage around the county.
"Please get that done," said Kelly, "we have virtually no bike lanes in Howard County."
"You made me smile," responded Ulman. "You're going to get some money in the budget."
In the ineffable way of all TED talkers, urban planner Jeff Speck, author of “The Walkable City,” has made a concise, urgent, and oddly charming argument for walkability. In just under 17 minutes, Speck has articulated the economic, epidemiological, and environmental arguments to end automobile dependency and start using our feet again. It’s worth a watch (and a re-tweet). A few highlights:
The worst idea America has ever had is suburban sprawl, and it’s being emulated — like many American values, both good and bad — around the world.
We’ve doubled the number of roads in America since the 1970s — and the proportion of our household income we spend on transportation.
Portland went against the grain of suburban sprawl and highway expansion and has been a magnet for college-educated young people who want to live in a city that prizes biking and walking. Portland’s VMT peaked in 1996, with each person driving 11 minutes less per day now.
One out of three Americans is obese, a second third is overweight. “We have the first generation of children in America that are predicted to live shorter lives than their parents,” Speck said. “I believe that this American health care crisis that we’ve all heard about is an urban design crisis and that the design of our cities lies at the cure.” Studies show that obesity correlates more strongly to inactivity than to diet.
Urban VMT is a good predictor of asthma problems in your city.
We take car crashes for granted as a necessary evil. But walkable cities have far lower crash fatality rates. It’s not whether you’re in the city or not, it’s whether your city was designed around cars or people.
“The environmental movement in America has historically been an anti-city movement,” Speck said. “‘Move into the country, commune with nature, build suburbs.’” Carbon maps of CO2 emissions per square mile makes cities look like polluting cesspools, but if you look at a map of emissions per household, the heat map flips.
Sustainable home accessories and gadgets, which Speck admits he has a weakness for, aren’t nearly as important as living near transit in a walkable neighborhood. “Changing all your lightbulbs to energy savers saves as much energy in a year as moving to a walkable neighborhood does in a week.”
The lifestyle choice — walkability — that no one wants to tell Americans to make is actually one that will make them happier. Walkability correlates to higher quality of life.