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Friday, December 19 2014 @ 03:53 AM UTC
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LAKEWOOD (OH): NO SCHOOL BUSES, ALMOST ALL WALK TO SCHOOL

Biking Elsewhere-> According to an article in the November issue of Governing, "In a nation where few students still walk to school, how has Lakewood, Ohio, gone without school buses for so long? Lakewood doesn't have any school buses and it never has.

"There are a few reasons why Lakewood may be the nation's unofficial walk-to-school capital. Density, for one... the city of 52,000 has 9,000 residents per square mile.... As Lakewood grew, the city opted against setting up a school bus system, focusing instead on building schools to fit within the community. Most of the schools are multistory buildings on relatively small lots, making them easier to incorporate into residential neighborhoods. As the facilities aged over the years, officials chose to restore and upgrade the existing structures, rather than build sprawling new single-story campuses.
"In Lakewood, there's another benefit to having everyone walk: The city saves a fortune on school buses. When Lakewood does need to provide transportation for students -- for field trips, out-of-town games and so on -- it contracts with the nearby town of Olmsted Falls. But all told, the Lakewood school district spends about $500,000 a year on transportation, about $1 million less than comparable school districts..."

Source: http://bit.ly/11ByuhU

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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BOSTON (MA) 1ST TO MANDATE TRUCK SAFETY MEASURES FOR CYCLISTS & PEDS

Bike Laws-> According to an Oct. 29th City of Boston media release, "Today the Boston City Council voted unanimously to pass a Truck Side Guard Ordinance,... [mandating] all large city-contracted vehicles to be equipped with enhanced safety measures designed to prevent fatalities and further reduce the risks of a collision with pedestrians and cyclists.

"The Truck Side Guard Ordinance is the first of its kind in the country. The ordinance requires vehicles over 10,000 pounds (for tractor-trailers a combined weight over 26,000 pounds) and awarded a contract with the City of Boston to have side guards, convex mirrors, cross-over mirrors, and blind-spot awareness decals. Vehicles associated with an awarded City contract will be inspected for side guards by the Inspectional Services Department and issued a permit, certifying the vehicle for 2-years. For those vehicles not in compliance, businesses will face a fine, escalating from $100 for the first offense, to potential termination of the contract...

"In 2013, the Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics and the Public Works Department undertook the largest municipal pilot of truck side guards in the nation. The Truck Side Guard Ordinance is a result of this pilot, which included more than a year of testing three different types of side guards on 16 large vehicles, reviewing data from external studies, and from field observations. In the City of Boston pilot, each vehicle cost about $1,800 to outfit and will last the lifetime of the vehicle."

Source: http://bit.ly/1qWmAot

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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A pedestrian bridge that's more than a bridge.

Biking Elsewhere"The design of this three-level pedestrian bridge is inspired by ancient Iranian architecture in which, bridge was not just a crossing path, linking 2 sides of a river or valley, but It was a place to stay, relax and enjoy beautiful views."

http://realiran.org/irans-largest-pedestrian-bridge-inaugurates-tehran/
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AGENCY TRAFFIC FORECASTS & REALITY

News you will not see in Maryland-> According to an Oct. 20th Streetsblog article, "The amount that the average American drives each year has been declining for nearly a decade, yet most transportation agencies are still making decisions based on the notion that a new era of ceaseless traffic growth is right around the corner.

"The Wisconsin Department of Transportation, for example, has overestimated traffic on its roads by an average of 73 percent, according to a recent study. And Dallas-area planners recently produced traffic projections that predicted a much larger increase in driving than the state DOT was even predicting.

"Thats why a new traffic forecast from the Washington State Office of Fiscal Management is so interesting: It actually acknowledges how travel habits are changing. Seattle-based environmental think tank Sightline spotted the above traffic projection in a new government report. In its most recent financial forecast, the agency has abandoned the assumption of never-ending traffic growth that it employed as recently as last year. Instead, the agency has responded to recent trends, even projecting that total traffic will start to decline within the next ten years..."

Source: http://bit.ly/1CUZ6Wf

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Cycling Is Creating More Jobs in Europe Than Automakers Are in the U.S.

Biking ElsewhereBy Taylor Hill, Takepart

Want to lower greenhouse gas emissions, get fit, and create new jobs? Ride a bike.

That’s the finding of the first comprehensive study on Europe’s cycling industry , which details a cycling economy that employs more than 655,000 people in industries such as retail, manufacturing, infrastructure investment, and tourism.

On just two wheels, the industry is creating more jobs than Europe’s high-fashion footwear industry (388,000 jobs), its well-established steel sector (410,000), and the United States’ Big Three automobile companies (Ford , General Motors , and Chrysler ) combined (510,000).
...

http://www.takepart.com/article/2014/12/03/not-just-health-and-fitness-cycling-has-created-650000-jobs-europe
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Stop Obsessing Over the Gas Tax and Change How We Fund Transpo

Biking Elsewhereby Tanya Snyder, Streets Blog

...
The Highway Trust Fund has more problems than just its 1950s-era name. Funded by the federal gas tax, the trust fund is becoming obsolete over time, as efficiency gains and declining miles-traveled sap its size. The Eno Center for Transportation says it’s time to rethink the entire system.

In a new report [PDF ], Eno compares the U.S. method of funding transportation to that of five peer countries. Ours is the only one that still pretends to rely on a “user-pay” system. (Yes, pretends: The last six years of constant last-ditch infusions from the general fund, totaling $65 billion, have exposed that particular myth.)
...

Eno argues that the Highway Trust Fund skews funding decisions by introducing petty conflicts ... “These challenges have historically overshadowed substantive arguments over policy and hindered the tying of federal funds to national goals or performance measures,” according to the report.
...

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2014/12/04/eno-stop-obsessing-over-the-gas-taxaand-change-how-we-fund-transpo/
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JUST ANOTHER PEDESTRIAN KILLED

Biking ElsewhereBY CHARLES MAROHN, Strong Towns

...
The accident occurred about 5:30 p.m. as the woman, her daughter and her niece came out of the library and attempted to cross directly across the street to the parking where their car was parked, Delaney, public information officer for the department, said.

They were hit in one of the westbound lanes as they attempted to cross near the front steps of the library, some distance away from the nearest crosswalk at the signalized intersection of State and Chestnut Streets.
...

Costa said there used to be a crosswalk there some years ago, marked by an orange traffic barrel. Even then, however, the association lobbied for something even more visible, she said.

The crosswalk was removed, however, and a hedge and chain fence were installed directly in front of the library to encourage those seeking walk across State Street to do so at the Chestnut Street intersection, Costa said.
...

Here’s what I am just fed up with:

* The engineering profession is so worried about liability if they vary from any highway design guideline, regardless of how ridiculous they are. Someone needs to sue these engineers for gross negligence and turn that entire liability equation around. It’s way past time.

* Professional engineers here and elsewhere use “forgiving design” principles in urban areas where they do not apply. They systematically forgive the mistakes of drivers who stray from their lane or go off the roadway by designing systems where these common mistakes are anticipated and compensated for. They systematically show indifference to the easily anticipated mistakes of non-drivers. A kid playing in their yard chases a stray ball out into the street and gets run down. To the engineer, this is a non-foreseeable, non-preventable accident. For everyone else, we understand that cities are more than cars – they include people doing all kinds of complex things – and forgiving the common mistakes of ALL people is what a humane, decent professional does.

* Professional engineers claim that they cannot alter human behavior with their street designs. A highway lane width is 13 feet just the same as your local street lane width. There is often no appreciable difference in the cross section of a highway and a local street except for the posted speed limit, which is up to the police to enforce. (I wrote about this years ago .) Despite this, the engineers in this situation – knowing there was an obvious problem – as well as many others in similar situations, put their brains to work to come up with all kinds of ways to attempt to alter human behavior, but only for those humans outside of their automobiles. For humans not in a car, we erect fences, hedges and other barriers to get them to go where we think best. Which is it, engineers? Are we behavioral scientists or not?

I’m fed up with people being killed because my profession contains a bunch of dogmatic idiots.
...

http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2014/12/3/just-another-pedestrian-killed
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Critique of the road professionals obsession with exposure in the Dangerous by Design Report

Biking ElsewhereB' Spokes: (Today's tangent in trying to call attention to Maryland's high pedestrian fatality rates from national organizations) Normalizing data is an interesting concept, how do you compare different groups with different characteristics? Especially when talking about road safety. It seems the road folks are obsessed with "exposure" and not the toll traffic fatalities has on the general population. Which to me would be like Baltimore saying since we have a lot of guns on the street (exposure) our gun violence is not that high considering the exposure. Or maybe a better analogy would be to say that since we have more people on the street so someone has a better chance of catching a stray bullet therefore our gun violence is not that bad.

Whether or not we have a gun violence problem is based on deaths per population and I'll assert traffic deaths should do the same and not per Vehicle Miles Traveled nor how many are out walking. More or less traffic is its own kind of problem, mixing that in with fatality rates just obnubilates the underlying problems and thus the solutions. People everywhere do the same things, basically go to work and shop. Traveling farther to do the same things does not improve safety nor the quality of life. So why do we accept this as a fair way to normalize fatality rates for comparisons?

Don't get me wrong, places that have a high pedestrian fatality rate with a low mode share are bad and should be highlighted but on the other extreme, are places with a high pedestrian fatality rate and a high mode share good? It comes down to what are we trying to point out, fatality rates or mode share? As I said, both have their issues and both have their solution sets (with some overlap) but why mix the two up?

A new report from the International Transport Forum finds that the United States had more road deaths per capita in 2012 than Canada, Australia, Japan, and all of the European nations that reported data.

Specifically, the US had 10.7 road deaths per 100,000 people. Canada and France both had 5.8. And the United Kingdom was down at 2.8. (The report explains that the per-person death rate is helpful for comparing deaths from various causes.)

http://www.vox.com/xpress/2014/8/25/6064173/road-fatalities-world-map-driving-safety


But then it goes on to say that when the comparison is done by Vehicle Miles Traveled the US looks a lot better. Seriously? The fact that we drive a lot more than the rest of western civilization makes us better?

This obsession with exposure even got into Smart Growth America's report Dangerous By Design. Where their Pedestrian Danger Index (PDI) is modified by pedestrians walking to work mode share. Like a 2% mode share means that pedestrians can be killed at twice the rate to rank the same with a place with a 1% mode share, that is wrong! That's that's taking a 2% change and making it a 200% change. How about normalizing on those who drive to work? More cars (less people walking), more dangerous right? (This would avoid the wild fluctuations where walking is is up to 5 times that of Florida so fatality rates are ranked 5 times better than what they are IMHO.) So the question is, should "exposure" be based on cars that kill or people who walk? (the latter sounds too much like victim blaming to me. Are they really trying to say, "The more people who are out walking naturally the more that are going to get killed." This is the exact opposite of the safety in numbers concept, granted the jury is still out if this is a proven concept but still we cannot assert the opposite across different population characteristics.) Besides Dangerous by Design's methodology makes the New York metro area's high pedestrian fatality rate one of the safest metro areas to walk, this does not feel right to me. The way I would tentatively do the Pedestrian Danger Index by the change in the population that drives, New York's ranking would improve a few notches over a pure pedestrian fatality rate but it still would be high on the list. And for the converse, the Nashville, TN metro area their ranking would be worse by a few notches because so many drive to "justify" their pedestrian fatality rate.

The Dangerous by Design Report takes normalized fatality rates and normalizes them again. So we are normalizing normalized traffic fatalities, something about that just screams of trying to make something bad sound not that bad,

Back to New York Metro area, sure a lot of people in Manhattan walk but think about the Bronx and New York's Vision Zero. I really don't think New York metro deserves a ranking of 48 (with 51 being the least dangerous metro area for pedestrians.)

The biggest problem with using the primary mode of transportation to work it fails to capture the size of the population that is out there waking. Take kids for example which are not in the mode share numbers, to ball park the error, kids make up ~14% of the population. So adding that to those adults that walk would change the range from 1 - 5 (% of adults that walk) to 15 - 20% (of the population that walks), an increase of a third not the 500% that they are using in their math. And that's just one segment of the population that they fail to capture.

Comparisons of the walking share to work is fine, as it is an indicator of how walkable one place is compared to another but using it to determine the size of that population and its "exposure, well that's just wrong, Seriously deaths per population per another population number is supposed to be a meaningful number?

My next point is I looked up the time of day pedestrians were killed here in Maryland and topping the list is what I would call bar closing times, next was lunch time. Neither has anything to do with how people get to work so why are we normalizing on that? In fact Pedestrian fatalities during normal commute times were near the bottom of the list. "the per-person death rate is helpful for comparing deaths from various causes" Life is life everywhere and the rate in which pedestrians die is indicative how safe the streets really are for pedestrians and making bad places look better based on an unproven concept of "exposure" is wrong.

I was biking through Towson during lunch time and there where hoards of people out walking. I am willing to bet over 90% of those drove to work. That is to say how many walking around work centers is not always determined by peoples principle mode on how they got to work in the first place.

My rework of their tables based on pedestrian death rates follows. IMHO excluding this information is wrong. If they want to add tables based on other normalized data fine but I think their math is way off in their current thinking. (Side note: I can understand fatalities per vehicle miles traveled to justify freeways as they eliminated a known danger, intersections. So apply vehicles miles traveled in this instance proves (or disproves) the safety advantages of freeways. But outside of this context diluting fatality rates for a given population with vehicle miles traveled rewards sprawl and penalizes compact development. Exposure (vehicle miles traveled to name one) should not be the universally accepted way to compare diverse populations unless it is part of what we want to test or show. IMHO What the Dangerous by Design Report does is prove that pedestrian "exposure" by those who walk is not a valid way to compare diverse populations )
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Bike Maryland December 2014 Newsletter

Bike Maryland updates

It Has Been a Busy Season at Bike Maryland!

Sure, winter may be around the corner but there are plenty of great riding days to be enjoyed in 2014! When your friends from Bike Maryland are not out on the roads or the trails, we are here at the office working to raise awareness, raise funds and raise the collective voice of cyclists across the state. Here is a recap of what we have been up to, events you can participate in and a great opportunity for you to invest in your right to bike.

Advocate, Gather, Educate and Ride!

As part of our mission to promote multi-surface bicycling for recreation and transportation, Bike Maryland has been traveling to counties far and wide to support local cycling initiatives. The proactive workshop tour was launched in early August and has successfully gathered and educated experienced and budding advocates in Cumberland, Anne Arundel and Salisbury, Harford, Hagerstown, Emmitsburg, Berlin and Ocean Pines and before the end of the year we will also meet to collaborate (and ride, of course) in Williamsport, Brunswick, Frederick County and Garrett County! If your town, company or university is interested in learning how to become more bike-friendly, please email Emily Ranson, Bike Maryland's Advocacy Coordinator.

Fueled by the positive momentum at the Hood College Bike Friendly University workshop last winter, the Bike Maryland Bike Friendly program hosted an inaugural University Summit in partnership with University of Maryland which gathered sustainability directors, facilities planners and bike advocates from 15 Maryland colleges and universities on October 14th.

The discussion continued and was pushed into high gear on November 8th at the Bike Maryland Legislative Planning Session, where local bicycling advocacy leaders from counties across Maryland came together with highly motivated tactics and agenda items for the upcoming 2015 Legislative Session. The contributions and take-aways from this session were referenced while finalizing the Bike Maryland's strategic plan. 

The positive strides in advocacy coincided as the Bike Maryland Bike MINDED Safety Program wrapped up it's 2014 fiscal year on October 31st, meeting the goal of educating 15,000 adults and children at over 200 educational workshops, tabling events and rides in counties surrounding in the Baltimore metropolitan area over the course of 12 months. We happily report that the Maryland Highway Safety Office program grant was renewed and workshops for the coming year are now being planned! To learn more about the youth and adult workshops, visit here

We encourage you to become a part of the conversation and to express your bicycling desires, concerns or questions! Bike Maryland strives to be the leading resource for bicycling in the state and we want to help connect you with opportunities to ride, engage and belong.

Read our blog. Follow us on Facebook/Twitter. Get the newsletter. Join us.

Upcoming Events

December 2- City of Frederick: Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee: An open meeting to help build recommendations for improved bicycling

December 3- Rockville Bicycle Advisory Committee Meeting: An open meeting to help build recommendations for improved bicycling

December 7 - Trail Build Patapsco Fun Series: Bring your favorite tool and expect to get dirty and this truly fun gathering of trailheads! Please RSVP

December 12 - Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee Meeting: all meetings are held at MDOT and are free and open to the public.

December 13 - Bike Maryland Bike MINDED Adult Commuter Safety Workshop: a free workshop and ride to learn techniques and meet like-minded folks!

December 15 - Bike the Lights: a festive holiday experience on two wheels benefiting Howard County General Hospital for all ages and experience levels!

December 26 - Baltimore Bike Party: a themed mass monthly ride starting out of St. Mary's Park in Baltimore City for all ages, backgrounds and abilities! 

Invest with Bike Maryland and Your Stock Will Double. Instantly!

We are thrilled to announce that December 2nd, Giving Tuesday marks the launch of Bike Maryland's 2014 End of The Year Charitable Matching Campaign! Thanks to a generous contribution from Race Pace Bicycles every donation between now and December 31st will be matched dollar-for-dollar up to $5,000! That means your gift will travel twice as far and help us pedal twice as hard to achieve our mission to improve bicycling conditions across the state! Please consider Bike Maryland as you plan for your end of the year giving and click HERE to donate. 

Thank you to Race Pace Bicycles for their continued support of Bike Maryland and bicyclists across the state. We are grateful of your partnership!

Looking Forward to the Next Newsletter

Keep your eyes open for our next newsletter, which will feature:

  • 2014 Bike Maryland Annual Report
  • 5 Year Bike Maryland Strategic Plan
  • Dates for Bike Maryland's 2015 Events
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Bike friendly rankings make no sense to me

Biking in MarylandB' Spokes: Hmm, Maryland with a state ranking of 7 per the League of American Bicyclists (LAB) but none of our cities made made Bicycling Magazines ranking of the top 50 cities.

All this says to me is that our Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Access is really good with the double talk and LAB buys into it. Or maybe all the criteria that LAB uses has absolutely nothing to with conditions on the ground, specially near where most people live. And what about progress?

In 2000 we passed a law for a state wide bicycle master plan. It took one year to develop that plan and another year to start implementing that plan.

20032014
Bicycle mode share
(National average 0.6%)
0.2%0.4%
% of state roads BLOC grade D or better80%81%
Bicyclists fatalities65
Bicyclists injuries162658

After 10 plus years is this progress? Is this progress worthy of a top 10 ranking by LAB?
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