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Friday, February 27 2015 @ 11:33 AM UTC
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Changes for Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (MBPAC)

Biking in MarylandFrom the Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Access to the Assistant Attorney General :

... Upon reviewing the complaint and the relevant provisions of the Open Meetings Act we conclude that the requisite public notice was not provided nor were subcommittee minutes prepared and made available as required by law.

Based on review of our meeting procedures, the provisions of this [Open Meetings] Act, and discussions with our legal counsel we will take the the following actions to bring our meeting procedures in full compliance with the Open Meetings Act:

* We will add notices of MBPAC subcommittee meetings to our listing of committee meetings on the MBPAC section of the Maryland Department of Transportation website. In addition we will attempt to post notice of subcommittee meetings in the Maryland Register if sufficient time permits such posting.

* Minutes of subcommittee minutes will be taken and posted on MDOT's website.

* Draft MBPAC meeting minutes will be posted on MDOT's website prior to their approval at subsequent MBPAC meetings so members of the public can get an idea as to what has transpired in a more timely fashion.
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Spin Cyclists

Biking in BaltimoreSome thoughts on Baltimore's biking future--from the people who do it everyday

By Bret McCabe - City Paper
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The City of Baltimore's official Bike Blast takes over Druid Hill Park this Saturday, April 25, with a day's worth of activities and information aimed at advocating cycling in the city. The event is the latest in an ongoing, and ever-so-slightly increasing, number of city efforts to make Baltimore a more bike-friendly urban environment, an effort that feels to have begun in earnest when the Bicycle Master Plan was developed by the Department of Planning in 2006. These efforts have been visible--the emergence of designated bike routes, sharrows, signed routes, and floating bike lanes; the addition of bike racks on all city buses; the production of safe-cycling PSAs; and the addition of Nate Evans as the city's Bicycle and Pedestrian Planner. Promoting cycling appears to be an element of the city's sustainability planning. And, just looking around, it looks like the number of Baltimoreans cycling is increasing.

"I think the city's doing a pretty good job of trying to promote biking, not just as a recreational activity but also as a transportation alternative," says Boson Au, a 31-year-cyclist and member of the Velocipede Bike Project, a collective-run, nonprofit bike shop-qua-cycling advocacy effort. Au is joined by six of his fellow collective members inside the Project's Station North Arts District workshop area on a refreshingly pleasant April Friday afternoon, sitting in metal folding chairs with the space's doors open. Almost everybody here pedaled in from some part of the city.

"Biking fits well with the city's green efforts, and to get people out of their houses and exercise," 28-year-old Gabby Vigo notes, alluding to the city's Fit Baltimore campaign.

"You see what's happening in the city because of this push," Au continues. "And a lot of different cities are doing the same thing, talking about transportation issues--I mean, cities are trying to break into the 'Top Biking Cities in the Country' lists. So I think the general national consensus is trying to get something besides cars on the road, and it's trickling down to Baltimore."

It's a sentiment shared by the group gathered, as are the many reasons they spout off when asked about what makes Baltimore a good city for cycling: its compact size, that its few hills aren't intimidating, that for the most part you can do it year round, that it's more expedient for a large part of distances around the city, that, well, the present public transportation system can be frustrating and tedious. But very quickly this conversation starts to run into the many facets of Baltimore that make it less user-friendly, aspects well known to anybody who uses a bike as his or her primary mode of transportation. And it's these aspects, both macro and micro urban issues as a whole, that need to be addressed and discussed to help get more people biking in the city and push Baltimore into a more progressively moving urban environment.
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Bike Baltimore

Biking in BaltimoreThe City Paper has an interactive bicycling map where you can mark hazards or points of interest.

http://www.citypaper.com/news/bikes/map.asp
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Pedal Power in City Paper

Biking in BaltimoreAn interview with Baltimore City's "bike czar"

If you've noticed almost any new bike-friendly improvement around the city recently, from new bike lanes to bike racks, Nate Evans is likely behind it. Almost exactly a year ago, Evans, a former transportation engineer for Timonium's Constellation Design Group, started work as the City of Baltimore's Bike and Pedestrian Planner. Last week, he sat down in his City Hall-adjacent office, adorned with hopeful maps of Baltimore's cycling-friendly future, boxes of cycling promotional brochures, and, yes, two bicycles, to talk about what Baltimore City is doing to become a more friendly place for bikes.

City Paper: I have a number of friends who say they are absolutely terrified of riding bikes in Baltimore. I wonder what you would tell them to reassure them.

Nate Evans: I guess I would have to ask what they're afraid of.

CP: It's everything, from bad streets to angry drivers to being accosted in neighborhoods, having rocks thrown at them.

NE: First of all, I don't blame them for being afraid. Baltimore can be a very tough place to ride a bike. As far as if you're being run off the road or afraid of motorists, it happens. I can't tell you how many times I've been riding my bike around town and people tell me to get on the sidewalk. Well, it's illegal to ride your bike on the sidewalk. I think the best thing to do is to have some common sense about the way you're riding. Yeah, people are going to get upset and yell at you, but you have to keep a cool head. You might be able to out-maneuver a car, but you're probably not going to be able to outrun it.

As far as being accosted by people that are out to steal your bike or whatever, I've been tracking some stats on that, and we had maybe a dozen or so bikes stolen that way [in 2008]. There's a couple of [bad] sections in the West Side and just north of Johns Hopkins [Homewood campus]. This happens, but for the most part you can usually ride your bike faster than someone that's running after you. And if you feel like your safety is being jeopardized by stopping at a stoplight, I'm not going to tell you to stop if you can safely go. We are trying to address these issues. We put out a [public service announcement] about sharing the road, and it's gotten some good publicity and also our web site has share the road tips, and we have [share the road signage] on backs of buses.

One thing that we try and do is designate routes for people. If they feel like they want to ride their bike, if they tell us where they want to ride their bike to, and where they're coming from, we'll offer suggestions on an easy, safe route to take. We're not just going to leave 'em hanging out there. We'll help them.

CP: Someone could just, like, call you?

NE: Yeah, they could e-mail me [nate.evans"at"baltimorecity.gov] or call. If I don't know the answer, there are a ton of cyclists in the city that can give you a decent route no matter what part of town you're coming from.
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Zig-zag lines being painted on purpose

Biking ElsewhereAdam Tuss, wtop.com

LOUDOUN -- Behind the wheel, you want the least amount of distraction possible. So why is a local transportation agency painting crooked lines on the road on purpose?

The Virginia Department of Transportation says it's part of a safety campaign to get drivers to slow down in a high pedestrian and bicycle area. The 500 feet of zig-zagging lines are painted on the ground on Belmont Ridge Road, where it intersects with the Washington and Old Dominion trail in Loudoun County.

"It is a low cost strategy to get motorists to slow down as they approach the bike trail and pedestrian path," says VDOT's Mike Salmon. "While at first motorists may be a little disoriented, the main point is to get them to pay attention and slow down through that area."

There are plans to also paint the crooked lines on Sterling Boulevard where it intersects with the W&OD trail.

VDOT says similar programs have been successful in the United Kingdom and Australia. The transportation agency will study the zig-zagging lines for a year and see if they actually reduce speeds.

If the lines prove effective, you can expect to see more of them on the ground.

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Plans to cut traffic speed limits

Biking Elsewhere[Baltimore Spokes: For comparison Britain's traffic fatality rate is 48/M Maryland's is 109/M]
Proposals to bring down speed limits in areas of Britain where there is a higher risk of accidents have been announced by the government.

Reductions from 30mph to 20mph in urban locations and 60mph to 50mph in the countryside are being considered.

Road safety minister Jim Fitzpatrick said the way people learn to drive and are tested is also set for reform.

The plans are part of a new strategy to reduce road deaths in England, Scotland and Wales by one-third by 2020.

Safety research

Mr Fitzpatrick said in a statement: "We've already made real improvements to the safety of our roads - there are now almost 17,000 fewer deaths or serious injuries in a year than there were in the mid-1990s. But it is intolerable that eight people are still dying on our roads each day.
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Action: The Complete Streets Act of 2009 (H.R. 1443) One-Page Summary

Bike LawsWHAT THE BILL DOES

The Complete Streets Act of 2009 (H.R. 1443) ensures that future transportation investments made by State departments of transportation and Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) create appropriate and safe transportation facilities for all those using the nation’s roads—motorists, transit vehicles and riders, bicyclists, and pedestrians of all ages and abilities.

Policy Requirement: H.R. 1443 requires States and MPOs to adopt complete streets policies for federally-funded projects within two years. These complete streets policies must ensure that the needs of all users of the transportation system are taken into account during the design, planning, construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, maintenance, and operating phases of transportation project implementation.

Exemption Procedures: H.R. 1443 also gives State, regional, and local jurisdictions flexibility to exempt projects from compliance with complete streets policies. Projects may be exempted from complying with complete streets principles if users are prohibited by law from using a given right-of-way (such as in the case of freeways), if the cost of implementing complete streets principles would be prohibitive, or if the existing and planned population and employment densities around a given roadway are low enough that there is a clear lack of need for complete streets.

Enforcement: H.R. 1443 enforces this complete streets policy requirement by restricting a progressively higher amount of non-compliant states’ highway dollars to safety uses. In the first year of non-compliance, 1 percent of Surface Transportation Program funds are restricted, 2 percent in the second year, and 3 percent in the third and subsequent years. States do not lose transportation dollars under this arrangement—their existing allotment of funds is simply shifted.

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ATIV: Commuting by electric bike. Fast, Fun - Go Green!

Biking Elsewhere[Baltimore Spokes: I would not go as far as saying going under human power is worse for the environment but this certainly blows most excuses out the window.]

Short video about electric bicycle commuting where the typical objections against riding a bike to work are easily dissolved by choosing an electric bicycle, which has many benefits vs. a car (cost savings in the face of rising gas prices, improved health, low environmental impact while commuting using NiMH rechargeable batteries, and reduction of oil dependency). Electric bikes such as the Crystalyte Cannon conversion kit are fast (20mph), powerful (500W Motor) and make bicycle riding easy. Produced by ATIV Solutions LLC.
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Dump your car, get a tax break and help One Less Car

Bike Maryland updates[Just to note on average ~25 cars a day are donated, this can really be helpful to On e Less Car.]

One Less Car, Inc

A free, convenient service for converting that extra car, truck, or RV into a tax deductible donation benefiting One Less Car, 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, One Less Car, 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
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FRONTLINE Presents POISONED WATERS

Health & EnvironmentMore than three decades after the Clean Water Act, two iconic waterways—the great coastal estuaries Puget Sound and the Chesapeake Bay—are in perilous condition. With polluted runoff still flowing in from industry, agriculture, and massive suburban development, scientists fear contamination to the food chain and drinking water for millions of people. A growing list of endangered species is also threatened in both estuaries. As a new president, Congress, and states set new agendas and spending priorities, FRONTLINE correspondent Hedrick Smith examines the rising hazards to human health and the ecosystem, and why it’s so hard to keep our waters clean.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009, from 9 to 11 P.M. ET on PBS

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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

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The state should support what kind of bicycle facilities?

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