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Sunday, March 29 2015 @ 01:39 PM UTC
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AND NOW, FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT...

Biking ElsewhereACROSS THE OCEAN IN A PEDAL-POWERED SUBMARINE

-> "Some men mark their 40th birthday by buying a flashy new car, changing jobs or finally getting started on that novel. Ted Ciamillo decided he would pedal across the Atlantic in a one-man submarine he has designed and built himself.

"It may sound like a crazy stunt dreamed up by an adrenalin junkie, but the plan, dubbed the 'Subhuman project,' has attracted serious attention from marine biologists. That's because the sub, when it takes to the seas later this year, could for the first time allow them to explore the upper layers of the ocean silently and unobtrusively, revealing marine life as it has never been seen before...."
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CONNECTICUT PANEL BACKS COMPLETE STREETS

Biking Elsewhere[Baltimore Spokes: Hmm, A set funding strategy, naw its a lot better to fight for funding for each and every bike project we want and have little to no say on what does get funded. [/sarcasm]]

-> According to an Apr. 14th Courant article, "Cyclists and pedestrian groups won a round Monday in their campaign to direct more state highway money toward building bike paths and sidewalks, but some lawmakers warned that confusion threatens the prospect of approval by the full General Assembly. 'This is very well-intentioned, but municipalities are having a rough time keeping up with road surfacing. If we take money away from them, that's a hit on the municipalities,' said Sen. Leonard Fasano, a ranking Republican on the legislature's planning and development committee.

"At issue is whether 1 percent of all state highway construction and repair money should be set aside for building or maintaining sidewalks and bike paths. The proposed legislation appears to apply to municipal road-repair grants from the state, too. Advocates dub the formula a 'complete streets' plan, and say it ensures that alternative transportation isn't shortchanged in favor of roads and highways..."

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Medical benefit of public transit

Mass Transit-> "Use of public transit is associated with more walking, by about 8.3 extra minutes per day. This is not enough walking to halt the spread of obesity, but it could substantially reduce it. The present value of medical expenditure savings per person could be $5500, while the value of reduced disability could be even greater."
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What happened in the legislative session

Health & Environment



You've heard a lot from us lately as together we worked to protect funding for land conservation and toughen the state's smart growth laws. Now that the 2009 legislative session has come to a close, I wanted to update you on how our priorities for growth and the environment fared. Here are the highlights. For a more detailed look visit our website at www.friendsofmd.org, where you'll find information on a broad range of growth and environmental legislation from the 2009 session.

2009 legislative session in a nutshell

Environment and the Budget

Smart and Fair Growth

Global Warming

Greener Growth

Transportation Choices

Environment and the Budget: Good Outcomes. Governor O'Malley and the legislature recognized that the environment remains a priority for Marylanders as they made tough financial decisions.

  • Funds for Program Open Space were restored after prolonged budget negotiations. Governor O'Malley and state lawmakers showed strong leadership in preserving funds for Maryland's premiere land conservation program.
  • The Governor's budget invested in transit at the same level as highways for the first time in the State's history. The legislature left transit funding intact.
  • Funding was mostly preserved for the Community Legacy Program, Maryland's highly successful program to support redevelopment in towns and cities.

Smart and Fair Growth: Mixed Results. The biggest disappointment this session was the failure to make real progress on growth policies. 1000 Friends brought together a diverse coalition of leaders in smart growth, the environment, hou sing and faith-based communities to fight for standards and accountability in local planning decisions. Although the bill did not pass, we did win some elements of this policy on the House floor and have set the stage for next year's fight. The Governor and General Assembly also took strong action to correct the court decision about Terrapin Run.

  • Our top priority bill, which would have set performance standards and accountability in local land use plans, did not pass.
  • The Governor's bill to correct the court decision about Terrapin Run and make zoning decisions consistent with local growth plans passed.
  • The Maryland Heritage Structure Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program, or Historic Tax Credit, was not reauthorized, a blow to a highly effective tool for redevelopment and smart growth.

Global Warming: Big Victory! The General Assembly passed the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act. This strong law will reduce global warming pollution by 25 percent below 2006 levels by the year 2020.

Greener Growth: Key Victories. Several bills passed this session that will reduce the impact of development on the environment.

  • The legislature passed the first bill in the nation to require the removal of all nitrogen pollution from septic systems. The scope of the bill was limited through the legislative process to just designated critical areas that have the biggest impacts on the Bay.
  • Private homeowners were prevented from building sprawling, environmentally untenable homes by installing private wastewater treatment plants to allow the growth.
  • The strongest energy efficiency codes in the nation were adopted.

Transportation Choices: Small Steps. No significant legislation passed this year to create a more balanced transportation system with more options for walking, bicycling and using transit.

  • Transit-oriented development received a boost with the Governor's bill to allow the use of local taxes to finance development efforts near transit stations.
  • Efforts to de-fund the Inter-County Connector did not succeed.
  • Legislation to promote bicycling, including a bill to give bicyclists 3' when passing, failed.

Want to dig deeper? Visit our website at www.friendsofmd.org for a full run-down of environmental and growth bills.

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Maryland Fatality and Incapacitating crashes

Biking in MarylandIn general people seemed unconcerned about Maryland's traffic deaths at 615 which is almost 2 a day. Well what about 5,393 people incapacitated for 2007, that's better then one every two hours on average. Compare that to 7 bicyclists killed and 73 incapacitated, now how safe do you feel driving in Maryland vs cycling?

Oh and this stands out like a sore thumb: Baltimore City Car crash rates per:

VMT 534.9 - State Avg: 177.8
Pop. 304.2 - State Avg: 179.7
Licen. Dr. 616.2 - State Avg: 254.5
Regist. Veh. 678.5 - State Avg: 212.6

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RentaBikeNow.com

Biking ElsewhereWhat is RentaBikeNow.com?
RentaBikeNow.com is North America’s only coast-to-coast bike rental network that works with participating bike shops and rental locations. Shops from Florida to Oregon and Hawaii to Maine list their available bikes on our website. We manage inventories and schedules and take customer reservations 24/7.

How does your online system work?
Customers select the location, time period, and type of bike desired, then choose from available bikes. Your selections, including accessories and tours, are placed in a shopping cart for easy checkout. Once complete, you will receive a printable confirmation that details the pick-up location, map and directions, balance due and local riding information. Simply arrive at the specified time and location to complete the transaction and pick-up your bike.
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Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities

Biking Elsewhere“A growing number of Americans, mounted on their bicycles like some new kind of urban cowboy, are mixing it up with swift, two-ton motor vehicles as they create a new society on the streets. They’re finding physical fitness, low-cost transportation, environmental purity—and, still all too often, Wild West risks of sudden death or injury.” —from the Introduction

In a world of increasing traffic congestion, a grassroots movement is carving out a niche for bicycles on city streets. Pedaling Revolution: How Cyclists Are Changing American Cities explores the growing bike culture that is changing the look and feel of cities, suburbs, and small towns across North America.
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DENVER'S REGIONAL TRANSIT TAKES POSITIVE STEP

Biking Elsewhere-> According to an article in the Apr. 13th Bicycle Colorado eNews, "The Regional Transportation District (RTD) in the greater Denver area has taken another positive step for bicyclists. RTD has lifted the requirement for bicyclists to have a special permit to bring bicycles on light rail trains. Instead, RTD has added bike signage inside light rail cars and on doors where bikes may enter.

"When the light rail first opened, RTD prohibited bicycles on trains during peak hours. RTD listened to the bicycle community and changed its policy to allow bicycles during all operating hours. A 2005 nationwide study found RTD is one of the top transit agencies in the U.S. for the number of bicycle boardings on bus and rail. We congratulate RTD on its positive progression of bicycle-friendly policies."
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Be A Volunteer and Build Alliances for U.S. Bike Routes

Biking in MarylandDo you want to help establish U.S. Bike Routes in your state? Are you an organization that needs volunteers? This is the place to get involved: volunteer or post a request for volunteers and build alliances and work groups that will help the State DOT designate routes.
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Possible Velomobile manufacture and distribution in the US. Requesting your input.

Biking ElsewhereHello everyone! I'm involved in a small research project with some other students at Penn State University. The purpose of our study is to figure out how much interest and desire there is for Velomobiles in the U.S., as well as figuring out what design and features are best for the riders. We are inviting everyone to give their opinions and concerns about the idea.

A local bike shop owner and nation-wide recumbent distributer wants to manufacture Velomobiles and can ship them anywhere in the U.S. For those of you who don't know what a Velomobile is, it is essentially a recumbent trike with a plastic/fibreglass/ or canvas shell surrounding it. It is a kind of pedal-car. The Velomobile includes an "electric assist" motor which can be switched on or off and features a battery pack that actually recharges as you pedal (like the alternator in a car) For more info and pictures check http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Velomobile

This Velomobile model is still in it's design/proto-type phase and the owner still isn't exactly sure what direction he should take in the design. A few options exist. Particularly, the Velomobile can be sold pre manufactured, all the shell and motor parts built into a recumbent trike. Option 2 is the manufacture of do-it-yourself VeloKits which can be adjusted and fitted to existing recumbent trikes. These VeloKits are also removable, should the owner want to ride in the open air again. This method would, of course, be much cheaper. Other ideas include constructing a sturdier, heavier model with a more powerful motor; however, this would limit it's usability depending on state and local regulations.

As a cyclist myself, I have a pretty good grasp on the benefits, problems, and concerns about Velomobiles, but we need input from cyclists all over the country, the more, the better.

So please, let us know your opinions!

We have drafted some short web surveys to gather quantifiable data. The goals of the survey are to get an idea of how you use your bike, some questions on whether or not you would be interested in the Velomobile concept, some design preferences, pricing ideas, and some general demographic information.

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