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Friday, April 18 2014 @ 11:36 PM UTC
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Not-So-Free Ride

Biking ElsewhereAmericans drive too much. This isn’t a political or moral argument; it’s an economic one. How so?

Because there are all sorts of costs associated with driving that the actual driver doesn’t pay. Such a condition is known to economists as a negative externality: the behavior of Person A (we’ll call him Arthur) damages the welfare of Person Z (Zelda), but Zelda has no control over Arthur’s actions. If Arthur feels like driving an extra 50 miles today, he doesn’t need to ask Zelda; he just hops in the car and goes. And because Arthur doesn’t pay the true costs of his driving, he drives too much.

What are the negative externalities of driving? To name just three: congestion, carbon emissions and traffic accidents. Every time Arthur gets in a car, it becomes more likely that Zelda — and millions of others — will suffer in each of those areas.

Which of these externalities is the most costly to U.S. society? According to current estimates, carbon emissions from driving impose a societal cost of about $20 billion a year. That sounds like an awful lot until you consider congestion: a Texas Transportation Institute study found that wasted fuel and lost productivity due to congestion cost us $78 billion a year. The damage to people and property from auto accidents, meanwhile, is by far the worst. In a 2006 paper, the economists Aaron Edlin and Pinar Karaca-Mandic argued that accidents impose a true unpaid cost of about $220 billion a year. (And that’s even though the accident rate has fallen significantly over the past 10 years, from 2.72 accidents per million miles driven to 1.98 per million; overall miles driven, however, keep rising.) So, with roughly three trillion miles driven each year producing more than $300 billion in externality costs, drivers should probably be taxed at least an extra 10 cents per mile if we want them to pay the full societal cost of their driving.
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Obama Appointed a Cyclist to His Cabinet

PoliticsJames L. Jones, Obama's appointed National Security Adviser and retired marine general, was quoted in the magazine Stars and Stripes stating his favored choice of work transport.

"(Commuting by bicycle) is an absolutely essential part of my day. It's mind-clearing, invigorating. I get to go out and pedal through the countryside in the early morning hours, and see life come back and rejuvenate every day as the sun is coming out."
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Grand History Trail

Bike PathsTHE CONCEPT

The Grand History Trail is a conceptual network of trails encompassing Baltimore, MD; Annapolis, MD; Washington, DC; Frederick, MD; Gettysburg, PA; and York, PA – a region rich in the stories and commemorative sites of our country’s history

The Grand History Trail will expand upon 100-miles of existing, disconnected trails, including such popular trails as Pennsylvania’s Heritage Rail Trail and Maryland’s North Central Railroad, Jones Falls, Gwynns Falls, Stoney Run and Patapsco Trails; and Washington DC’s Metropolitan Branch Trail, to create a 185-mile circular pathway for non-motorized travelers. The pathway will also offer connections to much larger trail networks, such as the East Coast Greenway, Chesapeake & Ohio Canal Towpath, and the Great Allegheny Passage, offering opportunities for non-motorized, inter-modal travel along the entire east coast and westward across Pennsylvania and Maryland.

The Grand History Trail has enormous potential to connect densely populated, metropolitan areas to numerous existing heritage sites of national significance, such as the Gettysburg National Military Park, Chesapeake & Ohio National Historical Park, and Potomac Heritage National Scenic Trail. The Grand History Trail will offer non-motorized travelers a unique way to visit this heart of America’s history, combining physical activity with learning and exploration.
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James Howard Kunstler: The tragedy of suburbia

Biking ElsewhereThe space around us says something, something like "abandon all hope, resistance is futile." This is a very funny talk about public space and how its failed.
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Stop the rush to drill

Health & EnvironmentThe U.S. Interior Department is planning to start the leasing process so that Big Oil can drill 50 miles from the Chesapeake Bay starting in a few years. Please speak out against this proposal.
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Wall Street Journal suggests going carfree to save money

Biking ElsewherePosted by Elly Blue of Bike Portland on January 5th, 2009 at 10:20 am

“Whether you drive a hybrid or an SUV, your car is a cash-guzzler. Families trying to save real money should consider going without.”

It may be a true sign of change when the Wall Street Journal suggests that giving up your car could be good for your personal finances and the economy as a whole.

In his December 22 column, A real auto bailout: Escape your car, WSJ staff columnist Brett Arends wrote:

Last week, the auto industry finally got its bailout.

But is it time for Americans to rescue their own finances from their cars?

…Forget lattes and store-brand cereal. If you really want to see where your money is going, take a closer look at your car. Foreign or domestic, it doesn’t matter. It’s a cash guzzler, and it is probably costing you more than anything else except your home.
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Draft of Baltimore\'s Sustainability Plan

Health & EnvironmentThe Baltimore Office of Sustainability is pleased to announce that the Draft Sustainability Plan is now available for public comment.

 

 

The Draft Plan can be accessed through either of the following links:

www.transformbaltimore.net

or

www.baltimorecity.gov/sustainability

 

To comment on the online document, you must first register and loginThis online tool will allow you to leave comments about specific sections or goals within the document.  This site is shared with another document “Transform Baltimore”.  To access the Sustainability Plan, scroll to the bottom and click on the “Sustainability Plan- draft”. Please note that this is a draft, and the layout of the final version will include graphics, tables, and photographs, etc.

 

The Draft will be available at this site for public comment until January 30, 2009

The Planning Commission Hearing will be February 5, 2009

 

Many thanks to all those who contributed to the creation of this document.

 

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Bicyclists welcome at Obama's inauguration January 20

Biking in Maryland[Stay tuned, there maybe a bike convoy leaving from Baltimore.]

By Gary Boulanger, US editor - Bike Radar

Record crowds are expected in the National Mall of Washington, DC on January 20, 2009, as Barack Obama is sworn in as the 44th President of the United States, and a record number of bicyclists are expected as well, which may cause some two-wheeled congestion problems without prior planning.

"Cyclists will be able to bike to the inauguration," Henry Mesias, Program Assistant for the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA), told BikeRadar Thursday. "There will be a security perimeter set up that bicycles will not be allowed through. That security perimeter will have all metal detectors that everyone will have to go through. WABA is working with local authorities, including the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) to provide bike valet parking areas for those that wish to bike to the event, but the decision to have a bike valet is not official yet."
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Baltimore City bike routes

Biking in BaltimoreIn preparation for the City's bike map we are collecting routes commonly used by bicyclists through a collaborative effort on Google maps. If you have a good bike route you want to share with others please take the time to make sure its on the map. Thanks!
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Environmental News Brief

Health & Environment
sunflowerEnvironmental News Brief  Presented by the Baltimore Metropolitan Council for the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board
Quick Links
Additional Links
January 2009
Baltimore Region Nonattainment for Fine Soot
Greenhouse Gas Auctioning Process Begins
BMC Board Creates Regional Sustainability Committee
Transportation Outlook 2035 Draft Amendment Open for Review
Report of Interest

The following news "briefs" highlight recent news regarding transportation-related environmental issues, primarily air quality, affecting the Baltimore region. Please note that this brief is not all inclusive of the variety and magnitude of activities in the region. It is intended for informational purposes only; refer to the source, guidance, or program for additional information.

 

Baltimore Region Designated Nonattainment for New Fine Particle Standard

On December 22, 2008, the EPA announced Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Harford County,
Howard County, Anne Arundel County, and Carroll County have all been designated "nonattainment" for the 2006 24-hour fine particulate matter (PM 2.5) standard. This means that they do not meet the standard for daily levels of PM 2.5 that was established by the EPA to protect human health.
 
Fine particle pollution is around 1/30th the diameter of a human hair.  It consists of liquid droplets and microscopic solids that are suspended in the air.  This pollution comes from power plants, industrial facilities and vehicles, as well as other sources such a wood burning.
 
The State of Maryland must submit an air quality implementation plan to EPA by April 2012.
 
smogGreenhouse Gas Auctioning Process Begins
On December 17th, a second auction was held as part of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative.  The purpose of RGGI is to reduce emissions from power plants, which contribute to global warming and climate change. 
 RGGI is a cap-and-trade program for carbon dioxide emissions, a key greenhouse gas.  A cap is set on the total amount of these emissions allowed from electricity generators in the RGGI region, which includes ten states in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic U.S.  Then, an auction is held in order to distribute allowances for emissions.  Total emissions in the RGGI region are capped at 2009 levels, from 2009 to 2014.  From 2015 to 2018, the cap will go down by 10 percent.  The first RGGI auction was held in September 2008.  The first two auctions were pre-compliance because the obligations for compliance did not come into effect until the beginning of 2009.
 
In Maryland, revenue from the auctions will go towards promoting cleaner energy sources, energy efficiency and conservation, and provide rate relief for low and moderate income households.
 
Click for more information on RGGI.
BMClogoBMC Board Creates Regional Sustainability Committee
The Board of Directors of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council has created a Regional Sustainability Committee to share information and coordinate activities that will benefit the entire Baltimore region. Joshua Feldmark, Director of Howard County's Office of Environmental Sustainability, serves as the committee's chair.

The committee has initially identified a number of areas to address:
1. Coordinate regional sustainability programs.
2. Foster cooperation between state and local governments.
3. Maximize partnerships with public, private and quasi-governmental agencies.
 
View the BMC press release. 

Transportation Outlook 2035 Draft Amendment Open for Review
The BRTB is pleased to present, for public review and comment, the draft preferred alternative for the amendment to the Baltimore region's long-range transportation plan, Transportation Outlook 2035: Creating a Blueprint for the Baltimore Region's Future.

This draft preferred alternative proposes $225 million in funding for regional transit projects, beginning in the year 2020.  The projects included in this amendment focus on ways to make the regional transit system more user-friendly and attractive to a broader segment of the region's population and workforce. This amendment will not affect currently funded projects in Transportation Outlook 2035 which was adopted in November 2007.

A public input period is being held from Tuesday, December 16, 2008 to Friday, January 23, 2009.  During this time, public comments will be accepted by mail, fax, and online using our public comment form.  All comments must be received no later than 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, January 28, 2009. 
 
Comments may also be submitted in person at a public meeting on Thursday, January 15, 2009 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. or 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the BMC offices located at 2700 Lighthouse Point East, Suite 310, Baltimore, MD 21224.
 Report of Interest   cap photo The Climate Action Plan. Maryland Commission on Climate Change. August 2008.
This final report, released on August 27, 2008, documents a plan of action for the state to "address the drivers of climate change, to prepare for its likely impacts in Maryland, and to establish goals and timetables for implementation."    Download the report.

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