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Thursday, October 30 2014 @ 12:12 PM UTC
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Bill encourages safe bicycling

Biking ElsewhereGrant would make it easier for cities to start bike programs

By Kate Golden | JUNEAU EMPIRE

If only the Legislature could do something about the weather.

Two lawmakers have introduced a bill this session aimed at encouraging more people to ride bicycles.

House Bill 132, from Reps. Paul Seaton, R-Homer, and Max Gruenberg, D-Anchorage, creates a grant program that would help cities and nonprofits start bike repair, loaner or safety programs and pay for bicycle-related road improvements. The bill will be heard in the House Transportation committee at 1 p.m. Thursday.

Despite the winter, Alaska ranks sixth in the nation in the proportion of people biking to work, according to Bob Laurie, Alaska Department of Transportation\'s bicycle advocate. (The state ranks first in the percentage who walk to work.) Yet the American League of Bicyclists ranked the state 43rd in overall bike-friendliness, and Sitka is the state\'s only officially bike-friendly community.

Laurie listed some of the biggest challenges facing Alaska communities in making themselves cycle-commute-friendly: Shoulders on the road, secure parking, places to shower, and education and enforcement of riders and motorists. All of those things take money, which the proposed grant program could help fund.
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Who Stops at Stop Signs?

Biking ElsewhereThis is video of an intersection, (I think located in or near Iowa City, Iowa), that was watched for only 5 minutes. I counted a total of eleven motor vehicles that did not stop when and where they were supposed to. Some didn't stop at all, they just rolled through the intersection.

The official count is 2 passed by stopping where and when they were suppsoed to and 9that did not, but I counted an additional 2 in the video. It is ironic that bicyclists are chastised for not stopping and yet here we have over 10 motorists not stopping.
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Urb Ag Gala Friday, April 17th

Health & Environmentimage

On Friday, April 17th, 2009 the Baltimore Urban Agricultural Task Force will be hosting its first annual Urb Ag Gala at St. John's Church at 2640 St. Paul Street from 7:00 to 10:00pm. The celebration will include delicious local food, artwork and entertainment in the setting of an old church transformed into a wildly lavish green atmosphere. Guests will have the opportunity to mark their gardens on a giant map of Baltimore. They can also sign up to casually speak about their growing project in an open mic style storytelling and song circle that will include local musicians. A $5 donation is being requested. Urb Ag Gala will be a waste-neutral event. Featured musicians include: Atom Fisher, Cityslides, Beans, American Folklore, Mother Nature's Son, MacGregor Burns & the VCR, Lands & Peoples, Pere Yorko, The Owls Go.

The event will enable those intrigued by the "growing" movement to become more involved; connect and offer resources to those already involved; get growers and eaters and those in between fired-up for the 2009 season; and make a statement about the inspiring and practical effects that growing food locally can have on individuals, families, communities, and the state of our planet at large.

Contact: urbaggala@gmail.com, http://baltimoreurbanag.org/content/urb-ag-gala

The Baltimore Urban Agricultural Task Force is a growing coalition of farmers, students, professionals, artists, parents, and concerned citizens. The passion of its members is a common one: locally produced food. The Task Force is finding ways to strengthen communities in Baltimore through agricultural projects and environmental education. The long term goal of the Task Force is to acquire a 6-acre plot that can be farmed in Baltimore City and to create 500 new and sustainable jobs in the process.

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City Hall to go dark for Earth Hour

Health & Environmentimageimage
The City of Baltimore is pleased to announce that City Hall will be going dark for Earth Hour.

Also participating are the following surrounding buildings:

Charles L. Benton, Jr. Building
Abel Wolman Municipal Building
The War Memorial Building
The MECU Building

Please join the City and turn off your lights for one hour March 28th, starting at 8:30 PM.
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Charles Village Bike Parking Celebration - Friday

Biking in Baltimoreimage
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National Bike Summit 2009

Biking ElsewhereNational Bike Summit 2009 - a huge success

(3.17.09) Thanks to everyone that made it to the National Bike Summit this year – we had record attendance, a strong program, and some good specific asks of our elected representatives. In total, 580 registrants from 47 states and four countries (Canada, Denmark, Czech Republic and the USA) visited more than 350 Congressional offices on Thursday, March 12. Follow up to your visits is essential; please make sure you have written your thank you notes, and followed up with the offices on their commitments.

Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood addressed the opening plenary, noting that the DOT will be \"a full partner in working toward livable communities\". The Secretary was followed by Representatives Blumenauer (D-OR), Lipinski (D-IL) and Matsui (D-CA). Congressman Oberstar (D-MN) spoke at the Summit dinner, and Representatives Petri (R-WI), Coble (R-NC), McCaul (R-TX) and Kissell (D-NC) made remarks at the Congressional Breakfast and/or Reception.

Even if you were not able to attend this year, the League encourages you to ask your members of Congress to support the Complete Streets Act of 2009 (S. 584, introduced by Senator Harkin, and H.R. 1443, introduced by Representative Matsui) and the CLEAN-TEA: The Clean, Low-Emission Affordable, New Transportation Efficiency Act (S. 575, introduced by Senators Carper and Specter, and H.R. 1329, introduced by Representatives Blumenauer, Tauscher and LaTourette) that were introduced for the Summit.
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Action alert: Three foot legislation

Bike LawsAs I get older and wiser (hopefully) I realize there is a bit of a contradiction in advocacy. One part is I need to motivate you to write, that generally involves a sense of outrage, the other part is the the letters you write need to be positive in order to be effective. So...

Be outraged enough to be motivated to write or call, what's being said in the halls of Annapolis is enough to make you steaming mad but don't have that come across in your letters. Be positive and supportive of your representative and try to make your appeal palatable to someone who does not bike. Try to be short and to the point and ***please stay on topic, focus on safety and mention that HB 496 only applies to bicyclists that act lawfully.*** Also we have MDOT's support this year on this bill, that is significant!
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Winds of Change

Health & Environment[This comes from a very interesting blog generally about clean energy, link is at the end of the article.]
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I’ve wanted to make a post about this since it was in the news last Thursday, but it slipped to the back of my mind.  The Washington Post had an article about how in Maryland it’s now cheaper on the electric bill for residents to buy renewable wind energy credits through the Rockville-based Clean Currents than it would be to just buy power through BG&E and Pepco.  This means if you’re in Maryland, you can lower your utility rates and take a significant step to greening your lifestyle at the same time.  Usually, being part of the Clean Currents Program costs ratepayers a little bit more, but the current economic climate has created different conditions.

“The decreased rates are the result of a steady decline in wholesale energy prices. Utility companies set their customers’ rates periodically and have not reduced them to reflect the lower prices they are now paying for energy to produce electricity. But Clean Currents and other companies have taken advantage of the downturn in the price and are offering residents as much as two years of power for 10 to 15 percent less than the utilities’ summer rates. They use some of their revenue to promote wind farms and the use of wind power.”

The article also talked about a family in Maryland who set up their own wind turbine to power their home in Charles County, where the wind is strong.

I’m hopeful this is a trend towards renewables that we’ll be seeing across Maryland and the United States.  One other recent signal that the winds of change are upon us is that there are now more wind jobs than coal.  For now, if you live in Maryland, there’s no excuse to not google Clean Currents right now and consider entering into a 2 year contract with them.  You can save money, and less your impact on the environment at the same time.

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CLEAN TEA INTRODUCED, BILL AIMED AT CREATING A MORE EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM

Biking ElsewhereSen. Tom Carper said: “Today, we fund our transportation system through a gas tax, meaning we pay for roads and transit by burning gasoline. When people drive less, our transportation budgets dry up. This means states and localities that reduce oil use, lower greenhouse emissions and save their constituents money end up getting their budgets cut. But CLEAN TEA reverses this negative funding policy by sending money to states and localities based on how much they reduce emissions. Now, we in the Congress have the great opportunity to address many national problems at once – finding additional funding for transportation infrastructure, building money-saving transportation alternatives and lowering greenhouse gas emissions from the transportation sector.”

“Reducing emissions from the transportation sector will not only help us achieve our global warming goals, but will provide additional benefits to the environment, public health, the economy, and quality of life,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer. This legislation will help finance our shift to a low-carbon transportation system that provides transportation choices, creates safe and healthy communities, and saves consumers money. I look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure that any climate legislation we advance in the House recognizes the opportunities provided by the transportation sector.”

“This bill represents an important step in lowering our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, reducing our dependence on foreign oil and promoting transportation mobility,” Sen. Arlen Specter said. “Since transportation accounts for one-third of greenhouse gas emissions, it stands to reason that revenue generated from a cap-and-trade system should be devoted to creating a more sustainable transportation future.”


“Transportation accounts for 30 percent of our greenhouse gas emissions. CLEAN TEA addresses the difficulty of reducing these emissions by investing in strategies that make our transportation system more efficient and in transportation alternatives, such as mass transit,” said Rep. Melissa Bean. “This bill is a great example of how pro-growth and environmentally conscious policy can come together.”

“CLEAN TEA can’t come soon enough for our mass transit infrastructure,” Rep Mark Kirk said. “By investing in energy-saving projects like commuter rail, we’ll save money at the gas pump, decrease congestion and reduce greenhouse gases. Most importantly, we’ll create thousands of jobs throughout the country.”

“CLEAN TEA is a good benchmark to start the debate on climate change legislation. We cannot effectively address climate change without reducing the transportation sector’s contribution to greenhouse gas emissions,” Rep. Ellen Tauscher said. “This bill follows in the wake of historic legislation in California to address climate change by linking it to land use and transportation policy.”
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Portland Auditor’s survey: Fewer cars, more bikes, and safer streets

Biking Elsewhereimage
– In 2008, there were 140 “traffic injuries” to individuals on bicycles. That’s down from 196 in 2007 and it’s the lowest number since the survey was taken in 1999. The same goes for pedestrian injuries; there were 123 in 2008, down from 191 in 2007. There was also a major drop in the amount of individuals injured while operating an automobile; the survey reports 4,428 injured, compared to 5,429 in 2007.

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