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Thursday, April 24 2014 @ 11:47 AM UTC
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Developing a U.S. Bicycle Route System

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Adventure Cycling Association is part of an initiative to develop a national bike route system called the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS). We serve on the Task Force for U.S. Bicycle Routes and have provided staff support to AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) since 2005. AASHTO is a national nonprofit that supports the work of state departments of transportation (DOTs), including policy, design standards, and roadway designations. The AASHTO Task Force was charged with developing a national corridor-level plan and designation system that transportation agencies can utilize for the development of bicycle routes.
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BMC Board Creates Regional Sustainability Committee

Health & EnvironmentBaltimore, MD (October 27, 2008) The Board of Directors of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) 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.

"All of our jurisdictions are exploring environmental practices that can be integrated into government operations and into all aspects of everyday life," said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, the BMC Chair. "But we cannot afford to duplicate efforts, work at cross-purposes, or re-invent the wheel in every jurisdiction. This committee can make certain we're all moving in the same direction."

"Sustainability involves many departments in local governments," added Mr. Feldmark, "from Planning and Zoning to Recreation and Parks to Public Works to Purchasing. We have reached the point where economics and doing the right thing are coming together. We now have an opportunity to make changes that will reap benefits for years to come."
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Sport utility bikes: a comparison

Biking ElsewhereWhen gas prices gushed over $4 a gallon earlier this year, bike shops were (and still are) swamped with people who suddenly wanted to use pedal power for commuting, socializing and shopping. Attracting particular attention are so-called "longtails" -- extra-long SUBs (sport utility bikes) with welded-on racks designed to haul big, bulky cargo, whether it's a 200-pound load of bricks, surfboards or three or four bags of groceries. Here's a look at four of the most popular SUBs I tested at the recent Interbike trade show in Las Vegas.
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Cyclists Pay Their Fair Share!

Biking Elsewhereby Brent Hugh, Ph.D.

When the question of on-road bicycling comes up in Missouri, a common question that is asked is: "Why should we allow bicycles on the road at all? Bicyclists don't pay for the roads they are riding on, do they?"
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But let us consider only one aspect: Do cyclists pay their way?

Some argue that roads are paid for entirely by user fees such as gas taxes, automobile registration fees, and the like. The argument goes that cyclists don't pay these user fees and so they shouldn't be allowed to use the roads.

Is this true?

Consider the facts:

1. According to the Federal Highway Administration (FWHA), 92% of the funds for local roads--the ones most often used by cyclists--come from property, income, and sales taxes. Bicyclists pay these taxes just like everyone else does.
2. FWHA calculates that 92% of federal highway funds come from user fees. But 8% come the general fund, so even a bicyclist who owns no car contributes to federal highway funds, too.
3. It is often said that the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is funded completely from road user fees. As a sweeping generalization this is true, but in fact 45% of MoDOT's funding comes from the federal government. A portion of this federal contribution comes from the general tax fund. Because of this, 3.6% of MoDOT's operating budget comes from general taxes. Again, even the non-car owning bicyclist contributes to MoDOT's operating budget.
4. In the end, all roads must be considered as a complete, interconnected network. Considering the road network as a whole, about 2/3 of the funding comes from user fees and 1/3 from general taxes. Again, our hypothetical non-automobile-owning cyclist makes a contribution.
5. Many services associated with the roadways are paid out of general tax funds. Examples: police, fire and ambulance services, traffic court, subsidized parking. A typical household pays a few hundred dollars per year towards such services. Bicyclists pay for a share of these services just like everyone else does.
6. Design improvements needed to make roadways more bicycle-friendly are generally inexpensive. Roads constructed to modern design standards are quite bicycle-friendly already--improvements like wider lanes and shoulders are included to improve safety for all road users and are not bicycle-specific. The bicycle-specific expenses in good road design are few: bicycle-safe grates and traffic signals that detect bicycles (and motorcycles), for instance. Such expenses may cost a few thousand dollars in projects with budgets of a few million.
7. Bicycles have a very low impact on the roadway. One study found that bicycles impose about 0.2 cents per mile in roadway costs. Bicyclist pay no user fees so the entire 0.2 cents/mile comes from the general tax fund.

What about motor vehicles? They impose an average of 3.9 cents per mile in roadway costs while paying an average of 2.5 cents per mile in user charges such as fuel taxes and motor vehicle registration fees.

The difference--1.4 cents per mile--comes from the general tax fund. So both bicycle and motor vehicle road use is subsidized from general tax revenue. This is fair, since both bicyclists and motorists pay into the general tax fund.

But bicycles have such a low impact on the road that their subsidy is actually quite low--the general tax revenue subsidy for a cyclist who rides 5000 miles per year is only about $10. ...
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One Less Car October Update

Bike Maryland updatesIt's Time to Finally Stop the ICC
 
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MTA Cuts Could Slash Commuter Service in Baltimore & D.C. Areas
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Your Input Needed for Baltimore Bicycle Map
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Public Hearings on Baltimore's Red Line Coming Up
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Checklist of Maryland's Bike Problems
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OLC Executive Director Speaking Engagements for November

Richard at TDP

Barry Childress of Baltimore Spokes took some great photos of Tour du Port 2008. See them here

Bike Parking at Train Stations Around the World
BikesTrain

Take a look at this cool article. Ever see train stations with this much bike parking in the USA?

Winter Biking

It's getting cold out there! Here's some great Wintertime bicycling tips from the Great White North

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Subway

MTA's Trip Planner is up and running! Just type in your starting point and destination and you'll get information on the quickest transit route there

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The Consolidated Transportation Program is Maryland's six-year capital budget for transportation projects. If it's not in the CTP it probably won't get built. Learn more about the CTP and the public input process here

Purple Line Hearings set for November
Purple Line

The Purple Line is a major transit project that will be connecting Bethesda to the New Carrollton Metro. Find out about the schedule for public hearings on the Purple Line here.


image image image Everyone,

The Intercounty Connector (ICC) is an 18.8 mile toll road currently under construction in Montgomery and Prince George's counties. This enormous highway project will cost Marylanders more than $3 billion dollars to build and will destroy thousands of acres of forest, farm land and wetlands. It's construction will also lead to hundreds of people losing their homes.

Exactly why Marylanders need this road is not entirely clear. The concept that traffic congestion can only be alleviated by more highway construction is a 1950's era belief that has - for some strange reason - continued to flourish among our business leaders and in the halls of power in Annapolis. Maybe they forgot that the Baltimore and D.C. beltways, I-270, I-83 and just about every other major road project in the state was supposed to make traffic jams a thing of the past. They told us that more roads would mean less time stuck in our cars. Were they right?

Even more wrongheaded is the claim from the state's business leaders that the ICC will bring greater economic growth to Central Maryland. This is a flawed assumption at best and fails to recognize the enormous environmental and social ills that come from putting more cars on our roads.

What makes the ICC even more of a risky gambit is our state's current financial situation. Due to a major projected budget shortfall, Governor O'Malley cut $1.1 billion from transit and road projects and $300 million more from education, public safety, health and environmental protection. The MTA system alone is slated to see dramatic cuts to commuter bus and rail service (see next article). But for some reason Maryland keeps throwing millions in taxpayer dollars at the ICC.

In FY 2009, the Governor plans to take $65 million from the General Fund (which should fund schools, health, safety and other needs), and $30 million from the Transportation Trust Fund, and put it towards the ICC. This money should instead be used to shore up the MTA.

Although the State has already begun to clear cut forests and bulldoze houses for the ICC, the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly can still cancel this destructive, wasteful project and liberate billions in funding and debt capacity to invest in real transportation alternatives.

If you think Maryland has better priorities than building destructive highways, tell Governor O'Malley. You can send him an email here. Or you could call his office at 1-800-811-8336

If you would like to tell you local state delegate or state senator how you feel, please send them an email as well. You can find your state representatives in Annapolis here.

Thank You!

Richard Chambers, Executive Director

Richard Signature

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MTA Cuts Could Slash Commuter Service in Baltimore & D.C. Areas

At a time when record numbers of Marylanders are turning to buses and trains to avoid high energy costs, the State of Maryland has decided to make dramatic cuts to it's already strained mass transit system.

Included on the chopping block is ending all commuter bus service on the #310 & #311 from Columbia to Baltimore, the #412 from Bel Air to Baltimore and the #921 from Annapolis to New Carrollton Metro. Other commuter bus and MARC rail routes would see either decreased service or total elimination.

To see a complete list of proposed cuts click here

Without effective mass transit Maryland cannot become a healthier, wealthier and more sustainable place to live. These proposed cuts are draconian and will certainly lead to more traffic, more stress and more pollution.

Hearings will soon be held for the public to give its input on the cuts. The hearings schedule can be found here.

TELL THE GOVERNOR TO STOP THE CUTS TO MTA! Contact his office via email here

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Your Input Needed for Baltimore Bicycle Map

One Less Car is in the process of developing a Baltimore Bicycle Map. Our hope is that some of you will be able to help us.

Take a look at a draft of the map here and give us your view on our proposed routes. Tell us about your route to work or school. Do you have a better way to go?

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Public Hearings on Baltimore's Red Line Coming Up
The Maryland Transit Administration in conjunction with the Federal Transit Administration will hold four public hearings regarding the Red Line Corridor Transit Study - a proposed 14 mile east-west transit system that would serve Baltimore from Woodlawn in the west to Johns Hopkins Bayview Campus in the east. The project aims to increase transit mobility and accessibility, improve connections to existing transit systems, and stimulate community revitalization and economic development. The hearings will be on the following dates: Thursday, November 6th, 4PM - 9PM, Lithuanian Hall, 851 Hollins Street, Baltimore, 21201 Saturday, November 8th, 10AM - 3PM, Edmondson-Westside High School, 501 N. Athol Avenue, Baltimore, 21229 Wednesday, November 12th, 4PM - 9PM, UAW Hall, 1010 Oldham Street, Baltimore, 21224 Thursday, November 13th, 4PM - 9PM, Woodlawn High School, 1801 Woodlawn Drive, Baltimore, 21229

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Checklist of Maryland's Bike Problems
Below is a list of some of the reasons why the League of American Bicyclists ranked Maryland a lowly 35th in their annual ranking of bike-friendly states. One Less Car strongly encourages you to read over the list and demand that the Maryland Department of Transportation address these issues. We believe that this checklist should serve as a workplan for MDOT staff as they move forward on improving bike accessibility. No 3ft or greater safe passing law Existence of a discriminatory mandatory bike lane law No Complete Streets or Bicycle and Pedestrian Accommodation policy (Note: the state has language encouraging bike/ped accommodations, but no plan for ensuring that these accommodations are actually built) No Mountain Biking Plan No CO2 Reduction Plan that includes bicycle usage No policy requiring bike parking at state owned facilities No system in place to determine percentage of state highways that have paved shoulders No dedicated state funding source for bicycling projects or programs No questions regarding the responsibilities of motorists towards cyclists on driver's test Bicycle safety is not addressed in Highway Safety Plan No education of officers on cyclist rights & responsibilities through academy or continuing education Information on cyclists rights and responsibilities not made available to traffic judges

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OLC Executive Director Speaking Engagements for November

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MD 25 - Falls Road construction

Biking in the Metro AreaAs part of our ongoing highway maintenance program, the State Highway Administration (SHA) is beginning a project to repair, resurface and improve safety along approximately 16 miles of MD 25 (Falls Road) between the I-695 interchange and Mount Carmel Road . Five segments of Falls Road will be repaired, milled and repaved during the next several months as weather conditions permit. The entire $4 million project is slated for completion in late Spring 2009.

Nighttime work is underway on the first segment, from I-695 to north of Seminary Avenue . Lane closures with flagging operations will occur nightly Sunday - Thursday between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. (Repairs, Milling and Repaving Fall 2008)
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Bicycle Commuter Act Becomes Law

Bike LawsCongressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-D) has worked tirelessly with bicycle advocates for seven years to win a tax credit for bicycle commuters…but ironically after being rejected time after time, the credit became law in a matte of days. The initiative was deep in the jowls of the $700 billion financial rescue plan adopted by Congress earlier this month. Ironically, the credits’ #1 congressional champion voted against the rescue package even though it included the program he had long fought to see become law. Reportedly, the Congressman had received thousands of calls from constituents urging him to vote no to the package and he was frustrated with the lack of provisions to help individual homeowners among other things included in the package. The good news for physical activity advocates is that the law will take effect in January. Included below is an explanation of the law provided by Congressman Blumenauer.

How The Law Works:
· For employees who regularly commute to work by bicycle, employers may offset the costs of bicycle purchase, improvement, repair, and storage at the rate of $20 per month.
· Based on how the employer chooses to offer the benefits, the employee may bring receipts to be reimbursed, may sign up for regular monthly payments, or devise some sort of voucher system with their employer.
· Bike commuters are not allowed to receive transit or parking benefits in addition to the bike benefit.
· The bike commuter benefit can be provided by employers beginning January 1, 2009.
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LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS GO ON TOUR

Biking in the Metro AreaConsolidated Transportation Program Details Future Transportation Projects

Maryland has a unique process to gather public input from every jurisdiction, a process stipulated by State law, requiring the Secretary of Transportation to visit with, and present to each of the State's jurisdictions, the Draft Consolidated Transportation Program (CTP), for comment. This process is known as the Secretary's Annual Capital Program Tour.

The CTP is a detailed listing with descriptions of the capital projects that are proposed for construction, or for development and evaluation during the next six-year period.

Each year this report is developed in draft form and presented to every jurisdiction during the fall. Following distribution of the draft document, Maryland Department of Transportation representatives visit each jurisdiction both to present and to receive comments on the program. Following the tour, the CTP is prepared in final form for presentation to the General Assembly in January.
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Last Friday's ride with the Mayor and the National Park and Rec folks

Biking in BaltimorePictures:
http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=38141&l=8e620&id=513493075

Videos (Note: new camera so they are not amazing videos.)
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-59912547756716545&hl=en
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-3606008605247149007&hl=en
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=8404850507142345027&hl=en
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8980433023764333586&hl=en
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ADDITIONAL SMART GROWTH LISTENING SESSIONS

Biking in MarylandSmart Growth Listening Sessions Offer Public Opportunity to Share Ideas and Concerns about Growth and Development in Maryland

Smart Growth Listening SessionsThe Maryland Department of Planning (MDP) and the Task Force on the Future for Growth and Development in Maryland are hosting a series of public forums across the State for residents to share their thoughts and ideas on future growth in the state.

Two additional Listening Sessions have been added to the schedule for the month of October. The first will be held in Bladensburg on October 22, and the second in Aberdeen on October 28.

All Marylanders are encouraged to attend and participate in the Listening Sessions. For the complete schedule of sessions and directions to various locations, please visit the link below or call MDP at 410-767-4500.

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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

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