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Friday, October 24 2014 @ 11:57 AM UTC
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Biking should be encouraged, not taxed further to support roads

Biking ElsewhereLet's use public dollars to encourage those who travel by bike in our communities, as they are doing a service for the economy and the environment while paying more than their fair share in taxes.

By David Hiller

WHILE James Vesely's attempt to stir the pot may seem reasonable ["Impose a license fee on bicyclists," editorial column, Dec 7], it ignores much of what we know about who subsidizes whom on our roads, sidewalks and trails. It also casts people who travel by bicycle, or walk for that matter, as the "fringe" who don't participate equally in our society and communities. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that less than 3 percent of the region's total transportation funds are spent on bicycle and pedestrian projects and programs, while 37 percent of the region's population — the old, the young, the disabled, the poor and those who don't own cars — cannot or does not drive. What's more, 60 percent of Washingtonians want to walk and bike more than they currently do.

Investments in transportation overwhelmingly tilt in favor of moving as many cars as quickly as possible — often to the disadvantage of walking and bicycling. This makes it easy to forget that these streets are in fact not the sole domain of the private automobile, but public rights of way where we, the public, should be able to travel with equal ease.

It is this historical bias that has created an environment where many feel unsafe or uncomfortable making even the shortest trips on foot or by bike. Modest investments in walking and bicycling not only improve health, safety and mobility, but also reduce congestion by removing cars from the roads.

People who attack nonmotorized travelers as freeloaders may not know that drivers don't pay their own way. For starters, local roads — where the vast majority of travel occurs — receive almost no funding from user fees like the gas tax. They are funded by sales and property taxes, which we all pay. The 37 percent of people who don't drive, or drive less, pay far more in taxes dedicated to roads than they receive in return.

If we broaden our perspective to include driving's externalities, like crash damages, medical expenses, congestion, pollution, and public safety costs, subsidies for driving are estimated at a dollar per mile. Further, the Victoria Transport Policy Institute estimated the monetized benefits for shifting trips from cars to bicycling or walking to be between $1.43 and $2.75 per mile.

Failing to adequately support investments in walking and bicycling has led to a $1.2 billion backlog in unfunded capital projects statewide, according to a 2007 state study. Even though more than 2 million people in Washington do not drive, they are often deprived of safe, equitable access to our public rights of way.

Compare the cost of serving this unmet need with a recent billion-dollar project begun on Interstate 90, which serves a mere 29,000 vehicles a day. For the price of a project that moves fewer vehicles than many arterial streets, we could build every planned trail, sidewalk and bike lane in the entire state.

Despite enormous subsidies for driving, and routine underinvestment in other transportation choices, bicycling is the fastest-growing form of transportation in the Puget Sound region's urban centers. According to the American Communities Survey and the U.S. Census Bureau, bicycling trips grew 27 percent and walking trips grew 15 percent in Seattle from 2000 to 2005, while drive-alone trips grew by only 4.5 percent over the same period.

Growth in bicycling and walking also works in tandem with public transit. Making transit centers more accessible to people who choose to leave their cars behind can double ridership, giving buses, streetcars and trains more bang for their buck. Every one of us who finds a new transit stop within walking or bicycling distance knows the freedom of new transportation choices.

Finally, facing tremendous challenges in combating global warming, now is hardly the time to undermine growth in walking and bicycle use. Extreme weather brought about by human activity is taking its toll on our crumbling infrastructure. Bicycles not only produce zero emissions, but have nearly zero impact on road surfaces when compared with motor vehicles.

Despite his sarcasm, Vesely may be onto something when he dubs bicyclists "the most green of our population." Let's use public dollars to encourage those who travel by bike in our communities, as they are doing a service for the economy and the environment while paying more than their fair share in taxes.
David Hiller is advocacy director for the Cascade Bicycle Club.
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SHA at work!

Biking in MarylandJust sharing some recent examples of SHA Bike Route signing and Planning with Bicycle Retrofit Funds.

Planned: MD 144 between Oella Ave. and River Rd. (resurfacing to provide suitable shoulder for cycling) connecting the Trolley Trail No. 9 w/River Rd. Bike Route aka PHG Bike Route
Planned: US 1 Southwestern Blvd. Tom Day Blvd to Ramp 2 - will include marked bike lanes


Planning:
Harford County Signage/new route designation
MD 22 between Bel Air to Route 40
MD 543 from STR Bus. US 1 to MD 22 - pos. redo to incorporate Bus US 1 to Route 40


District 6 –Summer 08
Were on the map but are now signed
MD 67 from US 40 Alt to US 340
US 340 from MD 67 to WV State Line
US 40 alt from City of Hagerstown limits to MD 67


Not on the map - NEW
MD 34 from US 40 Alt to WV State Line
next set loops
MD 64 from City of Hagerstown limits (west side) to MD 418
MD 418 from MD 64 to MD 60
MD 60 from MD 418 to City of Hagerstown limits (north side)




Evaluating/Planning for 2009:


* Signing/Marking - Designate Bike Routes - Existing
- Verify existing signing/marking along bike routes per October 2007 Statewide Bicycle Map
- Coordinate with District Traffic to provide signage along designated routes
- Recommend Bike Route Signs with Destinations/Mileage at the following locations:
* MD 500
* MD 197
* MD 212
* US 301/US 50/MD 18
* US 29/Old Columbia Pike
* UMD - Bike to Campus Routes
* MD 564 – Bowie -

* Identify location for Sharrow and bike lane markings along designated routes
- MD 702
- MD 700


* Identify New Routes
- Identify Community Groups - PAZ - BAZ
- Evaluate other State Routes for their potential inclusion
* MD 704
* MD 214
* MD 202
* MD 218
* MD 458
* MD 953


* Connect Routes/Trails
* o ICC Master Plan Amendment
* o ECG - Belle Grove Road
* o National Harbor

Also City of Greenbelt, limits along MD 193.

Thanks,
Stephanie

Stephanie Yanovitz
MD SHA Statewide Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator
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Call for Entries: Filmed by Bike

Biking ElsewhereFilmed by Bike, a festival of independent bike-themed short movies from around the world, is accepting entries until Feb 15, 2009. All submissions must be eight minutes of less. A jury will make the final selections. Hundreds will enter from around the world, but only 30 can make the final cut. Visit FilmedByBike.org for more info.

Think you got what it takes? Show us what you got!
// watch the trailer here
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The League is Sticking Up for Cyclists!

Biking in Maryland

[Having been involved with some of the conversations between LAB and the State and with LAB and the City of Baltimore I can say LAB is starting to make a difference in Maryland, please consider your support.]

image

 

 

We know the holiday season is a busy time, and that this year everyone is taking a much harder look at what they spend.

 

The League relies on your membership dues and additional contributions for the majority of our income – and over the years members like you have given us an incredible boost by closing out the year with a generous gift to help us continue our work on your behalf.  

 

Just before Thanksgiving, we mailed you a summary of the progress we’ve made this year thanks to your support: here are the highlights. We:

 

 

We also identified some of the incredible opportunities (and challenges) ahead of us in 2009.

 

Consider this:

 

A new Congress and Administration will commence work in just 30 days on three absolutely critical, and potentially transformative initiatives – a massive economic stimulus package, a new transportation funding bill, and climate change legislation. Taken together, these will direct more than one trillion dollars of infrastructure investment in the next five years – shaping our nation’s future every bit as dramatically as the New Deal, World War II, and the Interstate Highway System.

 

Our programs that we have built with your support provide a roadmap – better still, a bike map – for ensuring this investment creates sustainable, bicycle-friendly communities for the future. We can’t afford to pour all that money into 1950’s-style highway projects and programs.

 

We have to have a voice at the table, and your support now is critical.

 

If you have already sent an end-of-year contribution, we thank you, and we look forward to serving you – promoting and protecting the rights of cyclists – in the year ahead.

 

Sincerely,

 

Andy Clarke

President

League of American Bicyclists

 

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Laws that are not being carried out as best as they could be

Bike Laws2-604 Bicycle-Pedestrian Master Plan.
(5) After consultation with political subdivisions in the State, identifies bicycle-pedestrian priority areas to facilitate the targeting of available funds to those areas of the State most in need.
(b) Duties of the Director. – To carry out the purposes of this subtitle,
(3) Initiate a program of systematic identification of and planning for projects related to bicycle and pedestrian transportation that qualify for funds under Federal Highway Administration guidelines; [***Note that there is no clause that limits this to only State Roads.]
[***Do we even have such a program for the political subdivisions? The State's Bicycle Master Plan contains NO bicycle priority areas in the political subdivisions and/or funding for projects are not directed to areas on the bases of need. Also note all of our projects qualify for funds under FHWA guidelines but but are denied because of the State's guidelines, is that legal?]

TITLE 3 FINANCING BY DEPARTMENT Subtitle 2 Consolidated Transportation Bonds 3-216 Transportation Trust Fund
(d) Other uses of Fund
(5) For each fiscal year, the Department shall use the funds in the Transportation Trust Fund for the purposes specified in subsection (c)(2)(ii) of this section, which may include construction and maintenance:
(ii) Bicycle ways as defined in section 21-101 (l) of this article; [***This includes bike lanes and shoulders.]
[***We are up for funding annually???]

TITLE 8 HIGHWAYS Subtitle 2. State Highway Administration Part I Administration in General 8-204 General powers and duties of Administration
(i) Bicycle priority route system. – The Administration shall:
(1) Plan, select, construct, improve, and maintain the State highway system; and
(2) By July I, 1997, in accordance with local governments, draft a plan for a bicycle priority route system that provides a viable network for bicycle transportation throughout the State.
[***Item 2 seems to have fallen to the wayside or is not being updated. It seems to me establishing our regional bike network is a duty. http://www.baltometro.org/BRTP2001/RegionalMap.pdf]

2-602 Public Policy.
The General Assembly finds that it is in the public interest for the State to include enhanced transportation facilities for pedestrians and bicycle riders as an essential component of the State’s transportation system, and declares that it is policy of the State that:
(1) Access to and use of transportation facilities by pedestrians and bicycle riders shall be considered and best engineering practices regarding the needs of bicycle riders and pedestrians shall be employed in all phases of transportation planning, including highway design, construction, reconstruction, and repair as well as expansion and improvement of other transportation facilities;
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CYCLISTS' BILL OF RIGHTS

Biking Elsewhere[LA just adopted the following:]
WHEREAS, cyclists have the right to ride the streets of our communities and this right is formally articulated in the California Vehicle Code; and

WHEREAS, cyclists are considered to be the “indicator species” of a healthy community; and

WHEREAS, cyclists are both environmental and traffic congestion solutions; and

WHEREAS, cyclists are, first and foremost, people - with all of the rights and privileges that come from being members of this great society; and

NOW, THEREFORE, WE THE CYCLING COMMUNITY, do hereby claim the following rights:

1) Cyclists have the right to travel safely and free of fear.

2) Cyclists have the right to equal access to our public streets and to sufficient and significant road space.

3) Cyclists have the right to the full support of educated law enforcement.

4) Cyclists have the right to the full support of our judicial system and the right to expect that those who endanger, injure or kill cyclists be dealt with to the full extent of the law.

5) Cyclists have the right to routine accommodations in all roadway projects and improvements.

6) Cyclists have the right to urban and roadway planning, development and design that enable and support safe cycling.

7) Cyclists have the right to traffic signals, signage and maintenance standards that enable and support safe cycling.

8) Cyclists have the right to be actively engaged as a constituent group in the organization and administration of our communities.

9) Cyclists have the right to full access for themselves and their bicycles on all mass transit with no limitations.

10) Cyclists have the right to end-of-trip amenities that include safe and secure opportunities to park their bicycles.

11) Cyclists have the right to be secure in their persons and property, and be free from unreasonable search and seizure, as guaranteed by the 4th Amendment.

12) Cyclists have the right to peaceably assemble in the public space, as guaranteed by the 1st Amendment.

And further, we claim and assert these rights by taking to the streets and riding our bicycles, all in an expression of our inalienable right to ride!
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The Baltimore Office of Sustainability is looking for your photos of Baltimore

Biking in Baltimore

 

We would like to request photo submissions for the Sustainability Plan that highlight Baltimore and its people for the following seven chapters:

  • Cleanliness
  • Pollution Prevention
  • Resource Conservation
  • Greening
  • Transportation
  • Education and Awareness
  • Green Economy

 

In addition we would be interested in cityscape photos that could be used in the introductory sections.  Full credit will be given for any submissions used.  Please send submissions by December 30th to Cassandra Kapsos-Scouten at Cassandra.Kapsos-scouten@baltimorecity.gov

 

The Sustainability Plan will be posted online starting December 30, 2008 at http://www.baltimorecity.gov/government/planning/sustainability/ and will be available for public comment for 30 days.

image

Please consider the environment prior to printing;

www.baltimorecity.gov/sustainability

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COFFEE ANYONE?

Biking ElsewhereDoes caffeine inhibit or improve athletic performance? According to Australian researcher John Hawley, it helps. "With the ingestion of both caffeine and carbohydrate, the overall amount of glycogen stored in the muscle for the four-hour period was 60 percent higher than with carbohydrate alone," Hawley is quoted as saying in the following VeloNews piece. "There is absolutely no question that this additional muscle glycogen would improve performance." Potential downsides: the recommended dose can cause side effects such as insomnia, jitteriness, and gastrointestinal upset.
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Who\'s Trash Talking Bikes?

Biking Elsewhere[From the League of American Bicyclists]
Every now and then, someone takes a potshot at bicyclists and bicycling. Sometimes it’s a politician; other times a shock jock. Whoever it is, and whatever their motivation, we don’t like it! So we keep track of who says what, and give you the chance to talk back. For responses to common trash talk, click on the menu to the right (Driving Costs, Pay Your Way, etc.)

Oct. 2, 2008: Professor John Cochran, University of Chicago
Sep. 8, 2008: Senator Jim DeMint, South Carolina
July 29, 2008: U.S. Secretary of Transportation Mary Peters
July 18, 2008: David Brooks, New York Times
Dec. 6, 2007: Representative John Boehner, Ohio
Sep. 11, 2007: Senator Tom Coburn, Oklahoma
Aug. 4, 2007: Representative Patrick McHenry, North Carolina

Talking Back points:
* Driving Costs
* Pay Your Way
* Get Off the Road
* Behave!
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Bike Rack Exhibition!!!!!

Biking in BaltimoreCome check out the entries (as well as the eight finalists) of the North Ave. Bike Rack Project!!! This Friday, Dec 12th at the North Ave Market.

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