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Wednesday, July 29 2015 @ 01:28 PM UTC
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Walking, biking the beat

Biking in BaltimoreIn Northern District police effort, more officers leave cars behind
By Justin Fenton - Baltimore Sun

More officers in the city's Northern District are walking the beat or patrolling on bikes this month as part of a pilot program to get officers more engaged in their communities.

The new deployment began Monday, affecting only the day shift, and will last about two weeks, according to Deputy Major Dennis L. Smith. It reduces the number of patrol vehicles from 19 to 11 in a district that contains some of Baltimore's most affluent neighborhoods but some troubled communities as well. The balance of the officers are being dispatched to foot patrols and bicycle details.

"A big part of the mayor and the commissioner's crime plan is community engagement and building partnerships," Smith said. "You can't do it behind the wheel of a car - you've got to get out and talk to people."

The president of the police union is criticizing the initiative, saying it makes fewer officers available to respond quickly to serious incidents and potentially leaves officers vulnerable by reducing the number of backup units. He said it amounts to a change in working conditions, which are covered by the union contract.

Peter Hermann: Shopowner's lawsuit may test the city's padlock law "Officers are out there knowing that once it gets a little busy, there are no backups available to them," said union President Paul M. Blair Jr. "If you're on a mountain bike, how fast can you pedal to get to someone calling for help?"

But Police Commissioner Frederick H. Bealefeld III, who signed off on the program, believes foot patrols are necessary to regain the community's trust.

"We want [residents] to talk to their post officers," he said last week in a broader interview about police strategies. "It used to be a PR tactic to smooth feathers, but we are now really working to get post officers engaged - not to spin a message, but to solve problems."

Smith said the initiative is a work in progress. Originally, the plan called for three vehicles per sector, with two officers assigned to one of the vehicles. The officers requested that the two-person car be broken up, with the extra officer assigned to a fourth car, so that more vehicles would be on the street. The change was implemented the next day.

He said the bike details have been particularly popular, allowing officers to weave through areas that are inaccessible in a motor vehicle while moving quicker than on foot.

On a street corner in Remington, where there have been two homicides and a handful of shootings this year, Officers Tivon Green and Karl Paige II sat on gray BMW mountain bikes wearing helmets and shorts. They said the bike details allow them to come up on suspicious activity without being noticed until the last second.
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Two Great Ways to Help Reduce Traffic and Help the Environment

Health & Environment1. Baltimore City CarShare

Do you or could you walk, bicycle and take public transportation to most of your destinations but still need a car every once in a while?

Do you drive to work because you need a car to get to meetings during the day? Car sharing can help!

The Parking Authority of Baltimore City is helping to launch Baltimore CarShare, a non-profit car sharing organization that will provide a network of conveniently located vehicles for members to rent for as little as a half an hour. Low hourly rates include maintenance, insurance, designated parking and gas!

Members feel free to give up one or more of their cars knowing a car sharing vehicle is available nearby whenever they need one. Employees can save the wear and tear on their own vehicles and use a car sharing vehicle instead.

Imagine a fleet of hybrid vehicles, pickup trucks, minivans, Mini Coopers, BMW’s and convertibles available at the click of a mouse.

Car sharing can take up to 20 vehicles off the road!

Sign up to receive updates and let us know that you want car sharing in your neighborhood! <a href="http://www.baltimorecity.gov/government/parking/car_sharing.php">http://www.baltimorecity.gov/government/parking/car_sharing.php</a>;

2. Baltimore’s CityCommute (a.k.a Rideshare)
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The Moment We’ve All Been Waiting For

Biking Elsewhere... I want all of our elected officials to know we’re serious about achieving our objectives. I want them constantly bombarded with our messages, from all angles. I want to make it socially and politically unacceptable for them to take any action which provides anything less than the the best facilities for bicycles and pedestrians. I want to be able to ride to work in safety. I want my kids to be able to play in the neighborhood streets in safety. I don’t want my kids to be showing signs of heart disease when they’re five years old, or needing a liver transplant by the time they’re fifteen, all because they had no safe place to play or ride a bike. I want livable streets, and I want them now. It’s largely up to us; if we educate people and pressure our politicians, we’ll get our livable streets.

I’m sure of it.
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Happy Anniversary from Biller's Bikes!

Cyclist\'s Yellow PagesBiller's Bikes is officially a year old! Thanks to all of you for your patronage and support.

The cool Autumn weather brings new activities and opportunities at the shop. Here are some highlights from our website newsletter <a href="http://www.billersbikes.com/blog1">www.billersbikes.com/blog1</a>;. (Also available from the bottom of our home page, <a href="http://www.billersbikes.com">www.billersbikes.com</a>;. Don't forget to add it your favorites.)

SEPTEMBER &quot;FALL CLASSICS&quot; BIKE SALE
OCTOBERFESTIVAL (Saturday, Oct. 18) IS COMING!
BRIDGE CROSSING/EAST COAST GREENWAY FEATURED: HARFORD BUSINESS LEDGER
PARTS/REPAIR DEPARTMENT AT YOUR SERVICE
DISCOUNT TUNE-UP
SHOP AND PARTS UPGRADED

Thanks for your support and patronage of Biller's Bikes in Havre de Grace, MD! Please visit soon!

Best, Mara and Walter
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CALL FOR VOLUNTEERS FOR THE JONES FALLS RALLY FOR THE RIVER

Biking in BaltimoreSunday, September 21ST, 8a-3p

Event Volunteers needed for family friendly event to benefit the Jones Falls Watershed Association- a local environmental group! Help the organization manage the CLOSURE OF THE I-83 NORTHBOUND LANES for a fabulous festival on the highway that highlights and promotes the river below.

Volunteers needed for:
-Registration tables
-Water stations
-Ramp Guards
-Vendor Setup &amp; Breakdown
-Kids Activities
-Hosts for bicyclists, skateboarders and the famous rubber frog race!

The Association is involved in cleaning/greening activities throughout Baltimore City and County such as tree plantings, rain garden construction, and trash clean-ups. This event serves as an organizational fundraiser. Groups or social clubs are welcome and community service hours are available.

You can sign up for shifts by going to <a href="http://www.jonesfalls.org">www.jonesfalls.org</a>; or contact David Flores at 410-366-3036 or dflores&quot;at&quot;jonesfalls.org .
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Friday Red Line Ride

Biking in BaltimoreJoin us Friday for the ride to the Red Line 'Community Compact' signing Ceremony.

Meet in front of City Hall, 1:45pm

The brief ceremony will be held at Frederick Douglass-Isaac Myers Maritime Park Museum
(Fells Point)
1417 Thames Street
2:30 p.m.

Wear something Red.


The 'Community Compact' outlines a vision for the way the Red Line will enhance communities, improve the environment, employ local workers and preserve historic neighborhoods. It includes significant language on making the Red Line Bike Friendly. The Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Committee has signed onto the compact.

Join Mayor Dixon, MDOT secretary John Porcari, MTA Administrator Paul Wiedefeld for the ceremony.

For information on the Compact, and the Red Line project, see: <a href="http://www.gobaltimoreredline.com">www.gobaltimoreredline.com</a>;

We'd like to have a significant bike contingent at this event which will attract Md's transportation leadership.

Following the ceremony, we'll adjourn to a local watering hole.

- Mark Counselman
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For safety, just add bikes

Biking ElsewhereThere's a new prescription for communities that want to make their streets safer for bike riders: just add more bikes. A team of international researchers looked at cities from Australia to Denmark to California, and found that more riders meant fewer run-ins with cars. The researchers presented their findings to a cycling safety seminar on September 5 in Sydney, Australia.

What's surprising, the researchers say, is that biker safety doesn't seem to correspond to a city's efforts to cut down on accidents. Run-ins between bikes and cars had little to do with miles of bike lanes or lower speed limits. But if the number of bike riders in a city doubled, the rate of bike-car accidents dropped by a third.

Apparently, motorists learn to share the road better when they have to deal with more bikes on their daily commute. Also, more cyclists means more drivers who also bike, which makes them better aware of fellow bikers. The researchers call it a virtuous cycle—run-ins with cars drop with more bikes on the road. And safer cycling means more people strap on a helmet and join the revolution.
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Dumbest Product of the Week

Biking ElsewhereI just had to comment on this $250 carbon fiber seat post rack that holds up to 11lbs. I like fast bikes and I like utility accessories but I really have to question why someone would think this is a great idea.
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Homecoming Celebration for Michael Phelps

Looking for local rides(ers)[The Fort McHenry event looks like it might be fun to bike to, I'm off doing something else but others may be interested in this.]

Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith, Governor Martin O’Malley and Mayor Sheila Dixon held a press conference to announce plans for a homecoming celebration for Michael Phelps, Katie Hoff and other Maryland Olympians. Baltimore County will host a Parade of Gold on Saturday, October 4 at 3 p.m. in Towson.

The parade will take place on York Road, beginning at Burke Avenue, continuing on York Road through the neighborhoods where Michael and Katie grew up, and ending at Anneslie Road. The homecoming celebration will continue later that day with a Star-Spangled Banner Salute to Maryland’s Olympians including Michael Phelps at Fort McHenry at 7 p.m.

Come out to welcome them home! For updated information, please visit <a href="http://baltimore.org/phelps">http://baltimore.org/phelps</a>;.
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A whole summer of bike commuting

Biking in Maryland[From the Bike Washington list:]
Last year I bought a bike to help lose weight and get back into shape. I rode bike trails all summer, sometimes riding 80 miles a week. By the time 2008 came around I was 60 pounds lighter than I was when 2007 started.

So when spring of 2008 came I was working long hours and needed a way to keep the weight off. By April, gas was hitting $4 a gallon. The choice was clear, it was time to start bike commuting. Thanks to the folks on this list I figured out a route and my first day for bike commuting was April 16th. I started out riding two days a week but after about a month I went to riding three days a week, and taking Metro on Monday and Friday to stage my clothes.

So I'd like to point out some observations about my summer spent commuting:

- I only drove to work four or five times, and only once because it was raining. A couple of times I drove in because I overslept and was running late.

- Riding in street traffic isn't half as bad as it looks.

- I saved enough money on gas to buy myself a brand new 17&quot; laptop from Best Buy.

- Despite all the horror stories, I found out that the drivers in this city are remarkably tolerant of cyclists.

- I only had someone come up behind me on the street and lay on the horn one time. Happened on M. St SE on my way home. The driver never even passed me because they wound up taking a right turn while I was still in front.

- The only other negative experience was when some jerk decided to blast me with his horn while I was using the pedestrian crossing over Washington Blvd coming off Memorial Bridge. I hate this crossing with a passion. Half of the time you have to play &quot;chicken&quot; with the cars to get them to stop.

- I only had two close calls. Once, a tourist did a 270-degree turn at the entrance to Arlington National Cemetery and almost hit me. It was slow speed so I think it only would have wound up with a crunched bike rather than a crunched cyclist. I think I scared him more than he scared me because I was yelling WHOA like a maniac.

- The other close call was with a pedestrian on that narrow sidewalk on 50. She was coming right at me and I was sure she would see me. Wrong. At 7AM, pedestrians are looking at their feet, sleepwalking. They will not notice the 200LB cyclist bearing down on them, even though they are facing you.

- I learned to ring my bike bell. A lot. Pedestrians sleepwalk. A lot.

- Sometimes you will see other bike commuters do things you should not attempt. Like, riding on 50 where the Glebe Road overpass is. I decided to try it myself the next day. And as soon as I was on the other side I decided to never try it again.

- I really, really, miss the cutoff in Fort Myer. That hill is nasty.

- The Maine Ave fish market stinks in the morning. In the afternoon it smells like french fries and Old Bay.

- Riding in the rain isn't so bad when it's warm. One morning I showed up at work, sopping wet and covered with mud from the construction site in Fort Myer. Kevin the security guard took one look at me and said &quot;Cyrus, you crazy!&quot;

All in all it was a very positive experience. I kept in shape, learned a lot about riding bikes, and had fun.

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