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Wednesday, July 29 2015 @ 03:54 PM UTC
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The Livable Streets Movement

Biking ElsewhereThe livable streets movement is changing the way cities around the world work. From Paris to Melbourne, cities are dedicating increasing amounts of public space to pedestrians, bicyclists, and public transit. London pedestrianized part of Trafalgar Square; Vienna closed its central streets to vehicle traffic; Copenhagen built an extensive bicycle network; Bogotá chose busses over highways. In the United States, cities, states and now Congress have either passed or are considering legislation that would require transportation planners to consider the needs of all users – not just those in motor vehicles. As New York sets out to fulfill PlaNYC’s promise of dozens of new pedestrian plazas and hundreds of miles of bike lanes, the city is poised to be at the forefront of this historic movement.

In the U.S., the livability movement is nothing short of a sea change in government transportation policies that have been singularly focused on motor vehicles for decades. The driving force of this movement continues to be a growing recognition of the economic and environmental costs of existing policy and a search for alternatives. Livable streets encourage walking, cycling and transit trips, cut into these costs and also advance important societal goals. London’s Walking Plan, for example, argues that walking contributes to “health and well-being” and to the “vibrancy” of the city, while other programs point to benefits such as a stronger sense of community.

The economic benefits of livable streets, despite their growing importance in transportation policy planning, are presently not well understood. This is due in part to a paucity of research: there have been almost no published studies in the U.S. on economic impacts, and only a handful in Europe. In addition, it has been difficult to untangle the specific impact of measures such as new pedestrian amenities or parking regulations from other civic improvements put in place simultaneously.
Livable streets have demonstrated the following effects on local economies:
• Pedestrian zones in city centers have boosted foot traffic by 20-40% and retail sales by 10-25%.
• Property values have increased by nearly one-third after traffic calming measures were installed.
• Property values on quiet streets are generally higher than those on noisy streets. In the extreme, the value of a house on a quiet street would be 8-10% higher than the same house on a noisy street.
• Public recreational and gathering space increases property values. Apartment prices near community gardens in New York City are 7% higher than comparable apartments in the same neighborhood.
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Installing bike lanes with known hazards.

Biking in Baltimoreimage
To me bike lanes should say that the space delineated by the bike lane has been reviewed and is basically free of hazards. No one would think of making a car lane with a tree in the middle of the lane and if there was a hazard it would be marked and signed in advanced. So what makes engineering bike facilities different?

The down hill section of Kelly Ave where a typical cyclists travels 20+mph will now see a new bike lane complete with a safety barrel in half of the bike lane with NO advanced warnings. This is just wrong especially in light of MD law requiring us to ride in bike lanes (and does not give us the exception of leaving a bike lane when we are going the speed limit. )

Personally I have little tolerance for door zone bike lanes especially on down hill sections where there is without a doubt insufficient time for a cyclists to "scan" vehicles for occupants and AASHTO recommends at least 13' for parking + bike lane when there is substantial parking as exhibited along this block. The Toronto study showed that dooring was the 4th cause of bicyclists deaths, I do not support putting in door zone bike lanes where ever we can put them. To present one solution; sharrows work sufficiently better for this type of situation as typically a cyclist will ride further away from the door zone with sharrows then with bike lanes. This will provide a separate space to encourage bicycling yet allow the advanced rider clear legal options to ride in a safe position in the roadway. Encouraging bicycling should not not also be a deterrent to those who are already riding.

I am curious what other think where the city should be drawing the line on where bike lanes are appropriate and Is this a good case to say "This is not a good place for a mandatory use bike lane"?

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Online registration for Civil War Century

Biking in MarylandIf you register online by the end on 8/15 you save $10 on registration.

And remember, there is no day of registration so you must pre-register if you want to go on this ride.
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Cool bike posters hung on the street ...

Biking Elsewhereimage
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Baltimore is creating a plan to improve the quality of life.

Biking in BaltimoreDo You Care About…
Having Trees? - Your property value? - Outdoor recreation?

Make your voice heard!

Baltimore is creating a plan to improve the quality of life in Baltimore now and for generations to come. Participate in a series of community conversations to discuss ideas for a better Baltimore!

In spring 2008, Mayor Sheila Dixon formed the Baltimore Commission on Sustainability, representing neighborhoods, nonprofits, institutions, and businesses, to plan for the future of Baltimore. The Commission on Sustainability holds public meetings the fourth Tuesday of every month at 4 pm at the Baltimore City Planning Department, 417 E. Fayette Street, 8th Floor.

The Commission’s Next Public Presentation Meeting is Tuesday, October 28, 6:30 at Baltimore Polytechnic Institute Auditorium, 1400 W. Cold Spring Lane.

Please Join Us

The Commission has formed six Working Groups that will host public community conversations for you to voice your ideas on the future of Baltimore in the following areas:

Saturday, August 16, 2008
10:00 a.m. – Noon

We’d like to hear your ideas on making healthy food accessible to all, making our urban parks and greenspaces safe, active and well maintained for Baltimore’s resi-dents and ecological systems.

Morgan State University
The McKeldin Student Center
4300 Block of Hillen Road
Room 212 A
(near the Christian Center and Library).
Parking is available along Hillen Road

Three Ways to be a Part of Baltimore’s Sustainability Plan

Share Your Ideas - Participate in our public meetings or email us at sustainability"at"
Get Connected - Sign up for email updates on meetings and general announcements. Email: office_of_sustainability-join"at"
Read All About It - Regularly check for updated information on our website. <a href=""></a>;

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Union Station's Chutzpah

Biking ElsewhereLike many people these days, I am concerned about the environment, and I try to do my part to reduce my environmental impact. I recycle, and my garden consists of native plants. Instead of driving from my house on Capitol Hill to my job in Silver Spring, I ride my bike to Union Station and hop on the Metro.

Unlike the bikes being rolled out in the SmartBike DC program [Metro, Aug. 13], my bike is old. I bought it used from a bike store a few years ago, and it has certainly seen better days.

But it functions just as it should, taking me from point A to point B. So imagine my shock and sadness when I got off the Metro after work Tuesday and my bike was missing from the bike rack outside Union Station.

I went to the nearest security guard to report the apparent theft, and he promptly retrieved my &quot;stolen&quot; bike. As it turned out, my bike had been judged to be &quot;unsightly&quot; by Union Station standards and had been impounded. They had cut the lock and confiscated the machine, obviously without bothering to verify whether it was abandoned or just a little beat up.

Are they serious? Is this a message the District wants to send? Is this how the nation's capital is promoting sustainability? Is the city going to confiscate old cars that function perfectly well? Are banks going to reclaim houses that show some peeling paint? Give me a break . . . and a new bike lock while you're at it.


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Another thing for bicyclists to dodge

Biking in BaltimoreTwo Fridays ago the day started well – it was a beautiful morning for cycling and the Mayor's ride to Lake Montebello was very enjoyable. The day, unfortunately, did not end as well.
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WABA to Meet with DC Police; Witnesses to Crash Sought

Biking ElsewhereOn Friday, August 15, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) will meet with the DC Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) to express concerns over recent actions by the department that are contributing to the sense that bicyclists and pedestrians are not being adequately protected on Washington, DC's roadways. These actions include:

• the failure to provide information about the investigation into the death of Alice Swanson;
• an ill-timed enforcement program targeting cyclists; and
• the failure to cite a driver for fleeing the scene of a crash.

Six weeks ago, Alice Swanson, a 22-year old cyclist, was killed at the intersection of 20th and R Streets NW. Aside from an interim report issued by the department, no additional information has been provided by the department that might help prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future. WABA has been trying to get more details from the Major Crash Investigation Unit but repeated calls to the unit have remained unanswered.

WABA also has serious concerns about the poorly timed and poorly informed recent sting operation against cyclists near 16th and U Streets NW. With the timing of the enforcement stings so close after the death of Alice Swanson, the department appears to be blaming the victim and the tragedy of Ms. Swanson's death deserves a much more comprehensive approach involving stronger enforcement of traffic laws, and education efforts aimed at ALL roadway users.

WABA is also very concerned by the department's recent response to the incident involving a pedestrian who was struck in a crosswalk on K Street in downtown DC. As widely reported in the news the driver was cited $50 for failure to yield to a pedestrian in a crosswalk - with no arrest or penalty associated with the fact that he had also fled the scene of this crash. Under Title 50, section 2201.05 of the DC Code, the driver, if found guilty of fleeing the scene of a crash, would be subject to fines of not more than $500, or imprisonment of not more than 6 months.

Since the death of Ms. Swanson WABA has been working with the District Department of Transportation on designing improvements to the intersection where she was killed and also with the DC Council on legislative changes that would better protect those that walk and bike. However, without better enforcement of traffic laws and better understanding of the laws by police and cyclists, the effects of these efforts will be minimized. At the MPD meeting WABA will be specifically asking the police for the following:

1) detailed information about the investigation into Alice Swanson's death
2) better training of officers in bike and pedestrian laws
3) distribution of WABA's &quot;Pocket Guide to DC Bike Laws&quot; to all law enforcement officers
4) increased enforcement of traffic violations
5) support for increased fines for drivers that strike cyclists or pedestrians

It is the policy of the District of Columbia to promote safe walking and biking and MPD's role in that policy is critical. WABA will be sure to inform you of the results of the meeting. If you have any questions or other concerns that you feel need to be addressed please email waba&quot;at&quot;

Witnesses to Alice Swanson Crash Sought

The family of Alice Swanson is seeking to gather information about the circumstances by which Alice was struck and killed by a truck on the morning of Tuesday, July 8, 2008. If you, or anyone you know, has information about this, please contact James (Rory) Kelly, an investigator working on behalf of Alice's family. He can be contacted at (202) 661-0948. Please contact Rory and he will meet with you promptly.
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Baltimore City launches Baltimore CarShare program

Mass TransitComing Soon!

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!
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You Can Ride One of Mayor Fenty's Bicycles (But not the really good one)

Biking Elsewhere...
Tomorrow, D.C. transportation lords will unveil their long-awaited Smart Bike program (like the one Paris uses, and Barcelona and Oslo), making Washington the first major American city to provide this kind of grab-and-go bicycle for public use on short urban hops. (It's amazing that we beat Seattle or Portland to this particular Edge City punch.) The first 100 bikes at 10 automated racks around the city won't be officially available until Mayor Fenty snips the ribbon Wednesday, but I begged my way onto a list of beta testers who got access in advance. Last Thursday, I spent a few hours taking a city bike ride on a city bike. ...

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