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Thursday, February 11 2016 @ 07:00 PM UTC
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Planning Board fails to fix the ICC Trail

Biking in MarylandFrom our good friends at WashCycle:
Marc Fischer starts it off

Nay to Maryland's builders of the Intercounty Connector, who have bizarrely decided that while a massive highway is no threat to the environment, a little separate bike path alongside the new highway would be, and therefore the bike path--long promised as a sop to those who were appalled by the prospect of the new highway--must die.

a 10-foot wide bike path is a menace to the critters, but a six-lane superhighway is man's latest gift to nature.
So, there wasn't $10 million in the budget for the trail, but there was $100 million for the overrun? Oh yeah, that was just one segment too. But I'm sure they can recapture the overrun in other segments.
The testimony to the Planning Board (emails and letters) in June was overwhelmingly pro-bike trail. There were around 100 pro-trail emails sent, but I saw only one against the trail. The writer of that letter supported "trees over trails" which at first I took literally ["I too enjoy a good tree canopy over my trail" I thought] but then realized he meant "don't cut down trees to build trails". But all the others I skimmed seemed to be in favor of not changing the plans.
So they decided to go with the alignment no one wanted except for that guy who prefers trees to trails [I need to reread that letter, it must've been very convincing].
The last time the planning board submitted a substandard plan to the county council, MoBike fought it and won

we went to the County Council in 2005 and they unanimously overruled the Planning Board decision and said the trail should be built within the ICC right-of-way from Needwood Road to the county line. So we'll do that again if we have to.

It looks like they will.
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Bike Friendly Community Update

Biking in BaltimoreI learned yesterday from Bill Nesper at the League of American Bicyclists that Baltimore received an Honorable Mention as a Bicycle Friendly Community (BFC)!

This is an important designation highlighting our recent achievements to improve cycling conditions around Baltimore .

While communities may only apply every 4 years, Baltimore was granted an exception and encouraged to resubmit an application next year! With DOT’s planned bicycle improvements and lane mileage from Operation Orange Cone, Baltimore stands a very good chance at improving our BFC status.

Thanks to all for your contribution in helping make Baltimore a bike friendly community!

Nate Evans
Bike & Pedestrian Planner
City of Baltimore
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New Bike Racks at Penn Station

Biking in BaltimoreIn a joint effort between MTA, Baltimore City Department of Transportation and the Parking Authority of Baltimore City, new bike racks have been installed at Penn Station. They are located on the inside circle directly across from the station entrance and just inside the garage entrance. The existing racks are due to be removed in the next week or so due to new regulations issued by the Department of Homeland Security. See attached press release.

In order to help make bicycle commuters aware of the new racks, Nate Evans and I will be at Penn Station tomorrow at 5:15 am. I realize this is short notice and way too early for any of us to be out of the house, but please consider joining us to help make this transition as painless as possible.

If you are not able to join us, please check out the new racks and help us spread the word.

Thank you!

Tiffany James
Parking Authority of Baltimore City
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Good exercise in futility

Biking in BaltimoreA Washington Post cartoon:
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One Less Car Forum

Bike Maryland updatesIf you have ideas on what it would take to make Maryland a better place for biking, walking or mass transit stop by One Less Car's forum and express yourself.
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Yahoo’s Purple Pedals

Biking ElsewhereStart Wearing Purple, Yahoo!

Yahoo has a new ad campaign called “Start Wearing Purple“; the main theme song is Start Wearing Purple by the band Gogol Bordello. Great song.

Part of the new ad campaign is a set of custom-made bicycles, colored purple (Yahoo’s primary color), that automatically takes pictures and uploads them to Flickr (a photo-sharing website that Yahoo bought) with a mounted digital camera. The pitch: “Bikes + Flickr + GPS + Purple + holy moly”. The bikey contraptions will capture “the life of a bike” in various towns across America (San Francisco, New York, San Diego, Jersey City, and Bethel, Vermont) and a few spots around the world (Copenhagen, the UK, Sydney, and Singapore). ...
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Get out of my bike lane

Biking ElsewherePedaling to work is such a joyful thing -- if only all those recent new cyclists (with an aversion to high gas prices) would go back to their cars.
By Del Dickson, Special to The Times

Southern California should be a bicycling paradise. The weather is perfect, the roads wide and the terrain favorable. Given our natural advantages, we should have named one of our cities after the Madonna del Ghisallo, the patron saint of cyclists.

So why don't we have better cycling infrastructure? Holland and other progressive countries have beautiful networks of bicycle-only highways that take you anywhere you want to go.

Why don't we? Blame the bicyclist's natural predator: the automobile. Cars suck up public money and real estate as greedily as they consume fossil fuel, and drivers see bicycles as unwelcome competition.

As far as I can tell, most drivers are not actively trying to kill bicyclists. They just don't care whether we live or die. If a driver wants to turn right 6 inches in front of me without signaling, that is, apparently, my problem.

A few drivers go out of their way to be polite, waving cyclists through busy intersections or giving us a few inches of extra room as they pass. These people make it a joy to ride, and I just wish there were more of them.

Sadly, there are a lot of hostile drivers out there. It is difficult to get a driver's license if you are an illegal immigrant, but it is easy to get one if you are sociopath. Hostiles not only believe that cyclists don't belong on the road, they also want to hurt us. They honk, yell, throw things, buzz us and occasionally run us over. They are a minority, but even one can wreck your day.

What is most disturbing is that drivers seem to have a license to kill when it comes to cyclists.

When a driver hits a cyclist, he or she will invariably say, "I never saw her." And they almost always get away with it. It is rare that a driver is ticketed, let alone charged with a more serious crime, when a cyclist is injured or dies at the hands of a motorist. Cyclists are, to drivers and to the law, invisible.

Despite the perils, I love to cycle. I commute from National City to the University of San Diego two or three days a week and ride 400 to 500 miles each month.

Why do I ride? I could claim to be an environmentalist, but I am as indifferent toward the Earth as anyone. Last year, I put enough AA batteries into the landfill to make Iron Eyes Cody cry for a week.

I do have one environmentalist fantasy. I want to ride up to a Prius at a stoplight and berate the driver for destroying the Earth just as surely as if he drove a Hummer, only a bit more slowly. They have it coming.

I do not ride for economic reasons. I rode almost as much when gas was 50 cents a gallon.

Like most cyclists, I ride for selfish, intangible reasons. I love the long stretches of quiet when I can reflect and be alone with my thoughts, punctuated by moments of terror when I am helpfully reminded of the fragility of mortal life.
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Ike skews gas; some stations ask $5 a gallon

Biking ElsewhereWell it looks like we are going to get some more encouragement to get more people on bikes.
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Being attacked while riding

Biking in BaltimoreBefore I moved here 3 weeks ago, I heard stories about how young males will try to pull bicyclists off while the bicyclists are moving --- sometimes for mugging, and sometimes just to mess with them --- and it took my breath away. Having almost lost my life or mobility in a high school bike accident, I've never heard of one person trying to do that to another.

That is partly why I chose to live in the suburbs, in Pikesville. I've never in my life lived in a suburb, but it seemed like this was the only place where I wouldn't feel as constrained by all the invisible boundaries in the city proper.

Today at 5 pm in the full light of afternoon, I was biking down a steep hill on Fallstaff right before Park Heights near Northwestern High School going about 18 mph, and a young male who was biking slowly back and forth in the middle of the street perpendicular to me suddenly biked directly into my path, lunged towards me and screamed. I swerved and screamed "Watch it!" and the guy and his friend on the side of the street laughed. Given the hill and my speed, I could have been killed or paralyzed if our relative positions had differed by a few feet.

Unbelievable. I was so scared that I started crying on the rest of my way home.

I've heard stories of people being messed with near that high school, so I suppose I will avoid the area in the future, but adding yet another invisible boundary doesn't address the problem. There's nothing illegal about his actions as long as I didn't get hurt, so it's not like I could report that. This is in a solidly middle class neighborhood --- the other neighborhoods where I've heard of people on bikes being messed with were in East Baltimore.

Any thoughts?

Other than moving away, which 1/2 an hour after all this happened looks like a really good option.
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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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