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Friday, April 25 2014 @ 02:24 AM UTC
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National Commission Looks at Transportation for Tomorrow - when nobody bikes or walks???

Biking ElsewhereAs part of the $286.5 billion SAFETEA-LU federal transportation bill, Congress asked for the formation of a National Surface Transportation Policy and Revenue Study Commission to develop recommendations for the reauthorization of SAFETEA-LU. The 12-person Committee was charged with analyzing current and future needs for transportation; evaluating short term and long terms funding sources for the Highway Trust Fund; and framing policy recommendations for 15, 30 and 50 years.

The Commission included 12 individuals from throughout the Country, met for two years, and released its Transportation Tomorrow report in January 2008. Unfortunately, Safe Routes to School was not mentioned once, and walking and bicycling were generally left out of the 258 page document.

Deb Hubsmith, Director of the Safe Routes to School National Partnership says, "With nearly 10 percent of trips in the United States already being on foot or by bicycle, it's alarming that non-motorized modes were completely ignored in the Transportation Tomorrow report. We're going to have to make our case directly to Congress and show how Safe Routes to School improves public health, decreases traffic congestion, increases safety, and is an important part of the national transportation agenda. Any discussion about 'Transportation Tomorrow' should absolutely include a focus on today's children and how they travel to and from school. Many studies have shown how the built environment affects public health, physical activity and obesity, so its surprising that this report failed to make that important connection."

The report called for a "new authorization" of the next transportation bill, urging Congress to do away with the current structure and to collapse 108 current programs (including Safe Routes to School, Transportation Enhancements, Recreational Trails, CMAQ, etc) into 10 broad categories. It also called for performance-based decision making for investments, raising the gas tax by 25-40 cents/gallon, and for consideration of additional funding techniques such as measurement of VMT, congestion pricing, and public-private partnerships.
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Legally Speaking: Attack of the abominable snow (plow) man

Biking Elsewhere"If a driver cannot be prosecuted with video evidence and testimony from a victim for violating this statute [3 foot passing distance], when would such prosecution be appropriate?"

Next week, we
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If you are opposed to expanded nuclear power

Health & EnvironmentConstellation
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Every city deserves a ciclovia of its own

Biking in BaltimoreMichael Dresser, Baltimore Sun

Greg Cantori wants to get into the Colombian import business and bring his product to the streets of Baltimore.
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What he'd like to import is a concept called ciclovia - a weekly festival on the streets of Bogota. He and his colleagues have been meeting with city officials, urging them to bring the idea to Baltimore under the Americanized name "Sunday Streets." Cantori told the Maryland Bicycle Symposium meeting in Annapolis last week that the initial response has been encouraging.
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"Imagine Artscape every Sunday, spread out over 20 miles," Cantori said. "It becomes an extension of the park system."
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Gilmore said Cantori and city officials are scheduled to make a presentation to Mayor Sheila Dixon on the proposed Sunday Streets program next month.

Let's hope the mayor is in a receptive mood. This city could stand to slow down and have a little fun on Sundays.

If Baltimore acts quickly , it could become the first major U.S. city to make a ciclovia a regular event. It would be a welcome change to become known for a Colombian import that didn't contribute to the body count.
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Well done London

Biking ElsewherePlans for the super-cycleways will be unveiled next week as part of an initiative to stimulate a 400% increase in the number of people pedalling round the capital by 2025.

At a cost of
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Mike Gravel - Bike & Dog

PoliticsMike Gravel is running for president of the United States of America. And has a You Tube video of him riding a bike.
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Baltimore Regional Transportation Authority Study Task Force - Upcoming Hearing

Mass TransitSenate Bill 644 - Establishing a Baltimore Regional Transportation Authority Study Task Force to consider specified transportation-related issues, and to study and make recommendations regarding the creation of an independent transportation authority for a specified region; providing for the membership of the Task Force; requiring the Task Force to report to the Governor and the General Assembly by a specified date; etc.

There seems to be growing sentiment for such a Study Task Force to be created. Remember that this bill does not create a Baltimore Regional Transportation Authority. What it does is call for studying the idea of creating such an Authority (to take over from the MTA some or all of the Baltimore Region's transportation planning, funding, operating and maintaining duties).
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Why Not? Black Box for Cars

Biking ElsewhereWhen we started this column last year, FORBES challenged us to report back if any why-not ideas make it to the product shelf. Road Safety International offers an inspiring example of bringing a why-not idea to market. Driving a car is one of the most dangerous things people do. There are 24 million auto accidents a year, and 2.4 million people are injured in them. Annually, the number of auto fatalities would be equivalent to the deaths from a 737 plane crash every day.

Most of us don't want to think about the dangers of driving. That fatalistic attitude is wrong. It's possible to make automobiles safer and make money in the process. To see how, take a lesson from airplanes. The first thing people do after a plane crash is look for the "black box" (more formally known as the event data recorder). Why not a black box for cars? It would allow police and carmakers to understand what happened just before the crash. The traditional way of reconstructing events, looking at skid marks and steel deformation, is extremely unreliable.
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It isn't only that black boxes can make cars safer. They can also make safer drivers. The Berlin highway safety administration found that after the city's police department started using data recorders in their patrol cars, damage during rescue trips fell by 36%. Also in Germany, a taxi company installed these boxes in its fleet and collision rates fell by 66%. In the U.S., Sunstar Emergency Medical Services found that black boxes reduced its ambulance accidents by 95%. If there were a drug as effective in saving lives, people would be clamoring outside the Food & Drug Administration for its approval.

Just knowing the box is there changes drivers' behavior. Fear of getting caught may be a more powerful motivator than fear of getting killed....
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HOUSE BILL 143 - Safe passing and right of way in a bike lane

Bike LawsSynopsis:

Requiring that a driver of a motor vehicle, when overtaking a bicycle, an Electric Personal Assistive Mobility Device (EPAMD), or a motor scooter, not pass unless the driver can do so safely without endangering the rider; requiring a driver of a motor vehicle to yield the right-of-way to a person who is riding a bicycle, an EPAMD, or a motor scooter in a bicycle lane; etc.
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Speeding New York's Buses

Mass TransitThis article sounds a lot like here.

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Almost 20 separate north-south bus routes in Manhattan require close to two hours to complete their 10-mile journey. You can take Amtrak 110 miles from New York to Philadelphia and enjoy an authentic Philly Cheese steak in about 90 minutes.
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Despite the dismal statistics, any effort to boost the quality and popularity of mass transit in New York City must include buses. Improving bus service remains far easier, faster and more cost efficient to than improving the subway system.

"Unlike subway lines, when talking about buses these are not items that need huge multimillion dollar capital output," said New York City Councilmember John Liu, chairman of the Transportation Committee. "We're talking months, not years or decades. It is common sense."
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In 2001, the city [Bogot

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