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Friday, November 21 2014 @ 06:55 PM UTC
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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.
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.

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.
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."
In 2001, the city [Bogot
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Wiki bike maps and bike routes

Biking Elsewhere
OpenStreetMap is a free editable map of the whole world. It is made by people like you.
OpenStreetMap allows you to view, edit and use geographical data in a collaborative way from anywhere on Earth.
OpenStreetMap's hosting is kindly supported by the UCL VR Centre and bytemark.

While there are no local bike routes yet, there is a lot of potential here. They are using this in the UK to produce the following bike map:
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It's dangerous, but Miami is getting friendlier to bikes.

Biking ElsewhereGabrielle Redfern, Miami Beach's one-woman bike lobby, rides with daughter Elsie along the three-block bike lane on 42nd Street. "It goes from nowhere to nowhere. It was my first victory."

Before the sun rises over Miami
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Chicago Mayor defending cyclist

Biking in BaltimoreChicago bicyclists, Mayor Daley knows your pain.

The mayor introduced an ordinance Wednesday that would slap fines ranging from $150 to $500 on motorists who turn left or right in front of someone on a bicycle; pass with less than three feet of space between car and bike; and open a vehicle door into the path of a cyclist.

Daley, an avid rider, said he personally has been involved in unhappy encounters with motorists, providing them with "a few choice words" and "salutes" that he said were delivered "in the Chicago way."
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Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change

Health & Environment"Curbing emissions from cars depends on a three-legged stool: improved vehicle efficiency, cleaner fuels, and a reduction in driving," said lead author Reid Ewing, Research Professor at the National Center for Smart Growth, University of Maryland. "The research shows that one of the best ways to reduce vehicle travel is to build places where people can accomplish more with less driving."

Depending on several factors, from mix of land uses to pedestrian-friendly design, compact development reduces driving from 20 to 40 percent, and more in some instances, according to the forthcoming book Growing Cooler: The Evidence on Urban Development and Climate Change. Typically, Americans living in compact urban neighborhoods where cars are not the only transportation option drive a third fewer miles than those in automobile-oriented suburbs, the researchers found.

The Three-Legged Stool Needed to Reduce CO2 from Automobiles

Transportation CO2 reduction can be viewed as a three-legged stool, with one leg related to vehicle fuel efficiency, a second to the carbon content of the fuel itself, and a third to the amount of driving or vehicle miles traveled (VMT). Energy and climate policy initiatives at the federal and state levels have pinned their hopes almost exclusively on shoring up the first two legs of the stool, through the development of more efficient vehicles (such as hybrid cars) and lower-carbon fuels (such as biodiesel fuel). Yet a stool cannot stand on only two legs.

As the research compiled in this publication makes clear, technological improvement in vehicles and fuels are likely to be offset by continuing, robust growth in VMT. Since 1980, the number of miles Americans drive has grown three times faster than the U.S. population, and almost twice as fast as vehicle registrations (see Figure 0-1). Average automobile commute times in metropolitan areas have risen steadily over the decades, and many Americans now spend more time commuting than they do vacationing.
This raises some questions, which this report addresses. Why do we drive so much? Why is the total distance we drive growing so rapidly? And what can be done to alter this trend in a manner that is effective, fair, and economically acceptable?

The growth in driving is due in large part to urban development, or what some refer to as the built environment. Americans drive so much because we have given ourselves little alternative. For 60 years, we have built homes ever farther from workplaces, created schools that are inaccessible except by motor vehicle, and isolated other destinations
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Bush Admin Wants to Rob Transit to Pay for Highways

PoliticsMore of this is good???

It proposes to shore up the Highway Account of the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) by
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Condoning speeding may imperil others

Biking in BaltimoreLetters to the Editor (Sun)

Michael Dresser's article "Up to speed" (Feb. 3) exposes the great variation in speed enforcement among Maryland jurisdictions.

In counties such as Montgomery County, police often write speeding tickets that cite speeds of one to nine miles over the posted limit when drivers were going far faster.

Why give them a mere slap on the wrist?

Cpl. Jimmy Robinson, a police spokesman, explained: "We are very proud of the caliber of the citizens" of Montgomery County. He deems it unfair to penalize such drivers with a three-point citation and a fine of hundreds of dollars.

Fair to the speeding drivers? How about to the other citizens of Montgomery County, whose lives are jeopardized by speeders? Is this policy fair to them?

Speeding is a major cause of crashes, especially fatal crashes. Speed increases the likelihood of a crash because a driver has less time to react.

In a crash, higher speed increases the severity of injuries and the chance of fatalities.

I hope counties that make a practice of trivializing speed infractions will begin to consider the rights of other road-users, who deserve protection.

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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

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The state should support what kind of bicycle facilities?

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