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Thursday, July 30 2015 @ 06:09 PM UTC

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Stop Violence Against Cyclists

Biking in BaltimoreBy Mi Letts

Every time the weather warms up in Baltimore, it is time for bicyclists to think about how to protect themselves from children banning together to beat, and steal from bicyclists. Since we have few protected routes or practical streets of passage, our choices of travel are limited-- making us fish in a barrel, prime targets for these groups. We want the city to become proactive in protecting the cyclists, rather than reactive. We want plain clothed bicycle police patroling to stem the tide of violence in the most problematic areas.

Sign the petition: http://www.thepetitionsite.com/353/698/597/stop-violence-against-cyclist/
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Baltimore to fine parents $250 for double-parking at school drop-offs

Biking in BaltimoreBy Luke Broadwater, The Baltimore Sun

...
"Baltimore City could make millions of dollars," she said. "People come up with all kinds of excuses, but they're just lazy. I'm surprised no one has gotten run over."

...
Hornbeck regularly includes messages in the school newsletter that emphasize "we want people to park their cars a couple blocks away and walk their kids to school," he said.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/bs-md-school-fines-20150330-story.html
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How real estate lawyer Jon Laria became an unlikely leader for Baltimore's bicyclists

Biking in BaltimoreBy Kevin Litten, Baltimore Business Journal

...
Laria also makes an intriguing choice because he understands the consequences of not implementing the bike infrastructure called for. He called the master bike plan "really not a luxury, but an imperative — a must," and warned that if there isn't "real progress," people will begin to believe the plan will never become a reality.

"We need visible changes soon. We need to earn credibility. A year from now things have to look different," Laria said. "There needs to be a visible manifestation of this commitment, or people are not going to take it seriously."

http://m.bizjournals.com/baltimore/blog/real-estate/2015/04/how-real-estate-lawyer-jon-laria-became-an.html?r=full
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StreetSmart, a Washington, DC-area public safety campaign, has been running an ad that lots of people find objectionable

Biking in Baltimore"Don't be caught dead wearing black." [B' Spokes: Like we don't have street lights and black is an illegal color. :/]

Better, actually a lot better:
"Don't kill anyone with your car."

We need to stop the victim blaming!

My synopsis of http://www.vox.com/2015/3/31/8319189/pedestrian-safety-campaign
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DUBLIN, IRELAND TO BAN CARS FROM DOWNTOWN STREETS

Biking in Baltimore-> Dublin ranks just under Los Angeles for having some of the worst traffic jams in the world. The problem is predicted to get worse as the city quickly growssomehow, it will have to squeeze in 20% more commuters over the next decade. That's why the city is now deciding to make a radical shift: It wants to ban cars from several major downtown streets. In the proposed plan, the city wants to route cars around the city center, and turn major streets into car-free plazas and passages for buses, bikes, pedestrians, and a new tram line. [http://bit.ly/1IggFqg]

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.

[B' Spokes: Greater density calls for greater density forms of travel and single occupancy vehicles with three or more empty seats is not it.]
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So what does FHWA say about the minimum width of protected bike lane?

Biking in Baltimore"One-way separated bike lanes should have a minimum width of 5 ft. "

See Figure 8
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/environment/bicycle_pedestrian/publications/separated_bikelane_pdg/page07.cfm#chapter5_dir
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What to Do When You're Hit By a Car

Biking in Baltimorehttp://www.citylab.com/navigator/2015/05/what-to-do-when-youre-hit-by-a-car/393809/?fb_ref=Default
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ADDING NEW ROAD CAPACITY DOESNT IMPROVE CONGESTION

Biking in Baltimore-> Decades of traffic data across the United States shows that adding new road capacity doesn't actually improve congestion. The latest example of this is the widening of Los Angeles' I-405 freeway, which was completed last May after five years of construction and a cost of over $1 billion. "The data shows that traffic is moving slightly slower now on 405 than before the widening (405 Commutes Now a Minute Worse Than Before Carpool Lane: http://bit.ly/1AcBVLL), says Matthew Turner, a Brown University economist.

The main reason, Turner has found, is simple adding road capacity spurs people to drive more miles, either by taking more trips by car or taking longer trips than they otherwise would have. He and University of Pennsylvania economist Gilles Duranton call this the "fundamental rule" of road congestion (The Fundamental Law of Road Congestion: Evidence from US cities: http://bit.ly/1Hevghc): adding road capacity just increases the total number of miles traveled by all vehicles.
In an influential 2011 paper, they looked at the total capacity of highways in each metropolitan area in the US and compared it with the total number of vehicle miles traveled. They found a one-to-one correlation: the more highway capacity a metro area had, the more miles its vehicles traveled on them. A 10 percent increase in capacity, for instance, meant a 10 percent increase in vehicle miles, on average. [http://bit.ly/1S6NEBa]

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.



[B' Spokes: What ever mode of transportation gets the most support gets used the most. That should be fairly obvious by now.]

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US DOT MAYORS CHALLENGE UPDATE - and yes, Baltimore is now included

Biking in Baltimore-> As of May 19, 2015, 218 cities have signed on to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxxs Mayors Challenge (http://1.usa.gov/1Cx9G8C). (Check to see if yours is among them: http://1.usa.gov/1GjTMD8) The Challenge, part of the Secretarys Safer People, Safer Streets initiative to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety, calls for mayors and top elected officials to take a public stance to reduce pedestrian and bicycle crashes. The effort calls for cities to take action in seven areas:
Take a Complete Streets approach.

* Identify and address barriers to make streets safe and convenient for all road users, including people of all ages and abilities and those using assistive mobility devices.
* Gather and track biking and walking data.
* Use designs that are appropriate to the context of the street and its uses.
* Take advantage of opportunities to create and complete pedestrian and bicycle networks through maintenance.
* Improve walking and biking safety laws and regulations.
* Educate and enforce proper road use behavior by all.

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Recommendations shmasions, cars +1 foot, bikes -1 foot (Roland Cycle Track)

Biking in BaltimoreNo doubt I like nice things for cyclists but with a near constant trimming of recommendations for bike facilities in Baltimore they are less pleasant then advertised. Some cyclists (mostly those new to cycling) like the improvement others (generally those that have been cycling before the so called improvement) are not that happy with and are taken to avoid the bike facilities.

We are now facing a one way cycle track on Roland Ave with a speed limit of 25 mph. Roland is classified as an arterial collector. The critical widths in this discussion are:
4' bike lane, 2' buffer, flex posts, parking and two 10.5' travel lanes. (and the same for the other direction of the road. (And if it helps, the two directions are separated by a landscape median.)

I would be a lot happier with a 5' bike lane and two 10' travel lanes but since this is a State funded project lanes less than 10.5' are not allowed. I can sort of see that standard for State roads which are all arterial but on a local road? Baltimore has local roads as narrow as 9' and we manage.

The road in question in Google maps.
https://www.google.com/maps/@39.355961,-76.634585,3a,75y,346.16h,67.38t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1s6IrUvAz49QxjCxbVsgyPDg!2e0

In the first meeting a cyclist brought up the need to pass slower cyclists. And the Director of Transportation said something to the effect "I'm tired of all you cyclist and your speeding." And I'm thinking "But but bicyclists passing is mentioned in the official design considerations for cycle tracks." But one of the things I would love to see promoted is bike facilities that allow side by side riding, that is really nice when you can do that, especially if we are talking about young families taking their kids out for a bike ride.
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