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Monday, July 28 2014 @ 02:22 PM UTC


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Where H.L. Mencken Learned to Ride a Bicycle

Biking in Baltimore

H.L. Mencken learned to ride a bicycle in the lot behind a bicycle shop owned by Joseph Wiesenfeld at the southwest corner of West Baltimore and Paca Streets. He recalled the story in a piece from Mencken on Mencken, a collection of autobiographical writing originally published in the New Yorker and Esquire during the 1940s:

…in an ancient two-story house which still stands, was Joe Wiesenfeld’s bicycle shop, and at the rear of it was a large yard, floored like a room. On that floor, coached by one of Little Joe’s salesmen, I learned to ride a bicycle. It all seems remote and archaic today, like mastering the subtleties of medieval equitation. But bicycling was a great and urgent matter in 1889, when the pneumatic tire came in.


Read more:
[There is a nice old photograph of the building with a couple of bikes parked outside here as well.]
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America's Coolest Cities - #14 Baltimore

Biking in Baltimorevia Forbes

14. Baltimore, MD
M.S.A.: Baltimore-Towson, MD
Arts & Culture Index: 96
Recreation Index: 98
Diversity Index: 57
Number of Local Eats: 4,451
Median Age: 38
Unemployment: 7.1%
2011 Net Migration: 4,610 people
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City Receiving $2 Million for Transit and Bike/Ped Infrastructure

Biking in BaltimoreBy Ron Cassie, Baltimore Magazine

The Baltimore City Department of Transportation has won four grants under two state and federal programs to upgrade bus and light rail service, further develop the downtown bicycle network, improve the Inner Harbor promenade and teach bicycle safety, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced today.

“Families are attracted to strong neighborhoods with transportation choices including bikeways and safe pedestrian access,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said in a press release, touting the grants as a step toward her oft-stated goal of attracting 10,000 new families to the city. “These grants will go a long way to increase quality of life in Baltimore’s neighborhoods.” Rawlings-Blake thanked U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, the Maryland Congressional Delegation and Gov. Martin O’Malley for their work in providing these grants to Baltimore.
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City's Lake Avenue Traffic Response Annoys Residents

Biking in BaltimoreBy Adam Bednar, North Baltimore Patch

The city’s response to residents concerns about the speed of traffic and congestion on Lake Avenue has left some residents extremely frustrated.

Nearly three months after residents met with city officials to discuss their concerns, nothing has been done to address the problems. Residents are now worried plans to construct a bike route connecting Mt. Washington and Belvedere Square using shared bike and car lanes, known as “Sharrows,” along Lake Avenue will make matters worse.

"It seems to me like the city is only interested in moving a lot of traffic along Lake Avenue," said Robin Reid, president of The Orchards Association.

At the end of the meeting the officials said they would examine what could be done to address residents concerns about traffic, which came to a head after a hit and run accident involving a cyclist.

"The Traffic Division advises that the study for the intersections of Lake & Stony Run and Lake & Kenmore have been completed. From the investigation, traffic volumes and crash data did not support the installation of stop signs at these locations. The locations do not satisfy the warrants for consideration of the installation of all way stops," Kohl Fallin, the areas transportation liaison, wrote to community leaders.

She also said that a bike route along Lake Avenue isn’t feasible until the situation with congestion and speed are properly addressed by the city.

The full article:

B' Spokes: Hmm, I've ridden Lake Ave. and found it rather pleasant but then again I'm comfortable riding in traffic. At least Lake is better then Northern Parkway, you can't make bike traffic completely disappear, it's got to go somewhere and Lake is the best option we have at this point.

I wish I better understood the concerns of the residents but if they want larger gaps in the traffic to make entering Lake from the side streets easier, try eliminating the rights-on-red entering Lake. If it is the speed of traffic, try speed tables. Both should circumvent the "warrant" issue described and the latter should fall under the traffic calming program.

But in general we have a problem with the false ideology that "every street needs to be an expressway" and I am sick of the city giving credence to this type of thinking. That is just wrong, we need a mix of arterials and side streets, Northern Parkway is the arterial and Lake is the side street. Ya I know drivers would love to make Lake a short cut to avoid all the traffic on Northern Parkway, but the only way to make it a viable short cut is to speed and that's just wrong, if you are not willing to do the speed limit then don't use the road.

Lastly, does anyone have any info on the hit-and-run? I can't find anything searching the internet.
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Support new ideas for Baltimore

Biking in Baltimore

Submit your own ideas or add your support for ideas already listed.
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Sometimes the Simplest Ideas Make the Best Pop-Ups

Biking in BaltimoreB' Spokes: I still think one option we have in Baltimore to fight the resistance to bike infrastructure is to call for temporary (or a study, experimental) treatments of a street. I think it would be really cool to get something extra (for approx a month) during the spring or fall when cycling ridership is the highest. And let's bring in other sustainable options in with it as well, need inspiration?

POP UP ROCKWELL is a one-week experiment to test “complete & green street” improvements on downtown Cleveland’s Rockwell Avenue (between W. Roadway and E. 6th Street), which took place during April 21 - 27, 2012. The temporary street transformation explores fresh ideas for making the street more pedestrian and bicyclist friendly. Going beyond two-dimensional drawings used in typical public meetings, Pop Up Rockwell allows people to physically experience a future vision of the city in three dimensions, in a real environment, and provide feedback before large financial and political investments are made.

The project builds on the Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative's (CUDC) expertise in temporary urbanism developed through Pop Up City, an initiative started by the CUDC in 2007. The project is led by graduate students at Kent State University's Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, but involves partnership with several stakeholder groups representing advocacy organizations, non-profits, municipal government, federal agencies and local businesses. The temporary installations include Cleveland’s first cycle track, stormwater bio-filtration benches, enhanced transit waiting areas and wind animated public art. Lessons learned from the short-term project may influence permanent changes, which support the City of Cleveland’s Complete & Green Streets Ordinance and Group Plan Commission recommendations.

More info available at:

Further reading:
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Bike Lane Violations

Biking in BaltimoreVia

Help Bikemore enforce Baltimore's bike lanes! When you see a vehicle in a bike lane, take a photo, report it to 311, and then e-mail the photo--plus the violation number, date, time, and location--to bikemorebmore"at" We'll post them here!
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We Spend Too Much Time Trying To Predict Traffic

Biking in BaltimoreB' Spokes: There is no doubt we have trouble getting bike lanes because of the perception of "all this traffic", well Mark has a great post on traffic prediction which I will quote a bit:
discussions revolve around auto traffic like there was a tsunami headed for Baltimore

Read the full article:
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John Crouch rides 1,600 to raise money for kids wheeelchairs

Biking in BaltimoreA nice heart worming story that started in Baltimore:
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Kickstarter: Druid Hill Park Passport: Discover; Enjoy; Learn; Be active!

Biking in Baltimore

About this project

Druid Hill Park Passport 

When Baltimore Green Map created the tantalizing, informative Druid Hill Park Green Map, we set aside 5000 maps for this Passport project. Why? Because it's one thing to learn about a place by reading a map, but our goal is to have more people experience more aspects of the park, to visit it frequently, and ultimately become advocates for maintaining and improving it.  "Discover. Enjoy. Learn. Be active!" covers the sequence we hope to inspire. This Kickstarter will fund activity refinement, graphic design, and printing of 5000 passports

The Passport, accompanied by the DH map, will be a guide to this wonderful 745-acre park in the center of Baltimore, Maryland. It will contain 16 pages of activities to help you get to know the park through experiences around the themes: Nature, Exercise, History and Culture.  With each activity you will record the results, then bring the passport to the Conservatory to get it stamped. Actually observing, listening, walking, running, playing, relaxing at places throughout the park, then recording, composing, drawing, imitating, exerting, can you resist becoming a Druid Hill Park fan? Passport + map will be available for free at places and events in the park and by request.

Key to this project is our use of the international Green Map® icons to signify the resources in the park and to be the actual stamps. I started Baltimore Green Map as the local mapmaking affiliate of this international network. I wanted to "map the positives" here in Baltimore, the places that contribute to making this such an interesting and livable city. We look forward to sharing this project as a model for other Green Mappers, now active in 63 countries worldwide, mapping what makes communities livable and sustainable.

We are testing ideas now with Friends of Druid Hill Park members, park-enthusiast families, and willing neighbors to be sure the instructions are clear and the activities engaging. Our graphic designer, Elizabeth Gething, has created some fine sample pages! 

Our Incentives

The Passport is very much a collaborative project. Advocates and stewards of the park are pitching in to offer a wide variety of incentives.  You can choose rewards that highlight any of our themes - nature, exercise, history & culture - or just feel good that you are helping.  We will invite you to a celebration at the very wonderful Rawlings Conservatory when the Passport is completed, but will send it out if you cannot attend. 

Even if you don't live in Baltimore, you will love the map, created in collaboration with graphic designer Joanne Cooper Wingard. It was featured in the most recent Cooper Hewitt National Design Triennial exhibit.

I'm grateful to my Passport partners - the Friends of Druid Hill Park, the Rawlings Conservatory staff, Disc Golfers, and Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Department.  Huge thanks to Chris Hartlove who helped me create our video, to Harlan Brothers for use of his music, "Secret Song," and to you Kickstarters who help us complete this project!

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