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Sunday, June 26 2016 @ 08:44 PM UTC

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When governments make road data public, anyone can help make roads safer

Biking in MarylandBy Jacob Mason , Greater Greater Washington

This map shows where people have been caught speeding in Montgomery County this summer. If DC and other local jurisdictions released more open data, we could make maps like this for places all over the region.
...

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/27732/when-governments-make-road-data-public-anyone-can-help-make-roads-safer/
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MD DOT: $14 M FOR WALKING, BIKING & TRAIL ACCESS

Biking in MarylandMD DOT: $14 M FOR WALKING, BIKING & TRAIL ACCESS
-> This year Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and its State Highway Administration is making $14 million in reimbursable grant funding available for projects that enhance walking, biking, and recreational trail access statewide. MDOT is making state and federal funding available to support enhancements to Maryland’s bicycle and pedestrian network through its Maryland’s Bikeways, Safe Routes to School, Transportation Alternatives and Recreational Trails programs. http://bit.ly/1sKxGnH

MDOT also recently updated its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan (http://1.usa.gov/20StrS7), which establishes a 20-year vision to support cycling and walking as modes of transportation.

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



[B' Spokes: It looks like we are finally getting federal money rather then just state money. (Was $3 million from state money.)]
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Traffic deaths in Maryland up 17.3 percent in 2015.

Biking in MarylandBy Ben Weathers, Capital Gazette

Some 520 people died on Maryland roadways last year – an increase of 17.3 percent from the previous year, state transportation officials said Tuesday.
...

"There's no sugar coating this news and quite frankly these numbers are unacceptable," Ports said.


The state saw a 35 percent increase in traffic fatalities involving commercial vehicles and a 26 percent increase in fatalities involving young drivers, officials said.

In addition, the bicycle fatalities doubled — from five in 2014 to 10 last year, officials said.
[B' Spokes: IMHO as long as we stay below 12 cycling deaths a year, we are good. Stating this as a doubling does not do our small numbers of deaths justice.]

Anne Arundel, however, saw a slight decrease from 35 traffic deaths in 2014 to 33 last year, officials said.

...

Jurisdictions that saw increases in 2015:

•Baltimore City saw 39 traffic deaths, up 10.

•Baltimore County saw 65 traffic deaths, an increase of six.

•Harford County saw 22 traffic deaths, an increase of five.

•Carroll County saw 16 traffic deaths, an increase of five.

•Queen Anne's County saw six traffic deaths, an increase of three.

•Howard County saw 18 traffic deaths, an increase of two.

The increase comes even though Maryland State Police troopers conducted some 564,000 traffic stops in 2015, said Col. William Pallozzi, police superintendent.

Police continue to aggressively enforce traffic laws and seek out impaired drivers. Troopers have conducted 30,000 traffic stops in April alone, Pallozzi said.
...

http://www.capitalgazette.com/news/for_the_record/ph-ac-cn-traffic-deaths-0427-20160426-story.html

[B' Spokes: Thank you legislature for raising the speed limit and nixing our bike safety bills! I'm sure that helped a lot. [/sarcasium] The big question is what have the county police been doing and more to the point does Baltimore even try to do traffic enforcement? And of course the Highway Safety Office and it's victim blaming safety messages has helped. [/even more sarcasium] It's going to get worce till reducing traffic deaths becomes a top priority for the police and MDOT.]
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IT'S TIME TO BREAK UP MARYLAND'S STATE HIGHWAY ADMINISTRATION

Biking in MarylandBY JEFF LEMIEUX, Strong Towns

"Despite the fabulous mural in their conference room, SHA is dominated by highway engineers, not street engineers. Trying to make a neighborhood street function like a highway is dangerous and unproductive. I think Maryland needs to split SHA into two separate organizations: one to build and maintain the true highways, and a completely separate organization, a State Streets Administration, to re-build and maintain our major commercial and residential streets."

http://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2016/4/5/its-time-to-break-up-marylands-state-highway-administration

[B' Spokes: Don't get me wrong, Interstates are great, they let me vist relatives and go on vacations but during rush hour they are a miserable experience and catastrophically fail. Even worce, these behemoth of expense, fail when you need them most are idealized as the ultimate in road design. So why not try to get every rode to emulate some feature of the Interstate?

And this is where it all falls apart, high speeds, generous turning radius, no stopping whatsoever all make sense on roads that are grade separated from other roads so no conflict points as well as cyclists and pedestrians have no need to cross such a road with the cars but not any where else.

Local streets need to have a different character than the interstates, like sharper turning radius that is slower and safer for everyone. Not to mention SHA puts some local street designs on the interstates, like my pet peeve, I swear this is a conversation SHA has:"We just spent $40 million on this interchage and are over budget how can we save money? I know we can save money by not painting really bold visible crosswalks just two thin lines, you know the kind that look like spastic stop lines." (Ref: area around Eastpointe Mall) With a $2 billion budget that are "saving" money with a bit less paint while Maryland pedestrian fatality rate is the top ten worst?!?! And not to mention the percentage of traffic fatalities that are pedestrian, that's also really bad compared to everyone else.

There is something seriously wrong within MDOT. It seems to me that since 2000 we have been enacting more and more laws that basically say MDOT do your job right. Is this going to be the next topic we try to pass a law on? Like the current transportation scoring bill, or the not to distant past "Establish bicycle and pedestrian priority areas and we really mean it this time" law. (Ref: http://www.baltimorespokes.org/article.php?story=20150418204955785 )]
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Translated - Victims of road violence

Biking in MarylandVia my Inbox

After reports began to circulate last week of a gruesome hit and run in the Fill in the Blank neighborhood of Baltimore, Maryland, people started asking the usual questions about the cyclist at the center of the attack: Was she drunk? Was she running red lights? Did she say or do anything to provoke the attack? Does she have a history of “aggressive riding"? Maybe she got what she deserved for slowing drivers down….

As Baltimore City Councilwoman Tell Itlikeitis sees it, all of these questions are code for 'How can we blame this cyclist for the act of violence committed against her?' So in a recent appearance on CNN, Tell Itlikeitis didn't just call out the victim-blaming language people are using to describe the case — she completely shut it down.

Speaking live with anchor Pamela Brown on Wednesday, the councilwoman highlighted the public's tendency to respond to hit and run assault cases with questions about victims' behavior, calling the typical reaction to violence against cyclists "not appropriate."

"There needs to be legislation, there needs to be strategy, there needs to be implementation as well as enforcement," Cumbo said. "Every cyclist in the city of Baltimore should feel safe, whether they are coming home late at night, early in the morning, coming from a party or going to work extremely late."

Like clockwork, Brown immediately fell into the trap of blaming the victim, asking Tell Itlikeitis for more information about the cyclist's behavior the night of the alleged attack. "Law enforcement sources have told CNN that this alleged victim in this case was riding in the middle of the lane, slowing traffic and yelling at cars that came too close," Brown said. "What can you tell us about that?"

Tell Itlikeitis responded, without missing a beat:
"I would say that that's typical of just what I spoke about — that individuals often talk about the cyclist; they rarely talk about the individuals who actually committed the crime. Those are the individuals that need to be focused on right now." She continued:

We shouldn't talk about whether she should have been even riding a bike, we shouldn't talk about whether she was properly dressed, we shouldn't talk about the time in the evening that it happened. That is too typical of the situation of how we discuss hit and runs in the city, the nation and, really, the world. We need to focus in this situation on those individuals that committed this heinous crime, and what were the bad decisions that they made all throughout the day.

Tell Itlikeitis response reiterates what anti-cyclist assault activists have been saying for a long time, evidently to no avail: The only people responsible for hit and runs are drivers, not victims. Regardless of what they wear or how much they ride, where they were riding or how many others ride with them, cyclists are never "asking for it." Victims of hit and runs are called "victims" because perpetrators commit criminal acts of violence against them, the same reason victims of burglary, battery and murder are called the same thing.

As Tell Itlikeitis went on to tell Brown, victim-blaming tends to go hand-in-hand with other cultural ills — specifically, institutional racism, anonymity and classism — in giving perpetrators the sense that they can act with impunity.

"A lot of it is neglect," she said. "[The alleged hit and runners are] thinking that because they're anonymous in their car, that no one really cares what they do in this community. There will be no repercussions."

But classism, arrogance of might-is-right, and cultural neglect aren't the only types of ignorance that contribute to our right to drive culture. Our willingness to blame victims and protect car drivers also allows affluent college students and star athletes to commit assault with the sense that they might just get away with it.

Tell Itlikeitis is saying otherwise. Before signing off, she made one final point about violence against cyclists, a guide to change the way we think and talk about hit and runs.

"We're discussing this matter," she said, "because we want to let individuals know: Whether you are on the bridge to East or West Baltimore or Downtown or wherever, all people on bikes matter — and we're here to make sure that message is sent loud and clear."
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County Police to SHA on Henson Trail crossing: "I told you so"

Biking in MarylandVia The WashCycle

...
Captain Thomas Didone, who heads the county police department’s traffic division, is blunt about it.

“People trying to cross are universally ignored by drivers,” he said. “We have done many, many crosswalk stings at that location and every time we go we write as many tickets as we can handle.”
...

http://www.thewashcycle.com/2015/12/county-police-to-sha-on-henson-trail-crossing-i-told-you-so.html

[B' Spokes: I'm posting this because I'm tiered of pedestrian "safety" messages that blame the victim and "cross only in the crosswalk". Crosswalks are totally useless and if you are the one that needs takes responsibility for your own safety then crossing mid-block has fewer conflicts and better visibility, so they call that illegal jaywalking but just one problem, jaywalking is not illegal, it's crossing between consecutive streets controlled by lights that's illegal. - But more to the point if people are dying or injured here slow the cars down! With big awful speed bumps and lots of them, Or maybe for each person seriously hurt trying to cross the road one speed bump will be placed. That way motorist will get the idea that they are the ones that are making driving conditions worse and maybe they just might do what they are supposed to when they come across other types of road users.]
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Improvements coming to intersection where bicyclist died

Biking in MarylandB' Spokes: On one hand it's nice to see them doing something but on the other hand it's just lipstick on a pig, the substance of the problem remains. Bigger stop signs, come on, that's not going to do a thing. The issue is basically that if you accommodate a behavior, you get that behavior. In this case a right turn to an acceleration lane is the problem.

To explain further, people stop if there is cross traffic, no cross traffic little to no compliance for coming to a full and complete stop, too much like the wide radius right turns they put everywhere so people turning right don't have to stop, heck they don't even have to slow down.

The cheap fix would be to put a raised crosswalk in to make sure turning trucks slowed down significantly before turning (I believe the cost to be around $500). A better option would be to get rid of the acceleration lane and put a stop light in (I believe the cost to be around $2000.)

So there you have it, to prevent another cyclists death is not worth $2000. So sad that either of these options are not considered viable solutions.

WBAL's coverage: http://www.wbaltv.com/news/improvements-coming-to-intersection-where-bicyclist-died/35801248
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Hogan Announces $14M For Pedestrian, Bike Projects Throughout Maryland

Biking in MarylandHANOVER, Md. (WJZ) — Governor Larry Hogan announced Tuesday that Maryland has received $14.9 million in grants for bicycle, pedestrian and multi-use trail projects across the state.

The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is awarding a total of 63 grants, including $2.77 million in Bikeways Program grants, $1.03 million in Recreational Trails Program grants, and $11.1 million in Transportation Alternatives Program grants.
...

http://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2015/09/29/hogan-announces-14m-for-pedestrian-bike-projects-throughout-maryland/

[Includes a link to a complete list of projects.]
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Suburban-style streets don't fit a busy Bethesda corner

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: There are a lot of good points and logic that can be applied elsewhere around the state in this article. We need to get rid of this cars first even at the expense of other modes of travel attitude from too many traffic engineers. There are solutions that work well for everyone.]

...
The real problem is the traffic engineering doctrine

One fix after another has failed here because Montgomery County remains wedded to old-style traffic engineering. Two of the profession's basic tenets are to blame. First, engineers design streets for cars and see other users as obstacles. Second, they design the roads to minimize rush-hour delays rather than to work best at all hours. When you measure success by counting cars in rush hour, wide streets and slow lights are solutions rather than problems.
...

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/28136/suburban-style-streets-dont-fit-a-busy-bethesda-corner/
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SHA officials told me there'd be no study of University Boulevard. Now, elected officials are taking up the cause.

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: Just another example of SHA being a pain in the rear to work with.]

http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/27744/sha-officials-told-me-thered-be-no-study-of-university-boulevard-now-elected-officials-are-taking-up/
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