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Friday, October 31 2014 @ 10:28 AM UTC

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Cardin-Cochran Amendment Would Boost Local Control of Bike-Ped Funding [and say thank you]

Biking in MarylandB' Spokes: I have a few comments based on this article from Streetsblog Capitol Hill

Image: America Bikes

Baltimore Metro is a Tier 1 MPO, that's good news for us.

I also want to highlight this:

The way the Senate transportation bill, MAP-21, is currently written, all funding for complete streets programs is funneled to state DOTs, and for many cities and towns this could mean losing access to funds that make streets safer.

This does not apply to us as MDOT has already removed that funding (under the last transportation bill) from cities and towns with the exception for trail building. So I'll note that it is imperative that if this amendment goes through that we make sure MDOT follows recommended federal policy and not get picky about what cycling facilities they do and do not support along with other "creative" measures to make funding "go further" by spending the LEAST amount for bicycling and walking then any other state.


Cochran told Streetsblog the measure would protect local communities from missing out on important funds: “Our amendment would ensure that communities continue to have access to federal resources to implement transportation improvements that are meaningful to public safety, economic development and quality of life at the local level,” he said.


Mississippi is running a thank you campaign so we should so the same. Please take a few moments to say thank you to Senator Ben Cardin:

Contact Senator Ben Cardin
(Transportation is the topic)

(If you don't have ideas of your own just say thanks for his effort for "livable streets" or "healthy streets" as that will get the message across.)
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Bike Sharing Comes to Maryland

Biking in MarylandBy David T. Whitaker, AICP, Smart Growth Maryland

Need to get from Federal Hill to Fells Point or Canton — too far to walk, too much traffic, on Pratt Street, expensive parking — soon a new option — bike share. Grab a bike in Federal Hill, drop it off in Canton. And with bike lanes, get there quicker than a car.

As Maryland communities move to enhance urban-style, walkable downtowns, local officials in parts of Maryland are now adding bikeshare programs adding a new transportation choice for residents and visitors. Rockville is joining Washington, DC’s popular and highly successful Capital Bikeshare program this summer. Very soon the distinctive red Capital Bikeshare bicycles may also be found in the inner beltway communities of Bethesda, Silver Spring, Friendship Heights, and Takoma Park. College Park, White Flint, Greenbelt, and Frederick are studying whether bike share programs could also be successful in their communities.

Not to be outdone by the national allure of Potomac River jurisdictions to the south, Baltimore City is currently planning to introduce its own “B-Cycle” bike share system very soon to the streets of Charm City.

Bike share along the Patapsco River? Where will it be coming next?

Columbia and Annapolis are also examining the feasibility of bike share to provide better and faster travel connections from downtown to nearby neighborhoods and businesses. Local governments are now realizing that local travel provided by a bike share system can be a faster mode of travel than personal auto, walking or transit. How did this happen?
...
http://smartgrowthmd.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/bike-sharing-comes-to-maryland/
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Raise Maryland's gas tax? Only if it'll be spent wisely

Biking in Marylandby Laura DeSantis and Cheryl Cort, Greater Greater Wasington

...
The county transportation lists also contain important transit, bike, and pedestrian projects, but often these proposals languish while road projects advance. Other important transit, pedestrian, bicycle, and complete streets solutions never even make the list. We need to fund projects that meet the growing demand for more transportation choices that save time, energy, and money.

If Marylanders are asked to pay more, each dollar must be invested wisely. Residents need better and more affordable transportation choices. So where should this money go?

First, let's fix Maryland's existing infrastructure, like our aging roads, bridges and transit systems. Then, let's build modern transit to move more people efficiently and competitively, while providing alternatives to congested highways like the Beltway, I-95, and I-270. It's long past time for critical rail investments like the Purple Line, Baltimore Red Line and MARC expansion, and better bus service.

At the local level, state revenue to local governments should go to fix and maintain local street connections, sidewalks, and bikeways for existing communities.

Moreover, given high unemployment, smart growth transit options can help the economy. Public transportation and road maintenance are the biggest job creators. According to the Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, investments in road maintenance projects create 9% more jobs than spending on new highway capacity; increasing transit capacity creates 19% more jobs than new highway capacity. [And bike/ped projects even more jobs per dollar spent.]

If Marylanders are going to pay more, we deserve to know what the money will buy. We need a bill that that specifies smart, fix-it-first policies for the state. Otherwise, we're just throwing our money into the dark.
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If LAB ranks Maryland in the top ten, what does below average look like?

Biking in MarylandB' Spokes: There is no doubt Maryland is putting a lot of energy to a "Strategic Trail Network" but Ohio got my attention (Ranked #37 by LAB) with this:
image

Note how much is already on the ground (green) vs what they need to do to (red). They have trails in urban areas they have trails that connect urban areas .

They have 3000 miles of trails and what do we have, like 500 miles? (I have to look that up) Even if you adjust for population (Ohio has twice the population we do) things still don't add up.
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Master plan to make [Ocean] city desirable for year-round residents

Biking in Marylandby Ann Richardson, Ocean City Gazette

...
He said the city must adopt a complete streets policy: a “comprehensive, integrated, connected multi-modal transportation system” throughout the city to facilitate safe, attractive and efficient movement and access for everyone. The planning board, Scheule said, is looking to encourage pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
...
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seriously, MoCo [and others] really needs young people to stick around

Biking in Marylandby Dan Reed, Silver Spring, Maryland
...
What I found most striking was the drop in the county's young adult population. According to the Planning Department, Montgomery County has 15% fewer adults between the ages of 15 and 24 than we did in 2000.
...
"What" draws young people is pretty simple: Jobs, reasonably priced housing, short commutes, proximity to shopping and entertainment, and increasingly, neighborhoods where you can walk/bike/take transit instead of driving. The "how" is more challenging. But we should start going after those solutions now rather than waiting until it's too late.

http://www.justupthepike.com/2012/02/seriously-moco-really-needs-young.html
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O'Malley's sales tax on gas is the right way to fund transport

Biking in Marylandfrom Greater Greater Washington by Ben Ross (See original for hyper links for background poofs http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=13563 )

In his Wednesday state-of-the-state speech, Governor Martin O'Malley proposed ending the exemption of gasoline from Maryland's 6% sales tax. This is the best way for the state to get more money for transportation.

Ending the sales tax exemption, rather than increasing the gas tax beyond the current 23½¢ per gallon, accomplishes two things. First, sales tax revenue keeps pace with inflation. With the current structure of the gas tax, politically difficult tax increases are needed just to keep transit operations and road maintenance constant.

Second, we now have an opportunity to refute a widely believed myth about transportation funding. Once upon a time, drivers paid for roads through the gas tax. Most people think that's still true, but it's not.

Maryland's gas tax goes into the state's Transportation Trust Fund, along with the sales tax on car sales, fares paid on MARC trains and MTA buses, and revenues from BWI Marshall Airport and the Port of Baltimore. When the gas tax was last raised in 1992, the 23½¢ state tax was 33% of the pretax price of gasoline. The sales tax on other pur­chases was 5%. The heavy tax on gas could be described as a user fee paid by drivers.

Today, though, the state gas tax is a little more than 7% of the price of gasoline. When drivers buy gas, they pay 7% into the transportation trust fund and get 6% back from the state's general fund through the exemption of gasoline from the sales tax.

Ending the exemption would convert the gas tax back into a true user fee. Drivers would then pay a share of the cost of maintaining roads, just as transit riders pay a share of the cost of transit operations through their fares.

Many myths surround the subject of transportation funding, in Maryland as in other states. Transit advocates need to be vigilant as the legislature debates this issue to make sure that new funding builds transit lines and walkable grid streets rather than repeating the mistakes of the past. The better the public understands the realities of the state budget, the easier this will be.
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Ocean City getting a bike path

Biking in MarylandA resolution supporting the creation of a safe bicycle path from one end of the island to the other was passed

http://www.shorenewstoday.com/snt/news/index.php/ocean-city-general-news/20631-group-discusses-city-ethics-board-construction-permits-membership-initiatives.html
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Really John? Our drivers are safe???

Biking in MarylandThis line from the patch caught my eye:

-> "John Kuo, administrator of the Motor Vehicle Administration,_ said he feels sympathy for Krasnopoler's family, but said he feels the state is taking adequate steps to ensure its drivers are safe."

One thing I learned at my time as your representative on BRTB-BPAG is that "What gets measured gets done."

The State does not measure it's pedestrian fatality rate against the national average (Maryland is the 4th highest in the nation.)
http://www.baltimorespokes.org/article.php?story=20110318114606250

The state does not measure our average motor vehicle crash rate which Baltimore has come out really bad by a report from Allstate.
http://www.allstatenewsroom.com/releases/baltimore-ranks-192-on-2011-allstate-america-s-best-drivers-report

What it does measure is something that would make a whole lot of sense if we were a state of traveling salesmen with expanding territories. That is to say the miles driven between crashes is going up. Of course they don't state it that way but my way is just as valid as their way.

The jest of what this comes down to is while other states are making progress on reducing vulnerable road user fatalities but in Maryland it is getting worse or at best no significant change.

And since they don't report this they do not see this as an important issue.

This needs to change!
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Horrible Surface Transportation Bill Unveiled Today — Bicycle Programs Eliminated

Biking in MarylandTAKE ACTION: http://www.capwiz.com/lab/issues/alert/?alertid=60927571&PROCESS=Take+Action

Moments ago, Congressman John Mica (R-FL) announced the introduction of the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act. The proposed bill eliminates dedicated funding for bicycling and walking as we feared, and it goes much further and systematically removes bicycling from the Federal transportation program. It basically eliminates our status and standing in the planning and design of our transportation system—a massive step backwards for individuals, communities and our nation. It’s a step back to a 1950s highway- and auto-only program that makes no sense in the 21st century.

The bill (soon to be available on transportation.house.gov) reverses 20 years of progress by:

• destroying Transportation Enhancements by making it optional;

• repealing the Safe Routes to School program, reversing years of progress in creating safe ways for kids to walk and ride bicycles to school;

• allowing states to build bridges without safe access for pedestrians and bicycles;

• eliminating bicycle and pedestrian coordinators in state DOTs; and

• eliminating language that insures that rumble strips “do not adversely affect the safety or mobility of bicyclists, pedestrians or the disabled.”

On Thursday, the House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee will mark-up the bill and Representatives Petri (R-WI) and Johnson (R-IL) will sponsor an amendment that restores dedicated funding for Transportation Enhancements and Safe Routes to School. Representatives Petri and Johnson can only be successful if everyone with a stake in safe sidewalks, crosswalks, and bikeways contacts their representative today.



Because of these urgent new developments, and the vital importance of a HUGE turnout on Capitol Hill in March, the National Bike Summit early bird registration deadline has been extended to Feb 20. We need every single cyclist in Washington, D.C. that the city can hold (and that’s thousands …). Register today!

Stay in touch by visiting bikeleague.org and americabikes.org for background and breaking news.


ANDY CLARKE
LEAGUE PRESIDENT
Clarke was appointed to the position of Executive Director in April of 2004 after successfully leading efforts to create, interpret and implement the various transportation programs that are available to improve conditions for bicycling and walking as the League’s State and Local Advocacy Director.


TAKE ACTION: http://www.capwiz.com/lab/issues/alert/?alertid=60927571&PROCESS=Take+Action

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