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Maryland driver guilty in crash that killed bicyclist

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: Another victory for cycling advocates " I thought I hit a deer" is not a valid excuse for a hit-and-run, take note Maryland drivers.]
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By Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

A driver who fatally struck a Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate who was out riding her bike was convicted Thursday of failing to remain at the scene of an accident involving death and other counts.

Christy Littleford, 43, of Upper Marlboro faces up to 10 years in prison for the September 2010 crash that killed Natasha Pettigrew, 30, a third-year law student at the University of Miami who had taken a break from school to run for office.
...

<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/maryland-driver-guilty-in-crash-that-killed-bicyclist/2012/05/24/gJQAKGfMoU_story.html">http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/crime/maryland-driver-guilty-in-crash-that-killed-bicyclist/2012/05/24/gJQAKGfMoU_story.html</a>;
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Transportation Officials Who Are Changing the Game

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: Just to highlight one of the many great folks at Planning in Maryland.]
by Angie Schmitt, Streets Blog

...

Richard Hall

Secretary of Planning, State of Maryland

Richard Hall has led Maryland to the forefront of state-level smart growth planning. Photo: Flickr

Politically, you can’t give enough credit to Governor Martin O’Malley for Maryland’s new state-level smart growth plan, PlanMaryland. O’Malley stood up to rural opposition and muscled legislation through late last year to put in place what may be the most progressive state-level land use planning in the country.

But you also can’t separate the governor’s successes from the man behind the scenes, turning policy positions into reality: Richard Hall. With Hall’s help, for decades Maryland has been laying the groundwork to be a national leader in smart growth.

Hall started at Maryland’s Department of Planning in 1992. He worked his way from principal planner to director of land use planning to head of the agency, a title he has held for five years.

All the while he was helping move the state toward this moment. Hall’s work contributed to the state’s Smart Growth Act in 1997, which established “priority growth areas” for the state and set the stage for PlanMaryland.

Now, under Hall’s leadership, Maryland will decide which areas of the state will be prioritized for development. The process, by its nature, divides places into winners and losers and is sure to be a thorny undertaking, full of political hurdles. But the work of PlanMaryland has always been thorny.

Hall doesn’t shy away from facing the critics head on. “Some lawmakers contend they want to ‘save rural Maryland’ from PlanMaryland,” he said in a local forum recently. “But their aim seems to be to ‘pave rural Maryland.’”

Hall and O’Malley both recognize that for too long Maryland’s system was already dividing the state into winners and losers, as the interests of cities and existing communities were supplanted by unplanned, sprawling development. It will take strong leadership to change the dynamic. But these two are up to the task.

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Bike lanes next to parking – how wide is wide enough?

Biking in MarylandIn this excllent post by Jack Cochrane in Cycle MoCo Jack discusses an issue important to all Maryland cyclists, door zone bike lanes. While I'll highlight his solution the rest of his post is worth reading:

The Alternative:  Sharrows

If 14 feet is not available for the bike lane + parking, I recommend sharrows as the preferable solution.  Maryland law requires cyclists to use bike lanes where they’re present, but riders can legally ignore sharrows.   So even if they’re painted unreasonably close to parked cars (Maryland standards call for them to be at least 11 feet from the curb, which puts cyclists in the door  zone again), cyclists are free to ignore them.  Sharrows give cyclists the discretion to ride where they feel it’s safest.   Sharrows ideally should be painted 12′ or 13′ from the curb when there’s parking.  Or they can be painted down the center of the right lane as seen on George Mason Drive in Arlington.  New ideas are being tried all the time.  Here is an interesting hybrid of a bike lane and a sharrow.

So my request to Montgomery County and the state: either 14 foot bike lanes next to parked cars or sharrows or sometimes no bike-specific markings at all.



http://cyclemoco.com/2012/04/bike-lanes-next-to-parking-–-how-wide-is-wide-enough/
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Hagerstown awarded $87,000 in grants for bike lanes, trees

Biking in MarylandBy C.J. LOVELACE, Herald-Mail

Hagerstown has won a pair of grants worth nearly $90,000 that will be used to add bicycle lanes and trees to help meet the city’s Community Greening Grant Program goal.

The city was selected as one of the winners of Maryland’s first bikeways grants, worth $60,000, as well as an additional $27,000 from the Chesapeake Bay Trust for the costs associated with planting new trees, according to a city news release.

The Hagerstown City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a grant agreement with the bay trust.

The program strives to improve the quality of life in urban areas by increasing the forest canopy and bettering air quality.

The bikeways grant was developed as part of the Cycle Maryland Initiative under Gov. Martin O’Malley, which includes programs that support the development of bicycle path connections to work, school and shopping.

“These grants are a great way to help local jurisdictions make key connections to build a more comprehensive bike network that will benefit our citizens,” O’Malley said in the release. “By getting out and taking a bike ride, we can learn to enjoy more of Maryland’s natural treasures, help reduce the impact on the land, improve our fitness and well-being, and enhance our quality of life.”
...

<a href="http://articles.herald-mail.com/2012-03-28/news/31252377_1_bike-lane-bikeways-chesapeake-bay-trust">http://articles.herald-mail.com/2012-03-28/news/31252377_1_bike-lane-bikeways-chesapeake-bay-trust</a>;
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WANT TO RIDE MY BICYCLE!

Biking in MarylandBy By Kati Harrison, WBJC


“I want to ride my bicycle,”  is the only part of the song by Queen I know.  It’s catchy and true for me!  Last October I had the pleasure of riding in Bike Maryland’s Tour du Port.  It was at that time that I became familiar with Bike Maryland.  And now after having interviewed Bike Maryland’s Executive Director, Carol Silldorff, I know more about the organization and want to ride my bicycle!  Hope you will too.

01 Bike Maryland interview

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New Maryland bike initiative, with funding!

Biking in Marylandby Jack Cochrane, CycleMoCo

Cycle Maryland

The state has created a new bike program called Cycle Maryland.  It looks very encouraging.  In keeping with its secrecy in goverment policy, the state did this without telling too many people, at least not MoBike.  But we’ll take it!

Part of Cycle Maryland is a bikeway “retrofit” program that will fund local projects costing under $100K each.  Counties and cities are supposed to request funding for specific projects.  However this year the county was given only one week’s notice to come up with projects!  As a result we ended up with just signage projects,  i.e. signing existing bike routes, mostly streets.  I personally suggested more robust improvements (in the 3 days notice I had) including upgrading the Bethesda Trolley Trail by White Flint Metro, providing better bike access to Rockville Metro and supporting two-way travel on Woodmont Ave to Bethesda Metro and the Capital Crescent Trail.  But things were too rushed.

Fortunately the state is requesting another round of projects from counties and cities, to be funded in 2013.  They’re accepting project submissions from local jurisdictions through May 4th, 2012.

This Gazette article describes the funding initiative, but it’s misleading because it states that “bike paths” are going to be built or upgraded when nothing more than signs are being added.  Here are the actual state-funded projects:

Montgomery Mall to downtown Bethesda route — Adding signs along a 5.2 mile on-road route connecting Montgomery Mall to Bethesda Metro and the Capital Crescent Trail, with a spur to NIH ($21,000)

Matthew Henson trail to Forest Glen metro — Adding signs along a 7.4 mile existing route (mostly on-road) connecting Mathew Henson Trail to Wheaton and Forest Glen Metro stations ($33,000)

Silver Spring US 29 local route alternate — Adding signs along a 2.5 mile route parallel to US 29 (mostly on-road) from New Hampshire Ave to East Randolph Rd ($9,000)

All these signs are part of a comprehensive signed route network for the county, which we need.  But we can do a lot better than just that!

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Maryland Federal Investment in Biking and Walking

Biking in Marylandimage

Source: http://www.bikeleague.org/conferences/summit12/factsheets/State_MD.pdf

B' Spokes: Note: Of that $12 million available Maryland has been spending near zilch of Federal funds. To Maryland's credit they have been spending their own money on bicycling... roughly $3 million a year, starting this year.

Something does not seem right especially when you consider the National average of % bike/ped fatalities is 14% vs. Maryland's 22.7% . Ref: http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/States/StatesCrashesAndAllVictims.aspx#ctl00_PageContent_ctlStYrStCrVic6_lblTableName (Combine Pedestrian Pedalcyclist percentages.)
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Testimony on Transportation Infrastructure

Biking in Maryland[B' Spokes: I can't help but comment on our 32 minute average commute time, is our life really going to be so much better when that drops by 5 minutes to be more in line with everyone else? Granted people want more infrastructure then what we can afford and that is a problem but I have to ask when will our infrastructure http://www-fars.nhtsa.dot.gov/States/StatesPedestrians.asp">stop killing so many pedestrians?

I'm personally sick that the State is too cheep to even paint decent crosswalks (most of the time) let alone take steps to ensure the safety of vulnerable road users. Will more money help with this? I can only hope.]

March 14th, 2012

Here’s a PDF version of the speech.

Thank you very much for the opportunity to testify today.

As we consider the urgent question of transportation funding, let me begin with three facts about our shared reality:

  • Fact #1: As a State, we now have the longest average daily commute in America,… Longer than New York.  Longer than New Jersey.  Longer than Illinois.  Longer than California1.
  • Fact #2: These ever growing congestion costs are the direct result of an ever declining revenue source – a flat, fixed rate per gallon tax.  Meanwhile, the real purchasing power of the gas tax has declined by 80% since 1992.  And it now costs more to paint the Bay Bridge than it did to build the first span2.
  • Fact #3: Even if we were to apply the 6% sales tax to a gallon of gasoline, Marylanders will be paying a smaller portion of their gas bill to taxes now than we were in 19923.

We  Pay for That Too,…

Progress is a choice;  job creation is a choice; allowing worsening congestion to rob of us of ever greater amounts of our time and of our money and of our productivity,… this too is a choice.  We make our own future, we govern ourselves; and to govern is to choose.

A couple of days ago, I was talking to a businessman from Southern Maryland who was in Annapolis for Leadership Maryland, and he said to me: “Governor, let me just say: I’m against all taxes,…but we pay for that too.”

Indeed we do,…  We pay for that too.

None of us wants to pay more at the pump.  We do not have to do this.  But, you here know, that if we don’t,… we will pay for that too.  Inaction has a cost.

We don’t have to widen 301,… but if we do not, inaction has a cost, and we’ll pay for that too.

We don’t have to move forward on congestion relief at Indian Head Highway,… but if we do not, we’ll pay for that too.

We don’t have to rebuild the Dover Bridge,… but if we do not, we’ll pay for that too.

We don’t have to do the Corridor Cities Transit Way, the Red or Purple lines… we don’t have to repair the bridges that feed the Port of Baltimore,… but if we do not, inaction has a cost and we’ll pay for that too.

Roads do not upgrade or maintain themselves.  Bridges do not repair themselves or rebuild themselves. Minneapolis, Kentucky, Ohio are not the only places where bridges crumble as they get older.  Our transportation infrastructure here in Maryland does not grow broader or stronger with age.

The Ever-Increasing Cost of Doing Nothing

No one has wanted to address this problem for twenty years, and every year therefore our people are paying an increasing cost for this inaction,…and in so many different ways.

As the Baltimore Sun editorialized: “Higher prices at the pump may be unwanted, but a deteriorating transportation system is costly, too. Not only in mere congestion but also in lost economic opportunity.”

It is the cost of time lost sitting in traffic when we should be at home with our families. It is the cost of gasoline and money lost idling in bumper to bumper beltway traffic that looks a lot more like a parking lot than it does like a highway,… in  at rush-hour and at non-rush-hour as well.  It is the cost of lost productivity at work,…

… It is the ever increasing cost of  damage to our air and environment.  It is the cost we incur to our very quality of life,… all of which effects our economic competitiveness as a people and as a State; that is, our ability to attract and retain more and better jobs for ourselves and our children.

How Much Less Would Be Good for Maryland?

As we search for common ground and a way forward, as we look for the good intentions of one another, let’s ask ourselves, if doing less will address this problem?

Let’s ask ourselves if getting along with less will help us avoid these ever escalating costs?

With our increased population, how many fewer highway lane miles do we need? How many fewer MARC trains?  How many fewer Metro lines do we need; how many can we shut down?  How many fewer jobs do we need?  How many of those 106 structurally deficient bridges do we no longer need; how many of them can we shut down?  How many fewer hours do we need with our families, or at work?

Everything has a cost.  There is no way to construct a $100 million bridge for $10 million.  There is no way to buy a 2012 model hybrid car for 1991 prices.

We cannot maintain, or build out, a 21st century transportation system for a population our size with a level of investment that was fixed 20 years ago.

Yes we are all against taxes,…but we pay for that too; and in this case, doing less will actually cost us more.

Our  Proposal

Through the years, there have been many recommendations on funding options. Most have gathered more dust than support.

Our proposal would phase in —  at no more than 2% a year over the course of the next several years — the current State sales tax of 6%.

Our proposal protects consumers with a braking mechanism should the price of gas spike beyond 15% in any given year.

It protects new revenues from being used for priorities other than their intended transportation purpose.

It helps our county and municipal governments by restoring some of the funding lost when State grant programs were cut in the final budgets of  the recession.

It protects the health and safety of every citizen in Maryland not only through more structurally safe bridges and roads, but also with an investment in the Maryland Emergency Systems Operations Fund,…

Finally, it  puts 7,500 moms and dads back to work (mostly) in our hard hit construction trades – building needed roads, and public transit throughout our State.  And it paves the way for future job creation, economic growth and opportunity in  Maryland that is smart, green, and growing.

Less traffic, better transit, and an upgraded infrastructure and a better quality of life make a big difference for our top priority of retaining, attracting and growing jobs in Maryland; it makes a big difference in terms of the expanded opportunities we are able to give our children

The bill you consider will create jobs and improve the conditions that allow businesses to create and save jobs; it will allow us to better protect the public’s safety on highways and bridges; and, it will allow us to grow our economy, create better jobs, and expand opportunity to greater numbers of our people.

Forward or Back?

In conclusion,.. to create jobs, a modern economy requires modern investments; investments that we can only make together;  investments by all of us for the benefit of all of us.  That’s not a Democratic or a Republican idea; it’s an economic and historic truth. It was true for our parents, it was true for our grandparents, and it is a truth that has built our State and has built our country.

Progress is a choice.

None of us want to look back someday – as bridges start collapsing and closing in our own State – and tell our kids that we could have done something, but we chose not to,… we chose instead to simply kick the can down the road.

Yes, we’re all against taxes,… but we pay for that too.

Given the shared realities we face, the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action,…

So let us move forward.

For greater jobs and greater opportunities, for a better quality of life for Maryland, the choice is ours.

________________________________

1 According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Marylanders have an average daily commute of almost 32 minutes, passing New York and
New Jersey for the longest average daily commute nationally in 2011.

Estimates based on the highway and street construction specific portion of the Producer Pricing Index (PPI) project an approximate 80 percent decline in the purchasing power of motor fuel revenue from 1993-2015.

3 State and federal taxes would amount to 17 percent of the per gallon cost of fuel should the sales tax be applied to gasoline
purchases, below the effective motor fuel tax rate at the time of the last transportation revenue increase in 1992.

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HISTORIC ALLEGHENY MOUNTAINS RIDE

Biking in MarylandVia Adventure Cycling

Long time Adventure Cycling leader and all-around good guy Larry Brock of Cumberland, Maryland, is organizing a fundraising event called the Great Gap Ride. His mission is to develop and promote cycling trips along the Great Allegheny Passage, in order to showcase the history and modern vitality of this great route. &quot;This will be a fundraising ride for two great [trail] organizations,&quot; Larry said, adding that he hopes &quot;to help share my love of bicycle travel, while promoting and further developing the longest traffic-free trail in the U.S.&quot; Adventure Cycling is helping sponsor Larry's ride, which will go from Cumberland to Pittsburgh on August 31 through September 3. He plans to cap participation at 22 riders. You can learn more at the link below.
<a href="http://www.gaprides.com">http://www.gaprides.com</a>;
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GOVERNOR O’MALLEY ANNOUNCES THE FIRST BIKEWAYS GRANT WINNERS

Biking in MarylandMDOT Press release

HANOVER, MD – As part of the O’Malley Administration’s Cycle Maryland Initiative, Governor Martin O’Malley today announces 20 winners of his new Bikeways Program Grants.  He announced the new Maryland Bikeways Program in November as a program to support planning, design and construction of projects that create and improve bicycle connections in Maryland to key destinations, like work, school and shopping.  Governor O’Malley’s new program will provide $2.5 million this year to 10 counties, Baltimore City and various municipalities for a variety of projects in different stages of development from feasibility assessment and design to construction.  The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) also has just opened up the application process for the 2013 Bikeways Grants.

“These grants are a great way to help local jurisdictions make key connections to build a more comprehensive bike network that will benefit our citizens,” said Governor O’Malley.  “By getting out and taking a bike ride, we can learn to enjoy more of Maryland’s natural treasures, help reduce the impact on the land, improve our fitness and well-being, and enhance our quality of life.”

The grant winning projects include:  on and off-road bicycle route connections, bike route signage, bike racks and safety improvements.  A complete list of projects is available at this link:

http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/Office%20of%20Planning%20and%20Capital%20Programming/Bike/Images/Update_March_2012/First%20Bikeways%20Projects%20for%20web.pdf

Some of the winning projects are:

-     the Chestertown Rail Trail connecting Washington College to the Chestertown business district and waterfront in
      Kent County on the Eastern Shore;
-     the completion of on-road bike links in the City of Frederick;
-     the signed, on-road bike route connecting Bowie Town Center and local parks in Prince George’s County;
-     the signed bike route connecting Montgomery Mall and Naval Medical Center and Bethesda Metro stations to
      support new BRAC jobs in Montgomery County
-     the signed on-road bike route and striping from Columbia to Fort Meade to support new BRAC jobs in Howard
      and Anne Arundel counties;
-     the design of the north extension of the BWI Trail to the Nursery Road Light Rail Station; and
-     high-density, covered bike racks at Penn and Camden train stations in Baltimore City.

The largest award of $1 million was announced by Governor O’Malley in November for the missing trail link connecting Maryland’s Anacostia Tributary Trail to Washington, D.C.’s Riverwalk Trail.  The current plan is to break ground in 2012 on this final missing link that when complete will offer nearly 60 miles of contiguous trails along the Anacostia River Tributary System, including 39 miles in Maryland and 20 miles of completed and planned trails in the District of Columbia.

APPLICATIONS FOR 2013 ARE NOW BEING ACCEPTED

MDOT is now accepting applications for the 2013 Bikeways Grants.  The Maryland Bikeways Program grants are reviewed and awarded to projects that will support plans and projects that maximize the use of Maryland’s existing bicycle facilities, make needed connections and support Maryland’s bike sharing efforts. The Bikeways Program will address key funding gaps for bicycle projects. Program flexibility will help ensure that the best possible bicycle routes can be developed, by utilizing local and state roads, off-road trails, parks and other available pathways. Through strategic investment in the bicycle network, Maryland and our partners hope not only to stimulate the economy, but also to achieve cost savings for households and government agencies.

Governor O’Malley kicked off his Cycle Maryland Initiative to consolidate and coordinate bicycle programs in Maryland in an effort to make bicycling a true transportation alternative and to encourage more Marylanders to get out and ride. The goal is to support Maryland’s economy, to provide a cleaner environment and to encourage a healthier lifestyle and a better quality of life for all Marylanders.   

For more information on Cycle Maryland efforts or to download a Bikeways Program Grant Application, please visit www.cycle.maryland.gov.  Applications are due May 4th with final grant winners to be announced this summer.

Contact:   

MDOT
Jack Cahalan
Erin Henson
410-865-1028

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