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Western County Pedestrian & Bicycle Access Plan

Biking in the Metro Area

Open Houses Scheduled for Citizen Comment on Revised Plan

After several months of preliminary review by citizens, business groups, and county and state agencies, a revised draft is ready for a final general review before being submitted to the Baltimore County Planning Board and County Council for formal adoption as an amendment to the county's master plan.

Two informational open houses on the Western Plan are being held so that citizens will have a chance to view the plan and discuss it with county planning staff.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 from 6-8 p.m.
Benjamin Banneker Museum, Almanac Hall
300 Oella Avenue, Baltimore 21228

Wednesday, January 25, 2012 from 6-8 p.m.
West Towson Elementary School Cafeteria
6914 North Charles Street, Towson 21204

Citizens will have an opportunity to comment on the plan at either of the open houses.  Written comments can also be submitted until January 27, 2012 to:

Kathy Schlabach, Project Manager
Baltimore County Department of Planning
105 West Chesapeake Avenue, Suite 101
Towson, MD 21204

or

 kschlabach@baltimorecountymd.gov

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Unified voice of activism resonates for a Greater Towson

Biking in the Metro AreaBy Loni Ingraham - Baltimore Sun

The Greater Towson Council of Community Associations is a part of Towson's "shadow government," according to Mike Ertel, a former president of the organization.

He notes that Towson may be the Baltimore County seat. But it is not an incorporated municipality.

"We don't have a mayor and we're not going to have a mayor," Ertel said. "Groups determine what goes on in Towson."
...
Grate expectations

Dick Parsons, a past president and a founding member of the GTCCA, says it was founded in 1975 as the brainchild of former Burkleigh Square resident Randy Richardson.

"He believed the neighborhoods were being played for suckers by developers and their lawyers," he said.

Initially, Richardson pulled together representatives of eight associations. They met in each other's houses.

The first big accomplishment was getting grates put in over storm drains on Towsontown Boulevard to prevent them from catching bicycle wheels.
...
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BRTB BICYCLE & PEDESTRIAN ADVISORY GROUP September 7, 2011 Minutes Highlights

Biking in the Metro Area* Mr. Dan Reagle of the Maryland Transit Administration said that MTA applied for a grant from the Federal Transit Administration to construct a 700 foot path connecting the Lutherville Light Rail station to the neighborhood

[B' Spokes: This could make for a bike route in the area as topography and lollipop development makes getting through there a bit challenging by bike.]


* By a vote of 6-1-1, Ms. Jessica Keller was selected as the committee’s choice to nominate to the BRTB as the new citizen-pedestrian representative.

[B' Spokes: very cool, someone who I know and this position has been filled.]


* Ralph Wheeler noted that Baltimore County had submitted only projects on county-owned roads, while other jurisdictions had submitted requests for state roads. It was noted that instructions for submitting bicycle and pedestrian projects should be clarified for future long range plans.

[B' Spokes: Indeed, better communication and planning between State, county and Metro Planning Organization for bicycle and pedestrian access is needed.]

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Jan 10, 11 Connecting Columbia Open House Meetings

Biking in the Metro Area
As an active member of the Columbia community, we thought you’d be interested in attending CA’s upcoming Connecting Columbia opening house meetings on January 10 and 11.  The goal of Connecting Columbia is to create an active transportation action agenda that will result in a more interconnected bicycling and walking circulation system for health, recreation and transportation purposes. We hope you will attend and help us spread the word about the meetings, which will be held on Tuesday, January 10, at the Owen Brown Community Center, located at 6800 Cradlerock Way; and Wednesday, January 11, at Slayton House, located at 10400 Cross Fox Lane. Both meetings will be held from 7:30 to 9 p.m. and will feature the same content with a presentation at 8:00p.m. Although registration is not required, it is very much appreciated.

Please view CA’s press release and event flyer. If you have questions regarding the meetings, please contact Scott Templin at scott.templin@columbiaassociation.com or 410-715-3166. For more information on the project, visit ColumbiaAssociation.org/ConnectingColumbia. Thank you and enjoy the holidays.

Jane L. Dembner, AICP
Director of Community Planning
Phone: 410-715-3107
Email: Jane.Dembner@ColumbiaAssociation.com
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Annapolis City Council considers bike plan

Biking in the Metro AreaYes there is opposition, but TheWashCycle has a good rebuttal:

http://www.thewashcycle.com/2011/12/annapolis-city-council-considers-bike-plan.html
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APL Wins Bike Friendly Business Award

Biking in the Metro Area[Press Release]

The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) was awarded a bronze Bicycle Friendly Business Award by the League of American Bicyclists in a ceremony on its Laurel, Md., campus today. Recognized for its investment in bicycling to promote employee health and social responsibility, APL has an active cycling club, showers, locker rooms, secure bike parking and a personal fitness financial incentive. 

"Cycling is something that contributes to the health of our staff," said APL Director Ralph Semmel. "By taking care of ourselves, we reduce our health costs and can pass this on to our sponsors. We will continue our efforts to make APL a welcoming place for cyclists."

The largest of three Maryland organizations honored by the League, APL was chosen from a field of 155 applicants nationwide. The Laboratory joins other notable national winners such as Microsoft, General Mills and Random House. The League of American Bicyclists promotes bicycling for fun, fitness and transportation, and works through advocacy and education for a bicycle‐friendly America. The League represents the interests of America's 57 million bicyclists, including its 300,000 members and affiliates.

The award ceremony was held on APL's campus in the new Building 200, which opened last month. The state-of-the-art facility houses APL's space department and features 48 covered bicycle parking spaces and four showers. Throughout its 399-acre campus, APL has additional bike racks and shower facilities. A new bike lane segment in front of the building on Johns Hopkins Road was added by the county in October 2011.

"Some of the most successful companies in the world are showing that investing in bicycling is not only good for health and sustainability but also the bottom line," said League president, Andy Clarke.

"With over 280 people active in cycling activities at APL and a growing number who commute to campus regularly on their bikes, APL's cycling amenities help make biking increasingly popular" said Fran Horan, APL Cycling Club president. "The new bike lane, covered parking, and showers at Building 200 are a bicycle commuter's dream."

The Applied Physics Laboratory, a not-for-profit division of The Johns Hopkins University, meets critical national challenges through the innovative application of science and technology. For more information, visit www.jhuapl.edu.

http://jhuapl.edu/newscenter/pressreleases/2011/111207.asp

Related: Bicycle Friendly Business Johns Hopkins University - Applied Physics Laboratory | Bronze Level - LAB

Pictures

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Howard County Bikeshare Survey

Biking in the Metro AreaThe Columbia Association, as part of a joint grant application with the County to study implementing a bikeshare system in the county, has created a short questionnaire. Your input would be greatly appreciated in understanding who would support a bikesharing program in Howard County and where users would like to go.

What is a bikeshareing system? Think of it as a bike taxi for short, one-way trips. One is able to pick a bike for a short trip and return in to a station near your destination. Check out a bike for your trip to work, get to the bus or train, run errands, go shopping, or visit friends and family. The stations, usually with 5-15 bikes are strategically placed to allow users to walk to a station and bikes are also equipped with locks so if you want, you can lock it and comeback to it later.

Please complete the questionnaire by Saturday, December 10, to assist us in our application for funding.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/LQ79L3Q
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Biking on the ICC Shoulders?

Biking in the Metro Area[B' Spokes: Since the ICC is just a few miles from the B&A Trail I consider this trail part of cycling amenities that we can enjoy, so this may be of interest.]
From MoBike

image

Bike advocates are asking the Maryland Transportation Authority (MdTA) to let people bike on the shoulders of the gleaming new ICC highway.  Is this a crazy idea?  Well, many other highways in the country allow it.  Maryland already allows shoulder riding on parts of US 15 north of Frederick and many miles of US 29, including areas with highway interchanges where vehicles enter and exit via high speed ramps.  To make the ICC shoulder use a greater possibility, in 2008 the Maryland General Assembly repealed the law prohibiting the state from allowing cyclists from all toll roads.  But MdTA must still pre-approve it on individual toll roads.

Allowing cyclists on the ICC shoulders should be easy through the simple interchanges such as the ones at Georgia Ave., Layhill Road, New Hampshire Ave. (though heading west across Georgia Ave. may require getting off and back on the highway).  A better level of usefulness is achieved if cyclists can ride on the shoulders at least from Emory Lane to Old Columbia Pike.  That way riders can bypass several missing sections of the ICC Hiker-Biker Trail (one gap is between Emory and Georgia, a second between Layhill and Notley Road, and a third between New Hampshire and Briggs Chaney Rd.).

Fortunately there’s a service entrance at Muncaster Mill Road (a bit west of Emory) where cyclists should be able to get onto the shoulder from either Muncaster Mill or from the path (if MdTA is willing to unlock the gate).  At Old Columbia Pike (a few miles east of New Hampshire), access to the south shoulder is easy, but getting to the north shoulder means building a short connector path running down the bank next to the highway.  That requires money and federal re-permitting, so it would be a tough sell.  But it would address the longest and most intractable gap in the ICC trail – namely the section through the Upper Paint Branch Park.  Other non-interchange crossings – Redland Road for example – would require pushing enough dirt around (re-grading) that they’d probably be summarily rejected by MdTA.  At the US 29, I-95 and I-370/Metro interchanges, shoulder use might be precluded by the complex arrangement of ramps and flyovers, at least for some directions of travel, but this should be investigated.

Access to the ICC shoulders east of Briggs Chaney Rd. may be possible at the Briggs Chaney interchange, but it’s sandwiched by two difficult interchanges.

You can decide for yourself where to provide shoulder access using the following map (click for a larger map).  Assume access is easy at the blue stars and somewhat expensive at the green stars.  Shoulder use might be limited or prevented at the red stars due to complex interchanges (TBD).

ICC map showing various trails and shoulder access points (click to enlarge)

The state’s response to our request for shoulder access was disappointing.  Here are their basic reasons for opposing shoulder use (I’m not agreeing, just summarizing):

  • Inexperienced cyclists or families might use the shoulders to get from one section of the path to another (since the path is not continuous).
  • Cyclists would have to cross high speed ramps, especially at the US 29 and 1-95 interchanges.
  • Drivers wouldn’t expect cyclists and might slow down when they encounter one, adding to congestion.
  • The tolling system would register a toll violation that would have to be cleared manually.
  • Cyclists might venture too close to the travel lanes and might not understand the wind effects of trucks.
  • Cyclists could interfere with emergency vehicles and would have to ride around vehicles stopped in the shoulder.
  • Addressing these concerns may require physical design changes which could impact cost, environmental permits and the functionality of some features (like guardrails).

Our answers:

  • Use well-established ramp crossing designs (see below).
  • Do not allow bikes on the flyover ramps, but investigate alternatives such as permitting cyclists to ride straight through the US 29 interchange, etc.
  • Prohibit all cyclists under 16 (or whatever).
  • Require riding in single file and in the direction of traffic.
  • Post warning signs about truck drafts, etc.
  • Build more path so the shoulder doesn’t look so attractive.  We especially need the path between Layhill Rd. and Notley Rd.  (Northwest Branch Park) and between New Hampshire Ave. and US 29 (Upper Paint Branch Park).
  • Done right, there wouldn’t be any locations where the path ends where riders could conveniently hop onto the shoulder, so novice users would not be tempted to ride on the shoulder when the path ends.

Bikes would cross on-ramps something like this (but without the bike lane symbols on the pavement):

On-ramp crossing design for bikes (from Oregon Bicycle/Pedestrian standards).

A real life example from British Columbia

Now if we could just get more of the ICC path and the connector paths built.  For now we have this (where the trail ends at Needwood Road):

End of the road (for bikes)

Jack Cochrane
MoBike

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Baltimore road fatalities (pedestrians are blue)

Biking in the Metro Areaimage

http://map.itoworld.com/road-casualties-usa#
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Wrong way sidewalk bicyclist hit

Biking in the Metro AreaA bicyclist was rushed to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore on Monday night after he was hit by a sport utility vehicle on Chinquapin Round Road in Annapolis.

At 10:13 p.m., police and firefighters were called to Chinquapin Round Road near the Lincoln Park Laundry. There they found a man lying next to his bicycle and the Nissan Xterra that struck him.

Police said the victim was riding southbound on the northbound sidewalk of Chinquapin Round Road and was riding across the cross street when he was hit by the SUV as it pulled into the laundry.

He was flown to shock trauma and his condition became critical en route, police said.

On Tuesday, police said the man was recovering and was likely to be released from the hospital by yesterday.

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