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Saturday, December 20 2014 @ 11:28 AM UTC

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Ritchie Highway crossings being made safer

Biking in the Metro AreaAs deadly year on county roads continues, SHA pushes ahead on sidewalk, traffic signal projects
By TIM PRATT Staff Writer - Hometown Annapolis

As the State Highway Administration looks for ways to improve the part of Ritchie Highway where a Pasadena teenager was killed last month, work has begun to make more than a dozen other intersections safer for pedestrians.

The work will upgrade pedestrian crossings, traffic signals and access to bus stops along Ritchie Highway between the Baltimore City line and Route 50 near Annapolis.

Charlie Gischlar, an SHA spokesman, said design work for the improvements started about nine months ago and construction began in late June. He said that while no specific incident prompted the improvements, the SHA is aware of the high number of pedestrian accidents along Ritchie Highway in recent years.

"There have been some real tragedies over there lately and we're trying to do everything in our power to prevent those things from happening again," Gischlar said.

This year, at least three pedestrians have been killed on Ritchie Highway.

In July, 25-year-old Alex Canales Hernandez of Baltimore was struck while on his bike near Bon Air Avenue in Brooklyn Park. Also last month, two teenagers were struck while trying to cross near Earleigh Heights Road. One of those teens, 17-year-old Kara Micciche of Pasadena, died.

In January, 50-year-old James Howard Minnix of Severna Park was killed while attempting to cross near Robinson Road.

Eight pedestrians and one cyclist have died in the county since Jan. 1, which is already more than the seven pedestrians killed last year. Ten pedestrians and one cyclist were killed in the county in 2009.

In the 101/2-mile stretch of Ritchie Highway between the Baltimore City line and Earleigh Heights Road, there were 374 vehicle crashes last year, six involving pedestrians. No statistics were available for this year.

In 2009, that same stretch of highway had 363 crashes with four fatalities. Twelve pedestrians were struck on Ritchie Highway that year.

"The overall number of crashes may seem high, but there needs to be some perspective," SHA spokesman Dave Buck said. "This is a congested 10-mile section of road with numerous signals, access points and other high-traffic-generating areas."

The SHA is using countdown pedestrian signals, coordinated signal timing and signal detection systems to enhance pedestrian safety along Ritchie Highway, Buck said.

One intersection being improved is at Ordnance Road in Glen Burnie. The SHA upgraded sidewalks, ramps and crosswalks at the intersection, and plans to add sidewalks between Ordnance and Dover roads.

One goal of the project is to connect bus stops with nearby crosswalks.

Sidewalks and ramps also were installed along portions of East Ordnance Road.

The $300,000 project is almost complete, said SHA engineer Kim Tran, though some striping and sidewalk construction still needs to be finished.

Thirteen other locations along Ritchie Highway between Baltimore and the Annapolis area also are being upgraded to give pedestrians safer highway crossings and access to bus stops.

Four of the 13 locations are in Brooklyn Park at 11th Avenue, 16th Avenue, Church Street and Hammonds Lane / Walton Avenue.

The Brooklyn Park sidewalk improvements are scheduled to begin next spring and conclude next fall. Some of the signal improvements may take a few years, Tran said.

Other intersections under construction or slated for $1.3 million in upgrades include:

Arundel Corporation Road, Glen Burnie.

The Motor Vehicle Administration entrance, Glen Burnie.

Centre at Glen Burnie.

Wellham Avenue, Glen Burnie.

Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard, Glen Burnie.

Aquahart Road, Glen Burnie.

Guildford-Farmington Road, Glen Burnie.

Jumpers Hole Road, Pasadena.

The area around the intersection at Earleigh Heights Road is on the state's list to receive new sidewalks. That project will give pedestrians easier access to bus stops on both sides of the highway.

The SHA is studying the intersection to see if a crosswalk is needed, Tran said.

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Annapolis: Maryland’s Biking Capital

Biking in the Metro AreaIf Annapolis’ Bicycle Master Plan ever gets off the drawing board and onto the streets, our capital city could be Maryland’s biking capital.

The thoughtful plan, introduced last week, is the work of the Toole Design Group whose specialty is moving people, have created bike plans across the country, from Washington, D.C., to Seattle, Washington — including Baltimore, Philadelphia, Winston Salem and Asheville.

Envisioned is a cross-city “network of on-street and off-street routes” realized in six years over three phases. The first two years’ projects are easy fixes requiring only paint and signage.

Main Street, Calvert and Cathedral streets, King George Avenue, Bay Ridge and Chesapeake avenues and a bit of Hilltop Lane fall into the first phase.

The plan starts with pathways and street lanes. But it doesn’t stop there: Bicycle sharing stations and parking, safety education for all ages, enforcement and an active website are also part of the plan.

After the plan is reviewed and completed, it goes to the City Council for ratification as part of the City’s Comprehensive Plan. Of course getting it done takes some money, as well.

Take a look at the plan at http://www.ci.annapolis.md.us/Government/Departments/Transit/BikeAnnapolis/draft.pdf
and the map at

http://www.ci.annapolis.md.us/Government/Departments/Transit/BikeAnnapolis/BikeMap1.pdf

You have until July 29 to comment: Iain Banks at ibanks@annapolis.gov.

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Parents Examine Safer Routes for Rodgers Forge's Walkers

Biking in the Metro AreaBy Tyler Waldman

For the parents of some Rodgers Forge Elementary School students, walking home is an iffy proposition, fraught with unclear crosswalks and the occasional speeding car.

A Rodgers Forge parent who works as an urban planner now aims to find a safe route.

Stu Sirota is leading a group of eight parents and community members to get Rodgers Forge participating in Safe Routes to School. The national program, established by Congress in 2005, aims to get more students walking and biking to school instead of driving and busing.

Sirota has unique experience in dealing with traffic issues—he was a planning consultant on the Walkable Towson plan in 2007 and 2008, a plan that included the new urban design guidelines and the Washington Avenue streetscape.

In 1969, 50 percent of students walked or biked to school, according to statistics from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership. Now, less than 15 percent do.

Sirota said the group conducted a survey for two days in June and found that roughly 65 percent of Rodgers Forge's 395 students now walk instead of catching a ride—leaps and bounds ahead of the national average. Sirota said, however, when considering that Rodgers Forge Elementary's district is just three-tenths of a square mile, the figure leaves plenty of room for improvement.

"All the houses in Rodgers Forge are within an easy short walk [of the school]," Sirota said. "Our goal is to educate and encourage families that aren't walking who could be walking."

Sirota, who has two children at Rodgers Forge Elementary and one more to start in 2012, said physical changes could range from new sidewalks to traffic islands.

"There's a whole traffic calming toolkit out there," Sirota said.

Maryland received $3.5 million in federal funds for the 2011 fiscal year to complete such improvements.

Other tactics don't cost anything. Those include "walking school buses" in neighborhoods, or bike groups.

Sirota said he hopes to start a blog soon to court community feedback. The group also plans to meet with elected officials and school system administrators.

"We've already reached out to them and we hope to be able to partner with them," he said. "It's still an evolving process right now."
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Is your employer bike friendly? Then nominate them!

Biking in the Metro Area
Baltimoresun.com Advertiser Message

  Nominate your employer as a Baltimore Sun Top Workplace  
 
  We are looking for the best employers in Baltimore.  
 

If you think your employer deserves to be recognized and has more than 50 employees in the Baltimore metro area, why not nominate them for an award?

Anyone can nominate a company and the best companies in the region will be featured in a special section of The Baltimore Sun publishing in December.

 
 
Nominate your company now   Read the launch article
 
 
  or call us at (410) 779-9337  
  We look forward to receiving your vote!
The Baltimore Sun Top Workplaces team
 
Nominate your employer as a Baltimore Sun Top Workplace
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Monkton boy flown to shock trauma after accident

Biking in the Metro AreaBY KIRSTEN DIZE

A 12-year-old Monkton boy was flown to a Baltimore trauma center Tuesday after he was hit by a car while riding a bicycle.

Around 3:55 p.m. William Thomas Moore, 36, of the 4100 block of Old York Road, was driving south on Old York Road, according to the accident report from the Harford County Sheriff's Office.

While Moore was driving in the 4000 block of Old York Road, Kyle Edward Hammerstein, 12, who lives in that block, darted on his bike from a field out into the road, according to the report.
...
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Police Release Photo of SUV Possibly Involved in Fatal Brooklyn Park Accident

Biking in the Metro AreaAnyone with information is asked to call Cpl. Kenneth Collier at 410-222-8573.
http://severnapark.patch.com/articles/police-release-photo-of-suv-possibly-involved-in-fatal-brooklyn-park-accident-2

image image

Also note we are also looking for a small gray (or silver) car as well from a separate incident.
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Obituary, Heather Greer - 14

Biking in the Metro AreaThe circumstances of her death: http://www.baltimorespokes.org/article.php?story=20110731004230212
Obituary: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/baltimoresun/obituary.aspx?n=heather-greer&pid=152824996

In lieu of flowers, contribution may be offered In memory of Heather Nicole Greer to the Norrisville Recreation Council, 5310 Norrisville Rd. White Hall, MD 21161 or the Norrisville Volunteer Fire Co. 2134 Harkins Rd. Pylesville, MD 21132.
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Arundel police seek driver who struck bicyclist, fled

Biking in the Metro Area[B' Spokes: Dang another car to be on the lookout for.]
**************************************************************
Driver in a 'small gray car,' investigators say
By The Baltimore Sun

Anne Arundel County police are seeking information about a hit and run driver who struck a male bicyclist about 7:47 p.m. Tuesday near Sandy Point Park on East College Parkway and then left the accident.

Police have identified the bicyclist as Steven Seigel, 59, of the 500 block of Fawn Walk in Annapolis. They say he was taken to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center for treatment of his injuries. He is still hospitalized in critical condition, Shock Trauma spokeswoman Cindy Rivers said Friday.

According to police, the bicyclist was pedaling westbound on East College Parkway near Bay Head Road when he was struck from behind by a "small gray car" and thrown to the side of the road. Police say the driver continued west on East College Parkway.

Investigators ask anyone who witnessed this collision or may have information about it to call the Eastern District Police Station at 410-222-6145, Anne Arundel Police Communications at 410-222-8610 or the Metro Crime Stoppers Hotline at 1-866-7LOCKUP.
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Girl, 14, killed in northern Harford

Biking in the Metro AreaBy AEGIS STAFF REPORT

A 14-year-old Pylesville girl died Thursday after she was hit by a car while crossing Route 136 in northern Harford County, Maryland State Police said.

The victim, Heather Greer, was struck in the 2200 block of Harkins Road (Route 136) shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday. Initial Harford County radio dispatches said the victim was in some kind of "arrest" and, a short time later, a chaplain was requested.

Maryland State Police troopers responded to the scene and, according to a news release from the Bel Air Barrack, ordered a Medevac to the scene to fly Ms. Greer to the Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore.

She died at the hospital "as a result of injuries sustained during impact," according to the news release.

State police in the news release say Ms. Greer "attempted to cross the road," when she was struck by a 2009 Toyota Highlander driven by James Landerkin, 34, of Pylesville, who was driving south on Route 136, just prior to the diagonal intersection with Amos Mill and West Heaps roads, when the accident occurred.

The area, a few miles south of the Maryland and Pennsylvania border, is rural and dotted by farms and single homes on large lots.

Route 136 was closed for about two hours while troopers investigated the accident, state police said.

A Facebook page, "RIP Heather Greer Best 2nd Baseman Ever," has been started in Ms. Greer's memory. The page had 51 members as of 9:30 a.m. Friday.

Ms. Greer's death is the 15th on Harford County highways this year and the fifth during July. She was the second young person to be struck by a car in northern Harford this week.

A 12-year-old boy was injured when he was hit while riding a bicycle across Old York in the Monkton area Tuesday afternoon, according to state police.

For updates, check back with http://www.exploreharford.com
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Three Charged with Robbery, Assault After Attack on Bicyclist

Biking in the Metro AreaKudos to Baltimore County police department for catching these criminals!

Details: http://pikesville.patch.com/articles/three-charged-with-robbery-assault-after-attack-on-bicyclist

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