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Thursday, September 18 2014 @ 01:38 AM UTC

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County Asks For Input On Loch Raven Watershed Protection

Biking in the Metro AreaA meeting will be held in Glen Arm on Jan. 23.
By Nick Gestido, Patch

Baltimore County is looking for input from the public as they launch an effort to improve the Loch Raven watershed along the east side of the reservoir.

A meeting will be held from 6:30-8 p.m. Jan. 23 at St. John's Lutheran Church (13300 Manor Road) to share information about and hear public contributions to a new Small Watershed Action Plan.

The plan is being introduced by the Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainablility and the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy, a local nonprofit.

Upcoming restoration efforts, including those aimed at restoring the health of streams and improving the quality of drinking water, will be guided by the Small Watershed Action Plan, according to a news release from the county.

The planning area encompasses the east side of Loch Raven Reservoir north to Jacksonville and Phoenix and east to Manor Road, the release states.

For more information, call Erin Wisnieski at 410-887-5683.
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SeeClickFix's Best Year Yet! Kudos Howard County

Biking in the Metro Area One of the frustrations of being a cyclist in a car centric world is trying to get road hazards fixed. Supposed you found a hazard in the shoulder and reported it, the crew inspects it and thinks to themselves "I don't see how this is a hazard to motor vehicles." so resolves the repair order without doing a darn thing.

Storm grates can be another issue as some Public Works engineers have been taught that hazardous grates for cyclists are the best "for hydraulic flow".

In short flagging a request as a cycling issue which goes to a person in government who understands cycling issues would be very helpful. To that end I'll highlight how will this works in Howard County http://seeclickfix.com/issues/220714?utm_source=activity_notice&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=pois

Wouldn't be nice if more counties joined the SeeClickfix system? I think so. I'll note the system is stet up with geographical boundaries for each of the counties so it's easy to set up. From SeeClickfix newsletter:


What we built with you and your government:

The SeeClickFix Dashboard is now being used by 135 City Clients and includes a boatload of new features including the ability to assign and re-categorize issues, create work orders and generate beautiful reports.

We have whitelabeled our marketplace mobile applications for a number of cities and one State so that the app is searchable under their brand and keywords. This month we also released the ability to add additional information pages to your custom application dynamically through our easy to use content management system.  

We have started to test a knowledge base and question and answer platform in select cities to help citizens and governments learn from each other in a scalable way that saves money and easy to implement.  Two cities have already signed on for early launch and we’re still accepting early adopters at a discounted rate.

We are also starting to experiment with crowdfunding and have helped to successfully fund a few projects in New Haven.

Some Partner City Highlights

The Cities of Minneapolis and Oakland have been longtime users of SeeClickFix and this year both Cities launched deeper integrations with the platform and became clients. In Minneapolis we launched marketplace mobile applications for the city and in Oakland we integrated with their CityWorks Work order system.  Richmond, VA, Surrey British Columbia and a number of other towns  also became clients of our CityWorks connect offering.  Washington DC also launched their marketplace mobile applications with SeeClickFix and have done a tremendous job marketing the apps on subway posters and parking meter stickers.  We also launched connections with Chicago 311 and Toronto 311 and assisted many small towns and FEMA during Hurricane Sandy.  As a result of the Toronto 311 connection we also launched our largest media partner the Toronto Star who just listed SeeClickFix as the best thing they’ve done all year. All in all 15 Million new citizens were affected by these new relationships around the globe.  

The new year will start off with a bang as well as we launch marketplace mobile applications and integrate with Houston’s CRM Kana, an integration with Oracle in Albuquerque and with 35 towns in Massachusetts through the Commonwealth Connect application that we have built for the State.  There also were a number of deals signed at the end of 2012 from California to North Carolina that we have not let the cat out of the bag yet on.  Stay tuned for those!

User Highlights

5 years on the job and still my favorite part of working at SeeClickFix is witnessing the anecdotal evidence that SeeClickFix is enabling collaboration between citizens and governments. Each of the resolved 200,000 issues are a little neighborhood victory, and they all deserve to be celebrated.  A few of our favorites fixes from 2012:

The Long Awaited Left Turn: A persistent Mom improved the safety of an intersection near a school after a year of work.

Giving a Hoot: An owl family was saved thanks to a diligent Park Ranger. 

Spring Cleaning with SeeClickFix: A town in Canada uses SeeClickFix to coordinate its yearly clean up efforts.

As the first full-time employee at SeeClickFix the most remarkable thing for me has been watching the growth of the team to fifteen full-time employees. Those 15 folks are dedicating their lives to helping you make your neighborhoods better. If you want to help them we’d love it if you would introduce SeeClickFix to your neighbors or your local government. If you are in local government we’d love to show you all that has been built in the last year. We think you’ll like it.  You can email me or contact the team at contact@seeclickfix.com.

Happy Holidays and here’s to collaboratively improving neighborhoods in 2013!
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Lessons Leaned in Creating Bike Master Plans

Biking in the Metro AreaB' Spokes: Since we have several areas developing Bike Master Plans this article by Richard Layman is a recommended read for those involved in the process. Some highlights from the article:

I often make the point that plans are beginnings, not endpoints.

government is about "sustained efforts."

prepared advocates poised to act are key.

if you want to improve the situation for whatever you are advocating for, YOU NEED AN AGENDA, one that is clear, cogent, and ideally comprehensive and complete.

If you don't identify the gaps, I guarantee they will never be corrected.
[B' Spokes: I'll also echo the importance of this as too often "what can easily be done" takes focus over "what needs to be done."]

http://urbanplacesandspaces.blogspot.com/2012/11/the-western-baltimore-county-pedestrian.html
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Balt. Co. Council approval keeps path for cyclists and pedestrians clear

Biking in the Metro AreaBy Mary K. Tilghman, Baltimore Sun

...
One local example is bike lanes that will be designated along Edmondson Avenue in Catonsville, probably in the spring, she said.

Thanks to the efforts of Catonsville Rails to Trails, a bike lane was added to the Frederick Road bridge over the Baltimore Beltway as part of that construction project.

Some streets will be considered "signature streets" designed to accommodate many modes of travel as well as provide amenities that will make them more aesthetically pleasing. They should be walkable, ridable and be on transit routes.

Rolling Road in Catonsville is one of three designated signature streets in the county.
...
Annapolis Road in Baltimore Highlands and stretches of Sulphur Spring Road, Wilkens Avenue and Maiden Choice Lane in Arbutus received top priority for bike lane designation. So did parts of Hollins Ferry Road in Lansdowne.

In Catonsville, sections of North Rolling and South Rolling were listed for bike lanes, as were Winters Lane, Edmondson Avenue and Bloomsbury Avenue.

Roads that connect to parks, bus stops and train stations, schools and existing bike paths also were given a number one priority for bike lanes and signage.

Sidewalk improvements got top priority in Catonsville on parts of Frederick Road, North and South Rolling Road, Old Frederick Road, Edmondson Avenue and Ingleside Avenue and parts of Sulphur Spring Road, Leeds Avenue, Maiden Choice Lane, Selma Avenue and Winans Avenue in Arbutus.

Among the paths listed for needing improvements to make them attractive to both cyclists and pedestrians were the three converted trolley trails in the area, trails in Patapsco Valley State Park, the Catonsville Park Trail and Banneker Community Center Trail.

In addition, other needs identified included bus shelters, crosswalks and ramps in neighborhoods as well as on the campuses of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, and the Community College of Baltimore County, Catonsville.
...

http://www.baltimoresun.com/explore/baltimorecounty/news/ph-ca-at-bike-ped-20121127,0,6293734.story
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“Grate” News

Biking in the Metro AreaUpdate: Our post "Dangerous Grate: Hampton Inn Elkridge Landing Rd Linthicum, MD"( http://www.baltimorespokes.org/article.php?story=20121113170742922 ) got Carol Silldorff of Bike Maryland's attention and she set out on an email adventure to find the person who could fix this grate. Well that person has been found and says the grate should be fixed soon.

Kudos Carol!!!

Promoting bicycling in Maryland has a lot of time consuming details like this if you would like to see more attention to detail please take a moment and support Bike Maryland (any amount helps) http://bikemd.org/page.php?id=146

And special thanks goes out to Michael Jackson our State Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Access for his contribution in helping to resolve this issue.

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Dangerous Grate: Hampton Inn Elkridge Landing Rd Linthicum, MD

Biking in the Metro AreaUpdate: This grate should be fixed soon. Ref: http://www.baltimorespokes.org/article.php?story=20121129120407433

[B' Spokes: I'm not sure who to forward this too, anyone have any ideas?]
****************************************************************************************
There is a drain grate situated between the Hampton Inn and Red Roof Inn on Elkridge Landing Rd that has gaps parallel to the direction of travel and wide enough for a bicycle wheel to fall in to. All other grates on this section of Elkridge Landing are configured to be bicycle safe. Numerous bike commuters heading to the NSA or other office facilities in this area in heavy traffic each morning have to swerve in to traffic to avoid the grate. As there is no shoulder this presents a significant hazzard.

http://seeclickfix.com/issues/275478
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CookieRide delivers home-baked treats in Howard Co.

Biking in the Metro Area[B' Spokes: OK, this is a scooter but still cool.]
*******************************************************
...
After deciding against operating a van or a food truck, and after briefly considering riding a bicycle with an attached trailer, as is done on the West Coast, she chose the scooter for its energy efficiency and small carbon footprint.
...
"She's a great baker, but she's also a friendly, fun person with a smile on her face, and I think that's needed to be successful," Bokulic said. "She has persevered, and now her business is taking off."
...

http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2012-11-01/news/bs-ho-cookie-ride-1104-20121101_1_cookies-columbia-resident-scooter
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An idea for bicycle planning

Biking in the Metro Area[B' Spokes: I just love it when I get an unsolicited email from one of our elected reps about cycling. And this wonderful idea comes from Howard County Councilman Greg Fox (District 5). And I agree this would be a nice idea for areas trying to develop bicycling routes like Howard County. The following is the email I received:]
Councilman Greg Fox wanted me to pass along the following link:

http://www.gatech.edu/newsroom/release.html?nid=161481
http://cycleatlanta.org/


Sincerely,
Karen Knight

Karen Knight
Special Assistant to Greg Fox
Howard County Council District 5
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Behold, the Human-Powered Helicopter

Biking in the Metro AreaUniversity of Maryland has come close to winning the Sikorsky Prize, a $250,000 grant awarded to any group that can build a human-powered helicopter



Read the full story here: http://www.npr.org/2012/10/14/160670295/flight-club-human-powered-helicopter
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Traffic calming sought outside Westchester Elementary School

Biking in the Metro AreaBy Larry Perl, Baltimore Sun

...Vahlsing, who estimated that motorists often exceed the 25 mph speed limit on Old Frederick Road.

"There's no reduce speed signs, no flashing lights," Vahlsing said. "There's not even a crosswalk there, nothing to suggest to a driver passing by the school that there's a reason to slow down."

Vahlsing has also complained persistently to County Councilman Tom Quirk, whose 1st District includes the Catonsville area.

"My goal is not to be snarky or confrontational, but when it comes to public safety, moreover the safety of grandparents and children, I am not one to stand still and hope things get done," he said in an Oct. 2 email to Quirk's aide, Catherine Engers.

Quirk said he has scheduled a meeting with Vahlsing and county transportation engineers and public works officials to discuss possible solutions, including traffic-calming measures on Old Frederick Road at Devere Lane.
...

Vahlsing said he would like to see speed humps, but Engers told Vahlsing in a Sept. 13 email that Old Frederick Road is designated as a collector road and isn't eligible for speed humps.
...

http://www.baltimoresun.com/explore/baltimorecounty/news/ph-ca-westchester-traffic-1010-20121008,0,5001035.story
***************************************************************************************************
B' Spokes: There is something wrong if non-arterial roads in front of schools cannot get effective traffic calming measures. More to the point, speed humps and speed tables are often confused in the vernacular and a speed table would be appropriate here and more effective then other traffic calming measures IMHO.
Speed Table: http://trafficcalming.org/measures/speed-tables/
Chokers (a typical type of traffic calming): http://trafficcalming.org/measures/chokers/

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