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MD Trails Summit

Bike Paths

 

Greetings Trail Enthusiast! 

 

REGISTRATION IS NOW OPEN!

The Maryland Trails Summit :

Sharing the Vision-Making the Connections

October 19, 2010

 

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR) is proud to announce that the Maryland Trail Summit will be held on Tuesday, October 19th at the Holiday Inn BWI Airport in Linthicum Heights , Maryland . The Summit will bring together trail users from all over the State to discuss the future of trails in Maryland, preview an interactive map and website, work on regional projects, network with other trail users and planners, learn about trails in neighboring states and much more!

 

This opportunity is not to be missed. This 1-day event is the culmination of ideas and input from the four Regional Roundtables that DNR hosted this past summer. If you are a commuter, boater, bicyclist, rollerblader, hiker, walker, skier, jogger, pet lover, paddler, camper, birder, off-road vehicle rider, equestrian, or anyone else that has an interest in trails in Maryland this is the event for you!

 

Maryland’s very first trail summit is just around the bend, so complete your online registration and come prepared to learn and discuss the future of trails in Maryland. We hope to see you there!  http://www.dnr.state.md.us/land/Trails/FirstTrailsSummit.asp

Limited Space – Register online today to assure your seat!

 

 

 

The Md Trails Summit Team

MdTrailsSummit@dnr.state.md.us

http://www.dnr.state.md.us/land/Trails/index.asp 

 

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Cycling: Help needed to spur bicycle service on trains

Bike PathsBy Larry Walsh - Pittsburgh Gazette

My first experience with roll-on/roll-off train service occurred in the late 1990s on the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad which runs from Cumberland to Frostburg, a 16-mile trip.

I had pedaled a steel Bianchi mountain bike on alternate sides of the railroad tracks from Frostburg to Cumberland. It was a bumpy ride, thanks to all the ballast. What is now a smooth ride on a crushed limestone surface trail was years away.

When I arrived in Cumberland, I had breakfast at the All Aboard Café in the renovated red brick railway station, rode around Cumberland for a few hours and caught the 11:30 train back to Frostburg.

After buying my ticket, I rolled the bike over to the baggage car and lifted it up from the platform to John Jeppi, the conductor. I used bungee cords to secure it to the interior of the car. When we got to Frostburg, Jeppi rolled it over to the door and handed it down. No muss, no fuss.

The Allegheny Trail Alliance and the Trail Town Program have asked Amtrak officials to approve roll-on/roll-off service along the railroad's Capitol route from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C. And they would like all members of the bicycling community to help make that request a reality.

Roll-on/roll-off service allows cyclists to transport their bikes on and off the train without turning the handlebars sideways, taking the pedals off and putting them in boxes.

The alliance also has asked Amtrak to include roll-on/roll-off service to trail towns it does not currently service.

To accomplish those goals, they are asking cyclists to write letters to Joseph H. Boardman, president and chief executive officer of Amtrak, National Railroad Passenger Corp., 60 Massachusetts Ave., NE, Washington, D.C., 20002. The railroad prefers hard copies rather than e-mails.

They also ask that copies of those letters be sent to Ray LaHood, secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation, 1200 New Jersey Ave., SE, Washington, D.C., 20590; and to the alliance at PO Box 501, Latrobe, Pa., 15650 or admin@atatrail.org.

Time is of the essence.

If enough cyclists write enough letters as soon as possible -- and now would be a good time to do so -- roll-on/roll-off service along the Capitol Limited could be in place by next spring.

It might be possible, for example, to ride the train from Pittsburgh to Connellsville, bike 90 miles to Cumberland, Md., along the Great Allegheny Passage and catch the train back to Pittsburgh. The Capitol Limited stops in those towns.

Rockwood, about halfway between Connellsville and Cumberland, has asked Amtrak to approve a stop in their bike-friendly southern Somerset County town. If approved, the stop would serve bicyclists in the spring, summer and fall and snow sports enthusiasts during the winter.

Hidden Valley and Seven Springs, which maintain miles of mountain-bike trails, are only 15 miles away. And each resort has expressed interest in providing roundtrip shuttle-bus service to Rockwood if it becomes an Amtrak stop.

Depending on snow conditions, cross-country skiers and snowshoers arriving by Amtrak could stay overnight in Rockwood and ski or shoe on the passage. If there is not enough snow, they could go to the resorts and/or nearby state parks such as Laurel Ridge and Kooser.

If you would like some suggestions about what to include in your letter, go to http://www.GAPtrail.org.

For more information about the Western Maryland Scenic Railroad, go to http://www.wmsr.com or call 1-800-872-4650.

Although there was no bike fee on my first roll-on/roll-off trip, the railroad now charges $5. Advance reservations are encouraged. The railroad now transports up to 60 bikes a day.

You might want to include that information in your letters.


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Naturally Maryland, Naturally MTA

Bike PathsExploring Baltimore's Byways, Trails and Parks Through Public Transit

About Naturally Maryland, Naturally MTA
This blog tracks the progress of a long term project designed by Christopher Johnson, an environmental manager and consultant.

Throughout the summer and autumn of 2010, Mr. Johnson will be exploring the benefits of Baltimore's many recreational opportunities. He will do this, however, by throwing his hiking boots and/or fold-up bicycle on board his city's public transit system.

This blog will report on Mr. Johnson's public transit adventures. It will designed to be eventually published into a handy local outdoor recreation guide that will attain three major goals:

1) Help low income, especially inner city, citizens, with no access to a car, reach inspiring natural areas that will benefit their physical and mental health.

2) Help environmentally conscious hikers and bikers reach their favorite local destinations without the guilt of polluting their beloved natural areas via the consumption of polluting, unsustainable fossil fuels.

3) Advocate the benefits the Maryland Transit Administration's (MTA's) system contributes to our community.
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Amtrak Call to Action

Bike PathsDear Trail Supporter:

The Allegheny Trail Alliance and the Trail Town Program have been advocating for the roll-on/roll off service along Amtrak’s Capitol Limited Route and need your continued help! Thanks to your support we are that much closer to seeing this happen, and you can still contribute! The attached letter thanks Amtrak for their interest and encourages them to provide this service as soon as they can. Please adapt the letter below and make the necessary changes (highlighted as red text) to personalize it for your own situation and interest.

Amtrak prefers hard copies rather than e-mails, so we ask that you send a copy directly to the address listed in the supplemental letter below.  Also, please mail a copy of your letter to the ATA at P.O. Box 501, Latrobe, PA 15650, or e-mail it to admin@atatrail.org  Your immediate help is necessary and greatly appreciated!  

Thank you for your time!

 

SUPPORT LETTER:

 

Date

 

Mr. Joseph H. Boardman

President and CEO of Amtrak

National Railroad Passenger Corporation

60 Massachusetts Avenue, NE

Washington, DC  20002

 

Dear Mr. Boardman,

 

Thank you for your interest in providing enhanced bicycle service on the Capitol Limited.  I am excited by the prospect of being able to roll-on and roll-off on the Capitol Limited route between Pittsburgh, PA and Washington, DC.  I am encouraged with the news that it might be available in Spring 2011.  I want to bike the Great Allegheny Passage and the C&O Canal towpath and appreciate the opportunity to ride the rails before I ride the trails.  I look forward to using the service every year/month/week, especially between x and y. 

 

We appreciate Amtrak’s commitment to enhancing tourism opportunities and multi-modal transportation networks. 

 

Sincerely,

(Your signature)

 

Copy:  Ray LaHood, Secretary, U. S. Department of Transportation

1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590

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KDOT Transportation Enhancement Program

Bike Paths[B' Spokes: to contrast Maryland; 16 projects for the next *six* years at a cost of $20 million (at an average of 5 projects and $3 million a year.) Also note that Maryland requires a 50% local match "to make the money go farther" like that's working real well. And as noted previously we have enough Transportation Enhancement money in the bank to do all 16 projects *this year* with NO local match.]
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The Kansas Department of Transportation has chosen 18 projects for its transportation enhancement program through fiscal year 2012, at a cost of $14.8 million.

KDOT received 55 applications from local governments. For the 18 selected projects, a minimum of 20% of their cost must come from the applicant.
...

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Still Fighting the "Trails Bring Crime" Myth

Bike Pathsby

Richard Layman writes on his blog about an item that didn't make it into Western Baltimore County pedestrian and bicycle access plan - contradicting the claim that bike trails bring crime.

Basically I wrote that while it is true that some crime incidents do happen on shared use paths, statistically the number of incidents is less than in either commercial areas or residential areas abutting shared use paths.

I said the reality is that more crimes are committed in association with the use of automobiles than with bicycles, but that people do not respond by recommending that the entire street network be shut down, automobiles be banned, or that no new streets should be constructed, because the street network abets crime.

Typically, after trails are constructed and begin to be used, opposition dwindles. So why do we have to go through the contentious processes each time we try to create new trails?

He even quoted the local police chief

The theory behind the program is that by mapping crashes, police can learn which areas are most likely to have such problems and station their officers in a “highly visible” way to deter speeding and distracted driving.

The same is also done in high-crime areas, police said. One helps the other, Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson said, because vehicles are often used in the commission of crimes.

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Fast, Free Trails

Bike Pathsby washcycle

A Nevada non-profit can quickly remove railroad ties and tracks, dispose of them and replace it with a crushed stone surface. For free.

While most rail-to-trail projects can linger in the costly planning and design process for a decade, Godsey has placed Methuen’s on the fast track by accepting an offer she could not refuse — having the railroad tracks and ties removed, disposed of, and replaced with a crushed-stone surface for free by Iron Horse Preservation Society, a Reno, Nev., nonprofit.

“They basically come in, take out the rail stock and in essence, they give you a rail trail,’’ Godsey said.

The 18-employee organization makes its money from the sale of the railroad material, and makes sure that none of it ends up in a landfill

Because the organization does the work at no cost, Hattrup argues, a bidding process is not necessary. It also eliminates the cost for the community of removing creosote-treated railroad ties, which are considered a hazardous material, he said.

Joe Hattrup, Iron Horse Preservation director, says the process most groups use is costly and cumbersome.

“Some of the cities were paying huge amounts of money, six digits, a quarter-million dollars, for these designs . . . and then you don’t have anything yet but a road map to look for more money. They do all these feasibility studies that by the time it’s done, by the time you finish your studies, it’s 10 years later and it’s not even relevant anymore.’’

“It’s not easy to build a rail trail in Massachusetts. It doesn’t have to be this hard, but changing the process is hard.’’

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Fox retracts Crackdown on the CCT Story

Bike Pathsby washcycle

After I wrote about the Fox News story on the "Crackdown on the CCT," Joe contacted the Maryland-National Capital Park Police who characterized the story as a "misrepresentation".

They noted that the Lt. interviewed in the story did not mention this as a “speed crackdown” and did not mention the use of radar or lidar speed measuring devices. She was reinforcing the increased visibility of their officers in an effort to address the myriad of unsafe behaviors exhibited by many of the trail users, whether walkers, joggers, dog walkers or bicyclist. She also talked about the educational efforts underway from members of their sworn compliment, rangers and volunteers.

Park Police has contacted Fox regarding their misrepresentation and they are going to work with them to do another, more comprehensive piece that accurately depicts what is occurring on the trail. Fox has taken the story down from their site and so have I.

Park Police reiterated that speed was not found to be a factor in the two most recent collisions, the first was rider error on the part of the passing bicyclist and the last was jogger error combined with rider error ("...if the cyclist had given a warning before he tried to pass left, the lady might’ve heard him early enough to wait before she made her u-turn and if the lady had of glanced over her shoulder before she made her u-turn she might’ve seen the cyclist passing on her left."). While speed could have played a part in the first situation, the investigating officers did not find evidence or witnesses that could clearly verify a high speed on the part of either cyclist.

The Park Police is trying to take a broad approach to these issues and not focusing solely on cyclists. They note that even their sign board shows more about awareness and courteous behavior than speed.

This all sounds good, and certainly there are steps we can all take to make the trails safer (including going slower as appropriate).
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Crackdown on the CCT

Bike Paths
UPDATE: Fox retracts Crackdown on the CCT Story http://www.baltimorespokes.org/article.php?story=20100804105937326

***************************************************************************

If you ride this trail I recommend reading the whole article by Washcycle, which I will highlight one bit:

"He also names the worst thing as dogs walked on long extended leashes or off-leash. But yes, by all means, crack down on an rule that is hard to comply with [cyclists going over the speed limit], is not cited as a particular problem by an officer on the trail and was not a factor in the recent crashes that instigated the crackdown. Then let's burn down the observatory so that this never happens again."
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Trail etiquette

Bike Paths[B' Spokes: You know there is a lot of talk out there how cyclists don't follow the rules of the road, so it would follow we would face the same accusations on bike trails. Now don't get me wrong, I am all for sharing and cyclists following rules but it cannot be the sole responsibility of cyclists to stay out of the way of every single thing no matter what random direction it decides to go. On trails I have used a bell before passing only to have a jogger u-turn into me. "Why didn't you give warning?" they yelled at me. "I did." was my retort. And their response "What?" as they pull earphones out of their ears.

If cyclists have a duty to give audible warning then it would stand to reason that pedestrains should have a duty to HEAR an audible warning, that is simple logic, yet there is no such duty so maybe we should look at things differently. If bike trails are funded by transportation money for the primary purpose of transportation and not recreation, shouldn't standard rules of the road be applicable, like the duty to signal and look over your shoulder before doing any lateral movement? To give cyclists all the duties and none to pedestrains is just wrong. While speeding/unsafe passing distance cyclists are a hazard to pedestrains and should be curtailed so should random turning no warning pedestrains, they are a hazard to cyclists at any speed. I don't mean to be self centered here but trails are being built to encourage more cycling (and its great that others enjoy them as well but) there should be more stress on cooperative behavior from all users. If everyone took some care for everyone else the world would be a better place and that is something I hope we can all stand behind.

Someone has to point out the obvious, I have used a bell to little to no avail so I decided it would be safer to have both hands on the brakes then one on the bell and now just say "passing" before I pass and of course I slow down while passing but some help from the other side would be appreciated as well. ]
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Lane Change: Kate Ryan Reports

I'm a WTOP reporter shifting from the driver's seat to the bike lane. And you can come along for the ride.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010

News from the (Bike) Trail...
Took a ride on the Capital Crescent Trail this morning and met up with a member of the Maryland National Capital Park Police. While we were riding and interviewing, a cyclist shot up alongside us to flag Officer Donald Brew: there'd been a crash on the trail,
not far from Massachussetts Avenue and Little Falls Parkway.

It was just before 8 a.m. We cycled back and found a cyclist down, blood near his ear and side of his face, and a runner sitting up, resting with her back against a companion, her face, palm, elbow, wrist and hip bloodied. Both were clearly shaken.

Initial eyewitness accounts indicate that the runner and cyclist were originally headed in the same direction, with the cyclist behind the runner, when the runner suddenly stopped and did a U-turn. According to one witness, she did this just as the cyclist was swinging wide to pass her, and the two collided--hard. The witness I spoke to could not recall hearing the cyclist call out to the pedestrian that he planned to pass her. All of this is preliminary information...Officer Brew will be filing a police report.

Expect to hear the interview with Officer Brew on WTOP soon...and in the meantime, be safe out there.
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