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Wednesday, February 22 2017 @ 05:24 PM UTC
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Ottawa opted for 'less safe' O'Connor Street bikeway design to make way for cars

Biking ElsewhereBy Joanne Chianello, CBC News

The City of Ottawa bypassed the advice of international consultants when designing the O'Connor Street bikeway in order to make more room for cars, choosing an option the firm described as "less safe" for cyclists.

In the first three weeks since its opening, there were three reported collisions between bicycles and vehicles in the section of the bike lane stretching from Laurier Avenue to the Queensway.

The city insists the lane is safe. But it doesn't deny it chose an option that was somewhat less safe for cyclists, and did so because the optimal choice would have been untenable for drivers — and may have killed the project altogether.
...

In its report submitted in July 2015, Mobycon concluded that Option 1 — protected bike lanes on both sides of O'Connor — was "the safest and most direct for bicyclists."

The firm acknowledged that its first choice could result in less room for cars and "slightly less optimal flow in the downtown area." But from a Dutch cycling perspective, inconveniencing motorists is "considered an acceptable trade-off."
...

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/ottawa/city-of-ottawa-chooses-less-safe-option-for-o-connor-bikeway-to-make-room-for-cars-1.3855100
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The Road Ahead: Transportation

Biking Elsewhereby: Tony Dutzik, Frontier Group

...
For a decade, the United States seemed to be creeping away from our extreme dependence on fossil fuel-burning cars and trucks. Between 2004 and 2014, the number of miles driven by the average American fell by about 7%. Vehicle fuel economy increased and transportation carbon pollution declined. Traffic deaths fell. Congestion stagnated. Cycling and transit use surged. Meanwhile, new technologies and services emerged that promised a potential break from the nation’s dominant model of mobility based on personal car ownership.

Then, everything changed. Gasoline prices collapsed to the lowest level since 2003. Vehicle travel and the congestion that comes with it increased. Traffic deaths rose alarmingly for reasons ranging from rising travel to distracted driving to a surge in the number of bad drivers on the roads. Americans launched into a debt-fueled SUV-buying bonanza that has stalled improvements in fuel economy. Congress put $300 billion more behind the failed transportation infrastructure investment policies of the past via the FAST Act in late 2015. And the future of new models of mobility such as carsharing, Lyft and Uber remained in question.

And then came November 8. Voters gave virtually unchecked federal power to a Republican party that has frequently proven hostile to transit while embracing an “asphalt socialist” approach to highway construction. The transportation priorities of our incoming president are as yet unclear, but the tentative steps toward a cleaner and more efficient transportation system that the Obama administration took over the last eight years would seem to be in jeopardy.
...

http://www.frontiergroup.org/blogs/blog/fg/road-ahead-transportation
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Larry Hogan’s “BaltimoreLink” Fails to Deliver for Transit Riders

Mass TransitBy Angie Schmitt, Streets Blog

When Maryland Governor Larry Hogan unilaterally killed plans for Baltimore’s 14-mile Red Line light rail, shifting the funds to road projects in whiter parts of the state, local advocates filed a civil rights complaint. Hogan, meanwhile, said he would make it up to the city with a set of bus improvements called BaltimoreLink.

After getting a good long look at the details of BaltimoreLink, advocates are not impressed. Stephen Lee Davis at Transportation for America reports on a recent analysis that concluded Hogan’s initiative won’t do much to improve local transit service:
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Making matters worse, the whole BaltimoreLink initiative will be under the control of the state, giving city agencies little opportunity to influence it, Davis reports.
...

http://usa.streetsblog.org/2016/12/16/larry-hogans-baltimorelink-fails-to-deliver-for-transit-riders/
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Bicyclists seek county funding for 'Bikeway' network during first Howard budget hearing

Biking in the Metro AreaBy Andrew Michaels, Howard County Times/Baltimore Sun

While praising the county for passing the BikeHoward master plan earlier this year, dozens of bicycling advocates testified before County Executive Allan Kittleman Wednesday evening to request the county's fiscal year 2018 budget include funds for a network of bicycle and pedestrian routes.

More than 40 people shared their proposals for county funding requests at the public hearing, including representatives from Howard Community College, Howard County Library System and Columbia village communities. County spokesman Andy Barth said the citizens budget hearing, which was the first for fiscal year 2018, was an opportunity for everyone to share their "wish lists" for funding of programs and projects
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http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-citizens-budget-hearing-1222-20161215-story.html
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Aberdeen police patrol + decoy bike = bike thieves arrested

Biking in the Metro AreaVia Baltimore Sun

...
To address concerns about bikes stolen from around the station, officers conducted a detail during which officers set up a decoy bicycle and arrested two men who tried to steal it.
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http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/harford/aegis/ph-ag-aberdeen-foot-patrols-1202-20161211-story.html
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The True Costs of Driving

Biking ElsewhereBy JOE CORTRIGHT, The Atlantic

A report published earlier this year confirms, in tremendous detail, a very basic fact of transportation that’s widely disbelieved: Drivers don’t come close to paying for the costs of the roads they use. Published jointly by the Frontier Group and the U.S. PIRG Education Fund, “Who Pays for Roads?” exposes the myth that drivers are covering what they’re using.

The report documents that the amount that road users pay through gas taxes now accounts for less than half of what’s spent to maintain and expand the road system. The resulting shortfall is made up from other sources of tax revenue at the state and local levels, generated by drivers and non-drivers alike. This subsidizing of car ownership costs the typical household about $1,100 per year—over and above the costs of gas taxes, tolls, and other user fees.
...

https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/10/driving-true-costs/412237/

[B' Spokes: Or how I like to explain it, motoring taxes and fees basically pays for for the Interstates. You know, roads where bike and pedestrians are not allowed, roads with an "I" and some numbers. All other roads we all pay for, they are no more for "only cars" than your local park, school or library. Any way a good read and makes you wonder why we throw so much money after something that has so little benefit per cost.]
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Ignoring Fare Evaders Can Make Mass Transit Faster—And Richer

Mass TransitBy AARIAN MARSHALL, Wired

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So the enterprising Norwegians had an idea: Don’t just ditch the malfunctioning hardware. Ditch the turnstiles and gates altogether, along with the idea of physical barriers that demand payment.

It’s not so radical. By nixing fare gates, public transit agencies emphasize ease of access over making every last rider pay. Europe got into “proof of payment” systems—where wandering personnel request evidence you paid your way—in the 1960s. They made it to American shores, mostly in light rail systems, by the 1990s.
...

https://www.wired.com/2016/12/ignoring-fare-evaders-can-make-mass-transit-faster-richer/
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Do We Really Want Funding For Bicycle Projects?

Biking Elsewhereby Walker Angell, Streets mn

We hear frequent calls for more funding for bicycling — for painted bike lanes, door zone bike lanes, sharrows, protected bikeways, bicycle parking, giant motor traffic intersections for Trader Joe’s, programs to encourage people to ride and any number of things.

We don’t need all of that special funding. We may specifically not want that special funding.

Asking for funding for bicycle facilities is backwards. It’s inefficient, can result in poor or over-priced outcomes, and sometimes the funding can be sidetracked for projects that have little or nothing to do with making walking and bicycling better and safer.
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We need to think about it differently. Not as bicycle projects or pedestrian projects or people with disabilities projects or guardrail projects, but as one comprehensive transportation and space project. Mitigating the negative impacts imposed by motorists must be a core element of traffic engineering and of every roadway, not an optional add-on.
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When engineers design a bridge, they don’t use a painted line to keep cars from driving off and plunging to their death. NO! They design it from the outset to be safe. Can you imagine if bridges didn’t have guardrails and we had to fight for funding for them?
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Our response is that we’re going to spend 99% of our money making roads smoother and faster for drivers and 1% to improve safety for those endangered by the fast drivers. We protect people from falling icicles and from plunging off of high bridges but not from errant drivers? That’s messed up.
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Rather than start with funding, we should begin with what we should do — build safe roads — and then let the funding follow. If there is only enough funding available to reconstruct 22 miles of roadway to the new safer standards rather than the planned 25 miles of fast, smooth, and unsafe road, then that’s life. If a road cannot be built safe for all of those impacted then it should not be built or reconstructed or repaved.

[B' Spokes: Or how I look at it, we can build those extra 3 miles next year. Over 90% of our projects have the sole purpose of solving so called problems 10 years down the road using inflated numbers and arguably incorrect cost benefits so really those 3 miles of car-centric roads can wait a year.]
...

https://streets.mn/2016/12/07/do-we-really-want-funding-for-bicycle-projects/
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U.S. life expectancy declines for the first time since 1993

Health & EnvironmentBy Lenny Bernstein, Washington Post

For the first time in more than two decades, life expectancy for Americans declined last year — a troubling development linked to a panoply of worsening health problems in the United States.
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“I think we should be very concerned,” said Princeton economist Anne Case, who called for thorough research on the increase in deaths from heart disease, the No. 1 killer in the United States. “This is singular. This doesn’t happen.”
...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/us-life-expectancy-declines-for-the-first-time-since-1993/2016/12/07/7dcdc7b4-bc93-11e6-91ee-1adddfe36cbe_story.html
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A glimpse into what America might be like if it continues to be car centric

Biking Elsewherehttp://www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2052657/opening-beijings-1000km-seventh-ring-road-more-closely

[B' Spokes: The rate that China has embrased America's love of cars along with all the down sides is scary. This article is about a road that is 12 times the size of Baltimore's 82.8 km beltway. More cars and more roads is not the answer.]

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