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BikePed Beacon -- November 2008

Biking in the Metro Area


November 2008 
StreetSmart Campaign
Cities Struggling to Create Bike-Sharing Programs
Pedestrian Forum - Fall 2008
U.S. Bicycle Route System
Financial Bailout Includes Tax Break for Bicycle Commuters
Implementing Smart Growth Streets
Active Transportation for America
A Regional Bike and Pedestrian Newsflash  Greetings!
The following newsflash from the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board details current news, events, etc. in regards to biking and walking both in and around the Baltimore region.

The information found in the newsflash is informative; it could inspire some to become more involved in the process of improving conditions for biking and walking.

Or it could inspire a bike ride or a walk...

Amber Blake
BikePed ED

  Upcoming Meetings    Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Group January 7th at 1:00 PM at BMC (2700 Lighthouse Point East, Suite 310, Baltimore) 
All are welcome.     
>>See the Agenda and Past Minutes
BRTB meeting with elected officials
December 2, 2008 at 5 PM at BMC  (2700 Lighthouse Point East, Suite 310, Baltimore) 
Agenda will be posted 2 weeks in advance on BMC site. 
All are welcome.  Public comment opportunity at beginning of meeting.

Focus groupOpening for Citizen Member on the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Group 

The Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB) is currently seeking a volunteer to sit on the Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Group (BPAG), to represent citizen interests related to bicycle and pedestrian planning in the region.   
The primary role of the BPAG is provide advice and assistance to the Technical Committee concerning bicycle and pedestrian projects, and update and evaluate the Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan.  
The BPAG is an appointed committee of the Baltimore Regional Transportation Board.  The citizen members will serve a two-year term, starting in February 2009.
For more information or to apply to serve on the BPAG, contact Amber Blake at or 410-732-0500 x1030 or download an application at


 >> Learn More About BPAG

StreetSmart Campaign


Street Smart is an annual public education, awareness and behavioral change campaign in the Washington, DC, suburban Maryland and northern Virginia area. Since its beginning in 2002, the campaign has used radio, newspaper, and transit advertising, public awareness efforts, and added law enforcement, to respond to the challenges of pedestrian and bicyclist safety.

The Street Smart program emphasizes education of motorists and pedestrians through mass media. It is meant to complement, not replace, the efforts of state and local governments and agencies to build safer streets and sidewalks, enforce laws, and train better drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

The program is coordinated by the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB), and is supported by federal funds made available through state governments, and funding from some TPB member jurisdictions.

Cities Struggling to Create Bike-Sharing Programs    Bike-shareWatching the success of a massive bicycle-sharing program in Paris, where more than 20,000 bikes are now available for public use at self-service racks, several large U.S. cities have been exploring launching such service. Enthusiasm to reduce traffic congestion and pollution through greater bicycle use is being tempered by questions over funding and liability concerns, however.
Early bike-sharing efforts involved placing donated or unclaimed lost bikes around the city and relying on the honor system that users would return them. Many end up being stolen, however. So, following the Paris model, cities are now looking at more high-tech systems that require swiping a credit or membership card to guarantee the bike's return.  

Washington became the first American city to start such a program in August. Jim Sebastian, District of Columbia Transportation Department planner, said more than 900 users have signed up so far with an average of 150 daily rides among the 100 bicycles in service. Only one has been stolen and that user was billed $550 for a replacement bike, USA Today reported. The D.C. program is funded by Clear Channel Outdoor under an agreement that gives the company advertising rights on the city's bus stops.
Transportation officials in other cities including Boston, Chicago, and San Francisco are studying the Paris and Washington programs in hopes of starting up similar services. But efforts are being slowed in Boston by liability issues over who would be at fault if a bike-sharing user gets injured while using the service, in Chicago by funding questions, and in San Francisco by anti-bicycle activists who sued the city to halt construction of bike lanes until the impact on automobile traffic could be properly studied.

Pedestrian Forum - Fall 2008   
Department of Transportation.  United States of America  
The U.S. Federal Highway Administration has released the latest issue of its quarterly newsletter that highlights recent pedestrian safety activities related to the 4 E's-engineering, enforcement, education, and emergency services.

Articles include:
  • FHWA Safety Policy Memo Contains Provisions for Pedestrians 
  • Developing an Effective Measure of Pedestrian and Bicycle Exposure to Risk 
  • Evaluation of the Miami-Dade Pedestrian Safety Demonstration Project 
  • NHTSA Report on the Evaluation of Safety Benefits of Legacy Safe Routes to School Programs 
  • National Survey of Bicyclist and Pedestrian Attitudes and Behavior Results Finally Released 
  • NHTSA Conducts Pedestrian Assessment in Nevada 
  • NHTSA Releases National Pedestrian Crash Report 
  • Pedestrian Road Safety Audits Conducted in California and New Jersey 

A U.S. Bicycle Route System
Bike Routes USAAn official U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS) could help make the United States' cycling infrastructure more competitive with these other expansive route networks. Given the sheer size of the U.S., the USBRS could become the largest cycling network in the world.

Adventure Cycling Association and several other organizations have teamed up with AASHTO (American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials) to develop such a system.

With staff support from Adventure Cycling AASHTO's Tasl Force on U.S. Bicycle Routes has developed a corridor-level plan and designation system. The Corridor Plan was just approved by the Executive Board of Directors at the AASHTO Annual Meeting. Similar to La Route Verte, the vision of the USBRS is to create a seamless rural-suburban-urban cycling experience.

Financial Bailout Bill Includes Tax Break for Bicycle Commuters  

Bike to work
Tucked in the $700 billion bailout bill intended to help the nation's financial sector is a small provision to help promote bicycling to work.

Starting in January, bicyclists will be eligible for a $20-per-month tax-free reimbursement from their employers for bike-related expenses, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Employers who choose to participate in the voluntary program will be able to deduct the expenses from their federal taxes. The money could be used to purchase, store, maintain, or repair bikes that are used for a substantial portion of an employee's commute.
Bike advocates worked for seven years to get such a provision approved by Congress. The bicycle benefit was championed by members of the Oregon delegation, who squeezed it into the mammoth bailout bill signed Oct. 3 by President Bush. Supporters estimate the federal government will lose about $1 million a year in tax revenue as a result of the new benefit, with the exact amount depending on how many companies decide to offer the money to their employees (Source: AASHTO Journal Oct. 16, 2008 Page 10).

Implementing Smart Growth Streets
Smart Growth
The U.S. EPA Office of Development, Community and Environment (widely known as the ''Smart Growth'' office) is sponsoring a study on ''Implementing Smart Growth Streets'' that is being conducted by ICF International and Ellen Greenberg. Readers of Smart Growth Online are invited to participate in this work by bringing candidate case studies to the attention of the project team.

The project, which is in its initial phases, is using the following summary definition of smart growth streets: ''Smart Growth Streets are roadways designed and operated to support compact communities while promoting least-polluting transportation performance and preserving environmental resources within and beyond the right of way.''

Study organizers are seeking exemplary cases that demonstrate innovation, quality, and replicable results with respect to one or more of the principles. It is not expected that each case study will illustrate all of the principles. The study is focusing on documenting such examples, as well as on the implementation activities and institutional arrangements that are leading to positive outcomes.

Rails to Trails ReportActive Transportation for America:  A Case for Increased Federal Investment in Bicycling and Walking.    
A 48-Page Report by Rails-to-Trails   "This report quantifies, for the first time, the benefits that America can expect from elevating the priority of bicycling and walking in our nation's transportation system.

This case statement for increased investment in bicycling and walking infrastructure evaluates benefits in the areas of transportation, oil dependence, climate change, and public health, and puts dollar estimates to the economic value of these benefits. Benefits from bicycling and walking are quantified for the status quo, and for prospective increases in bicycling and walking under a Modest Scenario and a Substantial Scenario for the future.

The analysis concludes that modest increases in bicycling and walking could lead to an annual reduction of 70 billion miles of automobile travel. More substantial increases could lead to the avoidance of 200 billion miles per year."  (Excerpt from the Executive Summary of the Report)
  >> Read the Report
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BMC Logo                            Amber Blake
              Baltimore Metropolitan Council
              410-732-0500 x1030
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Health & Environmenta monthly environmental education & discussion forum

Global warming and uncontrolled growth ARE affecting Maryland! Find out how YOU can be part of the solution.

In continuation of this second year of exciting programs: This month's Baltimore Green Forum will feature a briefing on the environmental policies expected to be introduced in Annapolis during the 2009 Legislative Session. You will learn about the environmental threats of global warming and uncontrolled growth; provide feedback on potential environmental legislation, and discuss using your power as a voter to protect the environment.
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No Respect for Speed Limits

Biking ElsewhereWhen it comes to speeding, many American motorists don’t worry about safety. They just worry about getting caught.

Those are the findings by researchers from Purdue University who surveyed nearly 1,000 motorists about speed limits and driving habits. They found that <a href=""></a>; drivers are cynical about the safety benefits of driving within speed limits, and many think they can drive safely while speeding as long as they won’t get caught, according to the report in Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour.

“So the faster you think you can go before getting a ticket, the more likely you are to think safety’s not compromised at higher speeds,” said Fred Mannering, a professor of civil engineering at Purdue, in a press release. “For whatever reason, respect for speed limits seems to have deteriorated.”
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Mass TransitAccording to an article in the latest issue of the University of South Florida Journal of Public Transportation, &quot;A survey of 17 transit-oriented developments (TOD) in five U.S. metropolitan areas showed that vehicle trips per dwelling unit were substantially below what the Institute of Transportation Engineer's Trip Generation manual estimates. Over a typical weekday period, the surveyed TOD housing projects averaged 44 percent fewer vehicle trips than that estimated by the manual (3.754 versus 6.715).

&quot;Vehicle trip rates of transit-oriented housing projects were particularly low in metropolitan Washington, D.C. and Portland, Oregon, both known for successful TOD planning at the regional and corridor levels. Trip rates also generally fell as neighborhood densities increased. Local officials should account for the lower automobile use of those residing in TOD housing through such measures as traffic impact-fee adjustments and reduced off- street parking requirements.&quot;
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Biking ElsewhereAccording to an Oct. 20th news release, &quot;Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC) presents today the 'Active Transportation for America' report to Congress via Rep. James Oberstar (D-Minn.), who serves as the Chairman of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. The report quantifies -- for the first time -- the national benefits of bicycling and walking.

&quot;Putting figures to facts, the report documents the transportation, energy, climate, public health, and economic benefits of bicycling and walking. Never before has the case been made so clearly that relatively modest federal investment in bicycling and walking can save Americans tens of billions of dollars each year. The report compiles success stories from communities across America to show the potential to realize these benefits.

&quot;'The report illustrates the groundswell of public demand for investment in varied transportation choices,' says Keith Laughlin, president of Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. 'Americans want compelling opportunities to improve their communities with bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure. Having transportation choices will save people billions of dollars in fuel costs and millions of hours wasted in gridlock.'...&quot;
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Biking ElsewhereAccording to an article in the Oct. 27th edition of Smart Growth Online, &quot;Even before gas prices spiked high above $4 per gallon this spring and summer, a Harris Interactive poll found last December that 81 percent of Americans would radically change federal outlays of the 1998 Transportation Efficiency Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21) from 79 percent for roads, 20 percent for mass transit, and 1 percent for biking and walking, to 37, 41, and 22 percent, respectively, in its 2009 replacement bill.&quot;
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Mass Transitimage
What's with Baltimore County? Working on a walkable Towson and a car centric Owings Mills? More info in Gersald Neily blog:
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Cyclocross race this Sunday

Biking in the Metro AreaI thought I would share that the Howard County Recreation and Parks Department, in conjunction with Lateral Stress Velo, is hosting a cyclocross race in Rockburn Branch Park this Sunday. The Rec &amp; Parks Dept. has been is very enthusiastic about expanding its offerings for cycling, and I hope some of you will be able to come out and support the event--or even participate! In particular, we will be having a Free &quot;Li'l Belgians&quot; race for kids ages 9 and under at 1:00 pm. The only requirement is that kids must have a helmet, and parents must sign a release at registration.
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Developing a U.S. Bicycle Route System

Biking Elsewhereimage
Adventure Cycling Association is part of an initiative to develop a national bike route system called the U.S. Bicycle Route System (USBRS). We serve on the Task Force for U.S. Bicycle Routes and have provided staff support to AASHTO (American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials) since 2005. AASHTO is a national nonprofit that supports the work of state departments of transportation (DOTs), including policy, design standards, and roadway designations. The AASHTO Task Force was charged with developing a national corridor-level plan and designation system that transportation agencies can utilize for the development of bicycle routes.
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BMC Board Creates Regional Sustainability Committee

Health & EnvironmentBaltimore, MD (October 27, 2008) The Board of Directors of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council (BMC) has created a Regional Sustainability Committee to share information and coordinate activities that will benefit the entire Baltimore region. Joshua Feldmark, Director of Howard County's Office of Environmental Sustainability, serves as the committee's chair.

&quot;All of our jurisdictions are exploring environmental practices that can be integrated into government operations and into all aspects of everyday life,&quot; said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, the BMC Chair. &quot;But we cannot afford to duplicate efforts, work at cross-purposes, or re-invent the wheel in every jurisdiction. This committee can make certain we're all moving in the same direction.&quot;

&quot;Sustainability involves many departments in local governments,&quot; added Mr. Feldmark, &quot;from Planning and Zoning to Recreation and Parks to Public Works to Purchasing. We have reached the point where economics and doing the right thing are coming together. We now have an opportunity to make changes that will reap benefits for years to come.&quot;

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