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Thursday, September 21 2017 @ 03:28 AM UTC
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Highways Are a Bad Investment for Economic Recovery

Mass Transit...
Expanding roads and highways will take us backwards, rather than move us toward a true recovery. Building new highways provides fewer jobs than building public transportation infrastructure. According to Surface Transportation Policy Partnership, you get 19 percent more jobs with public transportation investments than with new roads and highway spending. Stimulating our economy effectively means investing in the infrastructure that gives us the most bang for our buck. Highways don't do that.
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Rails to Trails economic recovery plan online petition

Biking ElsewhereFor folks who want to sign the Rails to Trails economic recovery petition, which simply asks President-elect Obama and Congress to consider:

"supporting explicit funding for trails, walking and biking in the upcoming economic recovery package. Funding active transportation is a cost-effective investment that creates jobs and leads to healthier people, stronger communities, decreased oil dependency, and reduced climate change emissions"

as part of our nation's economic recovery plan.
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Road Kill: Americans Are Driving Less, Which is Good and Bad

Biking Elsewhere

The Journal’s Ana Campoy reports:

As politicians debate how to break the nation’s addiction to foreign oil and curb its global-warming emissions, laypeople are already setting an example: They’re cutting back on driving.

That’s not just because they were shocked into conserving when gasoline prices surpassed $4 a gallon earlier this year, points out a new study by the Brookings Institution titled “The Road… Less Traveled.”

U.S. drivers began pushing the brakes four years ago — well before gas prices began shooting up. But it was 2007 when, for the first time, the number of miles traveled in the U.S. actually fell compared with the prior year.

That’s because, at this point, there are relatively few people eligible to drive who aren’t doing so already. The growing use of public transit and the sprouting of shopping centers in residential areas are also helping, the study says. These are changes the authors don’t expect will be reversed in coming years, even if gas prices keep falling.

The drop in miles driven will likely force the massive reorganization of transportation policy that experts say is badly needed, but that policy makers have so far skirted.

For starters, Congress will have to figure out how to make up for the shortfall in gasoline - tax revenue, which is used to fund transportation projects, as people use less of the fuel. Short-term, Brookings says, lawmakers should raise gas taxes, and while they’re at it, they should index them to inflation so that they rise along with overall prices. In the long-term, the study suggests a carbon tax.

But aside from securing new revenue streams, Congress will need to do a better job of assigning the cash. According to Brookings , traffic data suggests that either the build-up of road lanes is outpacing the growth in the number of cars that roll on them, or that fewer cars are driving over existing roads than in the past. Either way, the report says, if the number of miles Americans log “continues to fall—and states continue to build more roads—the nation may be wasting scarce transportation dollars on unneeded roads.”
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Counting bikes in Baltimore

Biking in BaltimoreI got this notice from a Hopkins Public Health public service mailing list. Does it seem odd that they are going to count bikes in the winter? Anyone interested in advocacy on the question?

Also, if anyone wants to volunteer as a counter, the info is below.

Baltimore City Planner’s Office seeks Volunteers!
Interested in Making Baltimore a More Green Place to Live? Volunteer just two hours to count the number of bicyclists in Baltimore at designated locations. Counts will be performed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 7 – 9 am and from 4 – 6 pm. The locations will be: Guilford and Mt Royal, Eastern and Chester, Pratt and Gay, Park Heights and Belvedere and St. Paul and 33rd. Forms will be provided. For more information and to volunteer, contact Susan Hutfless ( With enumeration, we can impact the funding allocated to this form of transportation in Baltimore to increase the health of the city’s residents.
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Leaner nations bike, walk, use mass transit

Biking ElsewhereLink found between 'active transportation' and less obesity in 17 countries
-Associated Press

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - Jim Richards is no kid, but he loves to ride his bike. At 51, he has become a cycling commuter, pedaling 11 miles from his home in the suburbs to his job in downtown Knoxville.

"It really doesn't take that much longer" than driving, he insists.

And he gets 40 minutes of exercise twice a day without going to the gym, which he attributes to a 20-pound weight loss.

New research illustrates the health benefits of regular biking, walking or taking public transportation to work, school or shopping. Researchers found a link between "active transportation" and less obesity in 17 industrialized countries across Europe, North America and Australia.

"Countries with the highest levels of active transportation generally had the lowest obesity rates," authors David Bassett of the University of Tennessee and John Pucher of Rutgers University conclude.
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Obama, Congress Must Back Up Rhetoric on Recovery


Here's a template op-ed on the Transportation for America coalition's concerns about the shaping of the stimulus bill. This is a VERY critical moment in the debate. We think Congress should:

Conduct the discussions about what gets funded in the open: All states should make public what they are proposing. They should get no blank checks, but should be accountable toward national priorities. Those national priorities should include longterm benefits to the economy, safety, reduced oil dependence and carbon emissions. We should fix what we have before we build new highways.
This is possible if the economic stimulus package the President-elect is expected to sign on day one includes a $100 billion investment to:
? Repair and preserve highways, bridges and existing public transportation service, and support the green jobs associated with this work;
? Build modern rail and rapid bus lines and upgrade all forms of service in cities large and small;
? Develop high-speed and other forms of inter-city rail; and
? Make streets safe for walking and biking.
While repairing existing roads and bridges is a necessary expenditure, given that the national highway system has been built, federal resources and attention must go toward supporting the cleanest forms of transportation ? public transit, high speed rail, walking and biking. The Transportation for America Campaign has identified more than 65 such ready-to-go projects within the next year, requiring over $17B in funding to get going.

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Obama To Take Big Pre-Inauguration Railroad Tour

PoliticsBy Eric Kleefeld -

The Presidential Inaugural Committee has hit on a novel way of reducing the pressure that the enormous crowd expected to show up on Inauguration Day will put on Washington: Have Barack Obama take a pre-inaugural railroad tour that will allow people to show up to view him and Joe Biden at multiple locations.

"As part of the most open and accessible Inauguration in history, we hope to include as many Americans as possible who wish to participate, but can't be in Washington," said the committee's executive director Emmett S. Beliveau, in the press release.

Obama will hold an event in Philadelphia the Saturday before the inauguration, then be joined by Joe Biden at an event in Wilmington, Delaware, with the two then proceeding to another rally in Baltimore, Maryland. It seems reasonable to expect that as the train heads to D.C., crowds could very well line the whole railroad to see them go by.

Bear in mind that the inauguration is expected to have millions of people trying to attend. Every person who can show up to the pre-inaugural events, or even catch a glimpse of the train going by, is somebody who won't necessarily feel they have to go to Washington that Tuesday.
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We have a new bike shop

Cyclist\'s Yellow Pagesimage
Baltimore Bicycle Works
1813 Falls Rd. Baltimore, MD 21201
Tuesday-Sunday 11am-7pm

We wish you all the best! More bike shops means more cyclists.
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Why again do we need to support cars above all else?

Biking ElsewhereSince the 1950’s the United States has been planning and developing its communities and transportation infrastructure around suburban living and the speed and convenience of the automobile. This has resulted in sprawl, congestion, and a built environment that is largely inconvenient, inaccessible or unsafe for active transportation such as walking and bicycling. Because of this, rates of walking and bicycling are generally very low, except in dense neighborhoods built on a grid pattern, and in mixed-use areas where schools, businesses and public facilities are located within close proximity of residential areas.

The most vulnerable populations, including children, the elderly and those with special needs, have been functionally shut out of the transportation and land use infrastructure, and have become dependant upon the automobile, or have simply become less active because they cannot move around their communities without a great deal of effort and personal risk.
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Biking should be encouraged, not taxed further to support roads

Biking ElsewhereLet's use public dollars to encourage those who travel by bike in our communities, as they are doing a service for the economy and the environment while paying more than their fair share in taxes.

By David Hiller

WHILE James Vesely's attempt to stir the pot may seem reasonable ["Impose a license fee on bicyclists," editorial column, Dec 7], it ignores much of what we know about who subsidizes whom on our roads, sidewalks and trails. It also casts people who travel by bicycle, or walk for that matter, as the "fringe" who don't participate equally in our society and communities. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The truth is that less than 3 percent of the region's total transportation funds are spent on bicycle and pedestrian projects and programs, while 37 percent of the region's population — the old, the young, the disabled, the poor and those who don't own cars — cannot or does not drive. What's more, 60 percent of Washingtonians want to walk and bike more than they currently do.

Investments in transportation overwhelmingly tilt in favor of moving as many cars as quickly as possible — often to the disadvantage of walking and bicycling. This makes it easy to forget that these streets are in fact not the sole domain of the private automobile, but public rights of way where we, the public, should be able to travel with equal ease.

It is this historical bias that has created an environment where many feel unsafe or uncomfortable making even the shortest trips on foot or by bike. Modest investments in walking and bicycling not only improve health, safety and mobility, but also reduce congestion by removing cars from the roads.

People who attack nonmotorized travelers as freeloaders may not know that drivers don't pay their own way. For starters, local roads — where the vast majority of travel occurs — receive almost no funding from user fees like the gas tax. They are funded by sales and property taxes, which we all pay. The 37 percent of people who don't drive, or drive less, pay far more in taxes dedicated to roads than they receive in return.

If we broaden our perspective to include driving's externalities, like crash damages, medical expenses, congestion, pollution, and public safety costs, subsidies for driving are estimated at a dollar per mile. Further, the Victoria Transport Policy Institute estimated the monetized benefits for shifting trips from cars to bicycling or walking to be between $1.43 and $2.75 per mile.

Failing to adequately support investments in walking and bicycling has led to a $1.2 billion backlog in unfunded capital projects statewide, according to a 2007 state study. Even though more than 2 million people in Washington do not drive, they are often deprived of safe, equitable access to our public rights of way.

Compare the cost of serving this unmet need with a recent billion-dollar project begun on Interstate 90, which serves a mere 29,000 vehicles a day. For the price of a project that moves fewer vehicles than many arterial streets, we could build every planned trail, sidewalk and bike lane in the entire state.

Despite enormous subsidies for driving, and routine underinvestment in other transportation choices, bicycling is the fastest-growing form of transportation in the Puget Sound region's urban centers. According to the American Communities Survey and the U.S. Census Bureau, bicycling trips grew 27 percent and walking trips grew 15 percent in Seattle from 2000 to 2005, while drive-alone trips grew by only 4.5 percent over the same period.

Growth in bicycling and walking also works in tandem with public transit. Making transit centers more accessible to people who choose to leave their cars behind can double ridership, giving buses, streetcars and trains more bang for their buck. Every one of us who finds a new transit stop within walking or bicycling distance knows the freedom of new transportation choices.

Finally, facing tremendous challenges in combating global warming, now is hardly the time to undermine growth in walking and bicycle use. Extreme weather brought about by human activity is taking its toll on our crumbling infrastructure. Bicycles not only produce zero emissions, but have nearly zero impact on road surfaces when compared with motor vehicles.

Despite his sarcasm, Vesely may be onto something when he dubs bicyclists "the most green of our population." Let's use public dollars to encourage those who travel by bike in our communities, as they are doing a service for the economy and the environment while paying more than their fair share in taxes.
David Hiller is advocacy director for the Cascade Bicycle Club.

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Maryland should adopt the Idaho stop law.

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