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Wednesday, May 24 2017 @ 03:34 PM UTC

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Road fatalities are soaring. Here’s how to stop that.

Biking in BaltimoreVia Washington Post

U.S. ROADWAYS in 2016 yielded another bumper crop of carnage as vehicle fatalities soared 6 percent, following a 7 percent jump in 2015 — the biggest two-year spike since the 1960s. The cost of deaths, injuries and property damage resulting from crashes also leaped by 12 percent in just a year, to some $432 billion, an amount on par with the entire annual economic output of a mid-size European country, such as Norway.
...

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/road-fatalities-are-soaring-heres-how-to-stop-that/2017/02/26/1b41ca14-f497-11e6-a9b0-ecee7ce475fc_story.html
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BALTIMORE, MD: BIKES & BUSES TO RECONNECT A CAR-LITE CITY

Biking in Baltimore-> In part to support its new frequent-service modified bus grid and a federally funded rapid bus arriving in 2021, Baltimore, MD is hoping to spend the next three years installing a low-stress biking network in six neighborhoods to add to existing bikeways. It’ll open new possibilities for neighborhoods first built as "streetcar suburbs" of downtown Baltimore but now difficult to travel between without a car despite being less than a half mile apart. Streetsblog: http://bit.ly/2mzsOT0

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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EUROPEAN FISCAL INCENTIVES & RECOMMENDATIONS FOR E-CYCLING

Biking in Baltimore-> The European Cyclists’ Federation launched a new report called "Electromobility for All: Fiscal Incentives for E-cycling" (http://bit.ly/2n4s46g). The report provides key policy recommendations and best practice examples, with the goal of promoting e-cycling throughout Europe. In addition to the economic, environmental, health and other benefits that cycling has to offer, e-bikes are the perfect solution for longer distance trips. In studies, they proved to be faster than cars in trips up to 10 km (twice longer than the ones with conventional bikes). Moreover, they make it easier to overcome natural obstacles (like hills or headwinds), thus they are suitable for commuters wanting to arrive at work in their professional attire, less physically trained cyclists, elderly people and other groups that did not cycle before. Besides, e-bikes make it possible to transport heavier goods, thus providing a great solution for individual shoppers and companies relying on fast urban logistics. Therefore, e-bikes are seen as a potential alternative to cars, especially for trips in urban areas. http://bit.ly/2n4GQtt

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.

[B' Spokes: I'll take this opportunity to note that Baltimore Bike Share approximately half of their fleet is electric pedal-assist (Pedelec) (a white lightning bolt on the back fender.)
https://www.bmorebikeshare.com/ ]

And another for e-bikes:
STUDY: E-BIKES INCREASE CYCLING
-> TREC reports on a study in Portland, OR that provided 150 Kaiser Permanente employees with electric-assist bicycles (e-bikes) to use for ten weeks to see if e-bikes might help overcome some commonly cited barriers to cycling. (Evaluation of Electric Bike Use at Three Kaiser Permanente NW Employment Centers in Portland Metro Region: http://bit.ly/2mAhUfG) Fewer than 10 percent of participants had ever ridden an e-bike as an adult, and 50 percent of them said that they normally never rode a bike at all. Before beginning the program, 38% were categorized as "strong and fearless" or "enthused and confident." After using an e-bike, 52% were categorized as such. The study found people will use a bike more if it is an e-bike. The number of people commuting to work by bicycle at least once a week, and the number of people biking at least once a month for shopping or other errands each more than doubled during the study. http://bit.ly/2mAps1W

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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THE 5 BEST U.S. CITIES FOR BIKING AND BEER

Biking in BaltimoreBy Erin Peters, Vinepair

...
HONORABLE MENTION
...

Baltimore, Maryland – Bikes and Beers does a great tour in this city through many famous sites, including Penn Station, City Hall, Inner Harbor, Little Italy and the Maryland Zoo. The city has its own bicycling club, appropriately named the Baltimore Bicycling Club, with routes that range from 35 to 77 miles.

http://vinepair.com/articles/the-5-best-u-s-cities-for-biking-and-beer/
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What if the money we spent on cars went for something else?

Biking in BaltimoreVia BikeMore, Priorities: Southeast Transportation Vision Wrongly Puts County Residents First

[B' Spokes: In BikeMore's post there are some maps that demonstrate what you can get in bike infrastructure improvement if you take the same money for a very small cars only project and then they do the same thing again for bus improvements vs another cars only project. The difference is very striking.]

https://www.bikemore.net/news/priorities-southeast-transportation-vision-puts-county-residents-first
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA TRUCK SIDE GUARD INITIATIVE

Biking in Baltimore-> "Vision Zero San Francisco, CA Truck Side Guard Initiative: Technical Assessment and Recommendations" summarizes Volpe's research and recommendations supporting San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) efforts to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety through side guards, vehicle-based safety devices designed to prevent pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists from being run over by a large truck's rear wheels in a side-impact collision. http://bit.ly/2kLmO90

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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LONDON, ENGLAND: UNDERCOVER BIKE COPS TO ENFORCE SAFE PASSING

Biking in Baltimore-> CityLab reports this spring, London, England's Metropolitan Police are sending undercover officers out on bikes to monitor and enforce more careful driving around bikes, and reprimand drivers' behavior. The main goal is to crack down on so-called close passing—that is, drivers overtaking bikes at a distance of less than 1.5 meters (just under 5 feet). Motorists caught engaging in driving that compromises cyclists' safety will be given the choice between prosecution or a 15-minute roadside safety training session. http://bit.ly/2jyGf3J

from CenterLines, the e-newsletter of the National Center for Bicycling & Walking.
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Copenhagen uses this one trick to make room for bikeways on nearly every street

Biking in BaltimoreBy David Alpert, Greater Greater Washington

https://ggwash.org/view/43010/copenhagen-uses-this-one-trick-to-make-room-for-bikeways-on-nearly-every-street

[B' Spokes: I would like to add one thing I saw in Tempe Arizonia, a very bike friendly place and downtown the streets are narrow and being a college town also a very vibrant with lots of busness. So how did the remove on street parking? One trick they used was to make a property a parking lot. And then they hid it behind landscaping. So the pedestrians were not swimming in a sea of parked cars. So I was thinking Baltimore and it's initiative to remove apondoment buildings maybe some of them could be turned into parking lots to get rid of on street parking for bikeways. Just an idea.]
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Baltimore to get $200,000 annual grant to support bike infrastructure

Biking in Baltimorehttp://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-bike-grant-20170124-story.html
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The way Baltimore install pedestrian "beg butons" is wrong

Biking in BaltimoreBy B' Spokes

National Association of City Transportation Officials released this information: Fixed vs. Actuated Signalization http://nacto.org/publication/urban-street-design-guide/intersection-design-elements/traffic-signals/fixed-vs-actuated-signalization/

The first thing I noticed there is no separate mention of actuation for cars and actuation for pedestrians. There's a world of difference! Automatic detection for cars and try to find the hidden, hard to get to push button for pedestrains. Nor is there mention to mix things up like set timing for cars but make pedestrains be detected. The latter is from what I can tell is something the city standardizes on, unbeiveable.

Now for some quotes and then comments:
"In general, fixed-time signals are the rule in urban areas for reasons of regularity, network organization, predictability, and reducing unnecessary delay. In certain, less-trafficked areas, actuated signals (push buttons, loop detectors) may be appropriate; however, these must be programmed to minimize delay, which will increase compliance."

I have witnessed the city "fixing" a trail crossing button that once pushed would give cross traffic a yellow light to requiring 90 second delay before the yellow light. The funny thing is cross traffic was so light that a good break in traffic would always happen before the 90 seconds was up so you would cross anyway without the light. In comparison a ped signal to cross York Road mid block I have yet to wait more than 45 seconds, Half the time with a lot more traffic (ADT). Basically the city does not accommodate pedestrians so pedestrians do not use accomidations. The city traffic engineers what pedestrians to play the "Mother may I" game so they can laugh when they don't get normal and expected acomidations.


"Actuated signals in general are not preferable because of the maintenance requirements and upkeep of the detection on the street."

Beg buttons have a life of so many pushes and I will assert since there is no acknowledgment that you pressed the button, you bang it again reducing it's useful life in half. I will also mention that this is a complete failure in human design interface. The next issue is does the city have a good maintece in place or is it still relying on complaints from citizens on the 311 system? There was a time when about half the buttons I pushed never worked. That's a crazy number and shows the city needs to do more to keep the buttons they have working.


"Drivers and others at downstream unsignalized intersections benefit from a series of fixed-time signals, as they produce routine gaps in traffic that may be used to turn onto or cross the street. Fixed-time signals help make pedestrians an equal part of the traffic signal system by providing them with regular and consistent intervals at which to cross."

I will note allowing right-on-red a known major source of pedestrian death also reduces this down stream benift. One day I hope they realize for every one the give extra convenience to also delays more than one person, so the net gain is negative. Back to point, there is a benefit to giving pedestrians green walk signs before they pressed a beg button and before making them wait 90 seconds after pusshing. Think of needing to cross two legs of an intersection crosswalk (often required in Marlyland) but crossing one side than the next is not automated so one extra light signal maybe required to complete your journey. Which is fine I guess because it does not violate the traffic engineers rule "The fast mode must go faster and slower modes do not mind going even slower."


"Many existing traffic signals controllers have the capacity to reduce delay, but remain in coordination rather than a free setting. Coordination, paired with long signal cycles, can result in delays of 80 seconds or more, reducing pedestrian compliance, increasing risk-taking behavior, and creating the impression that a push button is either non-responsive or malfunctioning."

And I believe Baltimore standardizes on a delay of 90 seconds for pedestrians. Someone needs to get BDOT unstuck from the 1960s. Oh and stop blaming pedestrians for risky behavor, BDOT is doing all they can to encourage this.



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