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Highway Safety Officials Urge Marylanders To Share The Road

By Christie Ileto, CBS Baltimore

TOWSON, Md. (WJZ) — A new push to make roads safer for Marylanders, whether they’re driving, walking or biking. Highway safety officials are trying to stop a scary spike in pedestrian deaths.

Christie Ileto has the roadway warning.

It’s a battle between pedestrians, cyclists and motorists, and it’s playing out on Maryland roads.

“Pedestrian fatalities are on the rise in Maryland,” said Mike Sabol, MVA spokesperson.

The MVA says 1 out of 4 fatalities is a pedestrian fatality. Officials Friday are putting the warning out–police are beefing up patrols to make sure everyone shares the road as it gets warmer.

“We want the general public to be safe out on the roads and have drivers yielding to pedestrians and have pedestrians to see and be seen out on the road,” Sabol said.

And the penalties could cost you. Drivers failing to yield to pedestrians or pedestrians who jaywalk could face fines of up to $500.

[B' Spokes: But, but, jaywalking isn't illegal]


Last month, a driver hit and nearly killed two cyclists in Anne Arundel County. Earlier this week, a Goucher student died after he was hit trying to cross Dulaney Valley Road in Towson.

And in the Towson Circle Friday evening, WJZ cameras caught cars refusing to stop while we crossed on the crosswalk.

Numbers from the MVA tell a grim story.

Last year, Baltimore County had 21 pedestrian fatalities. Baltimore City had 12, Anne Arundel County had seven and Howard County had four. They’re stats that officials say are too often and too many.

Police say law-breaking drivers can also face points on their licenses.

The Street Smart campaign officially launches in the Baltimore area next week.


I also found:

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47% of Marylanders want to move elsewhere

"Maryland is a close third, at 47%"

<a href="http://www.gallup.com/poll/168770/half-illinois-connecticut-move-elsewhere.aspx">http://www.gallup.com/poll/168770/half-illinois-connecticut-move-elsewhere.aspx</a>;
B' Spokes: My conjecture put people first over cars. Stress alternate transportation and mixed use zoning (a.k.a Walk Score) so there are places to go and things to see nearby that are comfortable to bike to. Cars are misery, things without cars are often very pleasant.
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Montgomery County added 100,000 residents since 2002, but driving didn't increase

B' Spokes: This story stands in stark contrast to Baltimore County's... how to describe... expecting a car apocalypse any day now because they are re doing such a great job accommodating only cars to attract residents and business. [cough, cough] And no way in heck is Baltimore County going to emulate Montgomery County when there are more important things to do like... again not sure how to describe... keeping out Baltimore City's undesirables? That's my impression anyway.

This may be worth a read for those of you in Baltimore County:
<a href="http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/22578/montgomery-county-added-100000-residents-since-2002-but-driving-didnt-increase/">http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post/22578/montgomery-county-added-100000-residents-since-2002-but-driving-didnt-increase/</a>;

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Say what? $4 million gets us what again?

By B' Spokes

Recreational Trails Program Typical projects, awarded FY2013
Howard County Conservancy Accessible Trail Improvements 24,750
Brunswick Trailside Amenities 10,100
Boardwalks for Upper Rock Creek Trail 32,800
DNR Algonquin Cross Country trail25,000
DNR Potomac Garrett State Forest Trail Guides 26,000
BICYCLE AND PEDESTRIAN RELATED PROJECTS in the Consolidted Transportation Program FY 2014 – 2019

I've talked about the Federal Recreational Trails Program before and I don't get why Maryland caps the grant amount to $30k (with some small exceptions.) Per Recreational Trails Program: Preliminary Report on State Trail Projects on average 44% of this fund is spent on "Trail Construction or Development." While Maryland does not provide enough information to say what we do spend on actual trail construction I am willing to bet it is no where close to 44%.

So I decided to see how Maryland's average cost per RTP project compared to other states (data follows.) Only 9 other states had a smaller average cost per project than Maryland. Maryland's average cost was $22k, the national average was $41k. It is worth noting that DC's average was $232k per project and California was %122k per project. Big difference!

My main point here is I would love to see a greater diversity of projects funded through this program. And on that note I noticed the $30k cap has changed!

Funds requested per project cannot exceed $40,000 for trail construction and $30,000 for non-construction. Please note, for the FY15 solicitation, we will consider lifting the $40K cap for construction projects that score high with the criteria.

So things are starting to change! And remember this is a 20% local match so here's hoping to see a lot more bicycle related projects! Speaking of changes for the good, I noticed Transportation Enhancements (TE) are back! That's right the CTP mentions $25,355,100 worth of TE projects!!! I did not see any mention of the old draconic 50% local match requirement, nor any mention of a match requirement. Did Jim Smith decide to start spending that $40 million backlog of federal money rather then just let the feds keep that money? I would love to know the details but from what I can see from publicly available documents, things are finally starting to look up. .

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April 28 Susquehanna Crossing Meeting

By jonkorin, Bicycle Advocates For Annapolis & Anne Arundel County ("BikeAAA")

SusquehannaAnnouncement letter-Open House042814

BikeAAA has joined an East Coast Greenway Alliance called the Safe Crossing Susquehanna Coalition supporting the creation of a new bike/ped Susquehanna River crossing in conjunction with a new Amtrak bridge that is being planned. There is a public meeting Monday April 28th @ 5:00 open house at the Havre de Grace Activity Center, 351 Lewis Lane, Havre de Grace MD. This is where public comments will be gathered and the voices for a bicycle and pedestrian bridge can be heard.

Other organizations signed onto the coalition include the League of American Bicyclists, Bike Maryland, Washington Area Bicycle Association, Bikemore, and the September Eleventh National Memorial Trail at this time.

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Crash course: What to do if you're in, or see, a bicycle crash

by Megan McCarty, Greater Greater Washington

Bicycle crashes are scary, disorienting events. Nobody wants to think about being involved in a crash, but it's important to know what to do in case of emergency.

Photo by ThinkingStiff on Flickr.

Hopefully you will never have to experience this firsthand, but you may be able to help out your fellow bicyclists with your level-headed understanding of what to do.

At the scene

You've been in a crash. Now what?

  • Try not to panic.
  • Make sure you are safe to move or stay where you are and wait for paramedics. If there is any doubt, err on the side of caution.
  • Call the police. Call 911. Make sure the police make a report. If you can't call, ask someone nearby to call for you. This step is imperative. Without a police report, there is no record of the incident. Even if you don't think there is any damage, do not skip this step.
  • Get contact information for any witnesses. Do not assume the police are doing this for you as they take the report. Make sure you are able to get in touch later with anyone who saw what happened.
  • Take photos of everything, including the vehicle involved, license plate, your bicycle, any property damage, the scene of the incident, etc.
  • Collect the following information:
    • Driver's name
    • Driver's license number
    • Address
    • Phone number
    • Make and model of car
    • License plate number
    • Insurance company
    • Date, time, and location of crash

    What if the driver flees the scene or doesn't stop? A driver who is involved in a crash and flees the scene has committed a serious legal offense. Try to get the vehicle license plate number and state where it was issued.

  • Get home safely. Remember that backup plan? Now is the time to use it. Don't attempt to ride a damaged bicycle or ride if you're hurt.

After the Crash

You're off the road. You're home safe. What are the next steps?

  • Seek medical attention.
  • Write it down. While the crash is fresh in your memory, write down as many details about the event as possible.
  • Pick up a copy of the police report.
  • Take your bicycle to a shop for inspection and repair.
  • Document all expenses from the crash. Keep a log of any and all expenses incurred due to the crash. Include life changes like taking the bus instead of riding your bike to work, damage to your clothes, personal property, bike, stuff in your backpack, time off work, etc. The WABA Crash Tracker App includes an expense tracker for this purpose. Use it.
  • Complete the WABA Crash Tracker. We use this data to work on both infrastructure and law enforcement changes. Fill out the Crash Tracker form here.
Ways you can try to prevent crashes

Avoid crashes and problems by riding safely.

  • Take a City Cycling class. Most bicycle crash incidents result from the bicyclist losing control of their bicycle, hitting debris or other hazards, or running into fixed objects, and not with motorists. Learn avoidance maneuvers, practice control drills, and gain skills needed to avoid dangerous situations at one of WABA's City Cycling Classes.
  • Download the WABA Crash App. It's available for both iPhone and Android users.
  • Consider your riding style, confidence level, and route. Are there adjustments or improvements you could make to decrease your risk of a crash?
  • Follow the law. Following the law makes you more predictable. It is also important to your ability to recover damages suffered in a crash. Due to contributory negligence, a bicyclist can get stuck with 100% of his or her medical bills and damages from a crash if even only 1% at fault for the crash—and failure to follow the law is evidence of fault.
At the scene: Witness edition

You weren't involved in the incident, but saw it happen? Here's what to do:

  • Stay at the scene.
  • Call 911.
  • Give your name and contact information to those involved in the crash and let them know you are a witness.
  • Offer to help take down the above information (or do it yourself) for the victim.
We hope this overview helps to prepare you for the unlikely event that you are involved in a crash.

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March MBPAC Highlights

C. Legislative and Government Affairs
HB 241 allows crossing double yellow line when safe to pass bicyclists by 3 feet (unfavorable report in House Environmental Matters Committee) and SB 520, which legalizes bicycle travel on portions of roadway segments posted at 55 mph or greater when bicycle shoulder use is permitted (passed the House of Delegates, awaiting a Senate vote). Carol noted that although HB 241 did not pass out of the Environmental Affairs Committee MDOT changed its position from unfavorable in 2013 to “neutral” in 2014 and the trucking industry changed its position from unfavorable in 2013 to favorable in 2014.

Shared Use Paths in Utility Corridors - John gave an update on efforts to persuade the Potomac Electric Power Company (PEPCO) to allow shared use paths to be built along their power line rights-of-way. He is working with a group of stakeholders including Delegate Aruna Miller and would like to see two pilot projects along utility corridors connecting Cabin John to Seneca state park in Montgomery County and along another power line right-of-way in Prince George’s County. John said so far PEPCO shows no signs of agreeing to these proposals. Dick asked if these utility corridors were owned in fee simple by PEPCO. John said yes. Dick suggested seeking a 99 year lease from utility companies for a dollar. He also joked that, “the job of electric utilities is to move kilowatts not people.”

ADA Accessibility Interpretation
He brought up a vexing issue of a McDonald’s restaurant application for renovation where the restaurant owner has been advised by their attorneys to rip up an existing sidewalk that serves both restaurant and thru pedestrian traffic because the sidewalk is not ADA compliant. A new sidewalk ... but disrupt the existing thru pedestrian traffic flow

<a href="http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/Office_of_Planning_and_Capital_Programming/Bicycle/Documents/3_7_14_MBPAC_Meeting_Minutes.pdf">http://www.mdot.maryland.gov/Office_of_Planning_and_Capital_Programming/Bicycle/Documents/3_7_14_MBPAC_Meeting_Minutes.pdf</a>;
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A Sidewalk Snow Removal Plan

[B' Spokes: It would be nice if Baltimore did something like this, especially on 4 lane roads where they plow all the snow from the street onto the sidewalk.]
Via Hans Riemer

Responding to large storm events is a challenge for our county government and our residents. We have a very robust snow plow operation that clears the roads very efficiently, and our superb highway team is always working to improve its performance. However, we do not have a sufficient plan or policies in place to meet the challenge of removing snow from sidewalks and pedestrian crossings.

I have seen or heard reports of pedestrians walking in the street on major roads, mothers pushing strollers over sidewalks that have not been cleared, seniors and individuals with mobility challenges unable to enter a street crossing because it is blocked by snow, and even motorized wheelchairs moving in traffic lanes on state highways (in this case, University Blvd) because sidewalks are impassable.

We know that the county considers its snow removal work complete long before these problems have been resolved.

I am requesting Council staff to draft legislation requiring Montgomery County DOT to create a Sidewalk Snow Removal Plan.

The plan would require elements including:
  1. A digital map of the county showing who is responsible for clearing snow on all sidewalks in the county
  2. A "major storm event" communications plan addressing a range of preparation efforts that residents need to understand, and including sidewalk snow removal, to be implemented in advance of major storm events
  3. A targeted public education campaign for property owners to make them aware where they are responsible for clearing sidewalks from snow
  4. Establishing pedestrian priority routes where additional education, enforcement and county services will be applied
  5. A public education campaign to educate residents about how to request enforcement of sidewalk clearing rules, and enhanced process for residents to request enforcement by 311
  6. Policies for keeping 311 in operation late during snow events
  7. Increased enforcement for property owners who fail to clear their sidewalks
  8. Plan for county-provided snow removal at bus-stops and around Metro stations
  9. Plan for county-provided snow removal near schools
  10. Plan for county-provided snow removal along state highways
  11. Plan for county-provided snow removal along highest priority pedestrian routes
  12. Plan for snow removal in urban districts, funded by urban districts
  13. Pedestrian access requirements provided to snow removal contractors and performance assessment based on fulfilling the plan
  14. Plan for clearing hiker biker trails on a prioritized basis
  15. Plan for trash removal if snow cancels collection
I recognize that we have limited resources and storm events are already a massive expense for the county -- we spend over $1 million per day during snow events, according to the county executive.

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Lifting the Veil on Bicycle & Pedestrian Spending


Via http://www.advocacyadvance.org/docs/LiftingTheVeil_AllStates.pdf
[B' Spokes:
D- DESCRIPTION CLARITY This is a big bugaboo for a sampling see My Comments for the 2014 – 2017 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) How are we are supposed to comment on projects that have virtually no description? And if there is such a general effort and general acceptance of detailed-less hohum projects then of course we are going to have a hard time making progress because the reality is we need more stress on the details then on the money. Money is really only needed to make up for projects that forgot about the bike/ped detail.]
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