Tuesday, November 19 2013 @ 11:39 AM UTC
Contributed by: B' Spokes
The number of cyclists are a strong indication of quality of life issues but it's not just about cyclists it is about people just out walking, kids outside playing, joggers, runners, moms with strollers, retires walking hand in hand... basically getting everyone outside and hopefully getting to know their neighbors. My challenge in this post is I dare anyone to make a good case why Maryland should continue to be below average (which would be a state ranking of 25) on these issues. If being below average is not acceptable then let's make more of an effort to be at least average.
While Maryland has done many wonderful things since the first 20 Year Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan but a few things have been overlooked:
Pedestrian fatality rate BEFORE the first Master Plan:
Pedestrian fatality rate AFTER the first Master Plan:
We need to be making progress!
And then there is this:
While efforts to improve conditions for bicycling in the
region have been robust in the time since the 1999 analysis,
the 2004 [the most recent data] value distribution is statistically identical.
This is part of that problem:
Jim Titus expressed concerns regarding the
Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission –Prince George’s County’s
designation of MD Route 564 as a bikeway was not recognized by the State Highway
Administration. Michael [Jackson Director of Bicycle and Pedestrian Access] stated that because MD Route 564 is a State highway SHA was
not bound to accept M-NCPPC-PG’s designation but recommended that Jim contact SHA staff about his concerns.
From 4/11 Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee (MBPAC) minutes
For a little background: SHA intermittently removed a bikeable shoulder for bypass lanes around left turns lanes on a designated bike route when for "the same money" they could have centered the striping on the roadway and have comfortable cycling conditions on both sides of the road.
Eliminating a bikeable shoulders should not be acceptable practice by SHA, this needs to be fixed!
We need to be making progress!
The levels of walk and bike commuting have increased
substantially over the last decade, though the mode
shares are still relatively small. Statewide, approximately
2.5% of Maryland commuters walk to work and 0.4%
bike to work, ranking Maryland 29th and 37th in the
United States based on the share of workers walking and
bicycling to work.
BICYCLE & PEDESTRIAN
MASTER PLAN - DRAFT
After 10 years cycling has gotten "up to" a national ranking of 37th?
We need to do better than this!
Appropriate balance of funding:
First let's look at the law:
§ 2-602.(3) As to any new transportation project or improvement to an existing transportation facility, the Department shall work to ensure that transportation options for pedestrians and bicycle riders will be enhanced and that pedestrian and bicycle access to transportation facilities will not be negatively impacted by the project or improvement; and
. (4) In developing the annual Consolidated Transportation Program, the Department shall:
. . (i) Ensure that there is an appropriate balance between funding for:
. . . 1. Projects that retrofit existing transportation projects with facilities for pedestrians and bicycle riders; and
. . . 2. New highway construction projects;
While accommodating single occupancy vehicles is desired, really expensive and requires a lot of planning I must point out nobody really wants this:
China after deciding to accomidate cars over cyclists.
Avoiding this and other undesirable outcomes of over accommodating single occupancy motor vehicles is why we have a Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan in the first place. I thank you for the work done so far. But I really have to ask after 10+ years of having a goal of improving conditions for bicycling and walking don't you think we should be doing better then what I have pointed out?
While I could and should make a strong case how Maryland's bike/ped funding should be increased by at least 4 fold but instead I will make this incredibly reasonable request...
Every year our pedestrian fatality rate is below average or our bicycle modal share is below average there shall be a 10% increase in bicycle and pedestrian funding over the previous year's funding level. And any money left over stays available. (It may take a couple of years for the localities to be aware of the funds and make the appropriate plans.)
I could go into a lot of detail of what I expect from this action but the main point is there are a lot of low cost solutions** that are NOT done as a matter of routine by SHA so if the low cost solutions are not being done then we need more money for higher cost solutions, it's their choice. But progress must be made!
If this proposal is unacceptable maybe our funding should be based on the percentage of bike and pedestrian traffic fatalities, since so few bike and walk that shouldn't be so bad right? So how does only 22% of the budget sound? (The National average is 15.8%)*** As I said, a 10% increase over the previous year is a very reasonable request .
Remember to include your address and phone number when writing. Also using your own words has more of an impact than just quoting this article but remember to be polite and say something positive. But just copying and pasting this article is better than not doing anything at all.
firstname.lastname@example.org (Does he know that Maryland became the 4th highest in pedestrian fatalities under his administration and has stayed in the top ten worst?)
And write your representative as they have been looking at the attainment reports for years are they really happy with the progress the state has made? It might be interesting to ask about any designated Bicycle and Pedestrian Priority areas in their district, as that is supposed to be a way to get money into their district to address bike/ped issues.
Find you State representative.