from Bike Baltimore by Patrick McMahon
This past Saturday, I had a glimpse into a new role for bicycling in Baltimore. I was part of a 9-mile bike ride led by Odette Ramos, a candidate for City Council, through the 12th District. The ride showed how effective a casual bike ride is for getting around the City and connecting with its residents. Along the way we had several stops to talk about Odette’s experience, various community issues, and the existence of or need for bicycling facilities. ...
Bill at Seagull Century
If you can help out www.billmarker.com (right column on how to donate.)
And/or if you want meet Bill:
Time Thursday, July 28 · 7:30pm - 9:00pm
Location 784 Washington Blvd. (formerly Perfecto’s)
Join us at a fundraiser to support Bill Marker for City Council in District 10.
Light refreshment and drinks provided.
Highway maintenance has been getting short shrift in state budgets, according to a recent report from Smart Growth America. But a bill introduced in the Senate today seeks to address the imbalance between road construction and maintenance.
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin has introduced legislation that would help address the imbalance in funding for highway maintenance versus construction. Photo: Ben Cardin
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin’s Preservation and Renewal of Federal-Aid Highways Act would require states to develop targets for road maintenance. It would also give USDOT authority to establish and hold states to standards for “state of good repair” on federal highways.
Smart growth advocates and transportation reformers applauded the announcement today, saying it would help put the country back on a sustainable, fiscally responsible path....
The Maryland Transportation Authority has proposed increased tolls for most of Maryland's toll facilities. These toll increases are necessary to pay the bills for continued maintenance of roads, and construction of the ICC. They are currently seeking public comments on the increases; since we can be sure that those who will pay the higher tolls will comment in opposition, it's important that the board also hears from those of us who recognize that the higher tolls are in our (and everyone's) best interest.
The toll increase has been discussed here on Baltimore Spokes before. Also, Michael Dresser has thoroughly covered the topic on his blog and in the Sun. A few highlights:
- MDOT chief: Toll increases are unavoidable
- Toll expert: Increase is steep but overdue
- Authority board formally proposes toll increase plan
The Complete Streets Act of 2011 is cosponsored by Benjamin Cardin (D-MD) and others.
On the day before the heads of the country’s five largest oil companies are due for a Senate Finance Committee grilling on tax subsidies, Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin is asking them to admit that they no longer need the breaks.
The Maryland Democrat is a co-sponsor of the Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act, which supporters say will save the federal government $4 billion annually. The so-called Big Five – Exxon Mobil, Conoco Phillips, Chevron, Shell and BP America – have reported a total $36 billion in profits for the first quarter of 2011.
“At a time of soaring gas prices and record deficits, the five most profitable oil companies do not need, or deserve, a handout from the American taxpayer,” Cardin said in a statement.
He has joined fellow Finance Committee Democrats Robert Menendez of New Jersey, Bill Nelson of Florida, Chuck Schumer of New York and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan in a letter to the oil executives.
“We are sure you will agree that our nation’s mounting debt is a serious threat to our recovering economy,” they wrote. “But if we are truly serious about cutting our deficit, it is imperative that we start by getting rid of wasteful and ineffective corporate subsidies that have outlived their usefulness. … The former President of Shell Oil, John Hofmeister, had the courage to say, in no uncertain terms, that your companies no longer need these giveaways. We urge you, in your testimony tomorrow before the Senate Finance Committee, to acknowledge the same.”
Biller's Bikes gets hundreds of calls every year, asking: Where is the bike trail? We've been asked this question a thousand times since we started business in 2006. It's been very hard to give a good answer. They want to drive their families here from Baltimore and Philadelphia, ride bikes and hike all day, stay in our bed and breakfasts, and dine at our restaurants.
We tell the callers about about our five-miles of quaint alley-lanes, our little North Park "Joe K" Trail, and the magnificent Susquehanna State Park (SSP) up the highway. We tell them about the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway (LSHG) trail at the park's northern tip. But the fact remains, there is no Havre de Grace-to-Conowingo bike trail.
The Joe K trail takes us now to the foot of the Vulcan Quarry. The good people we've met at the quarry are already hard at work building a bike-hike trail on its property for public use. It will take you up to the quarry's heights via a switchback at the North Park, pass along the quarry's western inside perimeter, up the existing work road, and allow for a 360- degree panoramic view at its 70-foot crest picnic grounds. Cyclists and hikers will exit the quarry near SSP and travel the scenic Stafford Road to the LSHG trail and on to its dramatic end at the Conowingo Dam. Cost to Havre de Grace, nothing but a "thank you".
With the mayor's political will, the Vulcan Quarry will be able to clear the jurisdictional maze and spend its earmarked million dollars to use its stone, heavy tools and talented people to build the trail within its property. Havre de Grace, in return, will benefit from hundreds of thousands of dollars in travel revenue. And we'll quit losing money to Baltimore County and the NCR/Torey Brown Trail.
This HdG-to-Conowingo bike/hike trail and its tourism activity and revenue will bring opportunity and jobs to the City. Trails make money. It's not a theory; it's been proven hundreds of times everywhere a substantial bike/hike trail has been built. We are lucky for what we've got and it's time we took advantage of all these God-given natural gifts and got the job done.
Mitch Shank has promised to support the development and expansion of bike and hike trails. He will take the lead. As Mayor, Shank will coordinate the work of Mary Ann Lisanti at the LSHG, the people at Vulcan Quarry, the handful of willing private concerns along the trail, and the holders of critical railroad, freeway and power company right-aways. Mitch will get everybody under the tent and make it happen, now.
The HdG-to Conowingo Dam Trail will have the support of the State of Maryland (which has mandated much of the trail) and the support of HdG's diverse visitor and resident population. Havre de Grace will see new businesses, new homeowners eager to live near such a natural prize, and most importantly, a welcome new source to our tax base.
Vote for Mitch Shank on May 3! Let's blaze that trail!
Walter Biller & Mara Wasilik
Not as long as legislators like Brian Frosh believe that playing with your radio is more important than human life, and therefore should be consequence-free.
Maryland Senator Ben Cardin: Transit and bikeways "get people where they need to be, help us with our energy policy, and save us money."
Maryland Senator Benjamin Cardin was the committee’s most vocal supporter of multi-modal transportation, asking what panelists thought about Highway Trust Fund money being used for non-highway and non-motorized projects, like multi-use trails and bikeways. Every panelist said federal funding should be transportation-specific but flexible, which would leave the question of which mode to spend on up the local agency spending the money.
Some panelists clearly don’t need mandates to invest in bike and pedestrian projects. “A bike path project is important in encouraging people to bike or walk to work,” said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett. “You are taking cars off the road and it enhances the ability of people to get where they are going.”...