Monthly Archive for October, 2010

Lanvale St. contraflow bike lane nears completion!

On my way to a meeting, I was overwhelmed with joy to see the pavement markings for the contraflow bike lane on Lanvale St. being installed.  Now the signs won’t feel so lonely.  “Hatching” will be installed bewteen the yellow lines to create a buffer for cyclists and sharrows were installed to direct bike traffic to flow with vehicular traffic.  Bike symbols will also be installed in the bike lane section.

Thanks to the cycling community of Baltimore for you patience with this project!

36 Bikes!

That’s how many bikes were parked at and around The Candler Building at 111 Market Place.  Not only does this building house a branch of Johns Hopkins, but also offices of Constellation Energy. These two companies have a very high rate of bike commuters.

A couple years ago, DOT installed 6 bike racks at this location.  Before we finished installing them, people were locking to the racks.  Since then the clusters of bike have grown and multiplied.  John Quinn of Constellation stepped up and purchased 6 more bike racks for the many cyclists in the building.  DOT crews lead by Nelson Jackson installed the racks, but it seems like even these are not enough.  Bikes are still locked to ramp railing, tree guards and sign posts.

In other news, you may have noticed that the new bike lane on President St between Aliceanna & Fleet has already been removed for utility work.  Veolia Energy provided maintenance of traffic for bicycles during this 3-4 month construction.  Here’s “Car Free” Mark Brown using the temporary bike lane.

2010 Bicycle Survey Results, Pt. 2

In recent days, the American Automobile Association has been an organization of conflicted identity.  The Mid-Atlantic AAA came out in opposition to new cycletracks down the center of Pennsylvania Avenue in DC.  Nevermind that the new bike facilities didn’t effect traffic capacity as Pennsylvania Avenue is one of the widest streets in the Western Hemisphere. [Not long after this public antogonation, I cancelled my AAA membership - not that I used it anyway - and let them know WHY I cancelled.]

Don Gagnon, President & CEO of Mid-Atlantic AAA, went on to argue that Highway Trust Fund (HTF) monies should be reserved for highways.  HTF is also used to fund construction of tens of thousands of trail miles and other on-street bike facilities across the country.  Yet, if your bike breakdown, you can use your AAA roadside assistance to get out of a jam.  [Insert head scratching here]

AAA has revived a debate on whether cyclists should pay an extra tax to help fund some of the highway maintenance and improvements that motorists pay in vehicle registration and gas tax.   Analyzing our survey data, I found some pretty interesting numbers to refute this debate.  Of all the cyclists (people who owned and used bikes), 9.5% did NOT own a vehicle, but 40.6% had ONE vehicle in the home, 40.1% had TWO and 9.8% had THREE CARS or more per household!

There’s no point in Baltimore area cyclists paying an extra tax since over 90% already pay those taxes through vehicle ownership.  Way to be multi-modal, B’more!

2010 Bicycle Survey Results, Pt. 1

We asked, you answered!

Over the next couple days, I’ll be sharing data collected during the Baltimore Bicycle survey by the Department of Transportation.  We had over 1300 participants sharing their biking experience (or lack thereof).  The survey was open to anyone with internet access, stopped by the bike parking at Artscape or other events & community meetings over the summer.

The survey asked a variety of questions including riding styles, turn-offs, areas of improvements, potential bikeshare use & locations, as well as demographics & zipcode of residency.

One question asked:  What should be Baltimore’s top bicycle priority?  An overwhelming 58.2% said “More Bike Lanes” with an additional 12.5% saying “More Bike Trails”.  That’s over 70% for more bike infrastructure and safer places to ride!

Almost 25% said “More Driver Awareness & Education” with the remaining 4.4% requesting more bike racks and events.

Sure, we have a bronze level Bicycle Friendly Community status, but I’m not resting on those laurels.  There’s no shortage of work to be done in creating more comfortable bike corridors across the city.  The main point of this survey is to identify what the Department of Transportation can do to get more people pedaling.  I was pretty sure “bike lanes & trails” would take this category, but now I know for sure.

More Bike Improvements!


Some signs for the Park Avenue Bike Route are up.  More are coming along with some additional pavement markings.
I got word that sharrows are going in on Baltimore St as well.

And thanks for the MOBBIE nomination

Bike Parking Legislation Moves Forward

Two more “bike bills” are working their way through City Council.  On Wednesday, the Land Use and Transportation Committee heard testimony and agency reports on Bill #10-0522 (Bike Parking in New and Expanded Developments) and Bill #09-0429 (Bike Parking for Employees)

Bill #10-0522 has already passed the Planning Commission and will go to 2nd reader after some very minor amendments.  “Safe and secure” bike parking will be amended to include a more descriptive definition of the area for which bikes are to be parked:  accessible, well-lite.  Kansas City has some decent text we’re going to adapt. 

Bill #09-0429 lays out that any business with 10 or more employees, occupying over 10,000 square feet will provide bike parking for employees.   Until this reader, the city government was exempt from this rule.  Councilmember Mary Pat Clarke, who introduced these bills, amended the bill so that the city government would not be immune from this new law:  “We will lead by example….We’re all in this together”

On Friday, November 5th, the Community Development Subcommittee will hear Bill #09-0176R  The Cyclists’ Bill of Rights and Bill #09-0433 Street & Transportation Projects – Complete Streets at noon in the City Council Chambers.  These are the last 2 bike bills (for now) working their way through the legislative process!

Alleys as “Urban Trails”

Tuesday, the MD Department of Natural Resources held the state’s first ever TRAILS SUMMIT.  This full day event featured speakers from across the region on efforts to save, expand and document local trail systems.  Overall, the presenters were very good and more importantly, passionately genuine about trails. 

One speaker was Tom Horton. Born and raised on the Eastern Shore, Tom was one of many “free range kids” in the room whose moms kicked us out of the house and we were only expected home at night fall.  (The good old days!)  Tom shared of his adventures paddling the Chesapeake, through the marshlands of Dorchester, even around the entire Delmarva Peninsula.   One adventure he had really hit home:  The idea of alleyways being urban trails. 

He took a bike ride down Hargrove and Lovegrove alleys and saw a side of the city obscured from the streetfront.  Unique architecture, shops & murals all on a quiet stretch of “trail” that cut across the city.  I’ve taken this ride a couple times myself.  Alleys are easier to navigate when riding with novice urban cyclists.  Their slower nature gives you time to look around without having to worry about speeding traffic. (well, most of the time)

Do you know an alley or side street like this?  Where?

Loch Raven Trail Maintenace Work Day

Today’s guest blogger is Bob Compton, MORE (Mid Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts) Trail Laisoin at Loch Raven Reservoir.  For years, MORE (and formerly MAMBO) has been fixing trails and cleaning streams in Loch Raven, as well as local and state parks in Virginia, DC & Maryland.

Volunteers walking to the work site

Eroded ditch on the woods road

Today MORE conducted another trail maintenance and education workshop at Loch Raven Reservoir.  I wanted to say “thank you” to everybody that came out.  Through your efforts we were able to build two rolling grade dips and fill in a very large rut along one of the woods roads.  More importantly this brings MORE’s volunteer hours at Loch Raven Reservoir to over 900 for the year.  Very impressive to say the least.  Thanks again for making it happen!


Fixing the ditch

Group wrap up

Many of you asked about the status of access to the trails at Loch Raven and how you could help to protect your access privleges.  I know from talking to two of the rangers earlier this week that the 1998 Mountain Bike Plan is being enforced.  Warnings and tickets are being issued.  Additional information can be found on Facebook under the Loch Raven Mountain Biking user group. I was further informed that in the not too distant future all users will have their activity restricted, whether it be hiking, trail running, dog walking, etc. to the woods roads that were identified in the 1998 Mountain Bike Plan.  Even fishermen will be restricted to certain areas of Loch Raven.  The only group excluded from these restrictions are the deer hunters.  [Which is ironic since hunters typically do not use existing trails, but create new ones in tracking deer]

What can you do to help?  I recommend contacting as many of the politicians as you can and voice your concern.  In addition, please contact the local media. We need to act and we need to act now!  Loch Raven Reservoir is a wonderful recreational resource.  Generations after generations of families have enjoyed spending time here.  We need to rally together to if we want to retain the access we have come to love.
I am in the process of organizing a public meeting at one of the local high schools.  I hope to have the meeting scheduled for the week of October 24th.  Stay tuned to Facebook for updates.
Great job everybody! Thanks again for all of your help and support.
Bob Compton
MORE, Loch Raven Trail Liaison

Transport Politic: B’more biking up 200.3% (2000-9)

This is a pretty decent stat.  Granted, we’re still at about 1% bike vs. total commutes

B’more Spooky Halloween Bike Ride

After the successful “Moonlight Madness Ride” in August, everyone asked: “When’s the next ride?”  

Mark your calendar for
Saturday, October 30th at 6:30 pm from War Memorial Plaza


Ride leaders, sweepers & intersection clearers are needed!  Post a comment or email me if you’re interested!

This ride is the 2nd or 4 (semi-)organized bike rides on Halloween Weekend, including Friday’s Critical Mass and Sunday’s Roland Park Cyclovia & Alley Cat