Yesterday afternoon, I got to spend some time at the feet of the master, Gil Penalosa. What was intended to be a Q&A session with how BMore Streets for People, Baltimore’s cyclovia program, can get up and running, became a 90 minute eye-opening learning experience WAY better than I could have imagined.
by Allysha Lorber
OK, so now we know that a Complete Street is not only Multi-Modal, but it also is Green. One thing we have yet to address is the remaining context of your Complete Street. A truly complete street works symbiotically with its surrounding land use and architecture. The land use and buildings that makes up each streets’ context will affect how the street can and should be used. Furthermore, a more complete street can affect the surrounding land use and development patterns to take advantage of safer and more desirable accommodations for those outside their cars.
The streets are an integral part of a community. They are not only a means to get from point A to point B, but they are the place where many people experience the community. Livable communities include streets that allow for people to gather, shop, and see what the community has to offer. A complete street that is accommodating to all users and has an attractive look and feel will reflect positively on the community. Therefore, a complete street can be a catalyst for better development and more investment and promote more livable communities.
Land use patterns that promote walking, biking, and transit need completed streets to function properly. As our region continues to grow, more complete streets are necessary to curb sprawling, auto-dependant, and environmentally damaging development. If we want to have a high quality of life in the future with less time spent in traffic and less air pollution spewing all around us, then we need more complete streets along with better land use decisions.
So, let’s get our streets completed!
by Allysha Lorber
Yesterday we talked about how a Complete Street is multi-modal, meaning that it will appropriately accommodate all of the street users ranging from pedestrians, transit riders, bicyclists, and even cars. But I’m not willing to stop there. A Complete Street will also be environmentally sustainable. Sure, accommodating more sustainable transportation modes like walking, biking and mass transit helps to make a street more sustainable, but a Complete Street is also a Green Street in all senses of the word.
A Green Street has street trees and landscaping to soften the appearance and add shade and fresh air, which is a nice commodity in Baltimore’s steamy summer months. A Green Street also captures and treats rain water to help keep our watersheds and the Chesapeake Bay healthy. No longer is it acceptable to siphon rain water into storm drains that flow directly into the Bay as so many of our outdated storm grates do. We need to slow our rain water down to keep it from eroding shorelines, and to let it filter slowly into the earth to remove pollutants that damage aquatic life downstream. Luckily, you can combine stormwater management and landscaping to create some truly attractive and interesting elements making our streets more complete.
Tune in tomorrow for the final part of my definition to learn what makes a street truly complete.
This year things are different! Instead of one big downtown rally, we’ll have SEVEN (7) B2WD Stations all around town! Instead of biking downtown and then to work, the pitstops are designed so that you can stop by, get a cup of joe, your annual B2WD t-shirt, maybe a quick fix of the bike, and then roll on and arrive to work on time. Swing by the pit stops at:
- Joe’s Bike Shop in Mt. Washington
- Johns Hopkins University (Homewood Campus)
- Baltimore Bicycle Works
- University of Maryland, School of Law (Park at Lombard & Paca)
- Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
- Carroll Park on the Gwynns Falls Trail
- Harbor East
So, now that its easier than ever to participate in Bike to Work Day
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER
Given Baltimore’s bicycle traffic, we’re hoping to capture a good portion of cyclists that regularly commute. So why not register early and let us know you’re coming by! With the Bike Month Challenge, you’ll earn points for visiting these pit stops, even more points for uploading photos to Posterous.
Don’t forget that we’re awarding a big Bike Month Challenge prize for “Best Bike to Work Day Coordinator”, the person that gets the most coworkers biking on B2WD. So now is the time to get your coworkers stoked about it!
by Allysha Lorber
Complete Streets is a hot buzz word in the transportation industry, and even the Baltimore City Council enacted a new “Complete Streets” resolution last December. But, you may ask… “What makes a street complete?” I thought a lot of people may be wondering, so I asked a few of my friends to tell me what they think makes a street “Complete.” Amazingly, I got a lot of the same answers. Smooth pavement. Really? Lack of pot holes is what makes a street complete?
I prefer to define Complete Streets much more broadly, and so did the Baltimore City Council. Resolution 09-0433 defines complete streets as streets that “provide appropriate accommodations for pedestrians, bicyclists, transit riders, motorists, and persons of all abilities, while promoting safe operation for all users.” Notice the word “appropriate” in the City Council’s definition. An unassuming word that makes a big difference in the meaning of the statement as a whole. If you are to make a complete street that accommodates ALL users, a reality check will prove that some users may not be accommodated as well as others without exorbitant costs or impacts to the roadway surroundings.
In simplified terms, a complete street is multi-modal. Many streets are not complete because they do not appropriately accommodate all users. In order to do so, you may need to accommodate cars less to provide more appropriate and safer accommodations for pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit riders. There needs to be a balance, and each street has its own.
What else makes a street “Complete?” Tune in tomorrow to see, or post what YOU think makes a street complete. I’ll give you a hint – it’s more than just Smooth Pavement.
Allysha Lorber is a community planner and landscape architect specializing in transportation development and sustainable design. She works as a planning consultant with McCormick Taylor, loves to run and bike all around Baltimore, and is the mother of two wonderful daughters. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org if you ever want to debate what makes a street complete.
On Monday, April 18th B-CaUSE (Baltimore Colleges & Universities for a Sustainable Environment) will host The Greater Baltimore Region Bicycle Update from 6 – 8pm. As part of Baltimore Green Week, come get an update on what is happening and will happen ni the world of Baltimore/DC bicycling infrastructure and events.
Update Highlights include:
- Captial Bikeshare Overview from Charlie Denney
- Reaching Bicycle Friendly Status from the League of American Bicyclists
- Upcoming Events including Bike Month by Jeff LaNoue
- and Baltimore Bicycle Network Update by Nate (I’ll have maps, boards & graphics to mix it up a bit)
The event will be held in the Great Hall Room in Levering Hall at the Johns Hopkins Univeristy Homewood Campus. Ample bike & car parking is available and refreshments will be served.
This weekend, two groups of cyclists stepped up and pitched in helping to make Baltimore a better place.
Sunday, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) collected used bikes at REI in Timonium. The collected bikes will be fixed up and given to refugees that have relocated to the Baltimore area. The IRC was established by Albert Einstien to assist with resettling people displaced from their native land. In the 80 years of operation, IRC assists approximately 600 people a year in 44 countries and 22 cities within the U.S. IRC has been active in Baltimore for 10 years. Locally, they help refugees acclimate to Baltimore in a variety of ways including everything from the first pickup at the airport, to providing furnished homes, providing mentors, setting up doctors appointments, registering kids in school, job assistance and providing transportation.
The preferred mode of transportation by the IRC is bicycles. Jamie Spitzer from IRC says, “Bikes provide a cheap reliable form of transportation. People new to this country need to get to their jobs on time. It’s a struggle for refugees to learn the bus schedule, so its easier to get them on bikes.” IRC aims to have refugees living independently within 4 months of arriving in the United States. Providing bicycles helps them reach that goal quicker! Today’s bike drive was successful as IRC brought in 15 bikes, with another 20 expected throughout the week. Three higher end bikes were collected which will be sold with the help of Velocipede and procedes going back into the program. Boson & Noah from V’pede were on hand to evaluate the bikes being donated. There’s already a high demand for these bikes, which will be distributed after helmet fittings and a safety training.
CORRECTION: IRC’S BALTIMORE OFFICE ALONE HELPS 600 REFUGEES A YEAR, NOT THE ORGANIZATION AS A WHOLE. (That’s a lot of people getting good help!)
In the intermittent rain Saturday morning, members of MORE, the Gunpowder Valley Conservancy and a local Girl Scout troop combined forced to fight litter in the Loch Raven Reservoir. Nearly 50 volunteers loaded up on coffee, granola and some doughnuts and scoured nearly 2 miles of shoreline, trail and woods to pull out any type of litter. Most of the litter I collected was styrofoam cups and cooler parts, discarded fishing gear and a 10′ section of twisted rebar.
Thanks to Bob Wagner for the heads up on this one
The 30 DAYS OF CYCLING is just that: April 1st – 30th, spend a little time riding, distance is not important. All you do is pledge to ride everyday in April, register and follow along with other committed cyclists via Facebook & Twitter for a month of adventure.
Sounds like a good lead up to B’more Bike Month (couldn’t resist the plug)
The First Annual Bike Month Challenge will take place this May and cyclists around the region will have a chance to “Ride for the Prize” by participating in Baltimore’s growing bike community. We’ve got some great prizes this year. For more information, click here.
There you’ll also find:
- Bike Month Calendar of Events
- the Bike to Work Day pit stops
- a chance to snag one of a limited number of Bike Month t-shirts
You don’t have to live in Baltimore City to participate! (but if you want the prizes, it helps to live in the Mid-Atlantic region)