Baltimore City Recreation and Parks hostedthe city’s first trail summit on Saturday, January 28th at the Cylburn Arboretum’s Vollmer Center. The city’s trail summit comes a year after the first Maryland Trail Summit. The event was geared to bring together trail users, park managers and volunteers to celebrate the city’s trail system and plan for the future. Bill Vondraskek, Chief of Parks, opened the summit by sharing of a chance meeting on local trails where he meet IMBA Trail Solutions‘ Dan Hudson. The two saw the potential for developing the Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park trails into a world-class trail system.
Recreation and Parks has several other trail projects in the works. Due for a February 2013 completion, Phase 4 of the Jones Falls Trail is under construction connecting Druid Hill Park, an old landfill (now park) with trails in Cylburn Arboretum. Cylburn is also expanding its trail system with more sustainable designs. Phase 5 of the Jones Falls Trail will begin construction this autumn connecting Cylburn with the Mt. Washington Light Rail Station. The Herring Run Greenway will begin construction next year which will connect the existing trail system with Lake Montebello and Morgan State University. Mr. Vondrasek commended A.J. O’Brien for leading the Friends of Stony Run in developing a neighborhood path from Wyman Park to Cold Spring Lane. While the Friends group wants to discourage bike use of the path by leaving fallen logs on the path, these obstacles are considered ‘fun’ by mountain bikers.
Dan Hudson gave a detailed presentation on natural surface trails in the Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park. In partnership with Recreation and Parks, Friends of Gwynns Falls/Leakin Park, the International Mountain Bicycling Association (IMBA) is conducting an assessment of natural surfaces trails. The assessment will identify and correct erosion problems, minimize environmental impact, user conflicts and maintenance. Mr. Hudson described a planned “stacked loop” trail system which will provide trail experiences for all user groups from families out for a leisure stroll to trail runners, equestrians and mountain bikers seeking more challenging terrain. Trail improvements will rely on to volunteers and trail contractors create sustainable trail systems in the City of Baltimore.
Nate Evans, from the Department of Transportation (DOT), described the trail efforts conducted by his office. Phase 2 of the Jones Falls Trail is now under construction from the Inner Harbor to Penn Station. This section of trail will connect the existing Jones Falls Trail at Falls Road and Maryland Avenue with the Gwynns Falls Trail at the Maryland Science Center. DOT is also assisting Under Armour with development of the Fort McHenry Greenway. The Greenway will connect Tide Point with Ft. McHenry along the CSX Railroad to Silo Point and across Fort Avenue. DOT is also creating bicycle & pedestrian connection to existing trails. The Guilford Avenue bicycle boulevard will connect Charles Village with the Jones Falls Trail at Mt. Royal Avenue. A planned bike boulevard is in the works along Briarcliff Road connecting the Winans Way Sidepath (which connects directly with the Gwynns Falls Trail) to the Edmondson Avenue bike lanes, which will further connect to the Catonsville Trolley Trails. Mr. Evans also unveiled the 2nd edition of the Baltimore Bike Map, which is due for release this spring.
Molly Gallant closed the Summit by sharing volunteer opportunities for National Trails Day and other trail projects. With over 6000 acres of parkland, guided hikes and rides with training sessions will be available. As Baltimore’s trail system expands, the number of people using the trails will also increase. Recreation and Parks needs assistance from the community to make our trail investments last! To get involved, contact Molly Gallant.
Contributed by Bob Compton and Dave Blum
MORE Loch Raven Trail Liaisons
Baltimore County Councilman David Marks (R) represents the Towson area (including the land surrounding the Loch Raven Reservoir) and has sponsored a resolution (#4-12) to the County Council to allow mountain biking in the buffer zone surrounding Loch Raven. There will be a work session this Tuesday, January 31st at 2:00pm in the Council Chambers located at 400 Washington Avenue Towson, MD.
Councilman Marks has asked that we get as many mountain bikers as possible to show up and testify. This is a great opportunity to let the entire County Council know how we feel. I strongly suggest you pass this on to every mountain biker you know and show up on Tuesday!
In October 2010, the NACTO “Cities for Cycling” Road Show came to Baltimore. Recently, the C4C came to Chicago, but took it to the next level. C4C will be in Atlanta in March.
From Tuesday, January 10 through Thursday, January 12, the Baltimore City Department of Transportation conducted its latest round of bicycle counts. The work counting bikes on the winter days was done by 26 volunteers, all of whom deserve a lot of thanks for braving the elements to ensure that we could track the growth of bicycling in Baltimore.
Bicycles were counted from 7:30 – 9:30 a.m. and from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. at the following locations: Falls Road & Maryland Avenue, Guilford Avenue & Mt. Royal Avenue, Aliceanna Street & Boston Street, Pratt Street & South Street, Keswick Road & Wyman Park Drive, and at bike racks at Penn Station. The locations were selected to gauge ridership along some of the major commuting routes, recognizing that a large proportion of the City’s bicyclists never pass by these points. Listed below are some of the relevant numbers from the counts and comparisons between the numbers from January 2011 and January 2012 at the three locations counted both times.
- Total bikes counted: 1,466
- Change from January 2011: 137% increase
- Bikes parked at Penn Station: 135
- Location with the biggest increase: Aliceanna & Boston (185% increase)
- Largest Single Count: 122 (Pratt & South, Thurs. evening)
- Percentage of Female Cyclists: 17%
- Highest Percentage of Female Cyclists: Pratt & South (23%)
- Helmet Use: 67%
- Most Helmet Use: Keswick & Wyman Park (75%)
- Least Helmet Use: Aliceanna & Boston (49%)
- Use of Lights (during dark time periods): 36%
The fact that more than twice as many bicyclists were counted as last year is an indicator of just how much bicycling is growing in Baltimore. Documenting this change is an essential part of the effort to improve conditions for bicycling in Baltimore. Counts at even more locations will be taking place in May and a lot of volunteers will be needed to help collect data.
Thanks to all of those who helped out and to everyone continuing to commute by bike through the winter.
Comparing Baltimore’s bike scene to Portland, Amsterdam or Copenhagen is an apples and oranges exercise. Differences in local mentality, economics, policies and the physical environment play too much a role in how acceptable and feasibile bicycling can be. The term “Rust Belt” was developed to describe once thriving, but now economically challenged cities in the northern hem of the U.S.
The decline of GM, Beth Steel and accelerated population loss helped lump Baltimore into this group. Even Tony Bourdain did a Rust Belt tour that included Baltimore. (Waking up this morning to a couple inches of snow reinforces the stereotype.) Looking at how other Rust Belt cities are developing a bike culture can be more encouraging to Baltimore riders. Here’s a look at what’s happening in Detroit…
Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold announced the scheduling of three listening sessions in order to hear the public’s input regarding pedestrian and bicycle facilities in the County’s suburban and urbanized areas. The plan was last updated in 2003 and this study’s focus is on day-to-day, short distance trips to work, school and commerce.
The listening sessions will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the following locations:
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Annapolis High School Cafeteria
2700 Riva Road, Annapolis
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Arundel Mill Mall Community Room
7000 Arundel Mills Circle, Hanover
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Severna Park Middle School Cafeteria
450 Jumpers Hole Road, Severna Park
The Office of Planning and Zoning is working with a consultant on the study which aims to identify deficiencies in the current network of sidewalks, trails, on-road travel lanes, crosswalks, etc. and develop a systematic way to prioritize improvements as funds become available or as development occurs. The study is largely (80%) funded through a Federal transportation planning grant and it is expected to take about eighteen months to complete.
“The PBMP will help identify low cost improvements that may be executed in the short-term as well as helping to establish a realistic approach to long term planning, said Larry Tom, Director of the Office of Planning and Zoning.
The County Executive will also appoint a Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) to work with the Office of Planning and Zoning (OPZ) and project consultant to provide ongoing citizen and community perspective. Members of the public who wish to apply for an appointment to the Citizens Advisory Committee should contact the Office of Planning and Zoning, Transportation Division at 410-222-7440. CAC application forms will also be available at the listening sessions. For special accommodations please call 410-222-7440.
Join Bike Maryland at Pro-Bike Lobby Night
February 6, 2012
5:45 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
House Office Building, Exact room TBA
6 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
Registration is required. Space is limited. Registration is available on a first come; first served basis. Email Christina Nutile (Subject line “RSVP Lobby Night) and include:
- home address
- email address
- your Legislative District number
- the name of your State Senator and the names of your State Delegate(s) (Find them here)
15th Annual Maryland State Bicycle Symposium
Tentatively, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Miller Senate Building in the President’s Conference Center
11 Bladen Street, Annapolis, MD 21401
Agenda to be posted at www.bikemd.org.
The Annual Maryland State Bicycle Symposium hosted by Bike Maryland is a free day-long event with 10+ expert presenters. Topics include: Program Funding, Bike Maryland’s Legislative Agenda, Bikeshare, the Bike Friendly Maryland Program, the Bike-Minded Program, Bicycle Tourism, the New Maryland Bikeways Program, and much more. Please join 400+ decision makers, government, community and industry leaders, legislators, transportation planners, advocates, on and off-road recreational bicyclists and commuters from the MD, PA, DE, VA and D.C. areas and beyond to learn about key bicycle issues and how you can make your community or workplace more bike-able.
Email Christina Nutile to register
Contributed by Dave Blum, MORE Trail Liaison at Loch Raven
The Lutherville-Timonium Patch published an article written by Nick DiMarco regarding new and positive developments regarding mountain bike access at Loch Raven Reservoir.
A lot of people worked hard to make this compromise a reality, including the mountain bike community and those elected officials that stepped up to see this through. Thank you to everyone that donated their time to this cause, especially Bob Compton and Dave Ferraro from MORE! I name only two for the sake of brevity, but there were many individuals from the mountain bike community that stepped up on a regular basis regardless of the time commitment!
That said, it is absolutely imperative that we, the mountain bike community, take a moment out of our busy schedules to thank these officials for all their hard work. This was a complex problem to address between multiple agencies, and required an open mind and a deep commitment to see it through. Please email the following representatives in the next day or two with a sincere thank you for their efforts.
Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake, Baltimore City Mayor at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Baltimore City Council President at: CouncilPresident@baltimorecity.gov
James Brochin, Maryland State Senator at: email@example.com
David Marks, Baltimore County Councilman at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Alfred H. Foxx, Jr., Director of Baltimore City Department of Public Works at: email@example.com
Again, many thanks to everyone that contributed to a positive and environmentally sound compromise to enable mountain bike access at Loch Raven Reservoir!
This evening, the Baltimore County Council will vote on a resolution encouraging the development of cooperative efforts to enhance the trail system at Loch Raven Reservoir for use by City and County citizens, while still preserving and maintaining the water quality and the environmental sustainability of the reservoir.
The first Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee meeting of 2012 happens tomorrow, Tuesday, January 17th at 6pm in the Department of Planning’s Conference Room (8th Floor, 417 E. Fayette St). Feel free to bring you bikes inside and upstairs. Agenda items include:
- Guilford Avenue bicycle boulevard update
- Bicycle Master Plan update
- Bike Maryland events
- Bikeshare Process
- Trail Access Update
To add agenda items, please post them below.
Over the past couple days, volunteers helped the Department of Transportation collect data on bicycle commuter traffic around Baltimore. Being the second annual wintertime bike counts, no one expects these numbers to be ‘awesome’ but a just an indicator of how local riders are kicking it in the colder months. We’ll get the ‘official’ numbers out just as soon as the data comes in. I hung out at the corner of Aliceanna & Boston for three counting sessions and was able to identify some patterns:
- While the number of cyclists was relatively low, all cyclists exhibited a great amount of awareness – looking all ways, double checking for traffic, even when they had the right-of-way
- Cyclists that knew they were being counted waved. There were a few folks pedalling that stopped and asked what I was doing. After finding out, I was asked “So if I ride back and forth, will that get us a bike lane faster?”
- One cyclist that knew he was being counted at Guilford & Mt. Royal expressed his extreme dissatisfaction with the program. Everybody’s got their thing…
- Always good seeing friends out riding and good making new ones
- The pedestrian activated signal at Aliceanna & Boston works, but you gotta hit that button! There’s a pedestrian-only phase at this light which makes crossing easy for cyclists as well.
- 85% of all vehicular traffic was single-occupancy (One person per car)
- 30% of all motorists were on the phone whether talking (not hands-free) or texting
- The new window at the Sip & Bite makes the place look closed during the daytime. Don’t worry, they’re open!
Anyone else have cool stories from their counts?