Posts Categorized in 'Infrastructure'
Following up to the April 17th public meeting, the Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Committee made a final recommendation for which projects the county should pursue this year. The committee was asked to pick which projects should be priority projects and then rank them, which included:
1) Feasibility Study and Preliminary Design for the North Point Heritage Trail
2) On Street Road Improvements in Catonsville area, including a linkages between UMBC, Arbutus, Catonsville, and Patapsco Valley Park
3) Towson Bike Loop “Spokes” (Putty Hill, Pennsylvania & Chesapeake Avenues, Kenilworth Drive)
4) Bike Lanes on Dundalk Avenue
While the Cromwell Valley Trail was popular during the public meeting, this project was not selected because there is not enough support from the immediate community. To fund these projects, Baltimore County will be preparing the grant applications, which are due June 5.
Contributed by Nate Evans
The new trails at Fairland Regional Park is another gem in Maryland’s single track system. A short drive down 95, Fairland is a relatively slender, stream valley park surrounded by suburbs, quarries and a golf course. To develop a series of sustainable trails on this former quarry site, MORE first established a good working relationship with Montgomery County and the Maryland National Capital Parks & Planning Commission. With a grant from REI, MORE, led by trail boss Austin Steo, put in over a thousand hours of volunteer work to create the system. MORE held a ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday to officially open 8 miles of new trail. These new trails represent just another phase in the developing system at Fairland. Several new trails provide more challenging features like boardwalk skinnies, up and overs and log lines. One section of trail features a series of rollers which allows riders to pump their way along a hillside as if riding a rollercoaster! Don’t let these features discourage you from riding here. All the trails are well-graded with no real challenging climbs and easy alternatives around the more challenging obstacles.
Future plans for Fairland include a mountain bike skills park; like Rockburn but more for mountain bikes. The old slag piles from the quarry will be the basis for future gravity lines. One of the new trails connects to a residential area allowing the immediate communities to take advantage of the park. These connector trails can also be extended north into adjacent parklands. If you have an mtb trip planned to Rockburn or Patapsco, add some time and hit Fairland while you’re at it.
The Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee (PBAC) held an open meeting to hear what projects the public was interested in supporting. Hosted by the Department of Planning, PBAC listened to suggestions for bicycle and pedestrian projects across the county to be considered for selection by the committee.
Projects recommended by the public included:
1. The Northeast Trail – This trail has been included in the Overlea and Perry Hall community plans, which would extend along the utility corridor, Lillian Holt Drive and Perry Hall Boulevard from the city line to Silver Spring Road. This project was endorsed by Carroll Pupa of Lindover and Doris Polling of Overlea.
2. The North Point Heritage Greenway Trail – Included in the 2007 North Point Communty Plan, this trail would utilize abandoned railbed connecting communities, parks, Todd’s Inheritance, a senior community and veteran’s housing at Fort Howard. This project was supported by Fran Taylor of North Point and Wink Hastings of the National Park Service
3. Catonsville Trails – No community in Baltimore County has done more to promote trail development than Catonsville. Building trails from the Trolley lines has been a community-led effort that would benefit from more county support. Complementing the trail system with an on-street bike network would make Catonsville the most bikeable community in the county. These projects were supported by Maureen Becker, Charlie Murphy and others in attendance.
4. Towson Bike Loop “Spokes” – Building on the proposed Towson Bike Loop, which should be constructed this year, the “Spokes” would fill in and expand the Towson bike network by creating or expanding bike lanes on Kenilworth Avenue, Putty Hill Avenue, Pennsylvania Avenue, Chesapeake Avenue, Fairmount Avenue, Washington Avenue, Joppa Road, Stevenson Lane, Burke Road, Cromwell Bridge Road and Osler Drive. This project was proposed by Lysh Lorber, co-chair of the 5th District PBAC.
6. On-street bike routes for Rodgers Forge, Seven Courts Drive and Putty Hill Avenue were suggested by 5th District members.
7. Extending Baltimore City bike lanes into the county was recommended by Nate Evans on Dundalk Avenue, Greenspring Avenue to Quarry Lake, Frederick Avenue to Catonsville and Gwynn Oak Avenue to Woodlawn.
8. Gwynns Falls Trail to Patpasco Trail connection was suggested by Franklintown Association President Jack Lattimore. This trail will extend through Woodlawn to Patapsco Valley State Park
9. Cromwell Valley Trail – No other project received more support than the Cromwell Valley Trail. This proposed trail would connect Loch Raven High School, Cromwell Valley Park and Loch Raven Drive. Lysh Lorber provided a cost estimate and scope for a feasibility study to make the trail a reality.
Councilmen Tom Quirk and David Marks were present to thank the public for their suggestions and to encourage the committee to select multiple projects. Councilman Quirk would like more of these projects in his district to connect University of Maryland, Baltimore County with the adjacent community as well as open up mountain bike access to Patapsco. Quirk even commented that he biked from Catonsville to Annapolis and back this past weekend.
All these projects will have limited county funding for studies, design or construction. Baltimore County intends to apply for Recreation Trails funding, Transportation Alternatives funding and MDOT Bikeways funding to move these projects forward. PBAC will make a final selection of projects at next week’s meeting on Tuesday, April 23rd, 4pm in Room 104 of the Jefferson Building (105 W Chesapeake Avenue, Towson)
New East Coast Greenway signs delineate the route through Baltimore on its way from Calais, Maine to Key West, Florida. The ECG Convention takes place in Baltimore on April 26th and 27th at the World Trade Center. Special thanks to Andy Hamilton (Mid-Atlantic coordinator) and Greg Hinchliffe (ECG Maryland Committee) for posting the signs!
These new lanes pass through the center of Cherry Hill’s business district and are met at the east end by the bike lanes on Potee Street and Hanover Street. The Gwynns Falls Trail is a simple cut through the parking lot at Harbor Hospital from there.
With the recent resurfacing on Light Street, bike lanes were added between Key Highway and Hamburg Street. Light Street narrows significantly at Hamburg Street where the bike lanes end. With traffic speeds greatly reduced through the Federal Hill business district south of Hamburg Street, bike lanes are not necessarily needed.
To plan for future bicycle improvements, the Department of Transportation and Bikemore will attend the Federal Hill Neighborhood Association on Tuesday evening, 7pm at Christ Lutheran Church (701 South Charles Street). Both organizations would like to hear from the community on how and where to make bike-related improvements.
I’ve been watching the recent addition of signs and ramps that are the Jones Falls Trail (JFT) between Pratt and the Fallsway cycletrack; the route wasn’t clear to me before.
There will be criticism from serious cyclists when they realize that the trail is “just” signs directing us to ride on the sidewalk. I think those criticisms will be misguided. Yes, we could all come up with a better design if we had infinite money to spend, but I think it will be pretty cool that someone in Mt. Washington could ride with their kids to the Science Center and never have to ride in the street (with the exception of a couple quiet blocks in Clipper Mill). The sidewalks on the west side of Fallsway are wide and get little pedestrian traffic, so treating the sidewalk there as a multi-use path really shouldn’t be a problem for a slow, family-type cyclist; the same is true for Mt. Royal, St. Paul and Lanvale. Market Place could be a crowded mess, but it’s not very long.
I think the key is that the sidewalk sections of the JFT will be for people who are more comfortable sharing the sidewalk with pedestrians than they are sharing the road with cars; in other words, most people. For the rest of us, instead of condemning the JFT, we can ride in the street on the Fallsway going north to the cycletrack, then take Guilford and Lafayette instead of Mt. Royal and St. Paul. Going southbound, anti-sidewalkists could take Lanvale and then Guilford/South.
I think it’s kind of ridiculous that the people who are most adamant that car drivers should share the road with us and give us plenty of room and not be upset when their cars have to slow down and wait until it’s safe to pass, also get angry when they have to share a multi-use path (like the Inner Harbor section of the JFT) with pedestrians.
As the new interchange of Charles Street and the Baltimore Beltway nears completion, bike lanes were added as part of the project. The new bike lanes extend from Bellona Avenue (north of the Beltway) to just south of Kenilworth Avenue. Wayfinding signs direct cyclists (and other road users) to destinations, like Baltimore City & Lutherville.
The only interruption to the bike lanes is across the ramps to and from the Beltway. In the image above, the bike lane ends at the ramp entrance. A “Right Turn Yield To Bikes” sign is present, but not until well after the mixing area of merging traffic. The bike lane resumes adjacent to the gore area on the other side of the ramp. Connecting the bike lanes would create safer conditions for cyclists. By dashing the bike lane between the new lanes with green treatment, motorists would be more likely to share the road. Think of it was a crosswalk for bikes,.. that even Texas uses.
On Monday, December 17th, the Baltimore County Department of Public Works hosted a public meeting to illustrate the details of the proposed Towson Bike Beltway. The bike beltway project is funded in part by a Maryland Department of Transportation Bikeways grant, which has funded similar improvements across the state. Other localized bike network projects are underway in the southwest areas of Baltimore County, but this network will be in the spotlight as it is in the county seat.
The Towson Bike Beltway consists of a 4 mile loop encircling Towson on Bosley Avenue, Towsontown Blvd, Hillen Road, Goucher Blvd and Fairmount Avenue. Bike lanes will be installed on Bosley Avenue from York Rd to Towsontown Blvd and on Goucher Blvd from Putty Hill Avenue to Providence Road. Shared Bike & Parking Lanes (which are 13′ wide parking lanes) will be installed on Bosley between Fairmount & York and on Goucher between Providence and Fairmount. Bike lanes and shared parking lanes account for 2 miles of the 4 mile route. “Share The Road” signs will be installed on Fairmount from Bosley to Goucher and on Towsontown and Hillen Road from Bosley to Putty Hill Avenue.
While the Towson Bike Beltway plans are welcome, a few modifications will transform this project into a viable bicycle network that will encourage non-cyclists to ride.
1. Install 5′ bike lanes and 8′ parking lanes in lieu of shared bike & parking lanes. While most bike lanes are installed “in the door zone”, having the extra line adjacent to the parked vehicles encourages parking closer to the curb while providing more space for bicycle travel. Where the shared bike/parking lanes occur in the Towson project, more roadway space is needed for bike travel along high speed, high volume arterials.
2. In developing a bicycle network in Towson, terrain plays an important factor. While most of the area is along the same relative elevation, a significant hill exists between Fairmount/Goucher and Joppa Road. Planning bike facilities between Joppa & Goucher should consider local travel paths, destinations and traffic conditions. While bike lanes should be installed wherever feasible, bike lanes on Fairmount Avenue between Goucher Blvd and Hillen Road would provide connections to the Towson Towne Center and to central Towson.
3. As this is the first significant bicycle network in Baltimore County, bicycle facilities offering increased level of comfort is needed to encourage use. The bike lanes on Bosley and Goucher will help encourage use with defined areas of travel. Level terrain along Goucher & Fairmount will also encourage use, but also encourages high travel speed by motor vehicles. With 3 vehicular travel lanes on Fairmount, “Share The Road” signs will not create a sense of safety from vehicular traffic travelling in excess of 45 mph. With similar traffic conditions and “Share The Road” signs on York Road, little to no bicycle traffic has been documented. Transforming the outside travel lane to a buffered bike lane would provide increased separation from vehicular traffic and attract more cyclists.
4. Add bike lanes to Pennsylvania Avenue and Chesapeake Avenue. Both streets are relatively flat with a host of destinations along the way. Over the past few years, bike racks have been added to the streets of central Towson. More cyclists will utilize these bike racks if bike lanes were added to the streets they pass. Coupled with the other bike facilities in the network, bike lanes on Pennsylvania and Chesapeake will solidify the bike network and encourage non-cyclists to give it a try.
5. Add bike lanes to Kenilworth Drive between Bosley and West Road, Kenilworth is a relatively level street with ample roadway space for bike lanes. At West Road, traffic calming measures already in place creating very bikeable conditions to Charles Street where new bike lanes are in place.
The Towson Bike Beltway will create a more livable Towson by making bicycling a viable transportation option between the university, central business district and town center. This project can be done inexpensively with no community resistance or induce some growing pains while transforming the way residents, commuters, students and costumers move around Towson. These initial improvements will help make Towson a 21st century community where its easier to live, work and play.
(Mostly) from a Baltimore County Press Release:
The Department of Public Works will hold a public meeting on Monday, December 17 at 7:00 pm in Room 118 of the Historic Court House in Towson to unveil a proposed bike route for the County seat. The route (map above), which has been dubbed the Bike Beltway, will circle central Towson and help provide two-wheel access to Towson University, Goucher College, the Towsontowne Center and the government center.
“We have limited road capacity in Towson and need to focus on different options for people who currently drive throughout the area,” said Fifth District Councilman David Marks, a long-standing bicycle champion who will attend the December 17 meeting. “I look forward to hearing from Towson residents about ways we can thoughtfully accommodate bicyclists along with motorists.”
Towson’s proposed Bike Beltway is the brain child of the area’s growing bicycle community, specifically the 5th District Pedestrian & Bicycle Advisory Committee. This committee was convened by Councilman Marks to identify areas for active transportation improvements. The volunteer group consists of long-time cyclists, trail enthusiasts, landscape architects, urban and transportation planners. Together with the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Bikeways Program which has invested $100 thousand into the preliminary proposal (based on an application submitted by Public Works). The public meeting on December 17 will give the community an opportunity to review the route and to offer input.