Contributed by Nate Evans
Five and a half years ago, I started working my “dream job” as the bicycle & pedestrian planner for Baltimore City. Combining my lifelong passion for biking, Urban Planning degree and engineering background, I set out to comprehensively implement the 2006 Bicycle Master Plan. In that time, Baltimore has become an easier place to ride. By no means are we “Portland” or “Amsterdam”, but Baltimore has developed its own brand of bike culture which I’m proud to be a part of. Like other cities nationwide, our bike culture would have developed on its own, I’m just blessed to have been on the job when it happened.
Over these past few years:
- 6 new bike shops have opened in the city, with a few more just beyond the city line
- Bike commuting have boomed, especially in areas the city has made infrastructure improvements
- Critical Mass graduated into the Baltimore Bike Party (which has done more for biking in Baltimore than I ever could!)
- The Department of Transportation has created 100+ bike route miles and installed nearly 500 bike racks
- Baltimore has added several pro-bike laws including mandatory bike safe storm grates, bike parking & a Cyclists’ Bill of Rights
In the coming months, we’ll see
- the Downtown Bicycle Network with cycletracks and bike lanes in the city center
- Charm City Bikeshare
- An updated Bicycle Master Plan which includes more cycletracks, bike boulevards and recommended policies
- 500 more bike racks across the city
This Friday will be my last day with the City of Baltimore. I’ve taken a position with a local engineering firm where I will be the on-site consultant for Maryland State Highway Administration’s (SHA) Bicycle Retrofit program. One of my first projects will be to extend the Frederick Avenue bike lanes into the county. (We’ll be able to take down the “ENDS” sign in the above picture.) My office will still be in Baltimore which I will still bike to. I look forward to seeing Baltimore’s bike network and culture grow and I’m fortunate to have helped it along the way.
I would like to give a special “shout out” to a few folks:
- Jessica for allowing to do this
- Mark “You Good?” for the insight and shared dark humor and ”Cougar” Paul for this
- Nelson Jackson & crew for installing all those bike racks!
- Greg, Penny, Gary for handing me the torch (now, I’m handing it back)
- Tim, Adam & Ana for doing what you do the last Friday of every month!
One of “my duties” as bicycle planner was to accompany Mayor Sheila Dixon on her Friday morning bike rides around the city. While the group is smaller, we’re gonna take a spin this Friday at 7 am from City Hall. If you shake of the candy rush from the night before and ignore the pending weather, c’mon out for a ride.
Thanks Baltimore! It’s been great helping my hometown learn to ride again….