Big Jump: Druid Park Lake Drive and 28th Street

Proposed Changes to Druid Park Lake Drive

In January of last year, Baltimore was one of 10 cities selected for the PeopleForBikes Big Jump Project, a grant aimed at bolstering ridership in an already successful community and expanding that ridership into adjacent communities. Reflecting that grant constraint, Baltimore City's application focused on improving connectivity between an area of high opportunity, Remington, and areas in need of opportunity, including Penn North and Reservoir Hill. 

In late May, Baltimore City Department of Transportation plans to install the first component of the the Big Jump Project.

The ongoing DPW Druid Lake Reservoir construction and the traffic changes necessary to stage equipment for that project will result in lane closures on Druid Park Lake Drive. Taking advantage of these already required road closures, we're able to construct a walking and biking connection across Druid Park Lake Drive and the 28th Street bridge, connecting Remington directly to Reservoir Hill and Penn North. 

The current crossing is a narrow sidewalk alongside highway speed travel lanes that leads to a non-ADA accessible pedestrian bridge and an overgrown path alongside a highway onramp. Photos of existing conditions are below.

The new connection would be a wide shared-use path separated by water-filled barriers and planters. It will extend from Atkinson Street in Remington to Madison Avenue on the border of Reservoir Hill and Penn North. Additionally, the path will extend north on Sisson Street in Remington to connect to the existing Jones Falls Trail at Wyman Park Drive and extend west along an existing path and sidewalk to connect to the basketball courts on Druid Hill Avenue.

 The proposed barrier-protected bike and pedestrian path route is outlined in teal above.

The proposed barrier-protected bike and pedestrian path route is outlined in teal above.

The installation of this walking and biking path in late May will reduce Druid Park Lake Drive to one lane eastbound. Reservoir related construction will reduce Druid Park Lake Drive to one lane westbound. Not only will this project provide a safe walking and biking connection between neighborhoods across a highway, it will halve the crossing distance for pedestrians looking to access Druid Hill Park from neighborhoods to the south. 

Baltimore City Department of Transportation is also engaging in a large-scale corridor study of Auchentoroly Terrace and Druid Park Lake Drive. The goal is to incorporate the successes of this Big Jump Project idea into permanent road reconfiguration or removal to better reconnect Druid Hill Park to the neighborhoods surrounding it, while creating permanent safer walking and biking connections.

This idea has become a potential reality due to persistent advocacy and leadership from Bikemore and Councilman Leon Pinkett, as well as a commitment to The Big Jump Project from BCDOT Director Michelle Pourciau, dedicated and creative staff like Graham Young, and the Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Commission.

Community meetings outlining this project are coming up, and we encourage neighbors to come out to learn more and support this project. Details are below.

Screen Shot 2018-04-17 at 3.09.46 PM.png

Baltimore Complete Streets Recognized Nationally as One of 12 Best Initiatives!

Screen Shot 2018-03-27 at 1.34.43 PM.png

The National Complete Streets Coalition, a program of Smart Growth America, has recognized our new Complete Streets Bill as one of the 12 best Complete Streets initiatives of 2017!

In collaboration with Councilman Ryan Dorsey, the bill we drafted prioritizes the safety of all people using Baltimore’s streets over the speed of moving cars. Complete Streets often have slower speed limits, wide sidewalks and crosswalks, protected bike lanes, bus lanes and shelters, and beautification like trees and plantings. The Baltimore bill also contains several equity-focused provisions intended to address the disparities created by decades of structurally racist and car-oriented road design.

“Passing a comprehensive Complete Streets policy that centers equity is a key component Bikemore’s strategy,” says Bikemore Executive Director Liz Cornish. “Complete Streets is about so much more than bikes, and it’s past time we as a city commit to a policy that improves the health, safety, and mobility of all Baltimore residents. We are honored to have our work recognized by Smart Growth America, even as we recognize that work is just really beginning.”

Smart Growth America recognized Baltimore’s new policy for its focus on equity, implementation and accountability. “After scoring and rating America’s best complete policies for more than five years, we revised our criteria this year to reflect new lessons, particularly the importance of focusing on implementation and equity. We are impressed with the work Councilman Dorsey and Bikemore have done and are happy to feature the Baltimore bill as a leader in these emerging focus areas,” said Emiko Atherton, Director of the National Complete Streets Coalition (a program of Smart Growth America).

Currently, Baltimore City has a Complete Streets resolution, passed in 2010, but that resolution non-binding and is often ignored. Beginning early in 2017, Councilman Dorsey and Bikemore began work building a coalition around Complete Streets, visiting with more than 50 neighborhood groups, and local, state, and national advocacy groups to discuss Complete Streets. The Bill’s first hearing, planned for the Land Use and Transportation Committee hearing on March 21, was cancelled due to snow and has been rescheduled tentatively for April 25 at 5:00PM. The hearing will be televised on Charm TV.

“If we truly wish to improve quality of life for all City residents, we need policies that prioritize disinvested communities and fundamentally change how we engage residents in the transportation planning process,” says Councilman Dorsey. “I’m happy that our work in Baltimore is being recognized. We are proud of it and look forward to working with Mayor Pugh, Council President Young, and my colleagues on the Council to pass and implement Complete Streets. However, legislation is just a start.”

“The real work of getting this bill passed is just beginning. Communities need to have ownership over the legislative process,” Dorsey continued, “for us that means conducting our own outreach with communities that are most directly affected by transportation disparities.”

In addition to being recognized by Smart Growth America, the Baltimore Complete Streets team was selected to present at the National Complete Streets Coalition’s second annual conference, called Intersections: Creating Culturally Complete Streets in Nashville, TN on April 3-4.

And while we've been working on this for over a year, this is really just the start. Over the following months, we're planning to grow and strengthen our coalition, do further outreach with communities that are most directly affected by transportation disparities, and work to get the bill passed. 

But to do this, we need your support. 

Action Alert: Tell Council you support Complete Streets by 3/16!

10215518016_4ace57b48d_o.jpg

Now is the time to tell City Council you support Complete Streets! 

The new equity focused Complete Streets Bill prioritizes the safety of all people using streets over the speed of moving cars, and the first hearing for it is on Wednesday, March 21st. 

While we've been working on this legislation for the year with Councilman Ryan Dorsey and community organizations across the city, this is the first public hearing, and therefore the first opportunity for the public to provide comments. 

Now is the time to make your voice heard! Use our form to tell Baltimore City Council that you support Complete Streets, and customize the message to share your personal experience. Submit your thoughts by March 16th, so we can give it to council prior to the hearing. 

This is your chance to speak early in the bill process and ensure your comments are incorporated into amendments and revisions to the bill before passage.

Transit Funding Bill Clears Hurdle

maxresdefault.jpg

Today the Maryland House of Delegates voted on a metro funding bill that originally provided $150 million in annual funding for the WMATA system in the DC region to begin to fix maintenance issues, improve reliability, and bring sustainability to metro operations.

The Baltimore region's transportation system was not initially included in this bill. 

Along with the WMATA region MetroNow Coalition, Central Maryland Transportation Alliance, and 1000 Friends of Maryland, Bikemore worked behind the scenes to draft amendments including the Maryland Transit Administration, which was facing similar, but less reported challenges, hoping to push for inclusion of increased resources for MTA in this bill. 

That very week, Maryland Transit Administration's very real challenges became clear with the sudden shut down of our metro system due to rail wear.

As a result of our joint advocacy and with support of our Baltimore delegation, our proposed amendments were successfully introduced and passed today. They require:

  • A minimum 4.4% increase in MTA operating funds starting July 1, 2019 and continuing for at least the following two years.
  • An appropriation beyond current planned capital investments of at least $29.1 million in each of the above three years.
  • A maintenance and condition audit of all capital assets (similar to the one undertaken by WMATA that resulted in the $150 allocation in this bill). 
  • Development of a comprehensive 30 year regional transit plan to replace the 2002 Baltimore Regional Rail Plan and regular updates to that plan. 

The legislation is now heading to the Senate, where these same amendments will be introduced by the Baltimore delegation. We will press for passage of the bill including these amendments on the Senate side, so we can send this bill to the governor's desk for signature.

Fire Access issue still delaying the Downtown Bike Network

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 2.20.24 PM.png

This morning the city's Board of Estimates voted to approve a 318 day delay for work for the contractor hired to construct the Downtown Bike Network — again citing the fire access issue as the cause for delay. This means that the city now has until October 31, 2018 to complete work that was originally set to be completed by January 2017.

Beginning in May of 2017, there were complaints about the width of the Potomac Street bike lane which was then under construction, citing a portion of the Baltimore City adopted International Fire Code addressing the required width of streets. This code is now being applied only to streets with bike lanes, delaying construction of bike lanes that are already fully designed and funded. You can check out full story for more background on this ongoing issue. 

If less than 20 feet of clearance is truly a safety threat, the city should be applying the code to all projects, said Bikemore executive director Liz Cornish — not just those with bike lanes. “They’re not applying this interpretation of the fire code equitably for streets across the city,” Cornish said. “If it is, in fact, a safety issue, it is a safety issue on all streets.”
— Baltimore bike lane construction delayed again, amid fire code concerns, Baltimore Sun
“It’s disappointing to us that this project, which has already been subject to one extension, is already a year behind, and is now potentially behind for another year because of the fire clearance issue,” said Jed Weeks, policy director for local cycling nonprofit Bikemore.
— City Officials Again Delay Downtown Bike Network’s Installation, Baltimore Fishbowl

Want to support us in our ongoing #FightforBikes?