Action Alert: Show Up For Bikes!

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Action Alert: Show Up For Bikes!

This week there are THREE community meetings that will further discussions around access for people riding bikes. See below for description and details, and plan to show up, speak out, and let elected leaders, city agencies, and your neighbors know: I Bike, I Vote.

Think a bike friendly Baltimore is a done deal? Don’t get complacent. We have a ways to go before all local leaders believe there is a demand for safe streets that prioritize people over cars. We win by showing up and being vocal. Join us!

 

7:00pm Tonight, May 23rd

Canton Community Association General Meeting

United Evangelical Church, 3200 Dillon Street (at the corner of S. East and Dillon, entrance is on S. East)

Potomac Street protected bike lanes are a main agenda item for this monthly general meeting. Councilman Zeke Cohen will discuss transportation in the 1st District and BCDOT will provide an overview of the Potomac Street project including reviewing the multi-year planning process and phased construction approach taking place.

Do you live in Canton, or nearby communities? Come prepared with one minute talking points about why you support streets designed for all modes, and how you or your family’s quality of life and safety are improved with the construction of safe, comfortable facilities for people who bike. Speak up, even if others say what you were going to say.

 

6:00pm Tomorrow, May 24th

33rd Street Area Public Meeting About Proposed Walking/Biking Trail

Chaired by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, 14th District

Abbottston Elementary School, 1300 Gorsuch Ave (Enter school through the Gorsuch Ave. parking lot)

In 2015, Bikemore and Rails-to-Trails formed the Baltimore Greenway Trails Coalition. Our work, funded through the Center for Disease Control program Plan4Health, seeks to build support for a city-wide trail concept that would connect over 50 neighborhoods to our city parks by building a safe multi-use trail to walk and bike. Last fall, we began outreach along the 33rd Street corridor to engage residents in developing a concept for a trail.

This Wednesday, Councilwoman Clarke is bringing together City agencies and the Baltimore Greenway Trails Coalition to discuss the project with residents. This meeting was spurred mostly by residents vocal in their opposition to all further engineering and study about how a multi-use trail can improve public health outcomes, active transportation access, and spur economic development.

Come express your support for The Baltimore Greenway Trails Coalition’s efforts to connect 50 neighborhoods to our city parks through a 35-mile trail loop, and let Councilwoman Clarke know you support further study and engineering to obtain the safest option for creating safe places to walk and bike along 33rd Street.

 

7:00pm Tomorrow, May 24th

Roland Park Civic League Annual Meeting

Roland Park Elementary and Middle School, 5207 Roland Avenue

The Roland Park Civic League Cycle Track Committee has reached consensus and recommended the RPCL Board adopt this statement to present to the City and guide next steps:

Consensus Statement: Either restore curbside parking with a wider, safer bike lane and slower traffic, or partner with the community to create a complete street that works for everyone. The full end of year report from the Cycle Committee can be found here.

Bikemore’s recommendation from the earliest planning stages has been to create a road diet on Roland Avenue that reduces speed and improves safety of all users. That option is outlined in the Alta Planning report commissioned by Roland Park Civic League, and we believe it satisfies the need for a complete street that works for everyone.

If you ride a bike along Roland Avenue and want to be part of the community led conversation about what happens next for active transportation along Roland Avenue, show up and get involved.


Can’t attend meetings this week, but want to be part of our movement to ensure that Complete Streets are standard operating procedure in all neighborhoods?

Sign our Complete Streets pledge and stay up to date on our efforts to draft legislation that will prioritize people over cars, and put the investments that make streets safer for walking and biking and taking transit in the neighborhoods that need them most.

On Bikelash & Potomac Street


by Liz Cornish, Executive Director


I got this question in my inbox last week:

I am on Nextdoor and have seen some vocal individuals that are against the Potomac Ave cycle track. Is this something that could be shut down? I am wondering if I need to worry about them or not.

If your question is should you worry about folks opposed to the bike lane being able to have it removed, my answer is honestly, I don’t know. I do know we’ve been working with the Department of Transportation, the Mayor’s office, Councilman Cohen’s office, and the Canton Community Association to make sure we understand why folks are concerned and that those issues are addressed. DOT has been out on the site numerous times addressing any resident’s valid concerns. They plan to be at the 5/23 Canton Community Association meeting to report out on the construction of the project and discuss ways communication and implementation can be improved in the future. That said, it is Bikemore’s opinion that communication on this project was adequate. Each resident on Potomac received door hangers, multiple public meetings were held over a two year period, and those meetings were well attended. Installation is still a challenge, but we are working with DOT to advocate for improvements that reduce the time that residents are confused about new construction.

Bike lanes are a thing now in Baltimore — something people in Baltimore have been fighting to get moving for years. The opposition is vocal, but most concerns are run of the mill bikelash, something that has been happening and being overcome in other cities for years. Bikelash mostly just represents fear of change. It’s something we now have to navigate as a city that is actually making progress on building out a bike network. But it’s important that those in the neighborhood express their support: to Councilman Cohen, DOT, and the Canton Community Association. It is not a forgone conclusion that the Mayor will continue to make progress in this area. We already have seen instances where leadership within the City are prepared to walk back improvements because they seem unwilling to stand strong on a commitment to safe streets or a transportation vision that goes beyond planning for cars. We will be sending out a targeted email tomorrow to those on our list who live near the facility with instructions on how to show your support and get more information about construction at the 5/23 meeting. (If you're not yet on our email list or haven't provided your home address before, subscribe here.)

The recent behavior I’ve witnessed from some who oppose changes in the public right of way that allocate more space for people who bike is worrisome. Baltimore is facing a public health crisis of immense proportions. The astronomical rates of violence, addiction, and chronic disease are a direct result of our cities inability to address the fact that a significant number of people in this city don’t have access to jobs, safe housing, healthy food, or high quality schools. We have talented local leaders with community based knowledge of what our most vulnerable residents need. We have leading academic research, that comes from our very own anchor institutions that points to public policy solutions to these issues. We know what we need to do. That doesn’t mean the solutions are easy, or that the money to execute on solutions is readily available, or that the legislative or policy solutions to enact these solutions have been created. That is the work — change the laws and the policies so the barriers to implementation are removed, and prioritize the funding of these solutions. But no matter who we elect, or how many forums we convene, we just can’t seem to get to the “doing” part.

You see, addressing root causes — by radically reorganizing our power structures and shifting funding priorities to do so — requires a complete shift in mindset. Our “City of Neighborhoods” mentality may be charming, but the fortress mentality that it creates is holding us back. We have a lot of Baltimore residents who live in relative comfort and safety, that will fight tooth and nail when a parking spot or a tree in their neighborhood is under threat, but will not apply that same level of tenacity or civic mindedness to our most pressing city wide problems. And that’s what I see when I see bikelash. I see a misapplication of concern, talent and resources. I see people mistaking compromises in personal preference or convenience for actual injustice. I see people more concerned with retaining power in a situation, rather than co-creating solutions that still create safety. And I witness how this ties the hands of city employees when they aren’t always granted the political cover to forge ahead on projects that are working toward addressing root causes but receiving public backlash — especially when that backlash comes from wealthy, politically connected constituents.

Good projects create space and opportunity for folks to have input and have their concerns addressed. Good cities have leadership that weigh community input against long range plans for improving the public good and determine the best path forward.

Making the streets safer for people who walk and bike is a public good. And we need to do more. We need to implement plans faster, and we need to ensure that resources for active transportation improvements are distributed equitably. That’s what our Complete Streets legislation seeks to do. That’s creating the policy that allows us to begin to work toward progress.

But bikelash? That’s an old way of doing business in Baltimore that is predicated on this idea that if you're relatively affluent, and politically connected, and shout and threaten to move away you’ll get your way — often at the expense of our most vulnerable citizens. That’s not democratic. That’s not neighborly. That’s not the mindset that will allow us to take on the most important challenges that lie ahead. And if elected officials continue to cave to these temper tantrums rather than following the lead of cities around the world of creating public spaces that work for all modes of transportation, Baltimore will continue to be left behind.



Want to support city wide organizing and coalition building around complete streets?

A Recap of Our Annual Members Meeting

Each year Bikemore hosts our annual member meeting. This is our version of an annual report. Instead of spending resources designing and printing something, we ask everyone to come hang out, drink a beer, and ask questions in person. We discuss our organization’s success, challenges, and where we stand financially. This year we thanked members by providing a drink ticket and a hot off the presses edition of our Illustrated Guide to Biking in Baltimore.

On Tuesday over 100 folks gathered to hear about our year in review. The past twelve months have been an incredible year for bikes and Bikemore! The City of Baltimore finally began construction on the Downtown Bicycle Network, including the long awaited Maryland Avenue Cycletrack. Last fall the city also launched bike share. Biking in Baltimore now looks and feels incredibly different.

Bikemore also grew significantly. We added two new staff, Danielle Parnes and Jed Weeks, growing our organization from one full time staff to three. We added new programs like the Mobile Bike Shop and Bike to Market that encourage people to incorporate biking into their everyday lives. We also advocated for the passage of the Separated Bike Lane Network, ensuring that future investments in protected bike infrastructure are equitably distributed throughout the city.

We celebrated our volunteer of the year, Alex Gebhart for his leadership and commitment as our volunteer bike mechanic at our Mobile Bike Shop. His leadership and skills have helped take the program to new heights, and we are so lucky to have him serving a second year alongside our youth employee Dominique Thorne.

One of the highlights of the evening was pointing out how critical our individual members have been in our success. This year we planned to raise around $40K in individual donations. We have surpassed that and have raised nearly $60K in individual donations, with an average gift size of $100. That accounts for 25% of our overall operating budget, and has paid for 40% of our operating expenses to date. We literally couldn’t have done it without you!

When it comes to larger grants, we are so grateful for the support from key local foundations like Goldseker and Clayton Baker Trust, whose donations have allowed us to add staff, fight on more policy fronts, and serve more neighborhoods.

What our financial picture tells us is that on the expense side we are tracking right on budget. Our spending is also not out pacing our revenue. On the revenue side, we are currently not on track to meet our revenue goals. We need to raise an additional $55K by July first to finish in the black, or $77K to meet our revenue goals with cash reserves. While we have a plan in place to get there, we cannot do it without your support. If you haven’t considered supporting our work with a personal donation before, but feel our advocacy has been of benefit to you, we ask you to consider making a gift today to ensure our organization remains fiscally strong to be able to continue to build a force for biking in Baltimore.

Click through the slides to learn more:


Ready to take action?

Your Guide to Bike Month in Baltimore!

Bike Month is celebrated in cities across the country and, simply put, it's a whole month dedicated to the tons of reasons we love to bike! From joining a group ride, to learning about Bikemore's advocacy work, or trying out biking to work — May is the month to join in! Check out the full calendar of Bike Month events here


Can't decide which event(s!) to attend?

Thanks to our thriving biking community, there are more than 35+ events happening — that means something is happening almost every single day of May! And we know, with so many choices it's hard to decide, so we thought we'd help you out: 


Which events is Bikemore hosting?

Some of the events during Bike Month are organized by us here at Bikemore, and lots more are organized by volunteers and members of our community. Here are the ones we're hosting — they're all great opportunities to meet and chat with Bikemore staff and learn about how you can get involved in making Baltimore a more bikeable city.

Bike to Market Day at JFX Farmers Market
Sunday, May 7, 2017 | 7am - 12pm | JFX Farmers Market
We'll have a free bike valet, raffle, and giveaways for anyone who gets to the market by bike!

Bikemore Annual Members Meeting
Tuesday, May 9, 2017 | 7pm – 9pm | R. House
Join us to review our accomplishments from the past year, get a preview of what's to come, and share with us what you care about most.

Cyclofemme Ride
Sunday, May 14 | 11am – 2:30pm
Join the women of Bikemore for a social ride celebrating all that is great about being a woman who rides in Baltimore, as CycloFemme rides happen concurrently in cities around the world. 

Bike to Work Day: Bikemore Maryland Ave. Stop
Friday, May 19th | 7am – 9am | Bikemore
Stop by on your morning commute for free coffee, bike safety checks, and a chance to talk about the future of bicycling in Baltimore with Bikemore’s staff.

Bikemore + North Barclay Green Community Ride
Thursday, May 25 | 6pm - 8pm | North Barclay Green Community Center
Join Bikemore and North Barclay Green Community Center for a social ride and celebration! Kids and adults welcome as this is a social, no-drop ride.
 

Why donate to Bikemore during Bike Month?

Just by looking at the calendar, you can tell that here at Bikemore, we do a whole lot with just a little! Throughout the month we'll be highlighting programs we run and projects we've worked on to give you an inside look at Bikemore's work. We'll share what we've accomplished with the resources we have, and how much more we can achieve with your support. 

Plus, we consider a member anyone who has donated to Bikemore in the past year — and all members will receive a free beer ticket at our Annual Member's Meeting! 


→ Be sure to check the full calendar for the 35+ bike events going on throughout May! And don't forget to tag us in your photos from #bikemonth events on social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Bike to Market Tip #1: Carrying Groceries by Bike

What's Bike to Market?

Bike to Market mixes two important aspects of a thriving sustainable city: sustainable transportation and local fresh food. This spring and summer we're partnering with the Maryland Farmer's Market Association to make it easier than ever to ride your bike to the market — demonstrating the ease of doing daily activities on bike, the value of supporting local growers, and of course, the joy you can have doing it!

We'll have three Bike to Market events, each at a different farmers markets. At each we'll provide free bike valet so you can safely and easily leave your bike while you shop, and have giveaways and a raffle for anyone who rides. And we'll be sharing our favorite tips and ideas along the way! 

First up — we'll be biking to the... 

Baltimore Farmers Market and Bazaar (JFX)
May 7th, 7am - 12:00pm

The Baltimore Farmers’ Market and Bazaar is the city’s vibrant hub for a truly local and supportive experience. Drawing crowds in the thousands, bringing together vendors and customers from all over the state, launching small businesses, and providing good local food for the community, all make for an amazing Sunday morning in Downtown Baltimore.

And if you're coming from the North, a group ride to the market will be leaving from Charmington's at 9:30am! Perfect for folks newer to city riding or those just interested in traveling as a pack, and no need to RSVP — just show up! 


How do I carry groceries on my bike?

The best set up for carrying groceries depends on your bike, how far your riding, how much you're carrying, and personal preference. Here are a few of our favorite tips and trips for carrying groceries on our bikes.

 
Messenger bags and backpacks, that one you probably already have in your closet, work well for short trips and smaller loads.

Messenger bags and backpacks, that one you probably already have in your closet, work well for short trips and smaller loads.

Bungee chords or a net can help make sure you don't lose any veggies if you hit a bump in the road.

Bungee chords or a net can help make sure you don't lose any veggies if you hit a bump in the road.

Panniers and rear racks are great for larger and heavier loads, and for those times you get caught in the rain.

Panniers and rear racks are great for larger and heavier loads, and for those times you get caught in the rain.

You can use front baskets with or without a front rack, depending on what kind of basket it is, and they're perfect for carrying small loads.

You can use front baskets with or without a front rack, depending on what kind of basket it is, and they're perfect for carrying small loads.

Baskets that attach to a back rack are the perfect size for reusable grocery bags, and they usually fold down so you can always keep them on your bike. 

Baskets that attach to a back rack are the perfect size for reusable grocery bags, and they usually fold down so you can always keep them on your bike. 



Thanks to:

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