Your Guide to Experiencing Light City by Bike

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Light City is back! The festival is full tons of activity from March 31 to April 8, including large-scale installations, events, performances and more downtown and throughout Baltimore's neighborhoods. With popular festival like this, riding your bike can help you avoid the traffic and parking headache, and make it easier to get to more of the nearby activities and sites  — and there are even a few bike related events and rides! 
 

Getting to and around Light City


Biking to Light City

The majority of the activity is happening in the Inner Harbor, which is accessible via the protected bike lane on Maryland Avenue, The Guilford Avenue bike lane, the Jones Falls Trail, the Gwynns Falls Trail or the Waterfront Promenade. The area around the harbor will have higher vehicular and pedestrian traffic than usual, so use caution and plan to dismount and walk your bike accordingly.

Bike Parking

Public bike parking will be available behind the Baltimore Visitors Center located at 401 Light Street, and marked on the map to the right.


 

Baltimore Bike Share

The closest bike share stations to the main festival location are Harbor East, the Aquarium, and the Visitor Center. Use Bike Share to get there, to participate in one of the rides below, or to get back to where you started after walking through the festival! Find out more at www.bmorebikeshare.com

 

Bike Events & Rides


Baltimore Bike Party: Light Up the Night
March 31
6:30pm, Saint Mary’s Park

Bike Party’s monthly ride will feature a special “light” theme.  The ride starts in St. Mary’s Park and will end with an after party hosted by Waverly Main Streets at artist Jose Andres Rosero-Curet’s Neighborhood Lights installation. Get a free Bike Share bike an any station for this ride using the promo code "bbpmarch".


Baltimore City Recreation & Parks Neighborhood Lights Ride
April 1
6:30pm, Lake Montebello

Join local cyclists for a BCRP lead bike tour of artist Maura Dwyer’s Neighborhood Lights collaboration with Hamilton-Lauraville, and artist Jonathan Taube & Iman :Djouini’s collaboration with Coldstream Homestead Montebello.  BCRP will have loaner bikes on-hand, arrive before 7pm to check out a bike.


Kinetic Procession & Bike Glow Rally
April 7

6:30pm — Light your Bike Workshop

Show up early to decorate your bike with LED lights. You're encouraged to bring and share supplies for bike decorating, and a limited number of free battery powered LED string lights will distributed.

8:00pm — Kinetic Procession Parade

Then join Bikemore and other bike groups in the parade, walking your bike alongside wheeled contraptions and a variety of kinetic sculptures. The parade starts at Rash Field at 8pm, goes through the Harbor, and ends at the Aquarium.

9:15pm — Bike Ride to Neighborhood Lights

We'll then go on an illuminated group bike ride from the Aquarium to the Little Italy and Waverly Neighborhood Lights, ending back at the Inner Harbor around 10:45pm. The route sticks mostly to city designated bike trails and will be supported by experienced volunteers and Race Pace Bicycles staff.

Baltimore Bike Share will also be lending free bikes at the Aquarium for the ride. 

See route for the ride →

Action Alert: Yes on SB 0338, No on HB 1079

The Maryland General Assembly's Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has two bills in front of it that you should take action on. 

SB 0338 allows HAWK Signals to improve pedestrian safety in Maryland. The Washington Area Bicyclist Association has a good write-up on why this legislation is important and how HAWK signals will--and could have already--saved lives.

HB 1079 gives local jurisdictions the authority to impose additional penalties for people who improperly cross the street. Read our post here for more information on why this is a bad idea.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has no representatives from Baltimore City, but we encourage you to email them anyway in support of SB 0338 and in opposition to the cross filed version of HB 1079 that they will soon hear in committee.

HB 1079 and the History of Jaywalking

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In the Maryland General Assembly this session, Delegate McMillan of Anne Arundel County introduced House Bill 1079, which seeks to give local jurisdictions the authority to create a civil penalty for crossing outside of a crosswalk.

Staff from McMillan's office explained that this is in response to heavy tourist traffic in Annapolis. They believe being able to ticket tourists that cross outside of a crosswalk will improve pedestrian safety.

The bill is currently in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee, after being passed on the floor of the House yesterday. Click here to tell the committee to vote NO on this bill.

Jaywalking has a storied past. In short, as cars became more prolific in cities, and death by automobile soared, communities sought to find solutions and penalties for drivers who recklessly endangered the public.

The automobile lobby fought back with a coordinated public relations effort that blamed the people who had been using roads for centuries, not the newest invention on the roadway. AAA began an "education campaign" in schools. The Boy Scouts were employed to hand out pamphlets on street corners. 

The automobile lobby won, and their message prevailed: It was the people walking who were in the wrong, they should get out of the way of cars, and if they refused they should be punished with fines or even jail time.

In the 1990's and early 2000's focus on jaywalking re-emerged as cities like New York and Baltimore used jaywalking as a way to target individuals for Terry Stops through broken windows policing. Studies now prove when you criminalize the behavior of vulnerable road users like people walking and biking, it disproportionately impacts communities of color. Layering fines in the name of safety compounds the challenges facing our communities instead of making them safer.

Back to HB 1079: if pedestrian safety is the aim, why not advocate for designing roads that reduce pedestrian injury and fatalities by lowering vehicle speed and adding sidewalks, safe crossings, and adequate lighting? Or pass out of the very same Judicial Proceedings Committee SB 0338, which would allow HAWK Signals in Maryland, a very real improvement that can be made for pedestrian safety?

Communities across the state are working hard to make places safer for biking and walking. It's good for public health, mobility, and the economy. Let's work harder on that, and let a 100 year old strategy rooted in racist and classist policy that unfairly penalizes Maryland residents and visitors for crossing the street die in committee.

Take Action on these Bills!

Next Action Steps for Repealing the Farebox Recovery Mandate

Over the last couple of weeks, you wrote to your delegates in the House to tell them to repeal the farebox recovery mandate.

The farebox recovery mandate is a state rule that says 35% of the total operating costs for MTA's Baltimore area services must be recovered from fares and other revenues. This forces MTA to be regressive, it stifles ingenuity in route planning and service delivery, and it prevents forward thinking conversations around public transport from occurring. 

Thanks to your action on the House side, this issue is now coming up for vote in the Senate, and we once again are calling on you to take action. The vote should take place today, so send your email now!
 

Tell your Senator to vote yes on SB 484 using the form below!

→ Read more about the farebox recovery mandate. 

BCDOT Revises Bike Lane Snow Removal Policy On Eve of Storm

The Snow Removal Policy conflicts with the existing Complete Streets Policy

The Snow Removal Policy conflicts with the existing Complete Streets Policy

After business hours this evening before a major snow event, BCDOT updated their policy on clearing snow from bike lanes, contradicting their own existing complete streets policy and putting the safety of people who ride bikes dead last.

In public meetings and in discussions with Bikemore prior to the issuance of this memo, BCDOT stated that standard snow removal equipment would be used to clear the Maryland Avenue cycle track at the same time the vehicular travel lanes would be cleared, and that specialty equipment was on call to remove snow in narrower protected facilities like Roland Avenue and the Jones Falls Trail. BCDOT's previous commitment was to have all protected bicycle facilities cleared within 24 hours of final snow fall. 

The new policy gives BCDOT broad leeway, stating that protected lanes may not be cleared for up to 48 hours after the last vehicular travel lane in the city is plowed.

Sidewalks, bike facilities, and bus stops on major roads should be cleared ahead of lower traffic roads. Making transit and bike travel safe and accessible can cut down on dangerous car travel while maintaining access to jobs and critical healthcare for those who do not have access to a car. 

Many other cities prioritize snow removal on sidewalks, bus stops, and in bicycle and transit lanes because they recognize safety of vulnerable road users must come before convenience of private automobile use. 

Toronto begins multiple round mechanical sidewalk clearing in high volume pedestrian areas after 3 inches of snow has fallen. The city commits to complete plowing of all priority bike lanes and cycle tacks on arterial roads within 6-8 hours, and full snow removal to bare pavement within 48-72 hours. 

This last minute policy change is yet another example of BCDOT's Director prioritizing the movement of cars over the safety and movement of people. It's why we launched our #DirectDOT campaign to call for new leadership, and why we're working hard to pass a progressive Complete Streets Ordinance.