Downtown Bike Network Resumes Construction

 Downtown Bike Network Construction Timeline (courtesy of BCDOT)

Downtown Bike Network Construction Timeline (courtesy of BCDOT)

The Downtown Bike Network resumes construction this week. For full details, please visit Baltimore City Department of Transportation’s Downtown Bike Network page.

Background

The Downtown Bike Network was originally slated to be completed over a year ago. Construction was halted during the Potomac Street fire access discussion, and the Baltimore City Fire Department required a full re-design of the Downtown Bike Network before construction could resume.

We believe a re-design to comply with arbitrary fire clearance standards was unnecessary, and successfully fought to overturn that piece of fire code to prevent those standards from affecting projects again.

However, this fight occurred alongside the construction halt on Downtown Bike Network. So we worked with Baltimore City Department of Transportation on a re-design that improved significant portions of the design while also maintaining the at-the-time required fire clearance.

New Design Monument/Centre (the good)

The new design creates a fully-separated, two-way bike lane along Centre and Monument Streets from MLK/Eutaw to Washington Street. This will allow direct connections to future separated lanes on Wolfe or Washington Streets to the East, and to the future MLK sidepath and Eutaw Place separated lane.

The design replaces the original protected lane on Madison Street east of Guilford Avenue, replacing it with the two-way facility on Monument.

New Design Madison (not so good/opportunity to improve)

West of Guilford Avenue, Madison Street is planned to have a combination of separated lanes and buffered lanes, the latter being a requirement in portions due to the fire code. This section has been strongly opposed by the Director of Baltimore School for the Arts, and as a result, implementation has been delayed until Summer 2019.

Madison Street needs a re-design that calms traffic along the corridor. It is dangerous and contributes to economic decline of the corridor.

This delay in implementation is both a disappointment and an opportunity. The fire code update will go into effect in the end of October, which gives us the winter to discuss a better design for Madison Avenue that will meet the needs of people biking, the community desire for real traffic calming, and Dr. Ford’s concerns at Baltimore School for the Arts.

However, the delay until Summer 2019 may mean the grant will expire, causing us to lose the money to construct any design on Madison Street. This would be an unacceptable outcome. BCDOT must work to ensure any delay does not end with an expired grant, and must accept that some stakeholders may never accept infrastructure changes, even when they address critical street safety issues.

Changes on Maryland/Cathedral

Certain portions of the Maryland Avenue cycle track contain construction errors in the original design, including at the Pratt Street intersection. Other portions are regular conflict points, like at Centre Street and at the Lexington Street parking garage. Resuming construction of the Downtown Bike Network will allow us to fix these sections with correct and/or improved designs that will make the Maryland Avenue cycle track safer for all users.

Overall

The Downtown Bike Network will create a critical cross town connection that can be expanded upon into East and West Baltimore over the next 2-3 years. We’re thankful that BCDOT is taking a bold step in creating another high quality connection, and that they used this delay to think creatively and improve designs.

We will advocate to use the winter to improve the Madison Street design for a spring implementation that does not risk grant expiration.


Complete Streets at the Finish Line

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Today we’re one step closer to making it the law that streets are designed to prioritize the safety of all people using the street, not just the speed of moving cars — in all Baltimore neighborhoods.

Today, Baltimore City Council’s Land Use and Transportation Committee voted favorable with amendments on Bill #17-0102 Complete Streets.

This moves the Complete Streets bill out of committee, to a full city council vote on Second Reader scheduled for Monday, October 15th and Third Reader for Final Passage on Monday, October 29th.

If the bill is voted favorably on October 29th, it will go to Mayor Pugh’s desk for signature.

Once signed, it will be Baltimore City Department of Transportation’s job to begin implementation of the most progressive, equity-focused complete streets ordinance in the country.

If you are interested in attending either city council meeting, they will begin at 5pm. Please bring a state ID.

Background

Councilman Ryan Dorsey and the Baltimore Complete Streets coalition introduced our Complete Streets Ordinance just over a year ago in July 2017.

Since that time, Councilman Dorsey, the Council President’s Office, Councilman Pinkett, and Bikemore have stewarded the legislation through multiple agency meetings, public information sessions, and community meetings.

In March, we received national recognition for our progress when the National Complete Streets Coalition named Baltimore’s Complete Streets Ordinance one of 2017’s best initiatives and named Councilman Dorsey a complete streets champion. In April, we presented at Intersections 2018, the national conference for complete streets.

Subsequent hearings at the Land Use and Transportation Committee brought experts in street design to testify to City Council. A detailed presentation crafted by the Baltimore Complete Streets Coalition highlighted best practices across the country that were included in the bill, as well as identified locations in the bill where we had negotiated compromise with Baltimore City Department of Transportation.

These hearings led to work sessions in September and October where the Land Use and Transportation Committee adopted a series of technical amendments agreed upon by Councilman Dorsey, the coalition, and Baltimore City Department of Transportation.

At the final work session today, October 10th, the Land Use and Transportation Committee voted the bill favorable with amendments, sending it to the full city council for consideration.

Call for stories! How has Bikemore impacted your life?

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Photo credit: Side-A-Photography

We want to hear your story!

On Giving Tuesday we’re sharing 24 personal stories about the impact of our work.

Tell us why you give. How has our work impacted your life in a positive way? Maybe Maryland Avenue got you to bike commute for the first time. Maybe you wrote to your council person for the first time, or ventured to City Hall to testify for something you believed in with our help. Your story can inspire others to give, and help us build a force for biking in Baltimore.

Submit your story below, and you might be featured! No story is too small or too big!

Deadline to submit stories: November 1st

A Block Party that Brought Neighbors and Officials Together

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Event Photos: Brian O'Doherty
Photo Booth Photos: Side A Photography

At the Big Jump Block Party, neighbors, elected officials, biking and walking enthusiasts and advocates from around the city joined together to walk and bike and dance and eat in celebration of public space designed for people. Check out some of our favorite moments above — including Councilman Pinkett hyping the crowd up, giant bubble making enjoyed by kids and adults alike, and neighbor Ms. Dee joining Graham Coreil-Allen's tour and sharing the impact of ADA accessible paths and sidewalks make on her everyday life. Plus, lots of kids bike lessons and a great shows put on Dynamic Dance Force and Christian Warriors Marching Band!


Think all neighborhoods deserve a big jump?


We're so grateful for our Partners and Sponsors who made this possible!

Big Jump Partners

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Event Sponsors

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Call for Artists: RFP for Public Art in Reservoir Hill [Deadline extended to Sept. 3rd!]

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We're looking for local artists or artist-led teams for a public art project in Reservoir Hill! 

In 2018, Bikemore was awarded a T. Rowe Price grant to facilitate a public art project in the Reservoir Hill neighborhood. Since May, we've held biweekly open meetings with members of the community, gathered insight from past projects and artists across the country, and gathered ideas from neighbors during the Druid Hill Farmer’s Market in mid-July.

Now we're ready to selected an artist and move this project forward. We're currently accepting proposals from artists to implement in a two-phase approach to creating this public artwork, including both a community engagement phase and the design and implementation of the project.

From the input we've gathered thus far, many residents value Reservoir Hill’s relationship with the neighboring Druid Hill Park, and that historic and emotional connection is one that should be celebrated, particularly because of the large streets currently hindering neighbors’ access to the park.

In 2019, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will be conducting a comprehensive traffic study of Auchentoroly Terrace and Druid Park Lake Drive corridor, one of the busiest sections of Reservoir Hill. This public artwork is intended to encourage members of the community to think about what they would like their streets to look like. The project should empower neighbors to engage in conversations about their desires for Reservoir Hill, so that they have the necessary tools to advocate for themselves during the traffic study itself.

Public art can be defined in many ways. We are intentionally neglecting to pinpoint the medium or style this project should take, and artists of all backgrounds and experiences are encouraged to apply.

Deadlines
Monday, September 3rd | Application deadline [Deadline extended!]
Tuesday, September 11th | Notification of selection
Monday, November 5th | Project Completion