Action Alert: Show Up For Bikes!



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.

Fact Check: The Greenway Trails Network Plan Is Awesome, Support It.

Bikemore is part of the Baltimore Greenway Trails Coalition, funded by a Plan4Health grant from the American Planning Association and the Centers for Disease Control. Over the past year, our partner and lead on the project, Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, has hosted over a dozen meetings with residents and stakeholders adjacent to the Gwynns Falls Parkway and 33rd Street corridor. At these meetings they discussed using these two streets to connect the Gwynns Falls Trail, Jones Falls Trail, and Herring Run Trail into an eventual 35 mile trail loop in Baltimore City where people can walk or bike safely in a dedicated space separated from mixed traffic.

One of the options proposed for 33rd Street and Gwynns Falls Parkway is a two-way, on street protected bike lane.

The other is a center-running, multi-use community path. The advantage of this option is that it could be used both by people walking and biking, as well as neighbors who just want to recreate outside their homes.

This isn't a new idea. The coalition is building on and supporting existing initiatives, including Parks & People’s One Park Concept, Baltimore City’s Growing Green Initiative, the updated Baltimore City Bicycle Master Plan, the Open Space and Parks Task Force, and a revitalized master plan for the Middle Branch. Going back further, it works to bring the original Olmsted vision for Baltimore's "Parkways" to life.

A Brief History of Olmsted Parkways

The revised Olmsted vision in  The Baltimore Sun,  July 26, 1914

The revised Olmsted vision in The Baltimore Sun, July 26, 1914

The Olmsted Brothers Company is responsible for the design of both 33rd Street and Gwynns Falls Parkway, among other parkways and boulevards in Baltimore City. The original intent and goal of these "Parkways" was to bring "Parking" (of the green—not car—variety) into communities, and connect Baltimore's entire park system via linear parks containing designated spaces for people to enjoy the park system by foot, car, bicycle, horse, or carriage.

Rapid city growth led to push back around the size of the right of way required to implement this plan. The result was the series of narrower boulevards present in our city today. Automobile based planning decisions in Baltimore, since these boulevards' construction, have turned them into high-speed automobile corridors, far from the original intent. Luckily, we can look back at the Olmsted vision for Baltimore, as well as to more successful implementations in other cities to see how we could better reprogram this space to match the true Olmsted intent.

The Olmsted designed Lincoln Parkway in Buffalo was planned with a multi-use, protected trail for people walking, biking, or riding.

Lincoln Parkway in Buffalo today looks much like 33rd Street, albeit with wider medians. While beautiful, it is rarely used by people.

The Olmsted Designed Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn in the 1930's with a multi-use median path for people walking and biking.

Today, Eastern Parkway retains the multi-use median path for people walking, biking, playing chess, or sitting on benches.

The Olmsted designed Brooklyn Ocean Parkway's multi-use path was split to include a "bicycle highway" in the 1890's. 

Brooklyn's Ocean Parkway retains bicycle and walking paths today.

Project FAQ /Fact Check

While this is an exciting project that will serve all of Baltimore, and which has the potential to address a number of health, access, transportation equity, historic preservation, and quality of life issues for the whole city - some residents have expressed concerns about potential changes to the public space. A few others have spread false information about the project. 

This is just one piece of a 35 mile trail vision. If this one stretch fails to materialize like the rest of the trail, the economic, public health, and transportation benefits of the entire trail system are in jeopardy.

We address some of the concerns here:

Some neighbors say this will remove green space

The proposed multi-use path, one option being explored on the corridor, will enhance green space. Currently, the medians serve as a green barrier to high speed automobile traffic. Activating this space with a multi-use path is one step in reclaiming the street for all road users.

The proposed median path would actually add active green space by lengthening medians and closing some of the "u-turn" locations between the existing medians to reduce high speed car traffic cutting through neighborhoods.

In addition to the median path, additional trees, shrubs, and rain gardens would be implemented to control and treat stormwater. Currently, the median has soil that is severely compacted and does not effectively treat storm water. 

But some neighbors said you'll pave the median and kill all the trees

While a paved surface is the most ADA compliant and accessible surface, no decisions have been made about trail materials. There are many options. A "floating trail" can rest on the current median surface, and there are many other permeable paver solutions. The Indianapolis Cultural Trail is an example of a "floating trail" surface that is permeable and does not disturb existing plantings. A soft surface trail also allows water infiltration without tree root damage. 

The next round of study for this project will include specific planning and specifications for tree care as well as trail surface. There are many examples across the country of trail and path construction coinciding with tree care and maintenance. 

This would be dangerous for everyone

The current design of these roadways is dangerous for everyone. The floating unprotected bike lanes are substandard, the sidewalks have too many street crossings, and the wide travel lane allows cars to drive too fast. 

The proposed redesign would be engineered to the highest safety standards to protect trail users, residents, and people driving along the corridor. All crossings would prioritize the safety of trail users. Traffic calming would be a significant part of the design of the entire corridor. 

This plan isn't historic or destroys the Olmsted Vision

See the above background on the Olmsted vision for these parkways. This plan introduces many elements of the historic Olmsted vision, and will ultimately achieve the Olmsted goal of connecting Baltimore City's major parks via parkways that can be safely enjoyed by city residents by foot, car, horse, or bike.

So, what can I do if I support this plan?

#FillTheRoom for the next
33rd Street Open House

April 25th | 6:00 - 7:30pm
29th Street Community Center

RSVP and invite your friends and neighbors here!



Pop-Up Cycle Track on East Pratt Street

DOT is installing a "Pop-Up" cycle track this Thursday!

This Thursday, August 4th, Baltimore City Department of Transportation will be installing a pop-up cycle track on East Pratt Street between South Central Avenue and South Broadway Street. This two-way protected bike lane will remain in place through Friday, August 26th. 

Baltimore City Department of Transportation welcomes community members to join them from 8:00-9:00am and from 5:00-6:00pm on Friday, August 5th at the corner of Caroline Street and East Pratt Street to try out the facility and learn more about bicycle projects in Baltimore.

What are pop-up bike facilities?

Pilot projects, such as pop-up protected bike lanes, are becoming increasingly popular in cities. These projects allow agencies to engage with the public--testing what works and what doesn't in an affordable manner before substantial capital investments are made. The conventional project development process proceeds from plan to capital construction over a number of years, while pilot projects only take a few weeks to organize and construct. These projects help communities try new treatments, re-envisioning what their streets and communities can look like without the commitment of a capital project.

Ride it, show support!

Definitely try to stop by in the morning or evening on Friday and check out the installation, and make it a part of your commute if you live in the area. Showing support for this kind of creative testing means we will see it more frequently. And, if you want to ensure that more projects like this turn into full-time bike facilities, donate to Bikemore.

Baltimore Cranksgiving 2015

Poster Design by  Ian Jackson

Poster Design by Ian Jackson

With just two days to go until Baltimore's First Annual Cranksgiving we wanted to put together a quick post to make sure folks have the info they need to make Saturday, November 21st a HUGE SUCCESS! 

What is Cranksgiving? 

Cranksgiving is a national event, that began in New York City in 1999. It's a bicycle ride/scavenger hunt/food drive that brings people on bikes together to do good during the season of giving. 

How Much Does It Cost to Participate? 

By design, Cranksgiving is and will always be a free event-meaning Bikemore will never charge registration to participate. We do ask that each person on a team bring $10-15 to help purchase food items on the list. But how much you are able to spend is entirely up to you! 

Is it a race? I don't ride very fast. Will I still have fun? 

Kinda. That's Ok! Absolutely! Cranksgiving is designed to be a team event (because what's more fun that riding through the city with some friends? Don't worry if you don't have a team formed when you show up, we can help free agents or pairs come together!) While prizes are awarded to teams with the best time and highest number of points, additional prizes will be awarded for things like best team costume and team spirit! 

When does registration begin? How does the event work? 

Registration begins at 12:30 at Pavillon I (the big one in the middle) in Patterson Park. The Scavenger Hunt will begin at 2pm. Only teams who turn in their manifests by 4pm will be considered for prizes. This is a Rain or Shine event. Riding in the rain/cold/wind makes you tough. So be tough and show up and ride, even if the weather isn't perfect. 

When you register, teams will be handed their manifests. On the manifests is a list of grocery stores and food items to purchase each worth a certain number of points. Additionally our partner Baltimore Youth Cycling will be at a few of the stops presenting teams with additional bonus challenges, also worth points. The team with the highest number of points, in the shortest amount of time wins! 

After the prizes are awarded we will all ride to Moveable Feast (901 N Milton Ave, Baltimore, MD 21205) together. 

From there we will head to Hot Tomatoes II (2201 Gough St, Baltimore, MD 21231) for beer and pizza. 

The Rules: 

1. Teams must stay together. It's safer. It's more fun. It's the rules. 

2. Keep all your receipts (that's how we score you). If it's not on the receipt it doesn't count for points. If we can't read the receipt, or it's unclear what item it is, it doesn't count for points. Only receipts printed between 2-4pm will be counted (so no sneaky stuff). 

Tips for Success: 

1. This is an unsupported ride. Meaning if you have problems during the event, they are YOUR responsibility. You are assuming all the risk that comes with riding your bike on city streets. Call 911 in an emergency, head to your nearest bike shop if you have a mechanical issue. 

2. Protect your property. Lock your bikes at stops, don't leave bikes or food unattended. Be smart. 

3. Have fun. In the end we're bringing people together to bring much needed food donations to Moveable Feast. Don't get so competitive that you lose sight of that, or cause the judges unnecessary grief about who wins. Because this is about food for people in need and riding bikes with friends. The. End.  

You can pregister here to let us know you're coming. But you'll still need to register your full team and get your manifests before the race, so come early so we can get people signed up and with their teams. Folks not registered before we start the pre-ride talk (Most likely 1:45) will not be eligible to participate. 

Want help pulling together a team before Saturday? Post in the Facebook Event and get one going! 

Also, we are still looking for volunteers, particularly folks not riding to help with scoring! Sign up here! 


Don't Miss Tour Du Port This Sunday!

Can you believe autumn is here already? One of the best summers in recent memory certainly flew by, and that can mean only one thing:  ring in the fall with Tour Du Port!

This year, you will find 3, count 'em, 3 all new routes, which means there is truly something for everyone.  There will be a 15 mile route, a 31 mile route, and a 50 mile route for Tour Du Port veterans.  No matter which ride you chose, you'll find support vehicles and rest stops for a comfortable ride. 

And remember:  the ride is a fundraiser for our friends at Bike Maryland, so your registration fee is going to a great cause.

The ride is this Sunday, September 28, and the festivities pop off at 7am.

Make sure you check out the full details over at Bike Maryland, and make sure you register today!