advocacy

ICYMI: Big Win for #CompleteStreets

Baltimore-city-council-complete-streets.jpg

We did it. Together, with your support we passed the most progressive Complete Streets Ordinance in the country. It’s a huge win for biking, walking and transit. Thanks to your letters, your testimony and donations, we were able to do something that two years ago people doubted we could achieve. Led by Councilman Ryan Dorsey, lawmakers, city agencies, Bikemore and over 30 Complete Streets coalition members, we demonstrated Baltimore is ready to think differently about how are streets are designed.

Here’s what the bill does:

  • Gives neighbors more input into the process of street design. 


  • Makes sure investments in Complete Streets go to the communities that need them the most. 


  • Mandates progressive standards on street design to keep everyone who uses the road safe from reckless driving. 


Read the entire bill.

Last night while celebrating our victory, a community leader said that Bikemore is “punching above our weight.” Our work is gaining the attention of people across the city and is changing the conversation around how we design streets.

We fought for streets that prioritize your safety and we won. Help us celebrate our victory by making a donation to Bikemore today. Together we are building a force for biking in Baltimore, and we are winning.

 

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.


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. 

Tonight, speak up about North Ave Rising!

Tonight is the first meeting about North Avenue Rising. We hope you'll make it out, even if you can't make it until after work!

Here are the main points we'd like you to make:

  1. North Avenue Rising must have separated, dedicated transit lanes throughout the entire project corridor.

  2. North Avenue Rising must have separated, dedicated bicycle lanes at minimum between Pennsylvania Avenue and Broadway, where there is high density, frequent bus service, and a wider right-of-way.

  3. North Avenue Rising must have a road diet, calming the street and allowing space for high quality bike and transit lanes while maintaining parking for businesses.

  4. These requirements should lead to North Avenue Rising including center-running transit, which will further spur economic development and transit growth on North Avenue, and allow for a potential rail transit future for North Avenue once that growth demands it.

There are community meetings Monday through Thursday this week for you to attend. We're encouraging folks to #filltheroom at Monday night's meeting, but we encourage you to attend whichever meeting you're able to.

Monday, November 13, 2017
4:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Impact Hub
10 East North Avenue

Tuesday, November 14, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Bluford/KASA at Walbrook
2000 Edgewood Street

Wednesday, November 15, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Rita R. Church Community Center
2101 Saint Lo Drive

Thursday, November 16, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Parkview Recreation Center
2610 Francis Street

>> Want to know more about North Ave Rising? More about the project and our take.

Race Pace is Matching Donations!

RacePace_logo-white-background.jpg

Baltimore is lucky to have an amazing community of local bike shops that help to make biking in Baltimore fun, safe, and accessible. Whether you're training for your next race, looking to hit the trails, or are just biking around the neighborhood--supporting your local shop means that your dollars support businesses that invest in Baltimore. 

One way that local shops invest in Baltimore is through supporting our work. Race Pace is matching all donations through November 19th up to a total of $2,500. So whether you're learning about our work for the first time, or wanting to make this month's donation go a little further be sure to donate through this link so we can credit your donation towards Race Pace's generous $2,500 matching gift. Thanks for your support!