North Avenue Rising: Take the Survey

In November, kick-off meetings were held for the North Avenue Rising project, a $27,330,000 project to improve transit stops, install bus lanes, and make targeted streetscape improvements to North Avenue. The project is a federally funded Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant, or TIGER grant. The project has additional financial support from MDOT MTA and Baltimore City. 

Our Ask

Take the project survey available here. 

In questions #6 and #10, please state that you would like to see dedicated, separated transit and bike lanes throughout the corridor, and that you would like to see a center-running transit option.

Background

We wrote a detailed post in July of 2016 about how to make this project better. It is available here. In short:

The red bus lane stops and starts throughout the corridor. 

For dedicated transit lanes to be successful, they should be contiguous and ideally separated, or at minimum, curbside. The project as planned currently has parking-adjacent bus lanes, which stop and start throughout the corridor depending on traffic volume. This will result in conflict between buses and cars during every parallel parking attempt and abuse of the lanes by stopped cars and delivery vehicles. 

"Parallel" bike facilities, blocks away.

For bicycling to be comfortable for people of all ages on the North Avenue corridor, and for the planned bike share stations to be utilized safely and effectively, separated bike lanes must also be present on North Avenue, at least along the wider section where buses are most frequent. Presently, bikes are relegated to "parallel facilities," which are not parallel. Worse, there is no connection across the bridge, requiring bicyclists to dismount and walk or illegally ride on the sidewalk. 

These constraints mean we're going to spend millions of dollars on a project that still prioritizes moving and storing private cars over moving people via foot, bike, and transit. The end result will be a street with only moderately improved transit travel times, a street with no safe place to bike, and a street that will still be dangerous to cross as a pedestrian. 

According to NACTO's figures on person throughput, North Avenue today can move 6,000 people per hour. The TIGER grant as designed may improve this to 11,200 people per hour. Our fix can move 34,100 people per hour.

The Fix

The fix is easy, it just costs more money. Based on costs of other dedicated alignment bus corridors, an additional $20-30 million could elevate North Avenue from the flawed project outlined above to a truly transformative corridor.

Wider Section of North Ave

The wider section of North Avenue that has the highest bus volume could have a center-running, separated busway. This would allow for curbside protected bike lanes, parking, and a single travel lane for personal automobiles.

North Avenue wide segment at a bus stop, with center running transit way, protected bike lanes, and parking.

North Avenue wide segment at a bus stop, with center running transit way, protected bike lanes, and parking.

Narrower Sections of North Ave

If we removed on-street parking on one side of the street in the narrower sections, areas furthest east and west on North Avenue, we could continue the center-running, separated transit lane by making it bi-directional. Bus frequency is low enough along this segment that oncoming buses would rarely encounter each other, but if they did, they could merge into the regular car travel lane to pass each other.  This design is being used in Indianapolis with the IndyGo Red Line Bus Rapid Transit project, which has similar bus timing to these parts of North Avenue. 

North Avenue narrow segment, where buses share a bi-directional lane and pass each other in the regular travel lane. Parking is restricted on one side of the street to allow for the bus lane and protected bike lanes.

North Avenue narrow segment, where buses share a bi-directional lane and pass each other in the regular travel lane. Parking is restricted on one side of the street to allow for the bus lane and protected bike lanes.

North Avenue narrow segment at a bus stop. Parking is further restricted to make width for the bus stop and allow for protected bike lanes.

North Avenue narrow segment at a bus stop. Parking is further restricted to make width for the bus stop and allow for protected bike lanes.

While parking would need to be reduced on these edges of the corridor where the street is narrower, this is exactly where neighborhoods have zero-car household rates far above the city average, and where adjacent streets have very low on-street parking utilization. Many buildings also have alley garages and rear parking access. Removing parking would be a challenge, but it would be in line with focusing on the majority of road users in these segments, who lack access to a car and instead walk, bike, or take transit.

Perspective on Cost

$20-30 million is a fraction of the money Governor Hogan reallocated away from Baltimore and to rural highways with his cancelation of the Red Line. Baltimore City could also come up with this money over the several year project timeline. In just the few months since Councilman Dorsey passed legislation to increase the fine for parking in bus lanes and bus stops to $250, the city has already failed to collect nearly $500,000 because they haven't updated their ticketing software to the new amount. 

We can afford a project that gets this right the first time, and sets up a future on North Avenue that could easily be upgraded to real Bus Rapid Transit or Light Rail Transit. We can't afford to spend $27,330,000 on the existing project. North Avenue and the people of Baltimore deserve better than this. 
 

> Take the project survey available here.
 

24 hours, 24 Bikemore wins, 24 reasons to give.

While there's no doubt we've been faced with a lot of challenges this year, we try not to forget to celebrate our accomplishments big and small.

In the 24 hours of #GivingTuesday, we're sharing 24 Bikemore wins from this year. That's 24 reasons to give. What's your reason for giving?

Whether you want to be able to bike safely with your kids, want to improve access to jobs for those without cars, or want to feel safe walking to your neighborhood grocery store — donate to Bikemore today and tag us in an unselfie to let your friends know your reason for giving. 

Donate to Bikemore to create a safer, healthier, and more livable bicycling city!

We're grateful for your support that has helped us accomplish so much this far, and grateful for your continued support today!

And don't forget to follow along all day on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram!

 

What the heck is Cranksgiving?

Cranksgiving 2017 poster.jpg

Cranksgiving is on Saturday, November 18th, and it's one of our favorite days of the year! 
 

So, what the heck is Cranksgiving?

Cranksgiving is a national event that combines bike riding and giving back. It's a mix of a scavenger hunt, food drive, and bike ride. We'll give you a list of food items and grocery stores, and then you'll have a set amount of time to ride to as many of the stores to collect as many of the food items as you can. And all of the food goes to Moveable Feast. Basically, it's all about food for people in need and riding bikes with friends, new and old.

What does the day look like?

12:30pm | Registration at Peabody Heights Brewery
1:45pm | Pre-ride rules and kick-off
2:00pm | Biking food scavenger hunt throughout Baltimore
4:00pm | Receipts and food due at Peabody Heights Brewery
4:00pm - 6:00pm | Awards and after party at Peabody Heights Brewery

Do I need to register beforehand?

No, just show up! Registration is from 12:30-1:45pm. It's helpful if you RSVP on Facebook, but there's no formal registration beforehand.  

Do I need a team?

Because riding with friends is more fun, all riders participate in teams of 3 or 4. If you don't have a team beforehand, we'll help "free agents" find folks to ride with during registration, or you can post in the Facebook event and get one going beforehand. 

How does the ride/scavenger hunt work?

When you register, teams will be handed their manifests. On the manifest is a list of grocery stores and food items to purchase, each worth a certain number of points. The way to get the most points is to hit all the grocery stores and purchase all the unique foods. The ride begins at 2pm and only teams who check in at Peabody Heights by 4pm will be considered for prizes. Then stick around for the after party, where we'll announce the winners and prizes, and for beer, food and celebration!

How do we win? What are the prize categories?

The winners are 1st, 2nd, and 3rd (the teams that have the most points, if there's a tie, the team that checks in first win) and — our favorite category — BEST COSTUME/TEAM SPIRIT! 

How much does it cost to participate?

By design, Cranksgiving is and always will be a free event — meaning Bikemore will never charge registration to participate. We 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! 

What should I bring?

- Working bike
- Bag to carry purchases (backpacks, panniers, baskets — whatever you have!) 
- $10-15 for purchasing food to donate
- Water bottle
- Flat kit (Bikemore doesn't provide any ride support)
- (Optional) Smartphone to take photos and upload to social media for additional points! 

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?!) While prizes are awarded to teams with the highest number of points, you can also win Best Costume & Team Spirit!

CAn I bring my kids?

Yes, we have had family teams in the past! The ride is set up so you pick your own route and pick which stores to go to depending on your own judgement and comfort level. And our Team Spirit/Best Costume prize category is a great one for younger riders! And either way, it's a great way to have fun riding together and give back.

What happens if it rains?

Unless it's a serious safety hazard, this is a rain or shine event. Riding in the rain/cold/wind makes you tough, so show up and ride! Plus, people in need still need food when it's raining.

>> Check the Facebook event for all updates, and to invite your friends!

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!