You are currently browsing Nate’s articles.

In DOT’s striving to become more publicly involved, I’ll be posting a blog about bike stuff in and around Baltimore.  Since its an UNOFFICIAL blog, it will not be a sunshiney-press release style, but a more realistic reflection of 2-wheeled culture in this region.

Check it out at http://bike.baltimorecommutes.com/

The Department of Transportation wants your feedback on biking conditions in Baltimore.  The results from this quick, anonymous survey will be used to gauge the biking conditions in Baltimore and identify areas of improvement.  Please share this link as DOT is collecting feedback from both cyclists and non-cyclists.

http://www.surveymonkey.com/bikebaltimore

 Thanks for your participation!

 

After years of demand and years in the making, the first Baltimore Bike Map is here!   This map shows the city’s bike infrastructure (both existing and soon to be completed) as well as routes commonly used by cyclists.  The flip side is packed with information on safe cycling techniques, securing your bike and using your bike with transit.

Free maps are available from Baltimore Department of Transportation (410-396-6856) and pdfs will be available soon on the Bike Baltimore website (www.baltimorecity.gov/bike)

Within the coming weeks, we’ll have this map on its own Google Maps page where the public will be able to comment:  where do you ride, where are bike improvements needed, etc.

Big Thanks go out to

Victor Miranda for all the cartographics!

Paula Simon at Highmeadow Design for the overall design and artwork!

Toole Design Group for the proofing and odds & ends!

Biking around town, I discovered some very nice street treatments that diverted vehicular traffic but allowed pedestrian and bicycle traffic.  Anywhere else in the world, this is a bicycle boulevard treatment.  Here in Baltimore, I was taken a little off guard. 

The two traffic diverters (Madison at Bloom and Robert), coupled with the Eutaw Marshburn Elementary School form an almost perfect bicycle boulevard.  Riding at rush hour this morning presented no traffic north of McMechen and only a couple cars south of McMechen.  Took this down to the future MLK, Jr. Sidepath and down around Camden Yards.

So, what do you think?  With the community’s approval, should we push for this as a bike boulevard?  Yes, Guilford Ave is still in the works, but Madison is already built.

....shouldn't we always?

Aside from a few new bike lanes here or there as part of Operation Orange Cone, there hasn’t been anything new to bike on in Baltimore for quite some time.  Even the new shared bike and bus lanes downtown need some refreshing.  One small victory was gained in the deep mid-winter on the central bikeway of Baltimore.  Baltimore City Public School System had closed the parking lot of the Guilford Ave cut-through due to conflict between cyclists and pedestrians with extended gate arms and chains.

A compromise was reached by the Department of Transportation adding signage to direct cyclists to the parking lot and yiedling right-of-way to pedestrians; nothing more than is asked in the regular course of travel by cyclists in all parts of the city…and world.   By adding 3 simple signs, the dream of the Guilford Avenue Bicycle Boulevard lives on.

Quite a few more signs for bicycles will spring up over the course of the spring, summer & fall taking B’more to the next level of bicycle existence.  No, it’s not Portland, Amsterdam, Copenhagen or even New York City.  It’s Baltimore.  Not only will the Park Heights and Southeast Bike Networks become reality, but construction on 3 trail sections will begin and an existing trail will be recognized.

Until the summer construction season, keep on riding, shake the remaining cold and yield to pedestrians.  There are many events coming this summer that need assistance of experienced cyclists.  Let’s get more of B’more outta cars and onto bikes!!!

As Bartles & James used to say, “Thank you for your support.”

2009-10-cyclovia
Now we’re getting somewhere! Baltimore had it’s first (?) Cyclovia event last Sunday on Roland Avenue between Northern Parkway and Cold Spring Lane.  The southbound roadway was closed to vehicular traffic, but open to cyclists, pedestrians, families, dogwalkers, skateboarders and anyone else who wanted to use the road without a motor.

The road closed at 8am, but few ventured out that early.  The bewildered passers-by would ask what was happening and were amazed at the answer.  “Really?  We can just walk down the middle of the street?”  As the sun climbed, so did participation.  By 9:30, the “traffic” was evident.  While most were riding bikes, more families emerged with strollers, bike trailers, scooters, tricycles and wagons.  Plenty of sidewalk chalk was on-hand and was well used.

One goal of all Cyclovias worldwide is to enhance the sense of community.  This goal was achieved early on and blossomed as the event continued.  Neighbors who hadn’t seen each other in years were catching up, of all places, in the middle of Roland Avenue. 

Not only did the residents come out, but so did their ideas.  I repeatedly heard requests to build a cycletrack on Roland Avenue.  A cycletrack is a bi-directional bikeway separated from travel lanes by a barrier or buffer zone.  This concept was well received by Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke, who was instrumental in making this event possible.  The Roland Park Cyclovia would not have been possible without the vision and leadership from Phil Spevak and Mike McQuestion from the Roland Park Civic League. 

Now that Baltimore proved it can do a Cyclovia, let’s get some more going on!

I’m planning some new bike routes for the Bolton Hill, Reservoir Hill & Lake Avenue area.  Essentially, these routes will be signed with distance and destination markers with limited pavement markings along (relatively) low volume, low speed roads connecting gaps in the Baltimore’s bike network.

Eutaw route will follow Eutaw Pl northbound from State Center/MLK to Druid Hill Park.  The southbound route will be Madison/Swan from the Jones Falls Trail to Bloom where it dog-legs left back to Eutaw.

The Lake Avenue route will begin where the bike lanes end on Kelly Ave just west of Mt. Washington and direct bike traffic east to Falls, dog-leg left onto Bellemore to Roland, dog-leg left again onto Lake all the way to Chinquapin with a spur to Belvedere Square off Linton via the footbridge over Northern Pkwy.

The development of these routes is based on their identity in the bike master plan, current use by cyclists and areas where bikes and cars can conceivably “share the road”.  While Eutaw may not be for the faint of heart, there’s Park which is quieter.  Some prefer Lake Ave over Bellemore when climbing out of the valley, which is all good.  Bellemore doesn’t necessarily have the road width, but it has far less traffic.  Some avoid Lake altogether, but it does have a wider shoulder toward the west and traffic calming in the east.

If biking in Baltimore is to be normalized, we need to decrease “riding in the shadows” and OBEY TRAFFIC LAWS.  Any feedback is encouraged and appreciated!  And thanks to everyone who came to the Harford Rd meeting!!!!

Hawthorne Trail mapA few weeks ago, my wife and kids left town for some vacation, leaving me at home to work and spend some time in the saddle. A massive PUD is getting underway (again) that’s gonna eat up some (more) of my favorite unknown places to ride. I headed over the Nottingham Ridge via the 95 viaduct and got good and muddy while riding access roads, dirt and slag piles.

From there, I took a little known “trail” around old White Marsh, rode some stream and crossed 40 into one of the largest contiguous parcels of braided off-road trails in eastern B’more. (Hit it if you can, park on the south side just shy of the 43 light). After climbing, winding and jumping my way back to 43, I picked up the new sidepath that parallels White Marsh Blvd down to Eastern Ave. Nice easy ride with some good diversions around ponds and woods.

I was heading this way to my very old stomping ground of Hawthorne, Concrete rack basea heavy populated peninsula on Middle River. Growing up here, I learned to ride a bike and honed my early jumping skills. Going back I was looking forward to the new trails that Co. Exec. Jim Smith was proud off. When I got there, I was a little disappointed. The trails I once rode were now blackened with asphalt and connected with signed routes via alleyways. A bike network totally done on the cheap. The nostalgia wore off as I approached the eastern end of the trail – a nice kiosk with a map and hunter green powder-coated bike rack. Looking at the rack base, I noticed a name scrolled into concrete: Talk about full circle…

Join Us on Facebook!

Brighter Planet's 350 Challenge
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.