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Baltimore City Complete Streets Bill 17-0102 Hearing on March 21

Baltimore City Complete Streets Bill 17-0102 Hearing on March 21

      Councilman Ryan Dorsey has filed a detailed 17 page Bill that would segregate space on City Streets between Bikes and Cars.  The separate space requirement for bikes would be required for both redesigned streets and repaved streets.  Among other provisions the Bill would establish MAXIMUM lane widths of 9' on non arterial streets, 10' on Arterials, and 11' on bus and truck routes.  This Bill references many complex documents, has detailed reporting requirements, and mandates the segregated space for bikes.  Bikemore is the Bill's leading advocate.  Before commenting, I encourage you to look at this complex Bill: Baltimore City Complete Streets Bill #17-0102.

       Baltimore City is an older blue collar community, with narrow streets and limited off street parking.  Also, the streets have many intersections and driveways, making the design of Cycle Tracks difficult.  We have already seen problems between motorists, cyclists, and pedestrians develop from the Roland Park Cycle Track.  I understand that like Traffic Circles, some people love and others hate Cycle Tracks.  I'm not going to debate the pros and cons.  However, there's a need for critical thinking on this Bill, that if passed, would take away the discretion and engineering expertise of traffic engineers.  This Bill would make traffic planning more difficult - and costly - in a City already struggling with crime, public schools, drug addiction, and a decreasing tax base. 

      Baltimore City already has a Bicycle Master Plan that prominently includes Cycle Tracks.  These Tracks are currently being implemented on a case by case basis after an engineering and feasibility study.  Examples are Roland Ave, Maryland Ave, Canton street, and certain downtown streets. The Master Plan allows the City to select the best method of accommodating bicyclists - whether it be a traditional bike lane, paved shoulder, wide curblane, Cycle Track, separate path or share the road sharrows.  This new Bill is not needed and would slant City Transportation Planning toward Cycle Tracks to the detriment of motorists and experienced bicyclists.  Cycle Tracks; with many intersections, narrow widths, and pedestrians entering/exiting parked cars; are designed for slow speeds.  With electric bikes capable of speeds of 20 - 28 mph; exchanging wide curb and traditional bike lanes for Cycle Tracks will lead to more crashes and increased tensions between motorists and cyclists.  Let's stick with the Bicycle Master Plan that grants flexibility to traffic engineers and not mandate a Cycle Track every time a street is repaved.
      Jeffrey H. Marks


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