Baltimore’s new bike plan: better quality of life for minimal cost

Implementing a Baltimore City bicycle master plan is about improving quality of life at minimal costs, according to Mark Counselman of Riggs, Counselman, Michaels & Downes. Baltimore has a great potential to be a city where thousands of people ride bicycles every day.

Counselman, who serves on the Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Committee, outlined the city’s new bike plan for members of the GBC Built Environment and Regional Transportation Committee at its July 27 meeting.

The goal of the Plan is to promote and facilitate bicycling in the city as a safe, convenient and comfortable form of transportation and recreation, Counselman said.

Elements of the plan include:

  • Mapping out an integrated on-street and off-street bikeway network;
  • Addressing bicycle parking and coordinating bike/transit integration;
  • Stressing safety education for motorists, bicyclists and youths;
  • Recommending changes to transportation and development policies;
  • New bicycle facilities; and
  • New roadway and trail maintenance management practices.

Different types of facilities will be needed to provide safe and comfortable accommodation for bicycles in the Baltimore City bicycle network, said Counselman. A “Bicycle Design Facility Toolkit” has been developed to show specific design guidelines and a pictorial glossary of common bicycle facilities, such as a bike lane, shared roadway pavement marking, shared roadway, and signed/way finding routes.

Encouraging greater bicycle travel in Baltimore will bring many benefits to residents and visitors, including:

  • Traffic Relief
  • Environmental Benefits
  • Economic Benefits
  • Health Benefits

Bicycling has long been a part of the culture of Baltimore since the late 19th century. The city is now experiencing a resurgent interest with the increasing sense of safety, influx of new residents with new attitudes about transportation, and increasing gas prices, said Counselman.

Meanwhile, the existing condition of street infrastructure is unsafe, says Counselman. There are few on-street bicycle accommodations, pavement quality is poor, and storm drain grates are treacherous.

Mark Counselman’s PowerPoint presentation.

Other related links:
One Less Car (Baltimore non-profit that promotes bicycling)
Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee
Maryland Statewide Bicycle Pedestrian Plan  

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