Solving the Epidemic of Preventable Pedestrian Deaths (and Making Great Neighborhoods)
Transportation For America issued a report Dangerous by Design
in which it highlighted that Maryland ranked 49 out of 50
for per capita spending on bicycling and walking projects. As well as ranking the Baltimore metro area 45 out of 52
for per capita spending of Federal money for biking and walking. Additionally the Fatality Analysis and Reporting System ranked Maryland the 6th
wost for the pedestrian fatality rate.
Per the Baltimore Sun
the State explains how the money they do spend on bike/ped projects is under reported, while this is true but as the old joke sort of goes: twice of next to nothing is still next to nothing but the real question is the State doing what is necessary to reduce the pedestrian fatality rate which is now at an all time high? In the League of American's Bicyclists report
they highlighted how no
Congestion Management and Air Quality (CMAQ) funds were spent on bike/ped projects in the Baltimore Metropolitan Area and these funds must be spent in areas whose air quality is classified as non-attainment such as the Baltimore Metropolitan Area. But wait there's more, the State failed to commit $14.5 million in CMAQ funds so that went back to the Federal Government.
We also have to question Douglas H. Simmons, deputy state highway administrator statement "For smaller-scale projects it's a little easier to go through the state process." especially in light that most of the Baltimore County bike master plan is not implemented because of the lack of funds. Where can we find a few million dollars to start moving this stuff along when the State under commits spending Federal dollars that can be used for bicycle and pedestrian projects? As an example Baltimore County tried to get funding through a bond
for a trail but it failed. This is exactly the kind of stuff that Federal Aid is supposed to help with but State policies that are out of line with Federal polices are causing significant problems throughout the State.
The good news there is additional support that is coming. At the last Baltimore Regional Transportation Board Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Group Sylivia Ramsy presented the latest in Maryland's Trails: Strategic Implementation Plan which should go on-line soon. Highlights are a statewide bicycle network for transportation as well as areas for recreation. The Plan also highlights areas of need which Baltimore Metro has several. Additionally in the presentation Ramsy noted the problem with the State's 50:50 match (Federal Policy is 20:80.) In general we are excited to see more attention to biking and walking issues by Maryland Department of Transportation and State Highways but the arbitrary boundary between State roads and local roads has to go, all roads need to accommodate biking and walking traffic especially where there is need. We need to turn the emphasis to locate barriers to biking and walking and then find the appropriate remedy whither it is a trail or on-road facilities. Just spending something somewhere is not cutting it, the State needs to get smarter on how it is spending its money and where it is spending its money and One Less Car is working to make that happen.