Bicycle Task Force Issues Draft Report

The Task Force to Study Bicycle Safety on Maryland Highways has issued a draft of its final report on proposed improvements to accommodate cyclists’ safety. The report is available here.

Recommendations of particular note to local governments:

1.7 The legislature should consider legislation to allow state and local agencies to adopt lower speed limits on key roadways targeted for bike safety issues and should adopt a mechanism for state and local agencies to consider lower default speed limits. …

2.2 State and local agencies as well as regional entities should collaborate to explore new methods for collecting ridership, exposure data, and non-reported crashes. This should include consideration of automated counters, user surveys, and crowdsourced data.

2.3 MDOT should update their “Short-Trip Opportunity Area” analysis and provide data to local jurisdictions.

2.4 MDOT SHA should provide local jurisdictions with draft language for local ordinances that can help clarify maintenance responsibilities and expedite construction of bicycle and pedestrian facilities.

2.5 MDOT and local jurisdictions should explore best practices for addressing short and long-term maintenance needs on high priority separated bicycle facilities.

2.6 State and local transportation agencies should consider developing a uniform bicycle route signage system for wayfinding on state and local roads. …

2.8 State and local agencies, in coordination with regional entities, should work to create an updated inventory of trails and bicycle facilities to help identify and prioritize gaps and to assist local jurisdictions with their bike planning activities. The effort should include consideration of rail and utility rights of way, as opportunities to improve network connections. …

2.10 The State and MPOs should work with local jurisdictions to assist in the development of regional trail networks, and to develop projects that connect across jurisdictions. …

2.13 MDOT should clarify and consider adding flexibility to its process for including bike accommodation for new developments along State roads. MDOT should improve their processes for working with local jurisdictions to ensure that full consideration is given to achieving master planned elements for bicycle accommodation, including dedicated bike path rights of way. …

3.1 Local jurisdictions should be encouraged to explore a mechanism to accept a fee in lieu of improvements on the state roadway to address implementation of master planned bike elements in and around the adjacent area. …

3.4 Local jurisdictions should be encouraged to adopt complete streets policies to inform projects on their roadways.

5.2 MDOT in coordination with other state agencies, should work to develop technical assistance tools to assist local jurisdictions and other stakeholders to address the challenges of developing and implementing bike safety related projects.

5.3 MDOT should consider using the Bicycle Pedestrian Priority Area (BPPA) designation as a mechanism to pilot a set of low stress and/or emerging bicycle facility types including protected bike lane projects on state roads, to clarify maintenance needs and practices for a variety of configurations, and to explore flexibility for state and local coverage of maintenance needs. …

5.5 MDOT should consider expanding and consistently funding state discretionary programs such as the Bikeways Program to better assist local jurisdictions in planning and building infrastructure that improves bike safety and increases bike mode share. Particular consideration should be given to address needs to support larger projects, and to ensure greater continuity and predictability of funding sources over time.

5.6 Local jurisdictions should explore the use of local ordinances (e.g. Adequate Public Facility Ordinances), impact fees, user fees, parking revenues, home-owners’ associations, business improvement districts, Transportation Management Zones, etc., to help fund and build bicycle infrastructure.

5.7 Local jurisdictions should be encouraged to include bicycle and pedestrian projects in their annual priority letters to MDOT to inform the process for allocating state transportation funding.

The Task Force is accepting comments on the draft report through December 6. Comments should be sent via email to BikeSafetyTaskforce@mdot.state.md.us. Please consider copying Barbara Zektick, MACo Associate Director and Chris Eatough, MACo’s Task Force representative on the email.

MACo is represented by Chris Eatough, the Bicycle Pedestrian Coordinator for Howard County. Chris Eatough received a Masters in Transportation Engineering from the University of Virginia in 1998. A six-time world champion in endurance mountain biking with a successful 14-year athletic career, Chris most recently served five years as the bike and walk program manager for Arlington County, Virginia, where he helped launch the successful Capital Bikeshare program.