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Close, but no cigar... Salisbury's East Main Street will have sharrows, not bike lanes

Well, fellow riders, we can't win them all.

I met this evening with the City's Public Works staff to discuss the proposed design for East Main Street with our elected members of the City Council, Mr. Jake Day, Mr. Jack Heath, and Mrs. Laura Mitchell.  Two members, Mr. Tim Spies and Ms. Shaney Shields, were not in attendence.

The focus of the discussion was whether the Council would recommend that bike lanes be added to the design.  The City engineers did a good job of presenting options that included bike lanes.  The design considered would provide a 10' wide vehicle lane, 5' wide bike lane, and 7' wide parking space.

I addressed Council and reminded them that bike lanes, not sharrows, have been proven to increase ridership on streets (see 2012 bike count study for Los Angeles ), and that the proposed design gives ample space for moving vehicles, bike, and parked cars alike.  I also reminded them that the design for this street will serve to be an example for future bike projects in Salisbury.

Council members Heath and Mitchell could not support the bike lane design, saying that the space allotted was "too tight".  In the end, their viewpoint prevailed.  Sharrows, not bike lanes, will be provided on East Main Street.

So here's what we're going to get on East Main Street:

65% design

 

In his closing comments, Council President Day reiterated his desire to support bike facilities in Salisbury by continuing to develop a Complete Streets Ordinance, implement the Phase 2 bike lane improvements, and develop a wayfaring sign system for Salisbury.

Despite this setback, I remain optimistic.  Earlier in February, we submitted a strong application to become a Bicycle Friendly Community with the League of American Cyclists.  We have an active Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee.  Bike-SBY has begin planning events and activities for this year that will promote and encourage biking as transportation.  And most of all, spring is just around the corner, so I can resume daily bike riding!

 

See you on the road,

Matt

 

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We can do better! Let's rethink the Main Street Master plan.

Since 2009, a plan has been proposed to re-work and upgrade the core transportation artery of our downtown; namely Main Street.  Dubbed the Main Street Master Plan, the design's goal is to help spur revitalization of our downtown.

As chairman of the City's Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee, I have had the privilege of working with caring citizens and City staff on this project, providing advice and feedback as the design plans are being formed.

This past week, the design consultants released design plans which are 65% complete, for review and comment by the public.  The purpose of this review is to make sure that the clients (in this case, the citizens of Salisbury) are getting the design that they want.  

If the clients like the design presented, then the engineers can continue to refine their work.  If the clients don't like the design, then the engineers need to take a step back and re-think the work that has already been completed.

I have reviewed the 65% design plans, and there is a glaring problem that needs to be corrected.  The current design for East Main Street does not provide dedicated bike lanes.

Here's what the City's current design for East Main Street looks like:

 

Sure, the engineers have provided sharrows, and that's a great start.  But a sharrow is simply a compromise; ok to incorporate into a re-striping plan when working around existing physical constraints.  In the case of East Main Street, the entire street profile (including sidewalks) is going to be removed and replaced.  This affords the opportunity to not compromise and do the job right.

Here's what I recommend for East Main Street: dedicated bike lanes that still provide adequate space for vehicles, parking, sidewalk, and landscaping.

 

 

The layout that I recommend provides dedicated space for pedestrians, cyclists, and vehicles alike, and meets the goals of the City's own Complete Streets resolution #2431.

Our City leaders have been clear; they support making the redevelopment of Main Street the best it can be.  I call on our leaders to take this opportunity to make the necessary adjustments to this design NOW, before we head down a wrong path with this important project.  

See you on the road,

Matt

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Our New Year's resolution for 2015: Build on the success of 2014

Happy New Year!!

It is certainly a great time to live, work, play (and of course BIKE) in Salisbury! 2014 saw Salisbury form its first Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee, adopt its first Complete Streets Policy, and receive a $50,000 grant from the Maryland Bikeways Program to develop a bike way-finding system in Salisbury.  These accomplishments would not have been possible without the support of our Mayor, Jim Ireton, and our City Council lead by President Jake Day.

We saw an increase in 2014 in bike riders on our city streets, and programs like Joshua Hale's Pedal Thru the Park deserve credit for this development.  Our Spring and Fall Bike Swaps, and Bike-to-Work Week events continue to draw more and more people who want to be Salisbury become a Bicycle Friendly Community.

Our newly-formed Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee has provide important feedback to the City's designers on its Main Street Master Plan, and has overseen the planned improvements for upgraded bike lanes on Riverside Drive and South Boulevard.  The committee also looks forward to developing bike lanes on Eastern Shore Drive via the road diet approach.

These accomplishments would not have been possible if not for the work of our volunteers.  

For the new year, I want to see us build on these accomplishments.

Our Bike Valet Service was unveiled during Third Friday events this fall, and was a great success.  In 2015, I hope to see this grow to become a part of the 1st Saturday events, as well as at concerts at Headquarters Live.

Our Bicycle Friendly Merchant program (began in 2013) has over 14 business participating.  I would like to see this number double (or triple) in 2015.

We now have a certified League Cycling Instructor (yours truly!) available to teach classes here in Salisbury.  In 2015, I want to see us host more educational opportunities to help teach children and adults how to ride safely.

Our local network of bike lanes has grown since 2012 and we have plans to put more lanes in place in 2015.  Bike counts are vital to demonstrate how many people ride each day and where future bike lanes need to be installed.  In 2015, we will need to begin collecting this important data.

I am reminded of an adage: "Many hands make light work".  As you reflect and plan your personal goals for 2015, I ask that you consider helping build on our 2014 accomplishments by becoming a volunteer for Bike-SBY.

Please click here to sign up as a 2015 volunteer.

Thanks for your consideration!

See you on the road,
Matt

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Salisbury is awarded $50k grant for more bike improvements!

For the third consecutive year, the Maryland Department of Transportation's Bikeways Program has selected Salisbury as a recipient of grant funding.

This year's award of $50,000 will be used to create a way finding system of signs, kiosks, and maps to help utility cyclists use a bike for commuting in Salisbury.

Previous years' Bikeways grants helped to fund the Phase 1 (Orange Route) and Phase 2 bike lane improvements. 

This is another positive step toward making Salisbury a more Bicycle Friendly Community.  On behalf of local cyclists, I would like to thank Jake Day, Jim Ireton, Amanda Pollack, and Keith Hall for their hard work and leadership that made this grant award possible.

See you on the road,

Matt

 

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Bike Valet Service comes to Third Friday in September!

Have you wanted to ride your bike to Third Friday, but were not sure what to do with your bike while enjoying the event?  We have a solution!

In September, Bike-SBY volunteers are excited to offer a bike valet service during Salisbury's Third Friday.  The service will work similar to the coat check service that you've seen at performance theater or sporting event.

Here's how it works:
-Bring your bike to our on-street corral.
-A volunteer will take your bike, get your contact information and give you a numbered ticket.  
-Your bike will be tagged and placed in our secured bike corral. 
-Once you are finished enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of Third Friday, return to our bike corral and retrieve your bike.

The service is offered for free, but a cash donation to Bike-SBY would be greatly appreciated!

The bike valet service will be located at the corner of Main and Division Streets.  The service will start at 4:30 pm and end at 8:00 pm.  

Please make sure to retrieve your bike before 8:00 pm.  Any bikes that remain after the bike valet service ends will be left at the bike rack in front of Government Office Building.

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New members for Bike/Ped Committee & Phase 2 bike lanes move forward!

On Monday, July 28, 2014, the Salisbury City Council will be considering several actions will will serve to make Salisbury a more Bicycle Friendly Community.  The meeting begins at 6:00 PM in room 301 of the Government Office Building, located at 125 N. Division St in Salisbury.
First, the Council will consider accepting nominations for the newly-formed Bicycle Pedestrian Advisory Committee.  Mayor Ireton will be recommending that Matt Drew, John Foley, and Rose MacGregor be appointed to this group.  These nominations, if approved, will fill the first 3 open seats for this Committee, but 4 more vacancies still remain.  If you are interested in joining this group, please apply by sending an email to Mayor Ireton (email: jireton@citylivingsalisbury.com ), indicating your interest.
The second important action that the Council will consider is the acceptance of grant funds for the Phase 2 bike lane improvements.  This project will upgrade the existing bike lanes at Riverside Dr and create a new shared bike lane route on South Boulevard, connecting Riverside Dr to the existing Orange Route.  These bike lanes, and the associated ordinance permitting their formation, will serve to extend our connected network of bike facilities in Salisbury.
Your voice is important.  If you support our efforts to make Salisbury a more Bicycle Friendly Community, please attend this meeting on Monday.  If you can’t make the meeting, please send an email to our elected City Council leaders (email: allcitycouncilmembers@ci.salisbury.md.us ), expressing your support for these actions.
See you on the road!
Matt
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It's official: Salisbury Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee is a go!

The citizens of Salisbury, and our advocacy group Bike-SBY, have been working hard to make Salisbury more bike friendly.  The group has several accomplishments, including adding bike lanes to city streets, installing bike racks at local businesses, arranging bike commuter training, and holding ride and bike swap events.  One of the group’s long term goals is for Salisbury to become a Bicycle Friendly Community, and it is working to apply for this designation in 2015.  Local elected leaders recognized that, in order for the city to become bicycle friendly, the city needed to create a Bicycle-Pedestrian Advisory Committee.  Once formed, the Committee would be responsible to advise elected leaders on the needs of cyclists and report out on the effectiveness of programs and improvements.

At its May 27, 2014 meeting, the Salisbury City Council voted in favorable of creating this committee.  Mayor Jim Ireton will now be accepting applications for local citizens who wish to serve a three-year term.  All interested Salisbury residents are encouraged to submit a letter of interest to the Mayor Ireton at jireton@ci.salisbury.md.us.
See you on the road!
Matt
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Amy Wilburn

Matt,  I would like to contact you about an issue we are experiencing in Sussex County in Delaware that might interest you and your fellow cyclists in the Salisbury area. Rumble strips have been placed in the shoulders on Route 24 and right in the bike lane on Route 9.  We are attempting to get this problem fixed and ensure that it does not happen again.  We would like area cyclists to let DelDOT know that the problem needs to be remediated right away.  If you would like to help with this, I can provide more information.  I'm the chair of the state bicycle council.

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Spring cycling fun for all!

Trees are starting to bud and shoots are pushing out of the earth.  Dare I say it; I think spring is here!

We have two great cycling events starting soon that are for ALL CYCLISTS! 

3rd Friday

Bring your bike (and helmet!) to Salisbury's 3rd Friday, March 21th at 6:00 PM.  Meet us at the Bike-SBY table on the downtown Plaza at 6:00 to ride local bike lanes.  This is a great opportunity to ride with a group of cyclists and learn how easy it is to bike around Salisbury.

The ride will be around 4 miles in length and suitable for adults and children 12 and older.  The ride will be kept at an easy pace.  No one is left behind! RSVP for the 3F ride here!

Pedal Thru the Park

Starting March 25th at 6:00 PM, join us on s spandex-free, 6-mile group ride thru the park.  Developed and lead by Joshua Hale, this is a perfect ride to for those who are interested about cycling, but concerned about how to ride safely on a road.  Learn more about Pedal Thru the Park by clicking here!  

Pedal Thru the Park is a weekly ride, held every Tuesday (starting at Main Roots Coffee) throughout the spring summer and fall.  Put it on your calendar and join us!

See you on the road,

Matt

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City Park Trails: 1 year later...

It's hard too believe.  

One year ago, I was meeting on a near-constant basis with Tres Denk, Mike Perry, and Jeff Dean of Eastern Shore IMBA (our local mountain bike organization).  We were working closely with our City leaders to craft a plan to allow volunteers to construct and maintain a network of single-track trails in the City park.  

My ESIMBA friends had already been at these negoitations for 12 months prior, and things were looking pretty hopeless.  For a group of committed guys who are a lot more excited about being outside, working with their hands, and riding bikes, sitting in countless meetings with various agencies was mind-numbing.  They had tremendous success building trails for other Eastern Shore communities.  Maybe the juice wasn't worth the squeezin' in Salisbury.

Fast forward to today.

I just returned from another great ride on the very trails that our friends created.  Believe it or not, ESIMBA has strung together a neat, 2.7 mile group of nested loops, interconnect on the north and south sides of the spillway, downstream of Shumaker pond.  The trails are open and ready for bikes as well as hiking.

What made the difference over the last year?  A change in leadership with our City government that relieved a back-log of "pending decisions".  A sense of stick-to-it-ness that drove ESIMBA to finish what they started.  A commitment by private citizens to invest their own time, treasure, and talent to make Salisbury a better community.

A year later, I am awash with appreciation for our elected leaders and committed citizens like Tres, Mike, and Jeff.  Thanks for your hard work, and thanks for letting me ride these great trails!

See you on the road,

Matt

 

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