Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Committee seeks state grant to help create Towson 'Bike Beltway'

Image from the Baltimore Sun article.

This is a Baltimore County initiative, where I served as project manager for the creation of the Western Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Access plan (approved by the Planning Board in late April 2012, and now being transmitted to the County Council for final adoption) in FY10, and came up out of the Council District 5 Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, organized by David Marks, the Councilman for that district.

It's interesting for a couple reasons.

1.  It sort of confirms my joke that I am seen as a sage in Baltimore and a crank in DC.

2.  It illustrates the "neighborhood loop" concept (for walking and biking) that I advocate for as part of sub-city transportation planning at the ward/sector/district/neighborhood level.

3.  Because the creation of BPACs at the District level, and integrated into a County-wide committee, was first suggested by me in drafts of the Western County plan.  While the recommendation was excised from the plan (probably seen as too controversial), it was recommended to the Councilman and was later re-incorporated into the legislation creating the County Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee and the various charges imbued into the ordinance.

The idea, paired with planning recommendations outputted in lists organized by Council District, rather than alphabetical, was designed to help organize advocates and advocacy at the District-level, giving them an agenda based on the recommendations, and a focus for their interactions with the Councilmember, the Department of Public Works, and other elected and appointed officials.

(I call myself a "tactile" learner.  This idea came to me after organizing an informal meeting with pizza and soda in the evening, with residents/bike advocates in the Paradise Valley/Catonsville area of the County, where we went over maps and they made recommendations, in advance of the public meeting process.)

I think only Councilman Marks has gone through with the creation of such a committee so far.  This result from the Committee's first year's work is likely to motivate more Councilmembers and the advocates in their districts, to create comparable committees.

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