Cycling advocates, urban planners and state officials united this month to brainstorm about alternative transportation at the annual One Less Car Smart Transportation and Bicycling Symposium held in Maryland.
Sustainable and safe bicycle access rose to the top of their list.
“The Symposium is the perfect setting to inform our state delegates and senators that Maryland communities need smarter commuting opportunities,” said Carol Silldroff, executive director of One Less Car. “Those who attend want more bike lanes, better sidewalks, more trails, a statewide Complete Streets policy and access to a variety of modes of efficient transportation for everyone.”
One Less Car works throughout Maryland to reduce automobile congestion and pollution by decreasing car usage.
“We work to increase biking, walking, carpooling, public transit, telecommuting, and flex scheduling opportunities,” Silldroff added. “These smart transit choices promote physical activity, emotional and physical well-being, social interaction, livable communities, equity and environmental stewardship.”
The organization depends on its volunteer board of directors to promote these alternatives through education, lobbying, and facilitation between communities, governments, and state and local representatives.
“We meet with various environmental, sustainability, hospital groups and many more organizations to promote smart commuting,” Silldroff said. “We are developing and holding bike instructional series. Additionally, we are promoting a program called ciclovia/BMore Streets to open streets for all to ride, walk and play on without the fear of vehicle distractions. Each additional bike is one less car.”
One Less Car is supporting ten legislative bills. House Bill 461 ‘the 3-foot rule’, which is an important bicycle safety bill set in place in over 20 other states. Senate Bill 870 and House Bill 388 ‘Manslaughter by Vehicle’ bill that is currently legislated across muchof the United States but not in Maryland.
Others include Senate Bill 624 and House Bill 1193 covers bike safety legislation. They are designed to protect cyclists by enforcing the rules of the road and recognize cyclists as legitimate road users. Senate Bill 760 and House Bill 1155 requires the Maryland Department of Transportation to evaluate state-funded transportation projects and create less costly modes of transportation for the public and the environment.
“Some of the bills were voted upon favorably by either the House or Senate but none have yet been voted upon favorably by both which is necessary to make a bill a state law,” Silldroff said. “The session ends in April so until then we keep working to obtain support for the bills.”
“We believe that Maryland can be an example of the economic and social good that comes from a society where everyone, regardless of age, physical condition or economic background has the opportunity to bike, walk or use mass transit to get where they need to go.”