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Catonsville, Arbutus Residents Praise Bike Plan

Final community input meeting was held Wednesday night.

Many of the residents in attendance at a community meeting Wednesday on the comprehensive bicycle plan for Western Baltimore County said they would bike no matter what.

But to encourage more people to bike and walk for commuting or short trips, roads need to be more bike and pedestrian friendly, meeting participants said.

Arbutus resident Brian Towns said he has been cycling for years and feels pretty comfortable on the road. So when he came to the Wednesday night to look at the maps outlining hundreds of road, sidewalk and signage improvements proposed in the Western Baltimore County Pedestrian and Bicycle Access Plan, he didn't have any major critiques.

"I would just like them to add a little bit more shoulder so I have a little more room," Towns said.

Still, the plan and proposed changes are marked improvements and will hopefully encourage more people to bike and walk, he said.

The eastern portion of the plan was completed in 2006. The western plan includes the southwestern portion of Baltimore County, through Owings Mills, Reisterstown, Hunt Valley and Timonium.

After this final round of community input meetings, the plan will be presented to the Baltimore County Planning Board and ultimately voted on by the Baltimore County Council.

Barbara Kasemeyer, a Catonsville resident who leads bike rides for seniors through Arbutus, Catonsville and for seniors, was among those at the meeting.

While the seniors are more comfortable cycling in a large group, she said that any improvements to road surfaces would make the ride more smooth.

Kasemeyer also said she avoids some roads around Catonsville because they are not as wide or are too congested with traffic.

"If you add a bike lane, people may feel more safe, but you have to educate drivers as well," she said.

Catonsville resident Charlie Murphy, who rode his bike to the meeting, said the bike plan brings Baltimore County closer to what has happened in Baltimore city, where there are dozens of roads with dedicated bike lanes.

What the plan does is create a more comprehensive approach to bike and pedestrian routes, which allows people to do short trips and find ways to get from one area to another, he said.

"One trail is not the answer, you have to build the network," he said.

jtebo January 23, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Nick, yes you can borrow my kahoonas. Yes I have over 35 years of volunteer service in the community, yes I attend every football and Lacrosse game and supplement that with thousands of dollars of donations. Yes I am a biker, threaten my life as a motorist and I will see you at the next traffic light. A bicyclist is entitled to no more or less rights than a motorcyclist, do you hear motorcyclists begging the government for their own special little lane or path? HELL NO! WHY? Back to the kahoons thing. Wanna special bubble lane? Fine. Pay for it. $50 bike registration fee. $80 bike registration sticker. $400 bicycle drivers safety course and $75 license fee. Hell no you say? Why not? That's what motorcyclists have to pay to ride in the street. Why should bicyclists ride for free?
Nick Z. January 23, 2012 at 09:46 PM
I freely admit that you are a very dedicated and convicted person, I was just pointing out that treating motorists with respect might earn you some in return. I personally ride in the middle of the lane when I ride on the street to work, as is my right. Also, I agree that on-street bikers should have to pass a safety course. Bikers should also signal when they turn (like a car) should not run lights or stop signs (like a car), should wear helmets(like a motorcycle), and should be predictable & not agressive (like a car). As far as registration fees and liscense fees, these are mostly to defray the cost of wear and tare on roads/highways; I can only assume a minute portion of the state's roads wear and tare come from bikes, and therefore don't support extensive fees in this area, especially since the bikers are getting cars off the road, reducing congestion and pollution. Have a nice day, and God Bless.
Chris Auth February 18, 2012 at 04:02 PM
So my state, local, and property taxes aren't funds that could be spent wisely for transportation improvement for all forms (car, bike, pedestrian)? Seems like you think a motor vehicle capable of highway speeds (car or motorcycle) should be treated the same as a 20 lb bicycle capable of 20mph and not even allowed on said highways. What's next to charge registration fees on pedestrians snickers? Speed and weight is what really cost money (highways, constant upkeep, traffic lights, etc). I have truck, car, and motorcycle as well as a bicycle so save me the cost and right argument. Its a choice, pay and have or don't pay
rc February 22, 2012 at 11:23 PM
Wow jtebo, I didn't expect that type of rambling, unprovoked, overly aggressive retort to a Patch post stressing the sidewalk aspect of this master plan. For bikers over 16, I agree helmets should be personal preference; but I hope you reconsider your position regarding your own lopsided orb to avoid further cognitive debilitation. Your delusional philosophy of mutually assured annihilation (Car vs Bike) could carry some weight as long as logic, time/space awareness, and physics 101 don’t play a roll. Forget the fact that you’re on your 20lb Huffy throwing rocks and a tantrum. Theoretically speaking your reactionary butt has been wiped out by an equally oblivious idiot in a 3,500lb rolling reminder that mass x velocity = you don’t get an opportunity to throw your rocks. I prefer to walk or bike with my family’s “bubble wrapped pansy ass”es on sidewalks and designated bike lanes on heavier trafficked roads. When you’re weaving your banana bike in and out of traffic and throwing pebbles make sure you have a good grip on your idiotic convictions and “kahoonas” Tuff Guy because you don’t have a grip on reality. Despite this difference of opinion I hope you continue on your lucky streak. May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind (not a Metro Bus) always be at your back.
Jessica June 21, 2012 at 08:42 AM
I understand this will help the community out in the long run. But if you put in a bike lane, you might as well put in a fence too, along that bike lane. So only bikes can get in and out of it. Because a lot of people do not know how to drive, and they do not pay attention also. You will have cars swerving into that lane to bypass turning cars, and they will not care if your biking in that lane or not. Believe me I should know. I own a biked and biked a lot when I was a kid. Not in this state, but its all the same anyhow. I swear they got their license from a cracker jack box.

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