Thousands Baltimoreans commute to and from work or school daily on their bicycle. Not only is the cheapest form of transportation, but it is also the most environmental friendly. The recent launch of the Baltimore’s bike share program brings hope to commuters that rely on their bike, especially the millennial. Baltimore plans to invest around $7 million in the city’s cycling infrastructure, hoping that more residents will begin relying on their bike more.
The centerpiece of the expansion is a two-way projected track that stretches along Maryland Avenue and all the way to the Inner Harbor. The portion of the expansion is expected to be complete within a month or so. Next year, the north-south passageway and several east-west lanes will be the primary focus. Next year’s expansive will also include a half-mile track, which stretches along Potomac Street in Canton and a bike boulevard that will be 6 miles long.
The street network and 140-mile trail, includes protected lanes on Roland Avenue and Inner Harbor. The protected track that runs along the Inner Harbor will be painted green in an effort to keep the pedestrians and bikers safe. The city hopes the cycling infrastructure expansion encourage the residents to use their bikes more and grow the number of daily bike commuters to over 2,000.
Cyclists can’t wait until the infrastructure is complete, but non-cyclists not so much. Some residents are concerned about the protected bike lane along Maryland Avenue, because it squeezes traffic and creates traffic jams. The lack of signals and road signs may also add to the confusion and put the cyclists in danger.
Bike rental is also in the works, starting with 200 bikes at 20 stations, expanding to 500 bikes at 50 stations by 2017. The rental fees will average around $2 for 45-minutes, a monthly pass is also available for $15. Users will have the option of selecting from the 8-gear and pedal electric bike, with a GPS to discourage and reduce theft.
If the bike infrastructure is a hit, as it was in Washington, residents could potentially see improving traffic flow and a healthier and more sociable community.