Carol Park’s commentary on the Hogan administration’s selection of key highway projects even during uncertain times was well-written and timely (”Gov. Hogan is right to invest in highways,” Aug. 28). There is no end to starry-eyed wishful thinking about massive, expensive, publicly-funded mass transportation systems that might possibly, eventually relieve road and highway congestion, but the facts quoted by Pete Rahn are highly pertinent and sobering: Transit accounts for only 3.5% of transportation revenue and serves only 8.5% of commuters, but consumes 42% of the budget.” Making the most impact on improving the big picture means applying funds where they will make the biggest impact. That means roads rather than mass transit. I think the logic here is unassailable.
One more giant step in this direction follows similar logic in reclaiming existing roadways for motor vehicles, all for the cost of some paint. Under the previous O’Malley administration, the State Highway Administration adopted road construction standards that obligates the state engineers to incorporate painted bicycle lanes every time an SHA road is re-paved or re-striped, at times dedicating up to 20% of the paved surface for this single mode of non-motorized transportation. In many cases, this has resulted in two-lane roads being reduced to one lane with the loss of very valuable roadway real estate. Yet national statistics show that bicycles account for less than two-tenths of one percent of the transportation miles traveled annually.
On top of that, non-physically separated bike lanes are death traps. Anyone doubting this needs to take a look at the tortured path of the bike lane on the southwest corner of Route 144 (Frederick Road) at the intersection with Interstate 695 in Catonsville, where the bike lane is placed between the straight-through lane and the right turn lane. Cars wanting to get on the outer loop of the Baltimore Beltway from Frederick Road have to cross the bike lane to get there, and they have only a very short distance to do so. Only someone with a death wish would ride a bicycle through this maze.
Let’s get the most out of the roads we already have by correcting this mistake.
Cal Oren, Catonsville
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