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Breakfast links: Motion in Maryland

Photo by Coleen D. Wybranski on Flickr.
Why Maryland kids don't walk or bike: Many Maryland schools are discouraging kids from walking and biking, raising busing costs and hurting health. Some schools are hard to reach by bike, but other principals just worry about liability or the districts hadn't thought about it much at all. (Examiner)

Two PG Metro board members named: Governor O'Malley named Maryland Port Commissioner Alvin Nichols while Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker named Artis Hampshire-Cowan, a Howard University VP, to the WMATA Board. (Dr. Gridlock)

Residents want station shuttered: A group of Linthicum, Md residents want their light rail station closed citing concerns about growing crime. Crime at the station grew from 0 to 1 a few weeks ago. (WBAL Baltimore)

Biddle knocks off Patterson, not Weaver or Mara: Sekou Biddle's ballot challenges succeeded in disqualifying Jacques Patterson's candidacy but not Patrick Mara's. Bryan Weaver needs to get forms from 52 voters whose addresses didn't match the voter rolls by Thursday to stay on. (Four26)

Park Police confront food trucks: Last week the US Park Police shut down all of the food trucks around Farragut Square until MPD intervened and said that they were operating legally. (DCist)

National Bike Summit comes to town: Over the next two days, bicycle advocates from across the country will discuss ways to improve the state of cycling and cycling infrastructure in the US. (Streetsblog Capitol Hill)

DC's AIDS progress slipping: At a time when the city's largest of needle exchange program recently shuttered and Congress wants to defund all such programs anyway, a new report shows that DC is losing ground in its efforts to fight the AIDS epidemic. (Post)

And...: The DC metropolitan region is now the 9th largest in the country. (UrbanTurf) ... A baseball fan wants the people of NYC to "take back the Mets" including upzoning and filling in the wasted space around Citi Field in Flushing. (ESPN) ... A Detroit group is promoting light rail plans in the Motor City with rap and Legos. (TrainsDownTheMiddle)

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Erik Weber has been living car-free in the District since 2009. Hailing from the home of the nation's first Urban Growth Boundary, Erik has been interested in transit since spending summers in Germany as a kid where he rode as many buses, trains and streetcars as he could find. Views expressed here are Erik's alone. 


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I want to support kids walking to school.

Something about the numbers seems a bit off.

Less than 20% of maryland's schools support walking/biking.

However, in both PG and Mont. counties, 70% of students are bussed.

That means 30% are walking?

Bigger evil than busses: parents driving!

Afterschool is even a bigger issues, since it is harder to schedule service then.

by charlie on Mar 8, 2011 10:14 am • linkreport

god I hate the Park Police.

by wd on Mar 8, 2011 10:28 am • linkreport

I used to go to JFK off Randolph Road and lived in a neighborhood that straddled the JFK/Springbrook line. I decided to go to JFK, but because I lived less than two miles away, I had to walk to school... or more like, I got a ride from the parents in the morning and then I tutored at Glenallen down the street to catch the elementary school bus home. There were times I did have to walk, but Randolph Road is the worst road to walk on: the traffic is way too fast, sometimes the sidewalks aren't cleared (especially after snow or thunderstorms). I was basically risking my life every time I had to walk home.

There are some schools (like Westover Elementary that is located in a neighborhood; even Wheaton High School, which is on the same road as JFK) that is conducive to walking and biking and some that they need to work on. Despite this, they will still make you walk.

by chi on Mar 8, 2011 10:41 am • linkreport

Re: walking/biking to school: What the article didn't say about this trend, New schools are often located on the edges of communities where large blocks of land are available and cheap. - there are state and district policies in place that REQUIRE minimum acreage for new/renovated/replacement schools.

This forces schools out of communities to the edges where they are less accessible. The consequences of this can be that if a neighborhood school is determened to be torn down and replaced it can not be re-built on the same site. It must relocate often several miles away where the land minimum can be met thus forcing students to rely on driving/riding a bus when generations before walked to the same neighborhood school.

by Tina on Mar 8, 2011 11:34 am • linkreport

Schools that don't encourage walking/biking:
MoCo and PGCo both have acreage minimums as a policy:

by Tina on Mar 8, 2011 11:40 am • linkreport

@ students walking / driving

I can only comment for the two high schools I have worked at but in the afternoon a large amount of students walk or take the public bus. Easily 30% or more. In fact if you live within 1.5 miles of your school there is no bus in Montgomery County. There tends to be more drivers in the morning, but some of that is parents dropping off their kids on the way to work.

However the elementary school near me does have a long line of cars at the end of the day, but there are quite a large number of walkers too. I would guess there are at least twice as many walkers are cars, but at one kid per car it looks like more car riders then it is.

by Matt R on Mar 8, 2011 11:57 am • linkreport

Seriously, do the Park Police evr do anything useful? I know that sounds ridiculous, but unlike other police agencies, which actually protect the public, even if they also may be prone to the occasional misconduct, the Park Police don't seem to do anything that's not stupid and/or evil. I've never once seen Park Police stop a crime, or even take a report of crime from a victim. They don't stop speeders on RCP. They do draw their weapons on people letting their dogs off leash, and hassle bikers, food trucks, and people who want to use the Mall.

I'm pretty sure they *must* do something useful, right? If anyone's got any reports of Park Police doing good, I would (honestly, truly) like to hear them. But if not, maybe this would be a good area for budget cuts? If MPD and other local PDs can handle the load better, maybe there's no need for a all the duplication of effort that having a separate agency entails.

by Paula Product on Mar 8, 2011 12:16 pm • linkreport

Regarding the light rail station, I must say that if criminals in your town can rely on transit for their getaway, then the police in your town are utter incompetents.

by Omri on Mar 8, 2011 1:10 pm • linkreport

@ Paula - Park Police arrested Marion Barry for stalking. I guess that was useful....

by Local on Mar 8, 2011 2:21 pm • linkreport

DC introduced a "safe routes to school" program some time ago. What happened? I want to do something to promote that. What a great way to involve community, even those with no kids in school.

by Lisa on Mar 8, 2011 2:57 pm • linkreport

@Lisa -

by Tina on Mar 8, 2011 3:11 pm • linkreport

Gotta love the NPS: A request for comment from the Park Police's public information office was not immediately returned.

So, they don't even want to acknowledge that they did this. "Move along people, nothing to see here. Nothing happened". The NPS is now officially on the same level as officer Barbrady.

by Jasper on Mar 8, 2011 7:25 pm • linkreport

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