Baltimore Selected as Big Jump Grant Recipient

With renewed effort to improve bicycling, Baltimore aims to increase ridership

 

BALTIMORE, Md. (January 24, 2017) — Baltimore is among 10 cities selected for the Big Jump Project, a new initiative from the national bike advocacy group PeopleForBikes. By quickly building and connecting bike networks, the program aims to increase bike ridership in targeted neighborhoods over the course of three years.

“Baltimore is excited to learn, contribute, and engage in the Big Jump Project,” said Mayor Catherine Pugh. “This program is a huge step forward in the national conversation about biking.  The city is eager to build stronger and healthier communities that are centered around active transportation.”

The Baltimore grant will focus on improving the biking network in Central Baltimore and West Baltimore neighborhoods, the heart of which are divided by I-83. The connection of communities such as Remington, Reservoir Hill, Station North and Hampden will serve as a model to the rest of the city for smart investments in biking and walking.  Though these neighborhoods are experiencing the largest growth and investment in Central Baltimore, 56 percent of households do not have access to a car. The neighborhoods can feel like geographical islands for pedestrians and bicyclists despite being adjacent in nature due to infrastructure barriers.

“We are proud to be selected for the Big Jump project which will help us to improve access and provide better transportation options for citizens in these communities,” said Frank Murphy, Acting Director for the Baltimore City Department of Transportation.  “This project will help us to expand our bicycle infrastructure while providing a healthy and alternative form of transportation.”

As a participant in the program, Baltimore will annually receive $200,000 in technical support from PeopleForBikes, as well as an additional $50,000 in matching funds or financial commitments from local organizations. Organizations that supported the application included Beth Am Synagogue, Bikemore, Central Baltimore Partnership, Greater Remington Improvement Association, Healthy Neighborhoods, Hekemian & Co. Inc., Innovation Village, Mount Royal Community Development Corporation, Mayor’s Bicycle Advisory Commission, Old Goucher Community Association, Pennrose, Reservoir Hill Improvement Council, Seawall, and Strong City Baltimore.

"The Mayor's Bicycle Advisory Commission (MBAC) supports the Big Jump Project to improve bicycle connections in Remington, Reservoir Hill, Old Goucher, Harwood, Barclay, and Hampden,” says Jon Laria, partner at Ballard Spahr and Chair of the MBAC. “We look forward working with Mayor Pugh on future improvements throughout the city based on this model of success that will bring investments and opportunities to more Baltimore neighborhoods."

Baltimore is already making great headway to improve bicycle infrastructure. This past year marked the launch of the city’s new bike share program, which is currently the largest electric bike share fleet in the western hemisphere, and the construction of the Baltimore’s first protected bike lane along Maryland Avenue.

Baltimore is proud to be selected as one of ten cities nationwide for the Big Jump program.  Over the next three years, innovations through the Big Jump program will illustrate ways in which American cities can use bicycles to radically improve the health and vitality of their communities.

“From encouraging physical activity to helping with congestion, from better connecting people to work training and education to bolstering economic development, bikes are a rather inexpensive way to improve communities,” said PeopleForBikes Director of Local Innovation Kyle Wagenschutz. “Communities are not looking at bikes as a catalyst for change on their own, but rather as an important part of the momentum happening to change cities for the better.”

The Big Jump fits under the umbrella of a new program at PeopleForBikes called PlacesForBikes, which also launched this month. PlacesForBikes includes a data-driven, easy-to-understand city rating system; expert “how-to” resources for communities and businesses; and an annual conference for city and business leaders.

“The Big Jump Project encourages the city to provide alternative transportation choices to residents at a time when things like public health inequity, environmental injustice, and economic disparity are preventing our city from achieving progress,” said Liz Cornish, Executive Director of Bikemore.

Both The Big Jump and PeopleForBikes build on the success of PeopleForBike’s Green Lane Project. This initiative focused on constructing protected bike lanes in American communities, which helped quadruple biking projects in four years.

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