Weeks after cycling and multi-modal transit advocates objected vehemently to the news the Baltimore Department of Transportation plans to allocate zero new dollars for bike lane projects in fiscal 2020, and far less than originally planned for the next couple years, DOT appears to be sticking to its guns.
A plan presented to Baltimore’s Planning Commission Thursday afternoon indicates DOT has budgeted a doughnut ($0) for cycling infrastructure next fiscal year, $720,000 for fiscal 2021 and $788,000 for fiscal 2022. Through 2025, the agency has set aside enough to fund a total of about 16 road miles of lanes–and some of those projects aren’t even new, given that they were originally scheduled for completion by the end of 2017, or involve tweakingexisting facilities like the Maryland Avenue Cycle Track, rather than new construction.
The plan for 2020-2022 strongly contrasts with the original timeline for Baltimore’s long-awaited Separated Bike Lane Network, which at full implementation is supposed to include 77 miles of infrastructure, with roughly $5 million per year (or $27 million total) in combined local, state and federal funds spent.
Critics lament that DOT is leaving state and federal dollars on the table. If the department earmarks or obtains $1 million in funding, it can then receive matching funds from state and federal sources. If they don’t hit that mark, there is no match.