Over the last several months, BMC helped organizations in the region procure much needed personal protection equipment (PPE), including masks, gloves, cleaning supplies and more. Through a cooperative purchasing agreement offered by BMC and W.B. Mason, local groups have gained access to affordable PPE when they needed it most.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, many nonprofits remained open – or were struggling to re-open. Several faced both unplanned costs to purchase necessary supplies and equipment, as well as trouble locating available products.
Utilizing CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds from Anne Arundel County, Arundel Community Development Services (ACDS) was able to order supplies accessed through BMC’s cooperative purchasing program to fulfill the needs of 20 nonprofit service providers in the county. Orders ranged from cleaning products, sanitizers, and masks to gloves and disposable thermometer covers.
“Community-based nonprofits are on the front lines of serving our most vulnerable residents every day,” said Steuart Pittman, Anne Arundel County Executive. “I’m proud of our partners at BMC and ACDS for connecting these organizations to the resources they need in order to continue their essential missions.”
Several local groups reported experiencing supply shortages when shopping for PPE. Many were grateful for the assistance, including the Boys & Girls Club of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County.
“In a world of ‘back orders’ and ‘out of stock’ we can't begin to tell you how amazing it was to be contacted by ACDS about PPE so that we can prepare to reopen safely,“ said Jennifer Logratteria, Boys & Girls Club of Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Development Director. “With so many roadblocks in our path as we navigate these unprecedented times, thank you for being a beacon of light for our Clubs and our county's youth.”
The Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis also utilized the contract to buy masks for their residents.
To ensure the safety of riders, BMC is gearing up for a COVID-safe Bike to Work 2020 from September 21-27. Combined with participation in the Love to Ride Cycle September Global Challenge as part of the Central MD community, the usual rallies and pit stop gatherings will be replaced with online networking and encouragement for all riders, and even more prizes!
Cyclists who register for Bike to Work 2020 and ride during the week of September 21-27 can pick up a free t-shirt at over a dozen area bike shops (open to the first 2,500 registrants) AND have a chance to win prizes.
Not commuting to work? No problem! The Cycle September Global Challenge is a fun, friendly, and free competition between workplaces, clubs, and individuals to see who can get the most people cycling in September – especially new riders.
Riders can earn points for every mile they ride, every day they ride, and every new person they encourage to ride. Individuals only have to ride for ten minutes anytime, anywhere (for fun, fitness, transportation or even indoors) to be eligible for prizes and help their team climb the leaderboard.
Register for Bike to Work 2020 from August 7 – September 19 @ biketoworkmd.com
Join the Cycle September Global Challenge as a member of the Love to Ride Central MD community by following these 3 easy steps:
- Register at lovetoride.net/centralmd
- Join your company or group or register a new group for Cycle September
- Log rides via the website or app or link to your favorite bicycling app to win prizes
Sign up for Cycle September before it starts on September 1, and you'll be in the drawing for an early bird prize. You can win an e-bike from Charge or a local prize pack!
About Bike to Work Week
The Baltimore Metropolitan Council organizes an annual Bike to Work Day celebration in the region. The event, which was previously scheduled for May 15th, was postponed, then converted to a virtual event, in light of COVID-19 restrictions.
Bike to Work Week is a campaign that celebrates bicycling as a healthy commuting option, while promoting public awareness of its safety and environmental benefits. Bike to Work Week helps raise awareness of the rules of the road for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, and highlights the need to improve bicycle facilities to improve safety.
About Love to Ride Central MD
The Baltimore Metropolitan Council has partnered with Love to Ride to bring more fun, more community, and more inspiration to get more people riding. Love to Ride is a biking encouragement website and app free to anyone who lives or works in the Central MD region.
During the recent Firefighter Safety Stand Down week, June 14 to 20, BMC staff member Eileen Singleton worked closely with Patrick Rooney, MDOT SHA CHART Operations Training Manager, to hold 13 sessions of a 1-hour Traffic Incident Management refresher course. The courses, originally scheduled to take place in person, were instead virtual in response to the global pandemic.
Rooney prepared the 1-hour refresher by selecting key concepts from the 4-hour national Traffic Incident Management Responder Training Program. The primary goal of both the longer course and the refresher is responder safety – reminding responders of the safest ways to arrive, park, and work at traffic incident scenes so everyone goes home at the end of their shift. Over 125 responders received training through the thirteen sessions. Responders were from multiple response disciplines and from all parts of Maryland.
While congestion and the number of crashes have decreased during the pandemic, crash data shows that overall crashes are still happening with rates of less severe crashes slightly decreasing and rates of the most severe crashes increasing (fatal and severe injury crashes). One theory for the relative increase in crash severity is that less traffic leads to less congestion and therefore people can, and do, drive faster. So travelers are reminded to be extra cautious while driving and follow the law to Move Over (or slow down if you cannot move over) for emergency responders and other workers at incident scenes.
The Baltimore Regional Transportation Board (BRTB), as the metropolitan planning organization for the Baltimore region, seeks public comments through Friday, July 17 on a new section of the Patapsco Regional Greenway in Howard and Baltimore Counties.
In 2017, the BRTB approved a concept plan for the Patapsco Regional Greenway. Now they are seeking your input on the Elkridge to Guiness route.
Details about the comment period and how to provide comments are available below.
The Patapsco Regional Greenway maps the main alignment of a 40-mile, shared-use trail running through the Patapsco Valley from Baltimore’s Inner Harbor to Sykesville in Carroll County. The trail, if completed, would pass through or near the communities of Cherry Hill, Baltimore Highlands, Halethorpe, Elkridge, Catonsville, Ellicott City, Oella, Daniels, Woodstock, Marriottsville, and Sykesville.
This project will provide preliminary design drawings for a 1.2 to 2.5 mile segment of the Patapsco Regional Greenway connecting Patapsco Valley State Park, Main Street in Elkridge, and the Guinness Open Gate Brewery.
The goals of this project are to:
- build a low-traffic bicycle and pedestrian facility
- improve access to the nearby natural environment
- create a new gateway to downtown Elkridge to support economic development
Choosing the Best Pathway
Earlier this year, the design team studied the area and developed three options, also called “alignment alternatives,” for the Elkridge to Guinness connection and the Patapsco River crossing.
Each of the three potential trail placements include a Patapsco River crossing. All alternatives would also pass through the numerous wetlands and floodplains of the Patapsco River Valley. Federal and State regulations provide protections for the river and its associated wetlands and floodplains, so the design team looked for options that would minimize impacts to these environmental resources.
The BRTB seeks feedback on three possible trail routes. Highlights are below.
- Alternative 1: The Patapsco Route – The Patapsco Route has several options to take trail users through the floodplain of the Patapsco River and into Historic Elkridge via a bridge over the Patapsco River. Changing Main Street in Elkridge to a one-way road would provide enough space for a low-stress separated bike lane. Length: 1.8 Miles; Cost Range: $2.5 to $4.2 Million.
- Alternative 2: The Northern Link – The Northern Link efficiently ties the area of Guinness Open Gate Brewery to the Thomas Viaduct inside the Patapsco Valley State Park. Sharrows, also known as shared lane markings, along the low-volume Levering Avenue would allow trail users to come into Historic Elkridge. Length: 1.2 Miles; Cost Range: $1.9 to $2.4 Million
- Alternative 3: The Elkridge Spur – The Elkridge Spur provides efficient connections between the Guinness Open Gate Brewery, Historic Elkridge and the Park, with an optional loop trail that would also provide an opportunity to enjoy the serenity of the Patapsco River. Length: 2.5 Miles; Cost Range: $3.8 to $4.3 Million
Based on your input, and the input of our project partners, the project team will choose a preferred alignment and complete a preliminary design. Once 30% design is completed, Howard and Baltimore Counties will apply for a grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) to complete the design.
The public is invited to share their feedback on the three design alternatives from Monday, July 6 through Friday, July 17, 2020.
There are four ways you can comment:
- View the StoryMap and take our survey @ https://www.surveymonkey.com/
- Email your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call us at 410-732-0500 x 1042 and leave a voicemail with your feedback
- Share your thoughts via Twitter at @BaltoMetroCo | @BmoreInvolved | #BRTBlistens
For more information:
Contact Sheila Mahoney, senior transportation planner, by email at email@example.com, or by phone at 410-732-0500 x 1042.
The Baltimore Regional Transportation Board operates its programs and services without regard to race, color, or national origin in accordance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and other applicable laws. Appropriate services can be provided to qualified individuals with disabilities or those in need of language assistance who submit a request at least seven days prior to a meeting. Call 410-732-0500.
BMC staff are proud to participate in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s (CBF) ‘Walk the Watershed’ event this year. Throughout the month of June, our team will work toward a goal of traveling 200 miles in support of a healthier waterway. This target represents the approximately 200-mile-long Chesapeake Bay. Staff will also seek donations on behalf of CBF as an element of this campaign.
Team members contribute to the 200-mile goal by tracking and reporting their individual walking, bike riding, and running distances. Photos and videos document and share this experience publicly.
To date, the team has reached its 200-mile goal and raised over $600 in donations.
Part of BMC's mission is to improve our region’s quality of life – of which the health of the Bay plays an important role. A clean Chesapeake Bay provides a healthy place for fish and shellfish to grow, and a more beautiful and safe place to boat and recreate. The Bay’s waters also provide vital economic benefits to the tourism and seafood industry that are entrenched in our region’s history and future.
The protective measures taken to stop the spread of COVID-19 have caused countless disruptions to the systems and standards so many have worked to build.
COVID-19 has emphasized the prioritization of safety measures and abrupt shifts in supply, demand, materials and resources, causing many to adapt their operating procedures.
BMC’s Director of Cooperative Purchasing, Debbie Groat, authored an article for the Maryland Public Purchasing Association (MPAA) Newsletter. In the article, Groat, who also serves as Chair of the Cooperative Purchasing Subcommittee for MPAA, details the changes in operating procedures for cooperative purchasing post COVID-19.
The article examines the shifts made in cooperative purchasing to meet the needs of the region during a time where demand was overwhelming.
See the below article excerpted from the MPAA Newsletter:
Post COVID19 – Changes in Operating Procedures - Cooperative Purchasing
Emergency management prepares for unexpected emergency situations that may arise. Risks are evaluated and plans are put into place at every level of government. The cooperation between the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), and local emergency managers is well coordinated. This collaboration and cooperation is what makes unforeseen emergencies more manageable. When it comes to purchasing in emergencies, contractors and contracts are lined up and ready to be used to provide the supplies and services needed to resolve the emergency. When these resources are exhausted, we look to other cooperative contracts and on-demand purchasing. That strategy worked very well for regional emergencies, such as the Howard County floods or Baltimore City riots. But the COVID19 pandemic was global and raised the bar for the need to globally cooperate and collaborate.
According to the FEMA COVID-19 Pandemic Operational Guidance for the 2020 Hurricane Season May 2020: “As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Nation is facing unprecedented challenges as we respond to additional disasters, anticipate emergent incidents, and prepare for the 2020 hurricane season. Although the operating environment has changed, the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) mission of helping people before, during, and after disasters remains the same. Federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial (SLTT) officials, along with the private sector and nongovernmental organizations (NGO), must partner together to fulfill their respective missions and help disaster survivors. As the Nation continues to respond to and recover from COVID-19 while posturing for the coming hurricane season, emergency managers must continue to operate under a framework of a locally executed, state managed, and federally supported approach to incident stabilization.”
New challenges in mid and post-COVID19 stabilization reared their ugly head because this time, the highest risk was a supply demand that was impossible to meet under our current operating practices. Let’s look at one operating procedure that may see some drastic changes, Just-In-Time (JIT) ordering.
Credit for the origin of JIT practices was traced back in the 60’s to Japan and Toyota Manufacturing. It did not become popular in the United States until the 80’s. According to Wikipedia; The main reasons prompting production facilities to use JIT included: inventory reduction, labor cost reduction, space reduction, stock reduction, production increase, quality improvement, throughput time reduction, and standard hours reduction. In short, the relationship between the raw material supplier and the product manufacturer was developed so the manufacturer could depend more heavily on the raw materials being available precisely when needed or just-in-time. This dependency on the supply chain became stronger and more reliable over time. Beyond manufacturing, government adopted JIT for office, custodial, and MRO supplies. Warehouses became smaller or nonexistent, and stock on hand was minimized. There were tremendous gains in efficiency and reductions of the cost of holding unnecessary stock. The trust in the supplier’s ability to meet our demands was strong. That is until COVID19.
When COVID19 hit in the United States, we followed other countries already dealing with the virus. The demand for PPE was quickly soaring on a global level exceeding normal stocking levels. Anne Arundel County’s Emergency Management Department studied the PPE usage in two area hospitals and found that their COVID19 burn rates for PPE supplies were 2 to 3 times the normal usage.
The global demand for personal protective equipment stressed the supply chain to unimaginable levels. And, frankly, it broke under the pressure. Government turned to unlikely sources, such as distilleries and clothiers, to modify their operations to make the products that were needed, such as hand sanitizer and non-surgical gowns. We saw soaring transportation costs and manufacturing plants become overwhelmed to the degree that their distributors refused additional orders due to the high risk of not being able to fulfill the order. Equally challenging, was the dependency on foreign manufacturing for these PPE supplies when they were desperately needed in that country. Product was delivered to the tarmac only to be purchased, on site, for a higher price. The supply chain was in chaos and government could not depend on just in time, near in time or anytime delivery.
Wikipedia goes on to say, “Natural and man-made disasters will disrupt the flow of energy, goods and services. The down-stream customers of those goods and services will, in turn, not be able to produce their product or render their service because they were counting on incoming deliveries "just in time" and so have little or no inventory to work with. The disruption to the economic system will cascade to some degree depending on the nature and severity of the original disaster. The larger the disaster the worse the effect on just-in-time failures.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption in JIT practices, with various quarantine restrictions on international trade and commercial activity in general interrupting supply while lacking stockpiles to handle the disruption; along with increased demand for medical supplies like PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) and ventilators, and even panic buying, including of various domestically manufactured (and so less vulnerable products) like panic buying of toilet paper, disturbing regular demand. This has led to suggestions that stockpiles and diversification of suppliers should be more heavily focused.”
BMC’s Housing Policy Coordinator, Dan Pontious, joined Delegate Brooke Lierman, Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, Public Justice Center Attorney Charisse Lue and VP of Pennrose Properties and president of the Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition Ivy Dench-Carter for a May 28 discussion on housing Marylanders during and after COVID-19.
The “Briefing with Brooke” presented a current state of affairs and update on efforts concerning affordable housing, eviction prevention and sustainability of housing for modest-income Marylanders as the threat of evictions and foreclosures loom in the wake of COVID-19.
Delegate Lierman set the stage for the conversation with a brief introduction to County Executive Pittman, a member of BMC’s board of directors. In his briefing, Pittman explained the eviction prevention and rental assistance program for Anne Arundel County, which is funded by a combination of local funds and resources made available to local and state governments by the recent federal CARES Act. Residents must provide documentation that shows they are facing eviction and have had a loss of income. Funds through this program are submitted directly to property owners or managers to cover rent. The County has received more than 750 calls for assistance already.
Pontious spoke about BMC’s efforts working with Anne Arundel and other Baltimore-area jurisdictions to urge the State via an April 8 letter to allocate its own CARES Act funds toward helping renters and homeowners in Maryland. He also emphasized the scope of the economic threat COVID-19 presents. When renters cannot pay rent, they lose their homes and that loss of income hurts the ability of many property owners to pay their mortgages. Pontious warned that with so many people effected, the pandemic has the potential to trigger a record-breaking housing and economic crisis.
The briefing was a lively discussion that also addressed housing inequities, eviction rates, tenants’ right to counsel in housing court and more. In lieu of a statewide solution, many jurisdictions have taken the lead in preventing the spread of disease by helping residents remain safely in their homes during this public health crisis.
BMC continues to be a resource for the region. As discussed in the briefing, we look forward to continued information-sharing and learning among our local governments and housing agencies who are leading the housing response on COVID-19. We will continue to work with them to encourage State support of these crucial efforts.
The Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO) organized a safety seminar on Thursday, April 30, for members of National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) Region 3, which includes Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia. BMC staff presented the LOOK ALIVE regional pedestrian and bike safety campaign and law enforcement training in support of the education campaign. Over 120 participants from across the region attended the online seminar.
Jeff Dunckel with the MHSO provided an overview of statewide pedestrian fatalities, which have been on an increasing trend since 2015, rising from 99 to 133 in 2018. During the same period, the Baltimore region went from 48 to 68 pedestrian fatalities. Between 2014 and 2018, three jurisdictions in the Baltimore region (Baltimore City, Baltimore County and Anne Arundel County) were among the top five for number of pedestrian involved injury/fatal crashes in Maryland. The same three are also among the top five for pedestrian involved fatalities by jurisdiction.
Bala Akundi, Principal Transportation Engineer at BMC, and Kenna Swift Williams of Sherry Matthews Group, provided an overview of the development of the LOOK ALIVE campaign starting in early 2019 through its launch in June and over the fall/winter. The campaign began as two video-spots featuring signal woman – a personification of the walk signal – and conveyed messages to drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. The 2020 campaign included media pitches for law enforcement activations in November that garnered significant media coverage including a WBAL feature with BMC Executive Director Mike Kelly.
The COVID-19 pandemic postponed elements of the campaign, such as the spring enforcement wave. One of the last Look Alive events was on March 7 at the B’More Healthy Expo at the Baltimore Convention Center. This joint event with Baltimore City DOT and MDOT SHA featured a Virtual Reality (VR) challenge.
BMC, in partnership with Baltimore County Police Department and MHSO, organized four law enforcement-training workshops between May 2019 and February 2020 and trained over 100 officers from across the region/state on how to conduct pedestrian enforcement activations. Following each of these sessions were multiple waves of enforcement that resulted in positive media coverage, citations and warnings.
BMC is looking forward to working with MHSO and local partners in continuing the LOOK ALIVE campaign during the rest of the year and into 2021.
BMC staff works with stakeholders from member jurisdictions to support regional emergency preparedness programs coordinated through the Baltimore Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) and by the Baltimore Urban Area Homeland Security Work Group (UAWG).
In response to COVID-19, our emergency Preparedness team sprang into action to support local jurisdictions during the crisis.
COVID-19 has caused significant disruption to the food supply chain in our region, leaving many individuals in danger of going hungry. In response to this challenge, many local governments and non-profits in the region coordinated boxed lunch distribution sites to serve those in need. Persons deemed “food insecure” could include children and families, older adults and other residents who need access to free meals during the coronavirus outbreak. Our staff provided critical food distribution supply chain support to our region’s emergency management agencies in support of this effort.
Our planners provided resources to streamline assessment of food distribution locations and analyzed data to support identification and selection of sites. BMC also worked with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) to share food distribution efforts and strategies that were useful in the Baltimore UASI region. We also collaborated with each jurisdiction’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) within the Baltimore UASI region to work with their designated Food and Water Disaster Supply Chain point of contact to collect plans, templates, checklists, and knowledge sharing resources. We then disseminated these tools to local jurisdictions to aide in their food site selection processes.
Once the food sites were operational, BMC staff researched and shared Federal documents to help guide safe food distribution operations, and troubleshoot some of the issues that arose as food distributions efforts were implemented, such as funding, procurement, site assessment and local/ state coordination.
Beyond food distribution support, BMC provided data collection and reporting, along with resources and best practices in this unprecedented time. BMC staff:
- Collected data to create a GIS representation of the area covered by the food distribution efforts. This bird’s eye view offers an easy to read visual representation of coverage, helping local officials to assure they are reaching all areas in need.
- Supported local jurisdictions’ Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and emergency management activities through EOC brief outs, drive through testing site visits, and pop up testing site execution.
- Developed a Virtual Emergency Operations Center (EOC) Guidance document that reviews suggestions and considerations for implementing a virtual EOC.
- Shared best practices, lessons learned, and regional procurement opportunities between the UASI jurisdictions.
- Researched temporary medical staffing companies and procurement opportunities to support hospital surges.
- Facilitated UASI Emergency Management Directors calls to review current guidance, actions, and strategies for regional missions such as recovery planning in coordination with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA).
The BMC emergency preparedness team will continue to support the Baltimore region through the COVID-19 outbreak, doing its part to move the region toward recovery.
This fall, the Baltimore region will celebrate the 23rd Annual Bike to Work Day on Friday, September 25, 2020. As with all large gatherings, the event is contingent upon authorization and appropriate guidance from government and public health officials.
The event, which was previously scheduled for May 15th, was postponed in light of COVID-19 restrictions. The safety of participants and the public at large remains the number one priority of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council and its partners. Postponing allows organizers time to plan for what we hope will be a healthier and safer event this fall.
Bike to Work Day is a national campaign that celebrates bicycling as a healthy commuting option, while promoting public awareness of its safety and environmental benefits. Bike to Work Day helps raise awareness of the rules of the road for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists, and highlights the need to improve bicycle facilities to improve safety.
In the Baltimore region, Bike to Work Day draws more than 1800 attendees to 45 pit stop locations throughout six counties. Participating jurisdictions include Baltimore City and Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Harford and Howard Counties. Pit stops feature group convoy rides, bicycle tune-ups, riding challenges, free food and drinks, free custom T-shirts, and other prizes.
For more information on Bike to Work Day 2020, and to stay up to date with the latest information on registration dates and pit stop locations, visit biketoworkmd.com.
We welcome your participation and look forward to seeing you all on the road this coming September!