There is Human Trafficking in Howard County

A man was charged with forcing four women into prostitution in Howard County this week. Kudos to the Howard County Police Department for their targeted efforts to arrest human trafficking. This is my post from a year ago, updated with the latest report.

Howard police arrest Baltimore man at Laurel motel in latest human trafficking case

by Andrew Michaels (Howard County Times), August 2, 2017 [ABRIDGED]

A Baltimore man was charged Wednesday with the human trafficking of four women in Howard and Prince George’s counties following a nearly two-week investigation by Howard County police.

Kamal Germaine Dorchy, 43, faces multiple counts of human trafficking, the police announced. He is being held without bond at the Howard County jail.

This investigation is part of Howard County’s ongoing efforts to stop prostitution and human trafficking. There have been almost as many human trafficking cases this year as there were in all of 2016.

During the investigation, police said they believed Dorchy arranged appointments for the women at motels and forced them to have sex for money. He then took half of the money and used photographs of the women for advertisements on a website, which police said is commonly used for prostitution.

Police said they believed Dorchy assaulted the victims, threatened them with a handgun and supplied them with drugs. In addition to controlling their access to food and sleep — only allowing them to rest for short amounts of time — Dorchy controlled their communication through texts and calls on their cell phones.

The victims were taken to safe locations and offered support services, including housing, treatment and transportation.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/laurel/ph-ho-cf-dorchy-human-trafficking-0810-20170802-story.html

Laurel Man Charged in Human Trafficking of Two Girls, 13 and 15

[from News Release by Office Of Public Affairs (HoCo Police Department) – July 26, 2016]

Howard County police have charged a Laurel man with human trafficking in a case involving two young girls, ages 13 and 15. Arthur Coleman, 46, of Larchdale Road, was charged with multiple counts of human trafficking, prostitution and other sex-related offenses.

An undercover female Howard County detective reached out to the 13-year-old girl, who she saw posted in numerous prostitution ads online, including on the website Backpage. The detective posed as a young girl interested in joining the teen to make money.

The teen replied to the undercover officer that she and an older man would pick her up in a public place in Columbia. At the agreed upon location, officers were waiting for the teen and the male driver, who was later identified as Coleman. When they arrived, the 13-year-old and a second girl, 15, were in the car.

Howard County has an ongoing effort to combat prostitution, human trafficking and related offenses. The county recently created a dedicated account to fund victims’ services and additional police training, and added a second full-time detective to investigate human trafficking cases.

Investigators are focused on arresting traffickers and offering assistance to victims through housing, treatment, transportation and other help. Anyone with information about human trafficking in Howard County should call 410-313-STOP or email: HCPDcrimetips@howardcountymd.gov.

https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Portals/0/Documents/Police/News%20Releases/2016/07.2016/humantraffickingJuly2016.pdf?ver=2016-07-26-113823-243

Why Trafficking Exists

Human trafficking is a market-driven criminal industry that is based on the principles of supply and demand, like drugs or arms trafficking. Many factors make children and adults vulnerable to human trafficking. However, human trafficking does not exist solely because many people are vulnerable to exploitation. Instead, human trafficking is fueled by a demand for cheap labor, services and for commercial sex.

Human traffickers are those who employ force, fraud, or coercion to victimize others in their desire to profit from the existing demand. To ultimately solve the problem of human trafficking, it is essential to address these demand-driven factors, as well as to alter the overall market incentives of high-profit and low-risk that traffickers currently exploit.

Labor trafficking and sex trafficking of U.S. citizens and foreign nationals persist and thrive for a number of reasons, including:

  1. Low Risk: Human traffickers perceive there to be little risk or deterrence to affect their criminal operations. While investigations, prosecutions and penalties have increased throughout recent years, many traffickers still believe the high profit margin to be worth the risk of detection. Factors that add to low risk include: lack of government and law enforcement training, low community awareness, ineffective or unused laws, lack of law enforcement investigation, scarce resources for victim recovery services, and social blaming of victims.
  2. High Profits: When individuals are willing to buy commercial sex, they create a market and make it profitable for traffickers to sexually exploit children and adults. When consumers are willing to buy goods and services from industries that rely on forced labor, they create a profit incentive for labor traffickers to maximize revenue with minimal production costs.

Left unchecked, human trafficking will continue to flourish in environments where traffickers can reap substantial monetary gains with relatively low risk of getting caught or lost profits.

http://traffickingresourcecenter.org/type-trafficking/human-trafficking

Maryland is a “Goldmine” for Human Trafficking

In the 2012 Governor’s Report on combatting trafficking within the state, Maryland was described as a “goldmine” for human trafficking. A good deal of this is logistical, as Maryland sits at the heart of what is referred to as the “East Coast Circuit,” a string of cities along the East Coast through which traffickers routinely travel. Interstate 95 is the key transportation element along the corridor, linking major cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C., with the southern states.

Along I‐95 and throughout the state, Maryland has numerous rest stops, truck stops, bus, and railway stations, all of which are considered prime recruitment and point of sale locations for traffickers. . .  In recognition of this risk, Maryland passed legislation in 2012 requiring all truck stops, rest areas, and bus stations in Maryland to post information on the availability of the NHTRC hotline (National Human Trafficking Resource Center).

humantrafficking-thefacts
Location of Sex Trafficking Cases involving U.S. Citizens Reported to National Human Trafficking Resource Center and BeFree (2014)

Along with high‐volume highways and rest stops, Maryland has an international airport and international waterway ports, both of which serve as convenient entry points for domestic and international victims. The area around Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington International Airport has been the site of numerous human trafficking arrests, due to the proliferation of hotels and the revolving cast of visitors to the area seeking to purchase commercial sex acts.

Maryland is also in close proximity to Washington D.C., where a large portion of the allegations of labor trafficking by foreign diplomats are centered. . .  Finally, Maryland is home to numerous casinos, tourist attractions, convention centers, and large‐scale sporting events, all of which draw the need for supplying cheap labor and commercialized sex.

http://cc.howardcountymd.gov/About-Us/Commissions-Task-Forces-and-Special-Reports/Human-Trafficking-Task-Force

Howard County’s Approach to Human Trafficking

On January 6th, 2014, the Howard County Council introduced County Council Resolution 8‐2014, which established the Howard County Task Force on Human Trafficking. The Task Force was directed to research the development of protocols, community outreach efforts, training efforts, and partnerships to help increase the identification of human trafficking victims in the County and aide in the establishment of a provider network for comprehensive services for victims of trafficking.

Task Force members met at least monthly to hear from federal, state, and local experts on the complexities of human trafficking and how it is manifested in Howard County. What follows is a list of recommendations on how to address human trafficking in Howard County, which were created following months of research, education, and consideration by the Task Force.

  1. Increase identification rates of human trafficking victims in the County, including domestic and transnational victims of both sex and labor trafficking.
  2. Aid in the establishment of a provider network that offers comprehensive services to victims of trafficking.
  3. Facilitate more coordinated anti‐ trafficking efforts in the county through extensive community outreach, training efforts, intelligence sharing and forming partnerships between law enforcement and non‐governmental organizations.
  4. Facilitate more coordinated anti‐trafficking efforts in the county through creation of a specialized law enforcement core group, proactive investigations and increase the prosecution of traffickers, criminally, and where appropriate, civilly.

http://cc.howardcountymd.gov/About-Us/Commissions-Task-Forces-and-Special-Reports/Human-Trafficking-Task-Force

Howard County Nonprofit Resources

HoCo AGAST (Advocacy Group Against Slavery and Trafficking) is a grass roots Citizen’s Advocacy Group that has been in existence since 2011 with goals to educate our community about Human Trafficking in the U.S., our state and county; to work for stronger laws to combat it; to protect women and youth from becoming trapped in sexual exploitation; and to support victim service providers.

Safe House of Hope. We are a volunteer-run and -led 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that welcomes people from all backgrounds and spiritual traditions. We provide education, training, and support to help victims of human trafficking become an active part of a healthy community.

Samaritan Womens mission is to glorify GOD by seeking justice, reconciliation, and healing.  We fulfill our mission through: (1) Operating transitional and restorative shelter programs for women recovering from domestic human trafficking.  Our program emphasis is on life-rebuilding, personal accomplishments,  social re-entry, and spiritual reconciliation. (2) Inspiring people–inside and outside of the Church–to engage in combating domestic human trafficking through awareness, prevention, service, and advocacy.  We provide the education and tools for them to do this work.

How Maryland Rates in its Response to Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking

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Recognizing that most of the gaps in responding to domestic minor sex trafficking must be addressed at the state level, the Protected Innocence Legislative Framework (developed by Shared Hope International) sets out the basic policy principles required to create a safer environment for children . . .   Based on the research findings, within an overarching framework that identifies minors exploited through sex trafficking as victims, four primary policy issues were identified as critical to combating domestic minor sex trafficking:

  1. Eliminating Demand. All buyers of sex with children—whether they be classified as preferential (pedophiles), opportunistic (thrill seekers), or situational (do not care about the age of the person being prostituted)—are committing a serious crime for which significant punishment is appropriate.
  2. Prosecuting Traffickers. Frequently, the arrest and prosecution of the trafficker are based solely on the victim’s cooperation in the investigation and testimony at trial. . .  It is critical for law enforcement officers to pursue innovative or alternative investigation techniques to corroborate the victims’ allegations in domestic minor sex trafficking cases.
  3. Identifying Victims. One of the primary barriers to victim identification is that laws often label minors engaging in commercial sex acts as criminals rather than victims. Misidentification causes a chain reaction of negative outcomes, the most significant of which is the failure to deliver the necessary services to interrupt and treat the trauma these children have endured.
  4. Providing Protection, Access to Services and Shelter for Victims. Law enforcement officers . . . are often compelled to charge a domestic minor sex trafficking victim with a delinquency offense, such as prostitution, to detain the child and to keep the child safe from the trafficker. . .  Establishing protective responses for victims that include shelter and services would provide law enforcement officers and juvenile courts with an alternative placement for prostituted minors.

http://sharedhope.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/2014%20Protected%20Innocence%20Challenge%20Report.pdf

Human Trafficking Tip Card

(Featured photo at top of post from https://ckmgrey.wordpress.com/2015/01/27/23/)

Howard County has a “Dakota Access” pipeline right in our back yard

Who knew we have petroleum pipelines running through Howard County MD? On a recent doctor visit out Dorsey Hall Drive in Ellicott City, I discovered these signs for a petroleum pipeline managed by Colonial Pipeline Company. Surprised by my finding, I decided to do some research. Come to find, there are numerous natural gas and hazardous liquid (petroleum) pipelines throughout Howard County and the USA.

Colonial Pipeline right of way (ROW) looking south across Dorsey Hall Dr. and US29 (left) and headed north to Marriottsville and Dorsey Junction in Woodbine (right) [photo by Harry Schwarz]
Map showing pipelines traversing Howard County, MD; The Colonial pipeline is indicated by the red line (map by National Pipeline Mapping System (NPMS) Public Viewer)

Pipeline Basics

by The Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, US Dept of Transportation (PHMSA)

The energy transportation network of the United States consists of over 2.5 million miles of pipelines. That’s enough to circle the earth about 100 times. These pipelines are operated by approximately 3,000 companies, large and small.

Most hazardous liquid and gas transmission pipelines are located underground in rights-of-way (ROW). A ROW consists of consecutive property easements acquired by, or granted to, the pipeline company. The ROW provides sufficient space to perform pipeline maintenance and inspections, as well as a clear zone where encroachments can be monitored and prevented.

Gas line construction

Pipeline operators are required to post brightly-colored markers along their ROW to indicate the presence of – but not necessarily the exact location of – their underground pipelines. Markers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. They contain information about the nearby pipeline as well as emergency contact information for the company that operates it.

Gas Transmission and Hazardous Liquid Pipelines in the United States (National Pipeline Mapping System, US Department of Transportation)

Pipelines play a vital role in our daily lives. They transport fuels and petrochemical feedstocks that we use in cooking and cleaning, in our daily commutes and travel, in heating our homes and businesses, and in manufacturing hundreds of products we use daily.

Natural gas provides for nearly 25% of our country’s total energy consumption, and petroleum provides for nearly 40%. This requires the transportation of huge volumes of hazardous liquids and gas, and the most feasible, most reliable and safest way to do so is through pipelines.

https://primis.phmsa.dot.gov/comm/PipelineBasics.htm?nocache=9927

 

 

 

Every day, Colonial Pipeline safely and efficiently delivers more than 100 million gallons of gasoline, home heating oil, aviation fuel and other refined petroleum products.

Starting in Houston and terminating at the New York harbor, Colonial consists of more than 5,500 miles of pipeline, most of which is underground, and above ground storage tanks which support safe operations of the overall system.

System Map (Colonial Pipeline)

Colonial connects the robust U.S. refinery region of the Gulf Coast with customers serving communities and businesses throughout South and the Eastern United States.

Colonial Pipeline Company – Dorsey Junction, Woodbine MD (Google Maps)

Colonial – Dorsey Junction [Woodbine] is a refined petroleum pipeline breakout station for Colonial’s interstate transportation pipeline system. The facility’s tank farm includes breakout tanks for gasoline, distillates, transmix, additives, and other supporting equipment. The facility is located in Carroll County, Maryland.

A major piece of U.S. infrastructure, Colonial’s mission is to move energy to where it’s needed, store it until it’s needed and blend it as it’s needed. This is accomplished by committing to safe operations that enable the efficient, reliable and responsible transportation of fuels.

http://www.colpipe.com/home

Potential Hazards

by The Pipeline Operators Safety Partnership

Pipelines are the safest mode of transportation. Despite this, pipeline releases can create hazards for both communities and responders. A pipeline release can result in:

  • Fire or explosion
  • Vapor cloud
  • Toxic or combustible fumes
  • Asphyxiation
  • Contamination of the environment

Pipelines can carry many different types of products ranging from gaseous material to thick crude oil. Some of the more common products being transported by pipelines are highlighted below with information on the product’s characteristics and hazards. Operators keep MSDS information for each product they transport. This information is available from the operator upon request.

  • Crude Oil – Crude oil occurs naturally in liquid form ranging from a water-like substance to a very thick tar. It can range from amber to black in color. Crude oil is combustible. Exposure can cause moderate irritation including headaches and dizziness. Crude oil can also contain H2S, which is toxic.
  • Refined Liquid Petroleum Products – Refined products derived from crude oil including gasoline, jet fuel, diesel and chemicals. Gasoline is flammable; distillates are combustible. Exposure can cause moderate irritation including headaches and dizziness. Exposure to refined fuels may also cause eye and skin irritation.
  • Natural Gas – Colorless, odorless gas used as a fuel source. Odorized when being transported to an end user. Natural gas is flammable and can ignite when it comes into contact with an ignition source. In confined spaces exposure can cause asphyxiation. Natural gas can contain hydrogen sulfide, which is toxic.
  • Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) & Natural Gas Liquids (NGLs) – NGLs include a range of hydrocarbon elements including butane, iso-butane, propane, ethane, and natural gas condensate. These elements are extracted from the gas stream during processing. NGL is combustible. Exposure can cause moderate irritation including headaches and dizziness. NGLs can also contain H2S, which is toxic.

http://www.pipelinepartnership.com/potential-hazards.php

 

 

 

Mission  PHMSA’s mission is to protect people and the environment by advancing the safe transportation of energy and other hazardous materials that are essential to our daily lives. To do this, the agency establishes national policy, sets and enforces standards, educates, and conducts research to prevent incidents. We also prepare the public and first responders to reduce consequences if an incident does occur.

2021 Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration Strategic Framework and Direction

Vision — Our vision is to make PHMSA he most innovative transportation safety organization in the world.

Maryland State Authority — PHMSA’s Office of Pipeline Safety (OPS) and Maryland [Maryland Public Service Commission] partner in pipeline safety regulatory responsibilities. The National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR) is a nonprofit organization of state pipeline safety personnel who serve to promote pipeline safety in the United States and its territories. Under PHMSA certification and agreements, NAPSR members support the safe delivery of pipeline products by conducting inspections of pipeline operators to determine compliance with applicable state and federal pipeline safety requirements.

https://www.phmsa.dot.gov/about/mission

It shouldn’t have happened

Fifteen year old Grace McComas committed suicide in 2012. Her story is one of how the Howard County community failed this child and family.  First and foremost, it was a flagrant example of an institution that’s intended to serve the people, putting the administration first rather than the interests of this child and family.  But we all played a role. And we have an opportunity to make it right.

Julia McCready, our guest blogger, is a Howard County Educator with a knowledge and wisdom about Grace’s story.  She posts daily at http://villagegreentownsquared.blogspot.com/

Sharing the Story

by Julia McCready (Friday, July 7, 2017)

In the Spring of 2012 the Glenelg High School community was rocked by the suicide of a sophomore named Grace McComas. She took her life in response to a drug-assisted rape by a fellow student and the subsequent cyber-bullying from members of that same community when she spoke out and sought justice.

In a school of approximately 1200 students, how many do you suppose knew what was going on?

How many knew because they were participating in the bullying?

How many knew and tried to help?

How many knew and did nothing?

How many knew nothing at all?

In the time since her daughter’s death Christine McComas has fought to raise awareness of sexual assault, cyber-bullying, and has worked unceasingly to get her daughters complete school records from the year that she died. The response to her efforts has often been disappointing.

How have we responded?

How many participated in a concerted effort to withhold information?

How many sought to learn more and to help?

How many saw and looked away?

How many have never heard of Grace at all?

The McComas family has established a fund which is to be the basis of a schorlarship in Grace’s name. The scholarship will be awarded each year to a student who exemplifies the qualities of G.R.A.C.E. — Give Respect and Compassion to Everyone. It is a seed sown in faith that we should grow more than academic excellence in our children, something far more precious: love, respect, and courage to stand against bullying and harassment.

The seed money for this scholarship came in the form of a lump sum donation from outgoing Chair of SECAC Barb Krupiarz. But more is needed for the scholarship fund to be viable. That is where you and I come in.

Here is the Go Fund Me campaign page for the Grace McComas Scholarship. Please click on the link, read the story, and give as generously as you are able. We, as a community, can choose to look at this heartbreaking story and refuse to look away, refuse to do nothing. We can reach out a hand to help and to heal. We can share this story with someone who may not yet know.

In so doing we will honor Grace.

If you have a blog, share this request. If you have a wide social media audience, share with them. If you have a church group or a neighborhood group or a community association who could help, ask them. It does not matter how large the amount, more important is how far Grace’s story is spread so that each individual who hears feels convicted to help and not to look away.

That’s how bullying ends, when each individual feels convicted to help and not to look away.

Participating in the funding of this scholarship can be a sign from our community that we are upstanders and not bystanders. We can be the hands that help.

Grace McComas Memorial Scholarship:

https://www.gofundme.com/gracemccomas

Barb Krupiarz and Christine McComas speak at BOE about the scholarship:

About Grace’s Law:

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/ellicott-city/ph-ho-graces-law-passes-20130410-story.html

 

 

Our car-centric culture endangers people and our planet

We allocate an awful lot of space to accommodate the automobile and they are a major cause of global warming. To create a sustainable future, we will need to lessen our dependence on cars and develop alternative means of transport. 

Howard County is beginning to build this future with consideration of  public transportation, development of bike trails, and implementing shared usage of roads. Columbia is grappling with the same issue as we plan for downtown development and rejuvenation of our village centers.

The United States had a very different infrastructure about 100 years ago, until cars took over the roads. How we became a car-centric nation, and what it might look like to share our roads and encourage alternatives to the car are the subject of these articles.

Howard County Complete Streets Policy (DRAFT – October 2016)

Vision: “To ensure that Howard County is a place for individuals of all backgrounds to live and travel freely, safely, and comfortably, public and private roadways in Howard County shall be safe and convenient for residents of all ages and abilities who travel by foot, bicycle, public transportation or automobile, ensuring sustainable communities Countywide.” – Allan H. Kittleman, Howard County Executive, Council Resolution 35-2016.

Scope:  The County shall approach every transportation improvement and project phase as an opportunity to create safer, more accessible streets for all users of all ages and abilities, including people who walk, bike, take the bus, and drive cars and trucks. These phases include, but are not limited to: planning, programming, design, right-of-way acquisition, subdivision and land development, new construction, construction engineering, reconstruction, operation, repair, and maintenance. This applies to both new and retrofit projects.

https://www.howardcountymd.gov/Departments/County-Administration/Transportation/Complete_Streets

When city streets were a public space

By Nov. 4, 2015

Hester Street, 1914 Manhattan, Lower East Side
Hester Street, 1914 Manhattan, Lower East Side

It’s strange to imagine now, but prior to the 1920s, city streets looked dramatically different than they do today. They were considered to be a public space: a place for pedestrians, pushcart vendors, horse-drawn vehicles, streetcars, and children at play.

“Pedestrians were walking in the streets anywhere they wanted, whenever they wanted, usually without looking,” Norton says [Peter Norton, the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City]. During the 1910s there were few crosswalks painted on the street, and they were generally ignored by pedestrians.

As cars began to spread widely during the 1920s, the consequence of this was predictable: death. Over the first few decades of the century, the number of people killed by cars skyrocketed.

As deaths mounted, anti-car activists sought to slow them down. In 1920, Illustrated World wrote, “Every car should be equipped with a device that would hold the speed down to whatever number of miles stipulated for the city in which its owner lived.”

The November 23, 1924, cover of the New York Times shows a common representation of cars during the era — as killing machines. (New York Times)

The turning point came in 1923, says Norton, when 42,000 Cincinnati residents signed a petition for a ballot initiative that would require all cars to have a governor limiting them to 25 miles per hour. Local auto dealers were terrified, and sprang into action, sending letters to every car owner in the city and taking out advertisements against the measure.

Most notably, auto industry groups took control of a series of meetings convened by Herbert Hoover (then secretary of commerce) to create a model traffic law that could be used by cities across the country. Due to their influence, the product of those meetings — the 1928 Model Municipal Traffic Ordinance — was largely based off traffic law in Los Angeles, which had enacted strict pedestrian controls in 1925.

Ultimately, both the word jaywalking and the concept that pedestrians shouldn’t walk freely on streets became so deeply entrenched that few people know this history. “The campaign was extremely successful,” Norton says. “It totally changed the message about what streets are for.”

[For more on the auto industry’s campaign to assure that cars had primary use of roads, read the whole article at the link below.]

http://www.vox.com/2015/1/15/7551873/jaywalking-history

Murder Machines: Why cars will kill 30,000 Americans this year

by Hunter Oatman-Stanford (Collectors Weekly), March 10, 2014

“If a kid is hit in a street in 2014, I think our first reaction would be to ask, ‘What parent is so neglectful that they let their child play in the street?,’” says Norton [Peter Norton, the author of Fighting Traffic: The Dawn of the Motor Age in the American City].  In 1914, it was pretty much the opposite. It was more like, ‘What evil bastard would drive their speeding car where a kid might be playing?’ That tells us how much our outlook on the public street has changed—blaming the driver was really automatic then.”

1909 Cartoon (Library of Congress)
1909 Cartoon (Library of Congress)

As cities attempt to undo years of car-oriented development by rebuilding streets that better incorporate public transit, bicycle facilities, and pedestrian needs, the existing bias towards automobiles is making the fight to transform streets just as intense as when cars first arrived in the urban landscape.

“The fact that changes like redesigning streets for bike lanes set off such strong reactions today is a great analogy to what was going on in the ’20s,” says Fried. “There’s a huge status-quo bias that’s inherent in human nature. While I think the changes today are much more beneficial than what was done 80 years ago, the fact that they’re jarring to people comes from the same place. People are very comfortable with things the way they are.”

http://www.collectorsweekly.com/articles/murder-machines/

The U.S. Ended Up Much More Car-Dependent Than Europe

Between the 1920s and 1960s, policies adapting cities to car travel in the United States served as a role model for much of Western Europe. But by the late 1960s, many European cities started refocusing their policies to curb car use by promoting walking, cycling, and public transportation. For the last two decades, in the face of car-dependence, suburban sprawl, and an increasingly unsustainable transportation system, U.S. planners have been looking to Western Europe.

The numbers show the need for change. In 2010, Americans drove for 85 percent of their daily trips, compared to car trip shares of 50 to 65 percent in Europe. Longer trip distances only partially explain the difference. Roughly 30 percent of daily trips are shorter than a mile on either side of the Atlantic. But of those under one-mile trips, Americans drove almost 70 percent of the time, while Europeans made 70 percent of their short trips by bicycle, foot, or public transportation.

https://www.citylab.com/transportation/2014/02/9-reasons-us-ended-so-much-more-car-dependent-europe/8226/

How the Dutch Got Their Cycle Paths

by Mark Wagenbuur, who blogs at BicycleDutch

[The Dutch became a car-centric nation similar to the United States, but then they chose a different road.]. 

Featured image at top of post

From Greater Aukland (2014) – http://transportblog.co.nz

The BRT is coming to US29 in Montgomery County. Should Howard County be next?

Howard County has few transportation options for people traveling into DC. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) may be a relatively inexpensive option.

Montgomery’s bet on an ambitious Bus Rapid Transit system hinges on Route 29

By Luz Lazo (Washington Post), May 13, 2017 – ABRIDGED

Montgomery County’s years-long plan to build a 14-mile Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line on one of Maryland’s busiest commuter corridors appears to finally be moving from idea to reality.

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), who has championed BRT as the county’s next major transit undertaking, included $21.5 million for the project in his capital budget. A County Council committee earlier this month signaled its support for the BRT project, voting to send the plan to the full council for approval of funding for the design phase, putting the project one step away from construction — and closer to a 2020 opening.

The plan as it stands would put buses on shoulder lanes for a portion of the route, but also in regular traffic. This decision, which sacrificed earlier plans to have a reversible HOV lane in the southern portion of the route, cut capital costs by more than half to $31.5 million. Officials say the money will pay for new stations, buses, and new bike and pedestrian infrastructure. The county’s portion will be matched with a $10 million federal grant.

For the complete article, go to:  https://is.gd/cgXjJC

What is Bus Rapid Transit?

by Institute for Transportation and Development Policy – ABRIDGED

Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is a high-quality bus-based transit system that delivers fast, comfortable, and cost-effective services at metro-level capacities. It does this Continue reading The BRT is coming to US29 in Montgomery County. Should Howard County be next?

Human Services delivery in Howard County now enhanced with new Nonprofit Center

Howard County is creating a model of collaboration for the delivery of human services.  The New Howard County Nonprofit Center has opened at Patuxent Woods Drive in Columbia. My post about the plans for the Center is here.  The offices will soon be part of a larger Community Resources Campus when several Howard County government offices move to adjacent buildings. 

The Campus will be a one-stop shop for folks in need of assistance. It is centrally located at Broken Land and Snowden River Parkways, and is on several RTA bus routes. 

Proximity can serve to enlarge the world view among participants and foster innovation, for the benefit of the organizations and the clients. It requires the commitment of the agencies to make it happen, and our encouragement. 

Nonprofit center model comes to Columbia

by Fatimah Waseem (Columbia Flier), April 28, 2017

A vision floated more than two decades ago to bring local nonprofit organizations and human service agencies under one roof is materializing in a small corporate park in Columbia.

A dozen local agencies and organizations have moved into the nonprofit center at 9770 Patuxent Woods Drive, which will serve as their headquarters and as a Continue reading Human Services delivery in Howard County now enhanced with new Nonprofit Center