Joint statement on FY 2019 bike funding

Howard County Bike Funding Improves, Still Lags Behind Neighboring Counties
Joint Press Statement on FY 2019 Proposed Budget

The Horizon Foundation, Bicycling Advocates of Howard County and American Heart Association, Mid-Atlantic Affiliate, issued the following joint statement in response to the County Executive’s proposed FY 2019 budget which includes $1.25 million in funding for bicycle infrastructure projects:

When the County Executive announced his plan to invest $8 million in bike routes over the next three years, we were encouraged by this commitment, which he described as “the greatest financial investment ever made in bicycle infrastructure in Howard County.” This plan responded to the demand of more than 30 businesses and community institutions and over 1,500 people who called on the County Executive to significantly increase county funding to build the Bikeway and realize the vision of a more bikeable community. This coalition of supporters includes leading businesses, realtors, developers, environmental advocates, health groups and individuals who know that plans require an adequate investment to get properly implemented.

The $1.25 million in county funds allotted for bicycle infrastructure projects represents a notable increase compared to the $600,000 allotted last year. However, it still pales in comparison to neighboring counties like Montgomery and Anne Arundel, which spent $26 million and $7.5 million in FY18 respectively. It also falls short of the County Executive’s promised plan.

Although we support the County Executive’s intention to secure competitive state grant funding, the county lacks a track record of receiving significant levels of such funding. Based on projected county funding and this track record, it will be extremely challenging for the Bike Howard Express to be built, as envisioned, within the promised time frame. 

As funding for bicycle and walking routes continues to lag, many in our community face the consequences: lower-income workers who struggle to get to work to earn a living, students who need safe routes to get to school, businesses that want to attract a millennial workforce, older adults who want to live in neighborhoods where they can bike to local attractions and property owners who desire the highest quality of life in their communities. Walkers miss out too: With full funding, the County Executive’s plan would include miles of shared bike/walk paths.

If we continue to fall behind in funding, we will continue to lose out on the potential benefits to health, the environment, the economy and local residents and workers. A plan should be judged by how well it is funded and implemented, not how good it sounds.

It is long past time that Howard County elevate bicycle and pedestrian transportation as a priority and invest the funding needed to build safe, accessible and connected routes that will allow people to easily travel to places they need to go – work, school, places of worship, MARC stations and more. 

We are deeply grateful for and proud of the many leaders in our community who have taken a stand for bike and walk funding in Howard County. In the midst of competing priorities, we are heartened to know so many sincerely care about making safe and accessible biking and walking possible for more people in our community. We look forward to continue our efforts to work with the County Executive and County Council and make the vision of a more bikeable and walkable Howard County a reality.

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Background information

The Bikeway is a proposed 50-mile network of bicycle and pedestrian routes from the county’s bicycle master plan that would help people in Howard County bike and walk more easily and safely to places they need to go. More than 30 businesses and organizations and 1,500 people asked the county to fund the Bikeway with $3 million to ensure that the community’s streets are designed to promote health, the environment, the economy and transportation equity. The proposed routes would be within one mile of more than half of county residences, schools and parks. In February 2018, the County Executive presented his plan to fund and build projects aligned with the Bikeway in his Bike Howard Express plan with $8 million over three years, of which $4.7 million would rely on competitive state grants. Over the past five years, the county has averaged $400,000 per year in these grants.

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The Horizon Foundation is the largest independent health philanthropy in Maryland. We lead community change so everyone in Howard County can live a longer, better life. We are committed to improving health through innovative initiatives, collaborative partnerships, strategic grantmaking and thoughtful advocacy. Learn more at www.thehorizonfoundation.org.

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The Bicycling Advocates of Howard County (Bike HoCo) is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization founded in 2008 as a coalition of cycling clubs and bicycle riders in Howard County, Maryland.  Bike HoCo advocates to improve the visibility and safety of bicycling, supports bicycling education programs for adults and children, and promotes a vision of bicycling and sharing the road as part of a healthy, energy efficient, and environmentally sound transportation system to help achieve a sustainable future for Howard County and for Maryland. Learn more at www.bikehoco.org.

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The American Heart Association is devoted to saving people from heart disease and stroke – the two leading causes of death in the world. We team with millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, fight for stronger public health policies, and provide lifesaving tools and information to prevent and treat these diseases. The Dallas-based association is the nation’s oldest and largest voluntary organization dedicated to fighting heart disease and stroke.  For more information visit www.heart.org.

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Princeton Sports Columbia Closing

For 36 years Princeton Sports' Columbia store has been a linchpin of the cycling community in Columbia and all of Howard County. For over 30 years from its inception in 1988, Princeton Sports was a supporter and volunteer of the Columbia Triathlon and later the Iron Girl Triathlon. For many years, first on Tuesday evenings and later Sunday mornings, Princeton's bicycle ride on the triathlon course helped train generations of Howard County bicycle riders. In addition, Princeton supported local cycling clubs - Mid Maryland Triathlon Club and Howard County Cycling Club - and helped start many other cycling events including the annual Columbia Association Bike About and the annual Bike to Work Day in Columbia. Alan Davis, the Princeton co-owner, has been a supporter and Board member of the Bicycling Advocates of Howard County for the past 10 years. It has been a privilege working with them since, like so many of the other Howard County bike shops, they are so community oriented. They will be missed.

More about the Bikeway

From the Columbia Flier/HC Times, December 13, 2017

Check out the sixth and seventh graphs:

"Several community members and local advocates spoke out about the need for greater funding for the county’s proposed Bikeway and other bike lanes. Chris Tsien, chief legal and financial officer for Bicycling Advocates of Howard County, testified at the hearing, saying the county’s bike lanes were woefully underfunded in comparison to surrounding counties.

"In fiscal 2018, Montgomery County spent more than $23 million on bike path funding, and Anne Arundel spent in excess of $6 million, while Howard spent just $600,000 on funding for new bike projects. The County Council unanimously passed the Bike Howard master plan in April 2016 to provide bicyclists and pedestrians with a safer network of pathways that navigate commercial and residential areas."

See the whole article at http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/howard/columbia/ph-ho-cf-budget-public-hearing-1214-story.html

The Bikeway Got Your Help, Thanks!

But continuing support is necessary to make it really happen.

 

From Jack Guarneri, President of Bicycling Advocates of Howard County:

On December 17, we had over 60 supporters of cycling show up at  County Executive Kittleman's initial budget hearing for Fiscal Year 2019. Although there were other large groups from Howard Community College, Howard County General Hospital, and the HC Library (asking for much more County funding) they were made up primarily of employees. Our Bikeway attendees were a largely volunteer group made up of diverse representatives of cycling clubs, transportation, community groups, schools and many individual cyclists who were there solely to create improved bicycling accessibility and safety in Howard County.

Our goal was to demonstrate that there was wide-based, dedicated support for bicycle facility upgrades in the County and for the Horizon Foundation/Bike HoCo Bikeway proposal. We did that! Our speakers, Chris Tsien, VP of Bike HoCo, Alex Obriecht, owner of Race Pace Bicycles, Bill Harrison of Lee and Associates Commercial Realtors, and two very enthusiastic students from Howard High School (who biked to the hearing just like they bike to school and part-time jobs) made the case for more significant County funding for the Bikeway/Bike Howard -- and additional support was provided through testimony from the Savage Community Association, Wilde Lake Village Board, and Inner Arbor Trust, who, although testifying for other issues, indicated the need for bicycle and pedestrian improvements in their areas.

I want to thank all who attended the hearing and to those of you that submitted Bikeway support cards (or online at: https://hcbikeway.org/take-action/) or e-mailed your support to the County Executive directly at: akittleman@howardcountymd.

If you haven't submitted a Bikeway support form or e-mailed the County Executive on your support for better funding for bicycle facilities please consider doing so now. We only have a couple of months before the budget is solidified.
Note: HC spends about $2 per citizen annually for bicycle projects while Anne Arundel and Montgomery are spending approximately $20-25. We can and should do better.

9th Annual Bike HoCo/All-Club Ride

Time again to join Howard County cyclists on BAHC's 9th Annual Bike HoCo (All-Club) Ride. Enjoy a GREAT Fall ride and social.

DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 7, 2017

  • Check-in/Registration -- 8:30 - 10am
  • Staggered Start: Metric (63 mile) at 9am, 45 mile at 9:30 am, and 34/26 mile at 10 am
  • Beer and soft drinks will be available post-ride from 11:30 am – 3 pm

LOCATION: Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

  • Start/Check-in/: APL Softball Field Parking Lot
  • GPS/Google Maps location: Across from 7150 Sanner Road, Clarksville, MD

DONATION: Use our Donate button at: https://bikehoco.org/take-action/ or send via Paypal to webmaster@bikehoco.org

  • Bike HoCo is a §501(c)(4) tax-exempt organization.
  • We request a minimum donation of $5 per rider to help fund our efforts as advocates for Howard County bicycling. You also donate cash when you check-in/sign waiver.
  • This is Bike HoCo only 2017 fundraiser, so please consider donating even if you don’t ride.

GENERAL INFORMATION:

  • 63/45/34/26 mile routes. Cue sheets and GPS data files are linked below and we will have paper copies at check-in.
  • Sign in starts at @ 8:30 am -- ALL riders must sign waiver
  • Staggered start:
  • 63 mile Metric Century @ 9am
  • 45 mile @ 9:30am
  • 34/26 mile routes @ 10am

 

  • Princeton Sports will again provide SAG support.
  • Rest stop @ Glenwood Community Center (Rt 97 & Carrs Mill Rd. Otherwise, routes go by various convenience stores
  • Post-ride social adjacent to APL softball field in the parking area.
  • Bike HoCo will also provide beer/soft drinks or you can BYO beer or wine (and some to share - especially if it is a good micro brew).
  • Wear Club or Group jerseys if you have one.